Founder and CEO of The Points Guy, Brian Kelly

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Founder and CEO of The Points Guy, Brian Kelly

If you end up combining your points across your Chase cards, you’ll have great redemption options, says Kelly: First, you can use them to book travel through the Chase travel portal. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, every point you redeem on travel is worth 1.5 cents. That means its 50,000-point sign-up bonus can have a value of $750.

With the Sapphire Preferred, points redeemed on travel are worth 1.25 cents.

“In either case, you’re already getting more value per point than the 1 cent each you’d get by redeeming them for cash back,” TPG explains. Chase also offers 13 transfer partners, so you can trade your points in for United MileagePlus miles, for example, and find a seat in business class.

In general, if you’re new to points and miles, Kelly says, “starting off with a no-annual-fee card from one of the big banks, like Chase, is a good way to at least get your foot in the door.”

You can build up valuable travel points with the no-annual-fee card, and then, he says, if you switch cards, you’re going to be able to “upgrade those points to get as much value out of them as possible down the line.”

Whatever credit card you settle on, make sure you pay off your balance in full every month. Otherwise, the interest you end up owing by carrying a balance could negate the value of any points, benefits or cash back you earn.

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