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The Chase Trifecta: Top Credit Card Setup for 2023

What is the Chase Trifecta? How can I get it? Why do so many people talk about it? What is so great about it? These are all common questions that revolve around this credit card strategy that works very well for many. This article will breakdown everything there is to know about this strategy.

Why Chase?

Chase is the most popular credit card company, with around 150 million cardholders, Chase has the most cardholders, most purchase volume, and most transactions among all of the competitors. Chase typically has the best transfer partners for the most amount of people- domestically United and Southwest are great airline partners, World of Hyatt has some of the best hotel redemptions available in the points game and there are plenty of great international airline partners as well.

The Cards Involved

The three cards that make up this trifecta are the Chase Sapphire Preferred (CSP) or the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Freedom Unlimited (CFU) and the Chase Freedom Flex (CFF). The total annual fees of the 3 cards listed is $95-- only the CSP has an annual fee. The CFF and CFU have no annual fee.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

$95 Annual Fee

  • 2X on travel

  • 3X on dining, online grocery, and streaming

  • Primary insurance built into the card when renting a vehicle

  • 1.25X Ultimate Reward Point boost when redeeming for travel via Chase Travel Portal

Chase Freedom Unlimited

No Annual Fee

  • The CFU offers 1.5x on everything

  • 3x on dining and drugstores

  • 5X on travel booked via Chase Travel Portal

  • Excellent starter and "catch-all" credit card

Chase Freedom Flex

No Annual Fee

  • 5x on quarterly rotating categories that can be gas, groceries or restaurants

  • 3x on dining and drugstores

  • 5X on travel booked via Chase Travel Portal

  • Excellent starter credit card

Originally, the CFU and CFF are cash back cards, but when you have the CSP and pair it with the CFU and CFF, you can earn points on the purchases made with the CFU and the CFF. Then, you can combine your points with the CSP and use the points for travel redemptions or send to transfer partners.

The Sapphire Preferred does allow you to use your points at 1.25 cents per point against travel purchases made in the Chase portal, so the floor for Chase points is 1.25 cents per point.

Also, with Pay Yourself Back, you can use points against gas stations and groceries at 1 cent per point until March 31, 2023.

Right now, after getting all 3 cards and hitting all the SUB requirements, you could have 100,000 chase points and that is enough for a ton of travel!

Why it Works

The Chase Trifecta works because it covers so many bases at a low cost with great transfer partners-- the CFU covers all purchases at 1.5x, the CFF covers certain expenses for a quarter at 5x and the CSP covers dining at 3x and has some great protections built in with it.

There are some issues with this strategy though: there is a not a long term grocery category. (But I will mention that the SUBs for the CFU and CFF right now have 5x back on groceries for a year up to $12,000 in the year-- could be worth 60,000 points). You may need to find a grocery card that works for you if you feel as if you're leaving rewards on the table without one.

Another issue is that 1.5x on the CFU is not 2x-- the floor for a lot of credit card strategists. I urge you to remind yourself of something though, 1.5x (or even 2x) is not the same as 1.5% or 2%. Why I enjoy the points game so much is because if I can get a moderate 1.5 cents per point out of my redemptions, 1.5x turns into 2.25 cents per point (1.5 times 1.5). So every time I spend on the CFU, I could get over 2% back on each point earned. If you are not willing to try to relatively maximize each point, then an easier cash back setup may work well too.

Other Strategies

As I mentioned, Chase entry level card only earns 1.5x on everything-- not great if 2x is the least amount of points you would like on a purchase.

3 main competitors with trifectas or duos (briefly):

American Express: Blue Business Plus (BBP), Platinum, and Gold

  • All Membership Reward earning cards

  • BBP earns 2x MR on all purchases, up to $50,000 in a year, note: (it is a business card)

  • Gold earns 4x on grocery and 4x on dining

  • Platinum earns 5x on flights and 5x on hotels booked through AMEX

This setup does have annual fees of $945

Capital One: Venture X or Venture and SavorOne

  • Venture/X earns 2x on all purchases

  • SavorOne earns 3x on: dining, grocery, entertainment, and streaming

  • Similar to Chase, cash back from SavorOne can be converted into points.

Annual Fees of setup is either $95 with Venture or $395 with Venture X

Citi: Citi Premier, Citi Double Cash, Citi Custom Cash

  • Citi Premier earns 3x on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, hotels and air travel

  • Double Cash earns 2x on all purchases

  • Custom Cash earns 5x on category of your choice (great standalone card)

  • Similar to Chase, cash back can be converted into points

This setup costs just $95

Final Word

What makes Chase so strong is there transfer partners. Other cards do have better earning structures but the Chase trifecta is very easy to recommend because it covers a lot of the typical spend, is cheap to have and gives you access to great transfer partners.

If you are considering this setup (I recommend you do), look to your highest spend categories in any given month and see what strategy/setup (points or cash back) could best benefit you on money you would already be spending-- it is essentially free money back in the case!

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