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I love the Chase Freedom Visa because it makes it really easy to earn 5 times the number of Ultimate Rewards points (up to $1,500 or 7,500 points a quarter) for purchases which Emily and I would make in any case.
The Chase Freedom is a fee-free card, so it is a good Chase card to keep for a long time. You can either redeem the points earned for cash back (5% cash back isn’t too shabby and some folks prefer cash back). Or you can transfer the Ultimate Rewards points to the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold, Chase Ink Plus or the JP Morgan Select card and from there to airline or hotel partners such as Hyatt or United.
The main benefit of the Chase Freedom credit card is being able to take advantage of the quarterly bonus categories which offer a 5% bonus up to $1,500 or an extra 7,500 Ultimate Rewards points per quarter for spending in those categories.
You have to activate each quarter’s category bonuses before the quarter to earn the 5X extra points.
That’s 30,000 Ultimate Reward points a year for $6,000 in spending ($1,500 X 4) if you max out the quarterly bonus categories by spending in specific categories.
2013 Chase Freedom Categories:
January to March
- Gas stations, Drugstores, & Starbucks
Gas stations and drugstores often sell gift cards to other stores and some even have Southwest and Marriott gift cards. You can also buy Vanilla Reloads and other prepaid cards from certain drugstores (CVS, Walgreen’s, Rite Aid etc.) & gas stations and earn 5X Ultimate Rewards points.
April to June
- Restaurants & Movie Theaters
I don’t see how I’m going to maximize the bonus in this quarter.
July to September
- Gas stations, Theme parks, & Kohl’s
Gas stations often sell gift cards to other stores and some even have Southwest and Marriott gift cards. You can also buy Vanilla Reloads and other prepaid cards from certain gas stations and earn 5X Ultimate Rewards points.
October to December
- Select “department stores” & Amazon.com (great for Holiday shopping!)
This makes the Chase Freedom card the best Ultimate Rewards point earning card in 2012 for the quarters in which they are eligible for the 5X bonus (up to $1,500 in purchases).
Transferring Ultimate Rewards Points to Hotels and Airlines
Ultimate Rewards points from the Chase Freedom cannot be transferred by themselves to air and hotel partners.
However, if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, the Chase Ink Bold/Ink Plus, or the JP Morgan Select card you can combine Ultimate Rewards points from this card (Chase Freedom) and transfer them to air and hotel partners (United, British Airways, Southwest, Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz Priority Club, Korean Air, and Amtrak) at a 1:1 ratio.
The quarterly category bonuses make the Chase Freedom Visa & Chase Freedom MasterCard one of the best fee-free credit cards in the market. Now if only they would eliminate the foreign transaction fee on the card!
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