Chase Freedom 2014 5X Ultimate Rewards Points (or 5% Cash Back) Category Bonuses!

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The 2014 category bonuses for the Chase Freedom credit card are out!

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 normally make.

The Chase Freedom is a fee-free card so you can keep it for a long time.  Keeping a card for a long time helps increase your credit score and builds a history with Chase which often has the best credit card offers.

You can redeem the Ultimate Rewards points for cash back (5% cash back isn’t too shabby).  Or you can transfer the points to the Chase Sapphire Preferred, (no longer offered) Chase Ink Bold, or the Chase Ink Plus 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 in advance to earn the 5X extra points.  You can sign-up for reminders on the Chase website, and I’ll remind you as well!

That’s 30,000 Ultimate Reward points a year for $6,000 in spending ($1,500 X 4 quarters) if you max out the quarterly bonus categories by spending in specific categories.

2014 Chase Freedom Categories:

January to March

  • Gas stations, Movie Theatres, & Starbucks

5X points for gas is pretty great by itself.  And a most gas stations sell more than just gas.

April to June

  • Restaurants & Lowes

I don’t spend $1,500 in restaurants and home improvements every 3 months.

Chase Freedom 2014 5X Ultimate Rewards Points Or 5% Cash Back Category Bonuses

5X Points for Burgers & Fries!

July to September

  • Gas stations & Kohl’s

October to December

  • Amazon.com, Zappos.com, and select department stores (great for Holiday shopping!)

This is my favorite quarterly bonus, because Amazon sells (almost) everything! So this is a great way to save on holiday shopping!

These 5X categories makes the Chase Freedom card the best Ultimate Rewards point earning card in 2014 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 can’t be transferred by themselves to air and hotel partners.

But if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, the Chase Ink Bold or Ink Plus, you can combine Ultimate Rewards points from the Chase Freedom.

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to transfer points from the Chase Freedom to a card which allows you to transfer them to hotels and airlines.

Chase Freedom 2014 5X Ultimate Rewards Points Or 5% Cash Back Category Bonuses

You can Transfer Points From the Chase Freedom to Other Ultimate Rewards Cards and Then Transfer Them to Airlines or Hotels!

And then transfer them to air and hotel partners such as United, British Airways, Southwest, Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz Priority Club, Korean Air, and Amtrak at a 1:1 ratio.

Bottom Line

The quarterly category bonuses make the Chase Freedom Visa one of the best fee-free credit cards in the market.  That’s because you can earn up to 30,000 points a year by maxing out on the quarterly 5X categories.

Now if only they would eliminate the foreign transaction fee on the card!

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40 responses to “Chase Freedom 2014 5X Ultimate Rewards Points (or 5% Cash Back) Category Bonuses!

  1. for the Amazon gift cards; after you load them into your amazon account, can you cash them out by sending the money to someone?

  2. is the chase bonus for “gas stations” keyed to purchases at the pump? that distinction can easily trip up people buying gift cards (or the lucky few finding VRs), particularly where the margin between the bonus and the gift card fee is tight.

  3. @Hilde
    No, in order to give the gift cards to others, you can buy a lot of smaller denominations ($25, $50), send them to yourself, and keep track of the gift card codes. Then when you want to give an amazon GC to someone, just give them the GC code.

  4. @Hilde – When you load Amazon gift cards to your account, you can only use them for purchases. Your Amazon account and your Amazon Payments are accounts are different. So you can’t send money to someone from your Amazon account, only from your Amazon Payments account.

  5. Daraius – That burger and Newcastle makes it really hard to start the day job when reading this post at 6:30AM! Looks amazing!

  6. Just as additional info, if you have a business and have the Ink Bold or Plus cards which pay 5x at office supply stores, you can make that your one stop for all your gift cards. Of course the card comes with an annual fee but if you are planning on maxing out the $6,000 you can do it by going to Staples or Office Depot instead of driving to different category locations every 3 months. You will still receive the same 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points. There is no quarterly limit with the Ink cards just a yearly limit of $50,000 spending (250,000 points) which far exceeds the $6,000 on the Freedom. Of course if you are big spender, you can do $56,000 and max out both. Daraius has well written descriptions of the Ink Bold and Ink Plus cards. The Freedom is great for those who do not have a business and it doesn’t have an annual fee as Daraius pointed out, otherwise shoot for the Ink cards. The Ink Sign Up bonus is also larger at 50,000.

  7. I don’t spend $1500 for a quarter on gas. Can i stock up Shell gas gift cards at gas stations to max out the $1500 for later use?

    Do Lowe’s home stores selling gas gift cards too? 😛

  8. I badly need to max out $1500 for this quarter. Any way to buy vanilla prepaid cards this quarter? Can’t seem to find one in department stores…

  9. The Lowes in CT sell Gulf gas cards for sure!!. But if you have the Penfed Platinum cash rewards, you get the 5% off on you next billing cycle. But Freedom is a great way to max out the 75.00/per card all at once if you can find a gas station selling GC, but they might not take a CC. Darius, which gas station will take CC for GC???

  10. @Daraius
    You state, This is my favorite quarterly bonus, because I can buy Amazon gift cards on Amazon.com and immediately load it to my Amazon account!

    Surely you have at least one Ink card, probably multiple. While I agree it’s a step easier not to go to Staples/OD to pick up Amazon cards, is there any other reason why you heart this Freedom quarterly bonus over the others? What does the Freedom do now that your Ink(s) doesn’t do throughout the year?

    • @Hilde – You can’t cash out of the gift card balance in your Amazon account i.e. get cash for your Amazon balance.

      @chris – I’ve been able to get the bonus for buying stuff inside gas stores.

      @Kyle – LOL!

      @Kent C – That’s a fair point, but many folks don’t have businesses and don’t want to start one for a credit card.

      @Gerry – I’ve written about getting 5X points on Amazon via the Ink cards before. I’m lazy, so I liked saving ~1.5 hours by just buying the gift cards online this quarter.

  11. Hi Daraius. I just received my Freedom (through your link, thank you). We buy gas at the warehouse stores (Sam’s) which is convenient & costs less. Do you know if this will fall into the gas category? I checked my statement, and it says “Sam’s-gas.”

  12. Truly disappointing list for the Chase Freedom schedule for 2014. I want to see Groceries/Drugstores and Office Supply stores be added as options to the Chase Freedom calendar in 2 separate quarters. I don’t need 5% on gas stations in Jan-Mar. I would have much rather have seen Groceries/Drugstores in place of gas stations in Jan-Mar. Also instead of Zappos.com in Oct-Dec replace that with Office Supply stores especially during the BF shopping season.

  13. Did the Freedom $200 link stop working? I can’t seem to find it. The landing page above is only for $100.

  14. HAVE 90,000 CARLSON POINTS. HOW CAN I TRANSFER OR UTILIZE THESE POINTS OTHER THAN AT THE HOTELS?

  15. Where can I find gas stations that sell visa vanilla cards? I just moved to Northern CA and can’t seem to find stores in Santa clara, Palo Alto areas. Any pointers? Thanks.

  16. It does NOT work to buy the gift cards at the Dillons gas stations, they only give you the 5X rewards for the gas purchased at the pump. So no deal on that one!!!! I tried it and it did not work.

  17. I searched the south Phoenix area in vain for 7-11s, Circle K, Shell, Arco, Chevron etc. gas stations that would take a CC for VRs, MVDs or VGCs.

    Then I discovered a Diamond Shamrock/CornerStore4U/Valero gas station that takes CC for VRs, MVDs and VGCs! YMMV, but you can search on the right side of this Valero website for stations within 50 miles of your zip code:

    http://www.valero.com/STORES/Pages/Home.aspx

  18. P.S. Looking forward to meeting you in April at FTU Seattle!

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  20. @Gaston How many VRs can you buy or do you buy in 1 transaction at a Valero assuming they allow CC purchase?

  21. Last week my favorite Valero station said VRs cash only, just like CVS and all the other Valero stations I’ve been too. However, I was able to buy a One Vanilla VGC with CC yesterday., just like CVS. Of course, Freedom not 5x at gas stations this quarter.

  22. @Eric, this station’s transaction limit seemed to vary by cashier, from $900 to $1,000, so YMMV. I have not yet tried to buy more than a single One Vanilla…

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  24. I am a newbie in this game. Can i go to Ultimate Rewards portal to buy Lowes gc (5 points/quarter+additiona 5points through the portal? ) and use Lowes gc to buy other gc? Appreciate your help! and I also use your link to open an Ink Bold card for my husband, so, thank you!

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  35. If you have already used up the $1,500 cap of X5 points on your card, could the additional user on the same account get another X5 points on the $1,500 they spend on their card?