Choosing that first credit card is a personal decision as it depends on your own goals. There are many credit cards out there but we believe the Chase Sapphire Preferred (CSP) would make a great first card for everyone.
Before you start applying for any credit card, it’s best to understand each bank’s approval rule. Since Chase offer many great cards but have the most restrictive rule, as a beginner, I’d focus on acquiring their cards first.
Chase have an infamous 5/24 rule, which means that they will not approve your application if you have more than 5 accounts (from any bank) opened in the trailing 24 months. Last year, the bank also counts CSP in the same family as Chase Sapphire Reserve (CSR, annual fee $450). You won’t be able to apply for the latter if you have the former within 24 months and vice versa.
Sign Up Bonus
Receive 50,000 Ultimate Rewards (UR) points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. You’ll also earn an additional 5,000 bonus points after adding an authorized user (AU) and make a purchase in the first three months.
We don’t recommend adding an AU unless that person doesn’t want to apply for future credit cards. Apparently, being an AU counts toward the 5 new accounts limit.
Tip: The 3 months start on the day that you are approved, not when you receive the card, which could take a couple of weeks. We’ve had friends missed out on the bonus because of this mistake.
- 2 points per $1 spent on travel and dining at restaurants.
- 1 point per dollar on everything else.
We love UR points because they’re so flexible. There are multiple ways to redeem them.
- Redeem them for cash or gift cards at a value of 1 cent per point, which means the sign up bonus will get you $500 in cash if that’s what you desire.
- Use the points to book directly through the Chase travel portal where each point is worth 1.25 cents so now the bonus is now worth $624. The portal works very similarly like Orbitz or Expedia. The interesting thing is that booking flights do count toward elite status but hotel bookings do not.
- However, to maximize the value of the points, we recommend transferring them to their partners, including Hyatt and United, two programs that we heavily utilized for our honeymoon. We were able to stay at the Andaz Tokyo, Hyatt Regency Kyoto, and fly in United First Class to Tokyo and Turkish Business Class from Hanoi for our honeymoon.
- This card offers primary car rental insurance that covers damage or theft of your car rental without involving your insurance company. Tran was involved in a minor accident a few months ago in California and with this benefit, it helped him save a lot of money and time. Here’s his write up about the experience.
- It charges no foreign transaction fees, which would save about 3% on any purchase made abroad.
$95 is waived the first year. Since the first year is $0, you’d come out ahead regardless of which way you decide to redeem. We happily renew the card each year in order to churn UR points.
CSP is a great starter card even for those who don’t travel much. This is one of our favorite cards. We keep it to to cover most every day expenses that are not better allocated to other cards. This post gives a thorough breakdown of why you should put everything on a credit card.
Which card would you recommend for a beginner?