Is the Chase Trifecta Still Viable in 2019

By Gavin | June 18, 2019

We are going to talk about whether the chase trifecta is still viable in 2019, so I've been getting this question a lot recently especially from consultations, and again we'll run through why I think it still makes the most sense and why it's the optimal strategy right now. Let's run through the concerns.


The pooling of points is going to go away

The big major concern is that the pooling of points is going to go away. This means that if you earn points from the freedom card as well as the freedom unlimited card you're not going to be able to move them over to the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

That's meaning the points aren't going to be as valuable. One of the big reasons why the chase trifecta works so well is because you can turn a lot of your everyday spends into really valuable travel.

The reason why I don't think that it's going away anytime soon is that Chase has already announced a bunch of downgrades, I don't really see them announcing more. One of the biggest costs was people using programs that automated the claims process for price protection.

And again you'll notice that's why they were moving that, because it was a big cost for them, even if point pooling goes away the freedom card still makes a ton of sense, because it's a 5% back card, and again there's a lot of other 5% back cards that I otherwise recommend.

Anyways that discover a card, the Citi dividend card as well as the u.s. paying cash plus card, they still all make sense, even though they technically only earn cash back.

Chase freedom unlimited card stops making sense

I definitely agree that the chase freedom unlimited card stops making sense, and what I would recommend doing is product changing that to a second freedom card and again full disclosure.

My setup is actually to freedom cards as well as the Chase Sapphire Reserve, I talked about the trace trifecta because I think it makes the most sense for most people.

But for me personally as was a lot of other people who are a bit more advanced you're probably either going to be hitting minimum spends or getting at least at 5% back.

For me, 5% of the freedom is kind of the bare minimum that I'm comfortable getting, otherwise I'm going for a minimum spend. If for some reason they don't let you product change from freedom unlimited card to another freedom card, a second one you could still always sock drawer.

Basically, use it once every five to six months to keep it alive, and it's going to be one of your anchor cards. You're probably going to have a few of those.

You have more optionality

Bank of America cards tend to be that for me, and again for a lot of other people, your first card is going to be something similar. So throwing something else into the sock drawer, putting something like Netflix on it or Hulu or something else to keep the card alive, that's not too bad, even though the CSP and the CSR won't be as great. If that does happen they still make sense by themselves, because for a lot of people you're still going to get positive expected value.


There's a ton of people who just have those cards as well as let's say the Hi card or Mary a card, and they don't even really bother if the freedom or freedom unlimited because that card makes sense, and absolute worst case you can get that card, you're one you have a great sign up bonus.

You're getting positive expected value if in your to do, stop getting value downgraded to a second or third freedom card, and you can just have more anchor cards there that don't really do anything.

You can always figure out what to do afterward because you don't really want to be forced to be in a situation where you can make a choice. What do I mean by that I basically mean that you have more optionality?

Run through two situations

Let's run through two situations, one person who does a trifecta and one person who chooses not to. Let's say Alan gets a student card or a secured card, it's a boat credit, after that he keeps that card for a year and then he starts building out the chase trifecta, again freedom, freedom unlimited.

And let's say he gets the CSP with the last slot for 524, he ends up getting the United card because that makes a lot of sense for him. If something bad happens for chase he can always add other cards that make more sense, and if nothing bad happens when he's fine, he can stick with this setup and it works out really well.

On the flip side, we have Bob, again they get a student card or secured card in order to build credit, but they're worried about pooling going away, so instead, they're going to build out the AMEX trifecta.

For the sake of this example, let's say for the fifth card they end up adding the Delta Gold Card. Here if again the chase pooling goes away then they're going to be in a great spot.

So they bet it on that and it works out, but if it doesn't go away they wouldn't really be able to build out a chase setup, because they're going to have to wait two years in order to build out that trifecta.

But the first person they have a lot of choices, they have optionality, they have outs if you play. But the second person they're basically betting on one thing and they're kind of stuck with that decision something. I've learned about this space is that you want to have options, because you really don't know what the future brings.

By having more options it's better

Two years ago, people were seeing how American Express and Citi, and everyone else is going to be screwed because Chase is going to take over, and they did, but now since they're removing a lot of benefits people are now moving over to American Express again.

It's kind of like this give take you don't really want to hitch your hook to one horse, your wagon to one horse because things might change in the future.

Maybe one of the horses gets tired because they realize they were doing too much, so you might want to hook it over somewhere else by having more horses. I don't know where this example is going, but by having more options it's better.


One of the biggest regrets that I've seen in people who do consultations as well is that they chose not to get the chase trifecta or they got too many other cards that they couldn't end up getting it, so again you can decide that it doesn't make sense for you, that's fine. Just give yourself more options because that's typically a smarter decision.

If you are someone that's still a bit worried instead of building out the trifecta I would probably do something with the freedom card, CSP, our CSR, and again if we can get a business card that still works out pretty well. 

Let's say you get the chase in cash card, you can go to Staples, are good to Office Depot or one of these office stores, you can typically buy gift cards for a lot of the other places that you shop, meaning that you're getting 5% back or 5x back for all of those purchases on that.

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