The 5 best Chase credit cards of 2020

Couple carrying their kayaks over a dune to a beach and trying to pick the best Chase credit card Image: Couple carrying their kayaks over a dune to a beach and trying to pick the best Chase credit card

In a Nutshell

Whether you’re looking for travel rewards, cash back or a way to consolidate debt, Chase has some of the most competitive credit cards in the industry. Read on for our picks in several key categories.

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Hear from our editors: The 5 best Chase credit cards of 2020

Updated September 15, 2020

This date indicates our editors’ last comprehensive review and may not reflect recent changes in individual terms.

Editorial Note: Credit Karma receives compensation from third-party advertisers, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions. Our marketing partners don’t review, approve or endorse our editorial content. It’s accurate to the best of our knowledge when it’s posted.

Written by: Tim Devaney

The best Chase credit cards could help you save money on travel, earn cash back, consolidate debt or reduce business expenses.

Let’s take a look at our picks for the best Chase credit cards of 2020.



Best for premium travel: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Here’s why: We don’t call this card the Michael Jordan of credit cards for nothing. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® features enough travel perks to make it a slam dunk for people who want a more comfortable trip.

You’ll receive a $300 annual travel credit that you could use to pay for the cost of your flight or hotel room — or to splurge on something a little nicer like an upgrade to first class or a hotel suite.

Once every four years, you’ll also qualify for a credit of up to $100 to apply for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, both of which can help you get through airport security lines more quickly when you’re running late. But we recommend you arrive early, so that you can take advantage of your complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, which gives you access to more than 1,000 airport lounges.

Wherever your travels take you, you can breathe easy knowing the card comes with travel insurance and a $0 foreign transaction fee.

With all of these travel perks, it could be easy to forget about the sign-up bonus, which is worth up to $1,060.20, as explained below.

To start, you’ll earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases during the first 3 months after opening the account. Plus, you’ll earn another three points for every $1 you spend on dining and travel purchases (after you use the $300 travel credit). You’ll also earn one point per $1 you spend on all other purchases. So if you spend the $4,000 to earn the sign-up bonus on travel and dining, that’s an additional 12,000 points that you earned indirectly through the sign-up bonus for a total of 62,000 points.

You can redeem all the points you’ve racked up toward travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, where they’re worth 1.5 cents each, according to Chase. But you’ll get the most value by transferring them to United, where we estimate their worth to be 1.71 cents each.

This rich sign-up bonus and all of the travel benefits could help offset the hefty $550 annual fee.

For more info, check out our review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Best for budget travel: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Here’s why: If you’re looking for a travel card that won’t break the bank, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card . It’s a slimmed down version of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® that comes with a much more affordable $95 annual fee.

While the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns you a sign-up bonus of 80,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases during the first 3 months after opening the account, you’ll only earn two points for every $1 you spend on travel and dining (and one point per $1 on all other purchases). And you’ll sacrifice benefits like the $300 travel credit, $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit, and complimentary airport lounge access with Priority Pass Select.

Like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® though, this card comes with travel insurance and a $0 foreign transaction fee.

If you think you can live without all the bells and whistles of the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, check out our review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Best for business: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Here’s why: The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card could help small-business owners save money when they travel for work.

First, it features the largest sign-up bonus of any Chase credit card. You’ll earn 100,000 points after spending $15,000 during the first 3 months after opening the account. And you’ll get three points for every $1 you spend (up to $150,000 in combined purchases each year) on travel, shipping, eligible online advertising, internet, cable and phone services. All other purchases earn one point per $1.

If your business takes you overseas, you’ll appreciate that the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card offers travel insurance and has a $0 foreign transaction fee. But you will pay a $95 annual fee.

You can learn more in our review of the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card.

Best for everyday cash back: Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Here’s why: The Chase Freedom Unlimited® rewards you with cash back on everyday purchases. It starts with a two-part sign-up bonus.

When you get the card, you can earn a cash back bonus of $200 when you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Plus, during your first year, you’ll earn 5% back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart) on up to $12,000 spent.

You’ll also earn additional cash back on these purchase categories — even after the first year.

  • 5% cash back on travel purchases booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3% cash back on dining purchases, whether you’re eating at a restaurant, grabbing takeout or ordering delivery
  • 3% cash back at drugstores

Lastly, you’ll earn 1.5% cash back on all other purchases that don’t fall within these bonus categories.

Plus, with an annual fee of $0, this card won’t cut into your earnings.

You can read more in our review of the Chase Freedom Unlimited®.

Best for cash back variety: Chase Freedom Flex℠ credit card

Here’s why: The Chase Freedom Flex℠ credit card offers a high cash back rate, but it comes with strings attached.

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ credit card offers 5% cash back on the first $1,500 you spend in quarterly rotating categories, but these special categories may not always fit with your spending habits. And you must activate each quarterly offer by the deadline.

But there’s good news: Even if you can’t keep up with the rotating categories, you could still earn consistent cash back in several bonus categories that overlap with the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, including the following:

  • 5% cash back on travel purchases booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 5% cash back on purchases from grocery stores other than Target and Walmart until you either spend $12,000 or reach the end of your first year
  • 3% cash back on dining purchases, whether you’re eating out at a restaurant, grabbing takeout or ordering delivery
  • 3% cash back at drugstores

You’ll get 1% cash back on all other purchases.

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ credit card also comes with a generous sign-up bonus: You’ll earn $200 in cash back after you spend $500 on purchases during the first 3 months after account opening.

Best of all, the annual fee is $0, so you don’t have to worry about it eating into your earnings.


How we picked these cards

To find the best Chase credit cards, we combed through all the credit cards on its website.

From there, we narrowed the list down to Chase-branded credit cards, excluding co-branded cards from partners like United, Southwest, British Airways, Marriott, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels, Amazon, Disney and Starbucks. We wanted to focus only on cards that served broad audiences, not just people who frequent particular stores and services.

Then, we separated the remaining cards by their focus on travel, cash back, balance transfers and business — categories we think are probably more relevant to the greatest number of consumers.

How to make the most of your Chase credit card

Chase features some of the best cash back and rewards cards — and one of the best rewards programs — in the industry.

To take full advantage of both, you could pair the Chase Freedom Flex℠ card with one of the Chase Sapphire cards. That way you could earn 5% back in rewards on select category purchases, 3% on dining, and 1% on everything else. And by transferring these points to a Sapphire account, you’ll be able to get a better value through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal or with a transfer partner when you redeem for travel.

But keep in mind, whether you’re trying to earn rewards or consolidate debt, it’s important to have a plan so you can take advantage of sign-up bonuses and other special offers before they expire.

For instance, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® only gives you 3 months after opening the account to spend enough money to earn your sign-up bonus points. So it’s important that you don’t apply for these cards until you’re ready to take advantage of these special promotions.


About the author: Tim is a personal finance writer and credit card expert at Credit Karma. Growing up, Tim was apprehensive about credit cards because his parents struggled to get out of debt. Not wanting to fall into the same trap, … Read more.