The Most Popular Chase Credit Cards for Travelers
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Chase Bank issues numerous consumer-oriented credit cards covering the spectrum from basic to premium, all of which offer some kind of travel or cashback rewards: two general cards with outstanding travel features, four cashback cards, and nine cards co-branded with an airline, hotel chain, or resort.

Standard Features of Chase Credit Cards

Chase issues mostly Visa cards, and all Visa cards include free coverage for damage to cars rented with the card (secondary coverage, except where noted), purchase protection, and extended warranty benefits. Most also include up to $3,000 secondary insurance for lost baggage. The one MasterCard offered by Chase, IHG Rewards Club Celect Credit Card, provides similar benefits.

Most Chase cards for travelers also include up to $100,000 in accidental death and dismemberment insurance, which is a great-sounding benefit that is actually of trivial value—it pays off only if you're killed or maimed in a plane or train crash.

Unless otherwise noted, variable APRs currently range between 16.99% and 23.99%; balance transfer fees are the larger of $3 to $5 or 5%; cash advance fees are the larger of $10 or 5%; most cards do not charge extra for adding cards on the base account.

The comparison below focuses on the cards that are most useful for the needs to travelers, and how they rate.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Earning: 2 points per dollar charged for travel and dining, 1 point per dollar for other charges. Points transferrable, 1:1, to loyalty programs of seven airlines (Air France/KLM, British Airways, Korean, Singapore, Southwest, United Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic) and three hotel programs (IHG, Marriott, and Ritz-Carlton).

Estimated point value 1.9¢; cash value 1.25¢ when used to buy air tickets and hotel accommodations, otherwise 1¢....

Travel Insurance: Trip cancellation up to $10,000, trip delay up to $500, baggage delay $100 per day up to five days.

Financials: Annual fee waived for 15 months, then $95. No foreign purchase surcharge. Enrollment bonus: 50,000 points after charging $4,000 in first three months.

Summary: A good card for travelers who want to maximize miles/points in one or more airline or hotel programs.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

Earning: 3 points per dollar charged for travel and dining, 1 point per dollar for other charges. Points transferrable, 1:1, to loyalty programs of seven airlines (Air France/KLM, British Airways, Korean, Singapore, Southwest, United Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic) and three hotel programs (IHG, Marriott, and Ritz-Carlton).

Estimated point value 1.9¢; cash value 1.5¢ when used to buy air tickets and hotel accommodations, otherwise 1¢.

Other Travel Features: No-fee access to more than 1,000 airport lounges through membership in Priority Pass. $300 annual travel credit. $100 allowance every four years to cover costs of PreCheck or Global Entry enrollment/update.

Travel Insurance: Emergency evacuation up to $100,000, $2500 medical/dental expenses, trip cancellation up to $10,000, trip delay up to $500, baggage delay $100 per day up to five days.

Financials: Annual fee $450. No foreign purchase surcharge. Enrollment bonus: 50,000 points after charging $4000 in first three months.

Summary: A good card for frequent travelers who buy a lot of air tickets and hotel rooms, want to maximize miles/points in one or more airline and hotel programs, and enjoy the benefits of an airline lounge program. For frequent travelers, the features offset the high annual fee.

Also consider: The Platinum Card from American Express

Chase Freedom Unlimited Card

Earning: 1.5¢ cash value per dollar charged.

Financials: Annual fee zero. APR waived for first 15 months, then about 1% below Chase standard. 3% foreign purchase surcharge. Enrollment bonus: $150 credit after charging $500 within first three months.  

Summary: A good general no-fee card with above-average cash payback, but lacks travel features.

Chase Freedom Card

Earning: 5¢ per dollar charged to one of several categories that change every quarter, 1¢ per dollar on other charges. Current categories: grocery stores, gas stations, and restaurants and movies.

Financials: Annual fee zero. APR waived for first 15 months, then about 1% below Chase standard. 3% foreign purchase surcharge. Enrollment bonus: $150 credit after charging $500 within first three months. 

Summary: I simulated yearly expenditures for two different demographics, and found that the final payback on both Freedom cards was about the same. This card is a good choice for consumers who tweak their spending patterns to the payout categories; the Chase Unlimited card is good for consumers who just want an across-the-board good payback. Travel features are minimal.

AARP Visa

Earning: 3¢ per dollar charged at restaurants and gas stations; 1¢ per dollar on other charges.

Financials: No annual fee, APR starts a bit higher than standard. 3% foreign purchase surcharge. Enrollment bonus: $200 credit after charging $500 during first three months.

Summary: Good for folks who eat out a lot and drive a lot; the Chase Freedom cards probably offer a better overall cashback choice for most consumers. Travel features are minimal.

Also consider: The Chase Freedom Cards and the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card

Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card

Earning: 3¢ per dollar charged to Amazon (5¢ for Prime members), 2¢ per dollar charged at restaurants and gas stations, 1¢ per dollar on other charges.

Travel Insurance: Baggage delay $100 per day up to three days.

Financials: No annual fee. APR a bit lower than standard. No foreign purchase surcharge. Enrollment bonus: $50 gift card.

Summary: Good for folks who do a lot of shopping on Amazon, especially for big-ticket items. Travel features are minimal. Given no annual fee, a good second card for frequent Amazon shoppers who also use another card for travel.

Also consider: The Chase Freedom Cards and the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card

British Airways Visa Signature Card

Earnings: 3 Avios points per dollar charged for British Airways and partner line tickets, 1 Avio per dollar on other charges. Estimated point value 1.2¢.

Other Travel Feature: Complimentary frequent flyer companion ticket after charging $30,000 per year.

Travel Insurance: Trip delay and baggage delay $100 per day for up to three days.

Financials: Annual fee $95. No foreign purchase surcharge. Enrollment bonus 50,000 Avios after charging $3,000 in the first three months; 100,000 Avios after charging $20,000 the first year.

Summary: Good for folks who fly a lot on British Airways; otherwise, below-average value.

Also consider: The Chase Freedom Cards and the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card

United MileagePlus Explorer Card

Earning: 2 United miles per dollar charged on United Airlines; 1 point per dollar on other charges. Estimated mile value 1.5¢.

Other Travel Features: Up to two free checked bags on each United flight. Two United Club passes per year.  Priority treatment at airports.

Travel Insurance: Trip cancellation up to $10,000, trip delay up to $500, baggage delay $100 per day up to five days. Primary rental car collision coverage.

Financials: $95 annual fee. No foreign purchase surcharge. Enrollment bonus: 40,000 miles after charging $2,000 the first three months.

Summary: Very good card for frequent United travelers for both mileage earnings and other features.

Also consider: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

United MileagePlus Club Visa

Earning: 2 miles per dollar charged on United Airlines, 1.5 miles per dollar on other charges.

Other Travel Features: Free unlimited admission to United Clubs. $100 credit after first purchase. Up to two free checked bags on each United flight. Priority treatment at airports.

Travel Insurance: Trip cancellation up to $10,000, trip delay up to $500, baggage delay $100 per day up to five days. Primary rental car collision coverage.

Financials: Annual fee $450. No foreign purchase surcharge. Enrollment bonus $100 credit after first charge.

Summary: Excellent card for frequent travelers who fly United a lot. $450 annual fee is less than the cost of regular United Club membership, and earning 1,5 miles per dollar charged is a better rate than rates on other airline cards. But frequent travelers on multiple airlines might consider cards that transfer points to multiple lines.

Also consider: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, The Platinum Card from American Express

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card

Earning: 2 Southwest points per dollar charged at Southwest, 1 point per dollar on other charges. Estimated point value 1.3¢.

Travel Insurance: Baggage delay $100 per day up to three days.

Financials: $99 annual fee. No foreign purchase surcharge. Enrollment bonus 60,000 points after charging $1,000 during the first three months.

Summary: Good card for frequent Southwest travelers, but other features are below average.

Also consider: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card

Earning: 5 IHG points per dollar charged at IHG hotels, 2 points per dollar charged at restaurants, grocery stores, and gas stations, 1 point per dollar on other charges. Estimated point value 0.6¢.

Other Travel Features: 3,000 point annual bonus. Instant platinum status.

Travel Insurance: Trip-cancellation $5,000, baggage delay $100 per day up to five days.

Financials: No annual fee first year, then $49. No foreign purchase surcharge.  Enrollment bonus 80,000 points after charging $1,000 during the first three months.

Summary. A good choice for travelers who stay frequently at IHG hotels, but point values are low for other purchases. Given the low annual fee, this is a good second card for frequent IHG users who also use another card for travel or cashback.

Also consider: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

The Hyatt Card

Earning: 3 points per dollar charged at Hyatts, 2 points per dollar charged for airfares, car rentals, and restaurant meals, 1 point per dollar for other charges. Estimated point value 1.4¢.

Other Travel Features: One free Hyatt night per year.

Travel Insurance: Trip cancellation up to $5,000, trip delay up to $500, baggage delay $100 per day up to five days.

Financials: Annual fee $75. No foreign purchase surcharge. Enrollment bonus: 40,000 points after charging $2000 during the first three months.

Summary: Good choice for frequent Hyatt users.

Also consider: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Marriott Rewards Premier Visa

Earning: 5 points per dollar charged at Marriott, 2 points per dollar charged for air tickets purchased directly with the airline, rental cars, and at restaurants; 1 point per dollar for other charges. Estimated point value 0.8¢.

Other Travel Features: One free night per year.

Travel Insurance: Trip cancellation up to $5,000, trip delay up to $500, baggage delay $100 per day up to five days.

Financials: Annual fee $85. No foreign purchase surcharge. Enrollment bonus: 80,000 points after charging $3,000 in first three months.

Summary. Good choice for frequent Marriott users.

Also consider: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, The Platinum Card from American Express

Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa

Earning: 5 points per dollar charged at participating Ritz-Carlton and SPG (Starwood) hotels, 2 points per dollar charged for air tickets purchased directly with the airline, rental cars, and at restaurants; 1 point per dollar for other charges. Estimated point value 2¢.

Other Travel Features: Two free nights per year. $300 annual travel credit. $100 discount on up to five coach airline tickets per year. No-fee access to more than 1000 airport lounges through membership in Priority Pass. $100 allowance every four years to cover costs of PreCheck or Global Entry enrollment/update. Upgraded hotel club status.

Travel Insurance: Emergency evacuation up to $100,000, medical/dental expenses p to $2500, trip cancellation up to $10,000, trip delay up to $500, baggage delay $100 per day up to five days.

Financials: Annual fee $450; extra cards on account $175 each. No foreign purchase surcharge.  

Summary: A good card for frequent travelers who stay at Ritz-Carlton or Starwood hotels and enjoy the benefits of an airline lounge program, but other premium cards provide more flexibility.

Also consider: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, The Platinum Card from American Express

Disney Premier Visa

Earning: 2 points per dollar charged at Disney and related locations, grocery stores, and gas stations; 1 point per dollar for other charges. 10% discounts on Disney merchandise and in-park services.

Travel Insurance: Baggage delay $100 per day up to three days.

Financials: Annual fee $49. 3% foreign purchase surcharge. Enrollment bonus $200 Disney gift card after charging $500 in first three months.

Summary: Great for Disney habitués; other travelers, not so much.

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