Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.
Out of all the major credit card issuers, I still think that Chase has the best ultimate combination of credit cards that is the best fit for the average consumer. What I mean is, you can earn tons of rewards with several different cards while only paying one single (and reasonable) annual fee every year. This is something that most other banks don’t offer.
In this article, I’ll talk about how to maximize your cards to put together the ultimate points-earning combo: the Chase Quadfecta.
What is the Chase Quadfecta?
In my eyes, the Chase Quadfecta is a collection of four solid Chase credit cards that:
- Earn great travel rewards in several different categories
- Have industry-leading benefits (travel and purchase protections)
- Allow you to do this while only paying a single annual fee.
Since you’re only paying one annual fee, these four cards together essentially form one super-earning rewards card that other banks can’t compete with.
Here are the cards that make up the Chase Quadfecta:
- Chase Ink Cash
- Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve
- Chase Freedom
- Chase Freedom Unlimited
The Chase Ink Business Cash is the key to unlocking the Quadfecta. Why? Because it stands out from the other alternatives in a couple of areas.
The Chase Ink Unlimited earns 1.5X (the same as the standard rate on the Freedom Unlimited rate) and the Chase Ink Preferred has a $95 annual fee. With the Chase Ink Cash you can tap into unique bonus spending categories (that virtually everyone spends on) and you can also avoid an annual fee.
The Ink Cash comes with a great sign-up bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards after you spend $3,000 in the first three months along with a 0% APR period and has no annual fee.
50,000 Ultimate Rewards is worth at least $625 in travel which is very competitive for a no annual fee credit card but the card also has some fantastic bonus categories. The Chase Ink Cash earns 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year at:
- Phone services
- Office supply stores
And it also earns 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each year at:
- Gas stations
I’ve been using the Chase Ink Cash to rack up points on my internet, cable, and cell phone bills for a few years now and thanks to the 5X, I easily net over 30,000 Ultimate Rewards a year just from those bills alone. I basically get a month’s worth of cell phone and cable bills for free every year.
This can also be a great card to use when purchasing gift cards at 5X from office supply stores — sometimes you can even turn a profit on those purchases if you can easily liquidate your gift cards (re-selling, etc.). And even though the Quadfecta is weak on groceries, you can buy grocery store gift cards and get 5X on places like Safeway, Whole Foods, etc.
Note: If you’re okay with paying multiple annual fees, you might go for the Chase Ink Business Preferred with its higher sign-up bonus of 80,000 points and then you can product change to the Chase Ink Business Cash later.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred comes with a new and improved sign-up bonus of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 within the first 3 months (worth at least $750 in travel). This card is still one of the top travel credit cards available to the public, since it earns 2X on a broad travel category and 2X on dining and also offers primary rental car insurance.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is the other option to go with but it has the much higher annual fee ($95 versus $550). Since the Sapphire Preferred now comes with the new 60,000 point offer (which is one of the best offers ever), many people are now jumping on that card first and then upgrading to the Reserve after one year.
But if you know how to leverage the benefits and credits of the Reserve, it might still be in play for you, even with the lower sign-up bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 within the first 3 months.
Both Sapphire cards offer some outstanding protections for travel and purchases and that’s what helps to make the Quadfecta stand out from options with other issuers. These cards also allow you to transfer your points to valuable transfer partners for optimal value.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5% cash back and comes with a $150 sign-up bonus. This is a great way to earn bonus points on everyday spend. If you’e using points with the Sapphire Reserve via the Chase Travel Portal, that 1.5X comes out to 2.25% back on all purchases which is great.
The Chase Freedom will earn you 5% back on rotating categories each quarter up to $1,500 in spend. Some of the categories that we’ve seen in the past include:
- Department stores (including WalMart)
- Gas stations
- Chase Pay
- Local commuter transportation
- Movie theaters
- Theme parks
A great way to maximize the 5% back is to purchase gift cards at grocery stores and drug stores for various purchases like gas, Uber, and many restaurants. Since grocery stores and drug stores are separate quarters, you can get 5X on those gift cards in multiple quarters. And other times you might be able to purchase gift cards at department stores, with Chase Pay, or potentially on Amazon purchases.
If you have two people playing, it’s also great to double up on your 5X categories and the Freedom card can quickly become a heavy earner each quarter.
The total Quadfecta earning potential:
So with all of these cards you could earn the following rates:
- 2/3X on dining
- 2/3X on travel
- 1.5X on all purchases
- 5X on rotating categories like groceries, dining, gas, etc.
- 5X on Internet, Cable, Phone services, and Office supply stores
- 2X on gas stations
And you can’t forget about the benefits you can get from the Quadfecta like:
- Primary rental car coverage
- Trip delay/cancellation
- Baggage delay
- Purchase protection
- Roadside assistance
- Transferrable points
Many of these benefits are industry-leading so the Chase Quadfecta goes much further than just offering lucrative rewards — you’ll be able to take advantage of some of the best travel and purchase protections around.
That’s an impressive line-up of bonus earning and benefits but what is most impressive is that you can get the Quadfecta while only paying a $95 annual fee if you go with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. When you also consider the sign-up bonuses you can get from the Chase Ink Cash (at least $625 in travel) and Chase Sapphire Preferred (at least $750 in travel), the amount of value you can obtain from the Quadfecta is pretty ridiculous.
We’ve relied on the Chase Quadfecta to rack up tons of Ultimate Rewards over the past few years and it’s been largely responsible for many of my favorite redemptions like first class on Singapore Suites. I know many people don’t like to jump on multiple credit cards with annual fees or even to jump on one credit card with an annual fee over $100. And for those people, the Chase Quadfecta is a perfect line-up to choose from.
The difficulty is that all of these cards are subject to the 5/24 rule (barring exceptions). So these need to be the first cards that you apply for if you’re just starting out. But even if you can’t get all four cards, just picking up a combination like the Sapphire Preferred and the Ink Cash could be a solid route to maximizing rewards.
UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. His content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.