The Express Guide for Getting Started on Collecting Points

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Need More Points?

Looking for the ultra express? Simply sign up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and start earning points! This is our top recommended card and points program to earn rewards quickly.

Express Guide Featured Photo Chase Ultimate Rewards
Some of you will just want to get started earning points without having to read a bunch of material. This quick guide is for you!

How To Begin Earning Points: A Chase Ultimate Rewards Strategy

There are so many options out there for collecting points!

Our top recommendation to start earning is to begin with Chase Ultimate Rewards points – they are easy to collect and very versatile in their use.

The Millers collect more Chase points than any others!

Hot Tip: If you frequently fly with a specific airline, we recommend you first sign up for a credit card associated with that airline, and then use that card whenever you purchase flights.

Utilizing the above tip will maximize the number of points you earn when you fly with your preferred airline.

For example: if you fly American frequently, consider applying for the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard. Frequent flier with Southwest? Consider the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card.


This same approach applies to those of you who frequently stay at the same hotel (e.g. Marriott brands). In this example, you’ll want to put those Marriott purchases on a Marriott credit card! (See our hotel credit cards here).

Since we love Chase points, we recommend that you also strongly consider signing up for a Chase card (see details in Step 1) and putting all your non-airline/hotel expenditures onto that card.

This way, you’ll be maximizing the number of points earned when flying your favorite airline or staying at your preferred hotel, while also collecting valuable Chase points.

Step by Step Express Guide

Step 1. Apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card so you can use it for your day-to-day spending and living costs (more info below in Step 4).

Step 2. Review the Chase partner airlines and hotels below. These are all the partners you can transfer your points to.

You will use these partners for your award redemptions, so sign up to your loyalty program(s) of choice. Ideally, you are already a part of them!

If not, the loyalty program should be one that is easily accessible for you in your location. For example, don’t sign up for a Singapore Airlines account if they don’t fly from a nearby airport.

You can find this information by searching for flights from the airport or looking on the airport’s web page.

Here are all the Chase travel partners (links go to review pages for those programs):

Step 3 (Optional). Sign up to a dining program.

A dining program allows you to earn extra miles or points in the following loyalty programs just for using your credit card at participating restaurants. No other work is needed.

Step 4. Put all spending on your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

You will earn:

  • 2x points for spending in travel and dining categories. If you’re a big traveler and eat out a lot, this means you’ll rack up points quickly.
  • 1x points for all other spending.

Note that you can earn points for all spending, including cell phone, cable, utility, insurance, and other bills. Don’t forget services like Netflix, Hulu, Uber, Lyft, and anything else that doesn’t have a service fee for using a credit card.

Step 5. Meet the minimum spend in order to collect your sign-up bonus.

You’ll probably have 3 months from the date your card was approved  in order to meet the minimum spend. The sign-up bonus is the most valuable part of the card!

Step 6. Continue to earn points by using the card, and start thinking of a goal destination.

Once you have been using the card for awhile, you may get curious about other ways you can earn more points. In that case, we recommend reading more into the following resources (including one on how to choose travel goals):

Step 7. At this point, you’ll redeem an award! More info to come on that; for now, focus on earning the points.

If you’re ready for a second credit card, you should opt for the Chase Freedom®. You will get 5x points in rotating categories, which really helps you pump some value out!

Our third choice would be the Chase Freedom Unlimited℠, which is a newer version of the Chase Freedom® that simply earns 1.5x points across all categories (a great option for those “other” categories that don’t earn bonus points elsewhere).

Business Owners: A Chase Ultimate Rewards Business Card

If you own a business, you will also want to open the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.

With this card, you will earn:

  • 3x points on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, plus advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year (on the first $150,000)
  • 1x points everywhere else

Follow the above steps with this card as well! A great companion card with no annual fee is the Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card. For this card, you earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year.

Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year. For all other card purchases, you’ll earn 1% cash-back on all other card purchases with no limit.

Preparations for Your First Redemption

Before you think about your first redemption (assuming it will be international), you will need to make sure you have a valid and passport.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
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FAQ

Which credit cards earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points?

There are 6 total cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Of the 3 starred below, you will need at least 1 in order to transfer your points to travel partners.

Otherwise, points for all your Chase cards will be available for use in the Ultimate Rewards portal.

If you wish, you can still collect points and just sign up for one of the travel cards once you are getting ready to transfer.