The Chase Freedom® Card bonus categories for Q3 have been announced, and people are pretty happy about it.
Activating your Q3 bonus will earn you 5% cash-back/5x points up to $1,500 at restaurants and movie theaters from July through September 2017.
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The Fine Print
Cardholders spending in these bonus categories will earn a total of 5% cash-back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases at restaurants and movie theaters from July 1 through September 30, 2017.
Per Chase, the following types of merchants are included in the restaurant category:
- Merchants in the restaurants category are merchants whose primary business is sit-down or eat-in dining, including fast food restaurants as well as fine dining establishments.
- Exclusions: Please note that some merchants that sell food and drinks located within larger merchants such as sports stadiums, hotels and casinos, theme parks, grocery and department stores will not be included in this category unless the merchant has set up such purchases to be classified in a restaurant category.
Chase also says the following types of merchants are in the movie theater category:
- Merchants in the movie theaters category show motion pictures to an audience, including at drive-in theaters.
- Exclusions: Please note that theaters that provide live entertainment and merchants that sell and rent movies or provide movie subscription or streaming services are not included in this category. In addition, if you make purchases that are not processed by the merchant in the movie theaters category, the purchase will not qualify; for example food and beverage, or merchandise purchases.
The Chase Freedom® Card Explained
The Chase Freedom® Card is a fantastic option for general spending. Here’s why in a nutshell:
- No annual fee
- Earn $150 in bonus cash-back after spending $500 in purchases in your first 3 months
- Earn 5% cash-back for the first $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter in rotating bonus categories (new categories every 3 months)
- Unlimited 1% cash-back on all other purchases
- 0% introductory APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers
How to Get Your Bonus
To earn 5% cash-back on qualifying purchases, users must activate their bonus offer every quarter. Cardholders can activate their offer online, via e-mail, over the phone, at a Chase Bank location, or at an ATM.
After that, it’s simple: just put your spending in these categories on your Chase Freedom® card and see the rewards reflected on your statement.
The current activation period for Q3 bonuses (restaurants and movie theaters) will run from today through September 14, 2017.
A cardholder may activate their bonus well into the quarter and still receive benefits. As long as the offer is activated by the advertised deadline (September 14, 2017), all applicable purchases from July 1 will still qualify.
5% Cash-back vs. 5x Points?
Cash-back: The Chase Freedom® card is a classic cash-back card by nature. This means if you’re spending on this card alone, you can earn $150 if you hit your sign-up bonus, up to $75 per quarter ($300/yr) in category bonuses, and unlimited 1% cash-back on all other qualifying purchases. That’s a pretty great return for a no annual fee card!
You can also redeem your cash-back for gift cards at a 1:1 value with absolutely no markup, but we definitely don’t recommend this option (see why below).
Points: To earn Chase points instead of cash-back, cardholders must also carry an additional “premium” Chase card, which typically has an annual fee. For the Chase Freedom® card, cash-back gets converted into points at 100 pts/$1. When you consider the quarterly bonus, maxing out your 5x points bonus totals 7,500 points per quarter or 30,000 points per year…which starts to present some better options for redeeming those Chase points.
Don’t Have a Chase Freedom® Card?
If you think you could take advantage of Chase’s quarterly bonuses, grabbing this card is a no-brainer. Chase chooses categories that benefit the average household, so it’s relatively easy to maximize your spending in the bonus categories.
Considering previous categories have included grocery stores, gas stations, drug stores, department stores, wholesale clubs, and even Amazon, 5% cash-back or 5x points start to look pretty nice!