Chase Freedom® Credit Card Review

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Chase Freedom® Credit Card Review

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"Maximize Cash Back and Rewards With This Excellent Points Sidekick"

The card allows you to earn heavy in certain quarterly cash-back categories and offers deals through their portal. Combine with other Chase cards to win big!

One of the most popular cash-back cards on the market, the Chase Freedom® card is a strong points earner with no annual fee. But is cash-back all that the Freedom card is good for?

On the contrary — in fact, when paired with premium cards in the Ultimate Rewards family like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card or Chase Sapphire Preferred® card, the Chase Freedom card can quickly turn into one of your best rewards cards.

Pro's

Con's

  • 3% foreign transaction fees
  • No standard bonus categories

Card Snapshot

  • Welcome Bonus & Info (Partner Content)
    • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
    • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
    • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – it’s automatic
    • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49 – 25.24%.
    • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5.
    • No annual fee
    • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
    • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • Card Type:
    Credit Card
  • Card Categories:
  • Rewards Center
  • Customer Service Number
    1-800-935-9935 (Available 24/7)
  • Login Link
  • Card Focus:
    • Dining
    • Gas (Driving)
    • Local Transportation
    • Supermarkets
  • Typical Users
    Hobby Travelers, Parents / Families, The Average Spender

The Ideal Cardholder

Two men sitting in coffee bar
The Freedom card’s 5% cash-back on rotating bonus categories can really add up! Image Credit: Helena Lopez via Pexels

There are 2 specific groups that would benefit from a card like the Freedom card.

The first is those looking for a no-annual-fee card that offers great cash-back rewards. The other is those looking for a great secondary card to pair with their premium Ultimate Reward earning card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

The Freedom card offers cardholders the ability to earn 5% cash-back on all purchases within the given quarterly category up to $1,500 in spend (amounting to $75 in cash-back).

However, this cash-back comes in the form of Ultimate Reward points which, when paired with a premium Chase credit card, can be used for massive travel value for flights and hotels.

Great Card If

  • You want a card that earns flexible rewards
  • You want a card with a strong earning structure
  • You want a card with no annual fee

Don't Get If

Card Fees

  • Annual Fee
    • No annual fee
  • Foreign Transaction Fees
    3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
  • Interest Rates
    • 16.49% - 25.24% Variable
  • Balance Transfers
    • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
    • Ongoing APR: 16.49% - 25.24% Variable
    • Fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR
    • 26.49% Variable

How To Earn More Points

Women looking at buildings in Dubrovnik
Where will your points take you? Image Credit: Jaxson Bryden/Pexels

Rotating Bonus Categories

The Chase Freedom card offers quarterly rotating bonus categories that allow you to earn a massive 5% cash-back on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter, the equivalent of 7,500 Ultimate Reward points.

In years past, the bonus categories have included groceries, gas, restaurants, and department stores, leaving you plenty of opportunities to earn 5x per $1.

Chase Shopping Portal

All Chase cardholders have access to the Chase shopping portal. Chase has partnered with several brands like Apple, Nike, and Samsung to offer anywhere from an extra 2x-20x points per $1 spent.

Adding Additional Ultimate Rewards-Earning Cards

Since the Chase Freedom is technically a cash-back card, the ways in which you can use your rewards points can be limited.

However, by combining your Chase Freedom card with a premium Ultimate Rewards-earning card, you can unlock huge value for your points. This method can make for a very powerful points-earning combo.

Take the Chase Sapphire Reserve, for example. This card earns 3x Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on all travel and dining purchases. With this 2-card combo, here’s an example of how you could allocate all your business spending to maximize your rewards:

  • Use the Chase Sapphire Reserve card for all of your travel and dining purchases, while utilizing its premium travel benefits and protections.
  • Use the Chase Freedom to earn 5x Ultimate Reward points for all purchases falling within the quarterly bonus category. Then pool those points together with the ones earned from your Chase Sapphire Reserve card for huge travel savings!

BOTTOM LINE: Pairing the Chase Freedom card with a premium Ultimate Rewards-earning card will give you the best return for your hard-earned points. 

Interested in learning more about Chase’s Ultimate Rewards cards that will allow you to pool your points for huge value? Our favorites include the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, and the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.

How To Use These Points For Max Value

When it comes to how you can use your Ultimate Reward points, there certainly is no shortage of redemption options. So what redemption offers are available to you and which methods are best?

Cash-Back

Since the Chase Freedom card is a cash-back card, the main redemption is obviously in the form of cash-back.

You can receive your cash-back via a statement credit to offset purchases you’ve made, or get a deposit straight into the bank account you have linked with your account.

Either way, you will receive a value of 1 cent per point, making 15,000 points worth $150.

Redeeming for Gift Cards

Another option is to redeem your points for gift cards from over 150 different merchants. Chase will give you 1 cent toward the card of your choice for each point you have — so generally, a $25 gift card to Amazon would cost 2,500 points.

If this is a method you would consider, you should really just opt for cash-back instead.

Often times you can receive cash-back at an equal or better rate than a gift card and you won’t be tied to using it at a specific merchant.

Shop With Points on Apple and Amazon

If your card is linked to your Apple and/or Amazon account, Chase will give you the option to use your points toward purchases you make with either retailer. Again, your points are worth a fixed 1 cent per point with this method.

Chase Experience Portal

Chase cardholders can even use their points to book one-of-a-kind experiences through the Chase Experiences Portal, like VIP access to sporting events or a night of fine dining.

While these experiences are only available to Chase cardholders, it is generally better just book them with cash, since using your points will only earn you 1 cent per point in value.

Redeeming Points Through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal

If you head to the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal, you’ll find that you can also use your points to offset travel purchases like airfare or hotel stays.

Your points will be valued at 1 cent per point toward such purchases, and you can enjoy perks like no blackout dates.

Pair With Other Ultimate Rewards Cards to Transfer to Airline and Hotel Partners

If you hold an Ultimate Rewards-earning card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you can transfer the points earned from your Chase Freedom card to unlock huge value.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are incredibly valuable because of their ability to be transferred to select airline and hotel partners. This opens up a wealth of different options for your points in terms of the experiences that can be booked with them.

If you’re strategic about how you use your Ultimate Reward points, you can book first/business class flights, or 5-star hotel stays for just pennies on the dollar.

New to the world of points and miles, or find it difficult to navigate the different transfer partners and award charts? We are here to help! Start with our Beginner’s Guide.

BOTTOM LINE: Opt for transfer partners when redeeming your hard-earned earned points for your best value. Stay away from using them for gift cards, Amazon purchases, or any other method that earns you 1 cent per point or less in value.

Using your reward points as cash-back in the Chase rewards portal offers the same or lesser value, and can be used for a variety of merchandise.

However, the most valuable way to redeem these points would be to get a Chase travel rewards card, and then either use the points in the travel portal with a 25%-50% bonus or transfer to a travel partner at a 1:1 ratio.

Many options exist for redeeming your Chase Ultimate Rewards points, so using this last strategy will give you lots of ways to earn greater value for your points!

If you only have the Chase Freedom card, you won’t have access to Chase’s airline and hotel transfer partners.

However, if you also have a Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card that carries an annual fee (for example, the Ink Business Preferred card or Chase Sapphire Preferred card) you will have access to their travel partners. This is achieved by transferring your points earned by the Freedom card to your premium Chase card award balance.

Competitor Cards

Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card

If you’d prefer a cash-back card with a simple earning structure that can still be paired with a premium Ultimate Rewards card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card could be a great choice.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited offers an uncapped 1.5% cash-back on all purchases, making it so you never need to think twice about whether you’re using the right card.

Capital One® Savor® Rewards card

If you’re looking for a cash-back card that offers bonus categories for what you spend the most on, consider a card like the CapOne Savor card.

The CapOne Savor card earns unlimited 4% cash-back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores, and 1% on all other purchases.

Frequently asked questions

Is the Freedom card a good credit card?

The Chase Freedom card could be perfect for those looking for a strong cash-back card and anyone who will utilize the other Chase cards to optimize their reward points.

Does the Chase 5/24 rule apply to the Freedom card?

Yes, the Freedom card is subject to the Chase 5/24 rule. If you have opened 5 or more new accounts in the last 24 months you will not be eligible for the card.

Is the Chase Freedom card a cash-back card?

Yes, technically the card is marketed as a cash-back card. You will earn 5% cash-back rewards on a quarterly rotating bonus on up to $1,500 in purchases, which is usable as a statement credit.

However, in practice, it works as a points card. The cash-back accumulates in Chase Ultimate Rewards as points. From there, you can spend the reward points in the online shopping portals to earn rewards or transfer them to another Chase card account.

Does the Freedom card have an annual fee?

No, the Chase Freedom card does not have an annual fee.

Does the Chase Freedom® Card offer 0% APR?

The card typically comes with an introductory APR offer; see the card summary table for details.

Is the Chase Freedom® a cash-back card?

Yes, it is marketed as a cash-back card. However, the card really operates like a points card.

All the cash-back you earn goes into your Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, where you can use the points to make purchases or transfer to other Chase cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Can I use Ultimate Rewards with my Chase Freedom®? Do I get travel benefits?

Rewards are indeed redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Log into your account and find the Ultimate Rewards link in order to access the shopping portals and information on how to use your points.

To make the points even more powerful, combine your Chase Freedom® with a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card and transfer your points.

You can earn even more points with the Chase Freedom Unlimited℠ and Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card as well.

Once under the new accounts, you can use the points in the travel portals to earn 20% off flights or transfer to travel partners.

What is the foreign transaction fee on the Chase Freedom®?

The card comes with a 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars foreign transaction fee.

Does the Chase Freedom® have an annual fee?

No. The card has no annual fee.

Which is better: the Chase Freedom® or Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card?

Neither is better than the other; rather, we suggest these cards are most valuable when used together. By having the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you unlock a world of travel benefits into which you can channel the rewards you earn on your Chase Freedom®.

With the Chase Freedom®, you can earn larger 5% bonuses than you can on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which maxes out at 2%.

The Chase Freedom® does not have an annual fee, whereas the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card does, so if you’re interested in travel it makes sense to own both.

Which is better: the Chase Freedom® or Chase Slate card?

We believe the Freedom® is much better. It simply allows you to collect points and use them for travel, whereas the Chase Slate Card does not.

However, the Chase Slate® Card is the only card at Chase bank right now that offers free credit score tracking, so it may not be a bad idea to pick it up as well.

When do Chase Freedom® points expire?

Points do not expire as long as you keep your account open and in good standing. You can lose points if you are 60+ days late on payments or close your account, as well as in a few other scenarios.

Jarrod West

About Jarrod West

Born and raised just outside of Cincinnati, Jarrod became fascinated with using points and miles as the perfect way to visit dream destinations without breaking the bank. Thanks to points and miles, Jarrod was able to spend 3 months traveling Europe financed nearly entirely with points and miles; while flying in premium cabins and staying in 5-star hotels along the way. To date, Jarrod has traveled to 16 countries and 22 US states.

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