Update: The current best available offer is 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points (or $100 cash back).
The Chase Freedom Credit Card is No Fee, and after just $500 in spend you'll get 10,000 points. Even better, the 2012 bonus categories, which give you 5x points up to $1500 in spend per quarter (so up to 7500 points per quarter and up to 30,000 points per year) look very doable for my family, and perhaps for you too.
Here's why I'm newly interested in the Chase Freedom Credit Card: Given that MileagePlus miles are the most valuable out there (see What is a Mile Worth), in large part due to large Star Alliance Network, availability of premium award seats, United no longer doing Starnet blocking, and the multiple Aeroplan devaluations, I'm looking to acquire more MileagePlus miles (without actually flying). One of the best is via Ultimate Rewards points, which transfer 1:1 to MileagePlus miles (keep in mind that American Express Membership Rewards no longer transfer to Continental/United, and that Starwood Preferred Guest points only transfer at a 2:1 ratio).
I kind of ignored the Chase Freedom Card previously, for a few reasons:
1. I wasn't impressed by the sign up bonus
2. I didn't know there are extra Chase Exclusives bonuses you automatically get if you also have a Chase checking account
3. The application made it just look like it was only a cash-back card. What I didn't realize at the time was that the Chase Freedom points you earn can be freely transferred 1:1 to Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which you can then transfer 1:1 to United MileagePlus miles
4. The Q2 2011 bonus categories were Home Improvement stores, Lawn and Garden stores and Home Furnishing stores. While we probably *should* spend something in these stores for our place, the reality is we never do–just too busy to care much about interior design at the moment.
5. It's kind of a pain to have to “activate” the bonus categories each quarter
[Updated] Thanks to the prior sign-up bonus, I ended up getting the Chase Freedom and am on track to get over 60,000 points from it in 2012, from the signup bonus, 5x quarterly bonuses and Chase Exclusives bonuses.
For 2013 5X categories, please see Chase Freedom 2013 Categories and Calendar
Not much to lose since it's a no fee card; so unless you've recently maxed out on Chase with a slew of credit card applications, I recommend applying for this one, transferring Freedom points to Ultimate Rewards points, and then transferring to United MileagePlus.
- Chase Freedom with $100 cash back = 10,000 Chase Freedom/Ultimate Rewards Points (you will need to also have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold or Ink Pluscard to transfer these points out to Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel partners)
- Don't forget to Activate the bonus categories each quarter
Need help finding Star Alliance award availability? Check out How to Find Star Alliance Award Space
Check out and apply for the Best Travel Credit Cards.