It’s 4th quarter, and you realize you’ve got some shopping to do. No, you’re not a professional football player; you’re a father of three little ones, and your wife is away on business travel for the week so you can’t leave the house.
You hate to shop without earning reward points, so what do you do?! Thankfully, you’ve got the Chase Freedom® on hand.
Card Summary Table
- Card Bonus & Info (Partner Content)
- Card Provider
- Card Type(s):
- Card Focus:
- Gas (Driving)
- Local Transportation
- Annual Fee
- No annual fee
- Rewards Center
- Foreign Transaction Fees3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars.
- Typical UsersHobby Travelers, Parents / Families, The Average Spender
- Customer Service Number
1-800-935-9935 (Available 24/7)
- Login Link
- Rotating partners include: supermarkets, gas stations, restaurants, local commuter transportation (buses, taxis, Uber, Lyft, B-Cycle, etc.)
- Interest Rates ?
- 16.49% - 25.24% Variable
- Late fees
- See Rates & Fees
- Balance Transfers
- 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
- Ongoing APR: 16.49% - 25.24% Variable
- Cash Advance APR
- 26.49% Variable
The Ideal Cardholder
Sign-Up Bonus and Earning Categories
The card earns 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. This year, the 4th quarter bonus includes Department Stores and Wholesale Clubs.
Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like gas stations, restaurants, and wholesale clubs. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
You’ll earn the current sign up bonus after spending the required amount in the allotted time as mentioned above in the card summary table.
On top of that, you’ll be getting the 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR (See Issuer’s Terms). The balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum.
Great for the Average Household
The card is great for the average spender who doesn’t want to manage a multitude of cards and doesn’t spend a ton specifically on travel and business.
Rewards you earn here go into the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. You can translate those into travel rewards and take a well-deserved vacation if you also carry the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.
As a rewards credit card, the Chase Freedom® is fairly simple to use. On the downside, you do have to manually sign-up for your quarterly bonus categories, so it takes a little more management than other cash-back cards.
If you can manage that, you’ll be on your way to earning some great rewards. The Chase quarterly rewards change yearly, but they typically include some of the same categories (supermarkets, gas, online shopping, etc.).
Your bonus 5% cash-back tops out after the first $1,500 of purchases each quarter (after which it just earns 1%); this is equal to $75 each quarter, or $300 per year. There is no limit to the rewards earned any other way.
As one of the few cards out there that earns rewards with no annual fee, this is an excellent return! Also remember that combining the use of this card with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card helps you take the rewards even further.
Cash-back gets converted into points at 100 pts/$1, and can be put into your Chase Ultimate Rewards portal to use on travel redemptions. You can also transfer reward points to your favorite loyalty program as airline miles or hotel points.
Multiple Ways To Earn Big Points
When combining with the purchasing power of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you’ll be able to maximize your rewards since they all pool together. Put spending from the quarterly bonus categories on your Chase Freedom®, and make any travel or dining-related purchases with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
Want help earning additional reward points, but already hit your quarterly maximum? You can earn between 1-25% extra bonus cash back when you use Shop Through Chase.
While you won’t find all the shops useful (as you can probably find much better deals in other places), a few websites you could use are:
Walmart (+2%), Sam’s Club (+2%), Microsoft (+2%), Dell (+3%), Apple (+2%), Bed Bath & Beyond (+2%), Diapers.com (+2% on top of the 5% quarterly bonus), GiftCertificates.com (+2%), Living Social (+3%), Groupon (+4%), VistaPrint (+4%), Aveda (+4%), BackCountry.com (+6%!)
You may not find value in all of those, but there’s a good variety, and most are sites of semi-essentials that people usually purchase at some point. It’s definitely worth a look for some additional cash-back to offset the purchase!
Many of these sites also offer free shipping, which is a good incentive.
One downside to this card is that if you’re a high spender, you will max out the bonus categories very quickly, and may find the card provides diminishing returns for the management necessary to sign up for and manage the quarterly rewards.
In this case, you may find a card like the Discover it Miles Card to be a better cashback card, or you may like to have a couple travel reward credit cards with specific loyalty programs.
Another drawback is the fact that you do have foreign transaction fees here, so this card is definitely better used by non-vagabond, home-routine type folks.
For this type of person, the Chase Freedom® is a great provider of rewards, and is a very popular card because of it.
It competes with the Discover it Cashback Card that has very similar rewards, but we find the Chase card a better choice overall since you can utilize the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
Other redemption options outside of the rewards portal include straight cashback applied to your account, and redemption of reward points for cash directly through merchants like Amazon.com.
Combining With Other Chase Ultimate Rewards Cards
While most partners give the same value of $0.01 per point, when you use the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal you can combine your points with the 20% discount to get a value of $1.25 for 100 pts.
Note that you must have Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card to do this.
If you’re combining, you could also add the Chase Freedom Unlimited℠ to earn 1.5% cash-back in all the areas where you would only earn 1% otherwise.
You can actually use your card to book travel through the Chase travel portal as well; if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, then you can earn 2x points when using the portal!
When combined with some of your other favorite travel rewards cards (especially Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card), it will definitely strengthen your points strategy!
Great Card If
- You are an average spender who will make use of the quarterly bonus categories
- You’re looking for a card that partners well to earn some quick rewards at no cost (especially when combined with other Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards)
- You’re not a high spender and don’t want to use multiple cards for earning your rewards
Don't Get If
- You’re a high spender (the quarterly categories will max out quickly, after which you’ll be stuck with 1% earning)
- You travel often and have better earning cards for your travel rewards categories
U.P. Pro Tips
Use the online retailers mentioned in the partners’ area to earn some extra cash-back when using this rewards card. There are enough partners that you should be able to find one you can use.
Also, use tricks like purchasing gift cards at grocery stores, buying your friends meals and asking for cash in return, or purchasing things for friends/family on Amazon.com!
How to Use the Chase Freedom®: The Upgraded Way
Best Way To Maximize Points
Clearly, the best way to maximize your cash-back rewards with this card is to meet the $1,500 spending limit in each of the quarterly bonus categories.
As we’ll show in the Card Math, it’s not overly difficult to get close, and there aren’t many cards that will earn you more than 5% (and also allow you to transfer points to loyalty programs).
One thing to note: if you forgot to opt in to your awards, they are retroactive as long as you do so by the middle of the third month in the quarter.
Still, we recommend just getting ahead of the schedule to make sure you don’t miss out. The following are the ways we’d recommend using the card to earn the most rewards.
Quick Reward Points Earning Tips
Tip #1: Plan your spending so that you can meet each quarterly bonus category’s $1,500 maximum (and earn $75 cashback).
Tip #2: If you’re JUST using this card, then put as much spend as possible on the card in all categories.
Tip #3: Use sites in the Shopping Portal to maximize your benefits. While the quarterly categories have a $1,500 limit, the portal merchants don’t have a cap, so feel free to go crazy!
Tip #4: For example, find some things you don’t need immediately but could order from Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond, Diapers.com, GiftCertificates.com, Living Social or Groupon for an extra 2-4% cash back.
Tip #5: Need new ski gear? Buy through the Chase Portal at BackCountry.com. This site gives you free shipping and returns on incredible deals for outdoor gear, earning 7% cash back total.
Tip #6: Buying a new computer? Shop through the Chase Portal to get additional cashback through Microsoft (2%), Dell (3%), and Apple (2%).
Tip #7: Have kids and want to stock up on diapers? Use your card during the 4th quarter to purchase from Diapers.com, and get the 5% quarterly cashback plus an additional 2% from purchasing through the Chase store!
Tip #8: Like to take care of your hair? Try finding deals through Aveda’s site to get an additional 4% cash back.
Tip #9: Business owner? Buy your next set of business cards or letterhead through VistaPrint (in the portal) and earn 5% cash back on purchases! That’s more than you would get even with most business credit cards.
Bonus Tip: You could earn 100k points in just 90 days if you play your cards right!
Using the Fringe Benefits To Get the Best Deal
The beauty of shopping through the online portal, and anywhere with the card really, is that you have the price guarantee.
If you find a better deal in print or online sometime in the next 90 days, simply bring it to Chase to get the difference refunded.
This way, you always know you’re getting the best deals while earning the most cash back. Make sure you track all the purchase information and get as many details as you can out of the other offer to ensure your claim is accepted.
Best Way To Redeem Points
To get the most value out of your card, we do not recommend redeeming via the direct cashback method or for things like gift cards and payments on Amazon.com.
While you will get the stated minimum value of 100 pts/$1, you will get much better value if you use your points with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.
Two Cards are Better Than One
By combining a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card or Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card with your Chase Freedom®, you get to transfer your points and use them for the 20% discount in the travel portal offered by Chase bank.
This is an awesome way to boost your value, and it certainly helps you justify having a card with a $95 annual fee.
You’ll likely get the highest possible value if you transfer the reward points to a loyalty program you enjoy.
In this case, you can use the points for things like long haul flights and upgrades, which garner much more value than a straight cash trade. The partners for this are listed below.
A Variety of Shopping Partners…
The partners you have access to with this card are those in the rotating categories, the merchants in the Chase Shopping Portal, and the partners you can transfer points to with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
Note that there are many more partners in the shopping portal, but these were the ones we thought might be most universally useful.
Chase Shopping Portal – 2% bonus partners: Sam’s Club, Walmart, Apple, Microsoft, Bed Bath & Beyond, Diapers.com (on top of the 5% quarterly bonus), and GiftCertificates.com
Chase Shopping Portal – 3% bonus partners: Living Social and Dell
Chase Shopping Portal – 4% bonus partners: Groupon, VistaPrint, and Aveda
Chase Shopping Portal – 6% bonus partners: BackCountry.com
…As Well As Travel Partners
Chase Travel Rewards Credit Card Transfer Partners: Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, Korean Air SKYPASS, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, United MileagePlus, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Marriott Rewards, Hyatt Gold Passport, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards, IHG Rewards Club, British Airways Executive Club, Air France / KLM Flying Blue
Hopefully this review has helped you see the value offered by this card. We believe the card to be worth it without even calculating it out, simply because it earns rewards with no annual fee.
But how much could you possibly earn? Let’s take a quick look using our mock families’ spending. First, let’s look at the cash-back calendar for 2015:
Detailing the Spending for the Model Families: Quarterly and Yearly
We’ll assume that all spending in the quarterly categories is put on the families’ cards each year.
However, we will assume that there is a little fluff spent outside the rotating categories as well. We will put that estimate into the following table.
Also, it’s safe to assume that spending is even over each month/quarter in the typical categories like food and gas.
|Family||Dining Out||Supermarkets||Gas Stations||Extra Spend|
|Kennedys||$8,000 (yrly) / $2,000 (qtrly)||$7,000 (yrly) / $1,750 (qtrly)||$2,600 (yrly) / $650 (qtrly)||$2,000 (yrly)|
|Jetsons||$12,800 (yrly) / $3,200 (qtrly)||$7,000 (yrly) / $1,750 (qtrly)||$3,600 (yrly) / $900 (qtrly)||$3,500 (yrly)|
|Hartnells||$5,000 (yrly) / $1,250 (qtrly)||$15,000 (yrly) / $3,750 (qtrly)||$4,800 (yrly) / $1,200 (qtrly)||$6,000 (yrly)|
Note: We’ll assume the “extra spend” cash is floatable and spent when needed.
Some Assumptions for Spending
Again, let’s assume that all spending in the table will be put on the card, regardless of whether it’s inside or outside the 5% cashback period.
This means that even though it may not be the Restaurant quarter, we are still putting the dining spend on the card, only at 1% rather than 5%.
We’ll also assume that during a quarter where the family won’t meet the $1,500 spend, they will make up for that lack of normal spending at places like the movies, Kohls, Zappos, etc.
That is, even though none of them have $1,500 in gas per quarter, they can certainly make some purchases at Kohl’s to hit that $1,500 limit.
Results of Spending With The Card
The following is the amount of cashback earned by each family through maximizing the spending above (shown both by quarter and grand total):
|Family||Quarter 1||Quarter 2||Quarter 3||Quarter 4|
|Family||Cashback Earned Over 1 Year Spending||Equivalent Points|
Reviewing the totals, it looks like the Kennedys total spending wasn’t enough to maximize all the rewards you could get from the card for the year (they didn’t have enough to earn the maximum 5% cashback in Q4).
However, the other two families met the minimum spend and earned even more on top. You’ll note that the Jetsons made more than the Hartnells in the 4th quarter; this is just from the way we did the math.
Overall, the families had good returns for their dollars considering they don’t pay anything for the card.
As we’ve said, these rewards can translate into direct statement balance or be transferred to a loyalty partner.
We put the equivalent points earned into the table as well, and at these values you could transfer to an airline and get at least a one-way international flight, which could be valued far beyond the value of the cashback (anywhere from $800-1500).
Lastly, we didn’t add in the fact that they would get the sign up bonus cash back, making it even more valuable without any downside whatsoever.
We also didn’t consider any potential value added by using other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited℠ and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
Check your spending to see if the card will be a valuable asset in your points strategy, and if so sign up now and get the current bonus!
The Gritty Details: Everything Else You Need To Know
Like with most cards, the sign-up bonus is only available to new cardmembers or those who haven’t had the card for 24 months.
Again, if you forget to sign up for the quarterly bonus category, just do so sometime before the end of the third month of the quarter to be safe and get all the rewards retroactively added.
Using the Ultimate Rewards Portal
All of your cashback and points will be stored in one big portal that is automatically connected to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and/or the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, so it’s very easy to transfer reward points over to it.
Make sure to transfer them over and then use the Ultimate Rewards Portal for the most valuable card. You’ll see the name of the card whose portal you’re in at the top left corner, along with all the balance information. It is super easy to use the portal!
To combine points onto one card, simply highlight or mouse over the points display in the top right (where the “57,448” number is displayed) and it will have an option on the bottom of that menu to combine points.
All other things you want to do with the card are also accessible from this page, including using the shopping portal and travel portal.
You can also hover over the points display to quickly switch to another Chase travel credit card portal view.
When transferring points to travel partners, you must do so in increments of 1,000 points. Transfers take from one day to a week.
Even though they don’t have every available travel partner, remember that you can use alliances to book reservations using your preferred carriers or hotels.
How to Check Your Category Bonus Spend
If you want to check your category spend more quickly, there was a little trick found by some people on Reddit. It’s a bit on the technical side, but if you just follow the steps you’ll find it pretty easy!
Step 1: Navigate to the Ultimate Rewards Page for the Chase Freedom®.
Step 2: When you’re on the Ultimate Rewards Page, scroll to the Green Bar that shows how far into your total of $75 bonus cash-back you have earned.
Step 3: Right-click the green bar, and click the “Inspect” button at the very bottom of the pop-up menu.
Step 4: Don’t scroll anywhere, look at the line just below where it starts off highlighted and you should see where it tells you “xx dollars out of 75”. See the below photo for details:
Other Unique Features
The Chase Freedom® benefits are similar to those you’ll see with other Chase cards, and are listed below.
This may take a bit of extra work to execute, but it could be worth it in the end!
Purchase protection – For up to 120 days after a purchase, you can get $500 for theft or damages per item and up to $50,000 per account. Make sure to keep track of all your receipts and purchase information in order to submit a claim.
Price protection – Similarly, if you make a purchase and later find a better price advertised in the U.S. in print or online, you can submit a claim to the credit card issuer within 90 days of the purchase date to get up to $500 per item or $2,500 per year in reimbursement.
Auto rental collision damage waiver – When renting a car, just decline the agency’s insurance, put the rental on your card, and Chase will cover you for any theft and collision damage to the car. This coverage is secondary to your own insurance, and other details apply so check your agreement.
Chase BluePrint – Chase bank offers a cool little tool to help you manage your account and finances that you’ll see within your account portal.
You can even use it to detail what categories you want your payments to go toward if you are carrying a balance, in order to minimize the number of interest charges you get.
Other cards make you pay off the lowest interest balances first and really hit you hard with interest charges, so this is a nice level of control.
Photo Credits / Credit/Copyright Attribution:
Father Shopping: wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock
Online Shopping Girl: wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock
Wishing for Best Deal: PathDoc/Shutterstock
Excited Family Shopping: Andresr/Shutterstock
Actually, yes! If you opt in by the 14th day of the third month of the quarter, you can retroactively get your 5% cash back for everything you purchased, up to $1,500. After that date, however, you won't be eligible for that quarter's rewards. So don't forget!
You can sign up for reminder alerts via email or text to help remind you each quarter, and Chase allows you to opt in via text as well.
Login as you would the other Chase cards at Chase.com.
Your card has a variety of benefits. Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases..
Next, you get access to the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, where you can use your cash-back as statement credit or to shop on the online portal.
Finally, you get access to a few different types of insurance: purchase, price, and auto rental.
This is a piece of software that helps you plan how you want to pay for your purchases on your credit cards, see your progress in your account, and save money when you pay off purchases more quickly.
By using the tool, you can select which purchases to pay off and help create plans to maintain lower interest rates.
It is a powerful tool that can help you lower the burden of interest over time. It also includes extensive reporting and helps you create a budget for your spending.
The card typically comes with an introductory APR offer; see the card summary table for details.
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.
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.
The card comes with a 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars foreign transaction fee.
No. The card has no annual fee.
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.
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.
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.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
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