New 5X Categories for Freedom Card (Guess Which Is My Favorite!)

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The new Chase Freedom bonus spending categories for the 1st quarter of 2015 are out!

From January 1, 2015, through March 31, 2015, you’ll get 5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (5% cash back) per $1 you spend in special categories.  The limit is $1,500 in combined purchases, so you can get a total of $75 back at: 

  • Grocery stores (excluding Walmart and Target)
  • Starbucks
  • Movie Theaters

If you don’t have the Freedom card yet, now is a great time because the sign-up bonus has been doubled to 20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($200) for a limited time.

And because Chase has changed their rules, you can get the bonus again even if you’ve had the card in the past.  I’ll explain!

What’s the Deal?

Link:   Chase Freedom 20,000 Points ($200 Cash Back)

Chase usually increases the sign-up bonus on the Chase Freedom card every ~6 months or so, most recently in May 2014.

Emily and I love this card because it makes it so easy to earn 5 points per $1 you spend (5% cash back) on rotating categories each quarter.

New 5X Categories For Freedom Card Guess Which Is My Favorite

Get 5 Points per $1 (5% Cash Back) on Rotating Bonus Categories Each Quarter

With the Chase Freedom, you’ll get:

  • 20,000 points ($200 cash back) after you spend $500 in the 1st 3 months
  • 2,500 points ($25 cash back) when you add an authorized user who makes a purchase in the 1st 3 months
  • 5 points per $1 you spend (5% cash back) on rotating quarterly categories like gas stations, grocery stores, and department stores, up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter
  • 1 point per $1 you spend on all other purchases (with no limit)
  • 3% foreign currency fee
  • NO annual fee

Because the Chase Freedom has no annual fee, it’s a good card to keep for a long time.  This builds your history with Chase and can improve your credit score.

But don’t use the card when you’re traveling abroad, because you’ll be charged a 3% foreign transaction fee!  Instead, use 1 of these cards.

This is perfect timing for folks who have yet to do their holiday shopping, because if you get the card now, you’ll still be able to make the most of the 4th quarter category bonuses (as long as you activate the bonus by December 14, 2014).

Until December 31, 2014, you’ll earn 5 points per $1 (5% cash back) at Amazon.com, Zappos.com, and select department stores.

New 5X Categories For Freedom Card Guess Which Is My Favorite

You’d Be Excited Too If You Were Earning 5X Points on All Your Holiday Shopping!

And for the 1st quarter of 2015, you’ll earn 5 points per $1 you spend (5% cash back) at grocery stores, Starbucks, and movie theaters, up to $1,500 in combined purchases for the quarter.

That’s worth 7,500 points ($75)!  You can activate the bonus starting December 15, 2014.

Many folks could hit the spending limit just from their regular grocery shopping. 

New 5X Categories For Freedom Card Guess Which Is My Favorite

It’s Easy to Get the Full 7,500 Chase Points ($75) From the 1st Quarter Grocery Store Bonus Category

You can activate the 2015 1st quarter bonuses starting December 15, 2014.

What If You’ve Had the Card Before?

Link:   Chase Freedom Official Terms Might Be Good News for Some

It used to be difficult or impossible to get the sign-up bonus on Chase cards more than once.  But the rules have changed!

Now, most of their cards (including the Chase Freedom) say:

This new cardmember bonus offer is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of this consumer credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of this consumer credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this consumer credit card within the last 24 months.

So even if you’ve had (and cancelled) the card in the past, you could get it again as long as you haven’t received the bonus in the past 2 years.  That’s great news!

Some folks prefer cash back, but I like using my Chase Freedom points for travel.  That’s because you can transfer your points to airline, hotel, and rail partners if you also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus, or Chase Ink Bold (no longer available) cards.

New 5X Categories For Freedom Card Guess Which Is My Favorite

The Chase Freedom Could Get You Lots of Big Travel With Small Money!

For example, 20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points transferred to Hyatt could get you 1 night in a category 5 hotel, like the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa.

New 5X Categories For Freedom Card Guess Which Is My Favorite

You Could Treat Yourself to a Free Night at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa With 20,000 Points

A paid night at this hotel costs over $400 in February.  That’s a great way to use the Chase Freedom sign-up bonus, and worth much more than getting cash back!

New 5X Categories For Freedom Card Guess Which Is My Favorite

You Could Get Over $400 Worth of Travel From the Chase Freedom Sign-Up Bonus, If You Have Certain Other Chase Cards

Or you could transfer the 20,000 points to United Airlines.  Round-trip domestic coach flights are 25,000 United Airlines miles.

Remember, you can only transfer points from the Chase Freedom to airline, hotel, and rail partners by transferring them to your Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus, or Chase Ink Bold (discontinued) account first.

Bottom Line

From January 1, 2015, to March 31, 2015, you’ll earn 5 points per $1 you spend (5% cash back) on up to $1,500 in combined purchases at grocery stores, Starbucks, and movie theaters.

Also, Chase has increased the sign-up bonus on the Chase Freedom card to 20,000 points ($200 cash back) after spending $500 in the 1st 3 months.  And you’ll get another 2,500 points ($25) when you add an authorized user.

The higher sign-up bonus is only available for a limited time.  And folks who’ve had the card before can get it again so long as they haven’t received the bonus in the past 24 months, and don’t currently hold the card.

How will you make the most of the new Chase Freedom category bonuses?

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11 responses to “New 5X Categories for Freedom Card (Guess Which Is My Favorite!)

  1. Do you think the Target/Walmart restriction is based on the stoe itself or the merchant category code?

    My local Target is coded as a grocery store, and not a departnebt store. I’m curious to experiment loading my RedBird there to see if it triggers 5%. Have a prediction?

  2. Hey Darius, maybe it’s just my wonky work computer but all the links to apply just take me to the Hot Deals! page and from there links take me to….the Hot Deals! page. I can’t get to Chase to apply through any of your links and believe me, I want to apply through you in exchange for all the free travel I’ve gotten because of this site. Thanks for all you do!

  3. If I have had the card for years, and the rules now say you must not have received the bonus in 24 months, would you suggest cancelling the card and resigning up to get the bonus?

  4. Fortunately, my local grocery store just recently started selling Target gift cards.. and they already have walmart GCs. Just gotta wait for the grocery stores 20 cents off per gallon of gas when you buy $50 in gift cards, and I will be able to turn my grocery store GC purchases into 17% off!

  5. @darius – can i buy generic gift cards like Visa/ Mastercard GC from Amazon.com to reach the $1500 spending limit for 5x points?

  6. @ R. Amazon doesn’t sell Visa/MC GC. It takes 5 seconds to figure that out for yourself. You probably should stick to cash only.

  7. I knew there was a reason why I held on to the Freedom MC… so I have two Freedom Visa cards.

    Those with spouses should each have their own Freedom card, that way you too can double your quarterly cash back!

  8. Pingback: 2015 5% Categories for Freedom and Discover » Doctor Of Credit

  9. If I downgrade a Sapphire card to a Freedom card, do I still qualify for the $200 bonus?