Comparing Chase cards (replying a comment)

My regular readers know I advocate Chase Freedom Plus card, the best all around cash rewards card out there. One of the readers asked a great question on my original blog post about the card:

I have looked into both these cards and my question is: Does anyone know how much you must spend per year in order for the plus card with the $30 fee to be a better deal? Thanks

The main problem I had with the old card was the $12 cap it had on the bonus rewards. One only needs to spend $600 a month in qualified categories to hit it, and I had been hitting it every month I had it. I have yet to verify it on my next statement but the new card supposedly lifts that limit.

In addition, the new card has more qualified categories (up from 3 to 6) which means more of your spendings result into bonus rewards. Last month about half of mine qualified.

Let’s assume the trend stays, also let’s assume you put around $2000 on your card each month (this is my typical bill). The old Chase Freedom card will give you $32 in rewards each month ($20 regular and $12 bonus). The new Chase Freedom Plus will give you $40 ($20 regular and $20 bonus). That is $8 savings right there. Accumulated over 12 month it will be $96 (a total $480 annual reward vs. $384 with the old card).

Now back to the reader’s question, what the bill should be for the extra rewards from new card to cover the annual fee. It is hard to answer this question in general since it depends on your spending habits. The more of your spendings fall under those qualified categories the faster the new card will beat the old one.

I did some math based on my past account activity and it looks like the breaking point for me is around $1000-1200 in monthly spending. Your number may however vary.

What part of your total credit card bill qualified for bonus rewards? What was the ratio on the old card (if you had one)? Please share your experience to help us better understand how this card works.

See also:

3 Responses to “Comparing Chase cards (replying a comment)”

  1. 1 user Apr 9th, 2008 at 5:11 am

    Interesting analysis. So this is your most-recommended card now?

  2. 2 Yan Apr 9th, 2008 at 7:00 am

    I just don’t see a better “all around” cash rewards card right now. Do you?

    Chase Freedom Plus became my primary card. I charge everything on it except restaurants which still go to my Costco American Express (it pays straight 3% cash back).

    It will be interesting to see my next statement. I will write about it when I receive it.

  3. 3 user Apr 10th, 2008 at 1:09 am

    No, I don’t. But my mtvU does pretty well. I think I’ll have both.

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