Can I Earn 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Buying Gift Cards at Grocery Stores?

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Million Mile Secrets Reader Swapnil emailed:

Can I buy three $500 gift cards from grocery stores like Fry’s or Safeway for 1st quarter 2015 and earn 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points with my Freedom card?

That would be great if I can know which stores are eligible in the grocery category for the Freedom card quarter 1 2015 bonus.

Can I Earn 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Buying Gift Cards At Grocery Stores

Swapnil Can Get 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Buying Gift Cards at Grocery Stores With His Freedom Card During the 1st Quarter of 2015

Swapnil can buy $1,500 in gift cards from grocery stores with his Freedom card and get 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points in the 1st quarter of 2015.

That’s because grocery stores are 1 of the Freedom card bonus categories for the 1st quarter.

I’ll explain how to check if your favorite supermarket will count as a grocery that earns 5X points!

Freedom Card

Link:   Freedom card

Link:   My review of the Freedom card

The Freedom card is 1 of my favorite cards!   Because it has no annual fee Swapnil can keep it for a long time which helps build his credit score and relationship with Chase (which has the best credit card offers).

Every quarter, Swapnil can earn up to 7,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (30,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points a year or $300 cash back) when he spends up to $1,500 in the bonus categories.

For the 1st quarter of 2015, he can earn 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points at grocery stores, movie theaters, and Starbucks.

Most supermarkets DO count as “grocery stores” and will earn 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  But general discount stores such as Target and Walmart do NOT count.  

The Chase Freedom website limits what counts as a grocery,

Does not include purchases made at Walmart®, Target®, discount or warehouse club stores.

So while buying vegetables at Costco will NOT count, your shopping WILL count at most dedicated supermarkets such as Kroger, Publix, Safeway, ShopRite, etc.

Swapnil can use the Visa Supplier Locator to see check the store’s merchant code classification to be certain.

That’s because the Chase Freedom card is a Visa.

Note: Swapnil has to activate each quarter’s category bonuses to earn the 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Using the Freedom Bonus to Get Big Travel

Swapnil can transfer his points to his Sapphire PreferredInk Bold, or the Ink Plus card and from there to airline or hotel partners like United Airlines and Hyatt.

But he can NOT transfer to airlines or hotels without 1 of those cards.

 Chase Ultimate Rewards Airline Transfer Partners 
British AirwaysFlying Blue (Air France/KLM)Korean Air
Singapore AirlinesSouthwestUnited Airlines
Virgin Atlantic
 Chase Ultimate Rewards Hotel Transfer Partners 
Can I Earn 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Buying Gift Cards At Grocery Stores

Swapnil Can Use His Chase Ultimate Rewards Points on United Airlines to Visit the Colosseum in Rome

Buy Gift Cards to Fill Your Shopping Cart With Points

Some folks such as Swapnil might not normally spend $1,500 at grocery stores in a quarter.

So they prefer to buy $1,500 worth of supermarket gift cards at their favorite grocery store to get 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points (or 5% cash back) when buying groceries later in the year.

Other folks who won’t spend $1,500 in a quarter at grocery stores prefer to browse the gift card racks for preloaded cards to department stores, restaurants, and movie theaters.

Bottom Line

Swapnil can get 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points buying gift cards at grocery stores with his Freedom card in the 1st quarter of 2015.  That’s because grocery stores are a Freedom card bonus category in the 1st quarter.

But Swapnil has to activate his category bonus each quarter to earn 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Swapnil can check the store’s merchant code classification with the Visa Supplier Locator before he shops to be certain the store counts as a grocery.

For the most part, supermarket purchases get the 5X points but warehouse clubs such as Sam’s Club and discounters such as Walmart and Target do NOT count.


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Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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11 responses to “Can I Earn 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Buying Gift Cards at Grocery Stores?

  1. I’m finding it harder and harder to get $500 gift cards at the supermarket. I see them maybe once every 6 months and then they’re gone within a couple of days.

  2. Chase actually makes it real easy to see who’s in and who’s out. There is a link from the Freedom card page which shows the list of grocery stores.

    I found most of my wish list here, even an international market we enjoy! They also provide a list of movie theaters.

  3. So how do you unload the gift cards without Bluevird? Will serve work? Anyt other ideas??

  4. Just a word of caution. A friend of mine bought a $500 VISA gift card at Ralph’s supermarket (Southern California). The next she went to Walmart to load it on Bluebird but there was only 50 cents left in the card. Call VISA and they trace two purchases made online with J.C. Penney and Best Buy.
    So if you buy a VISA or MC GC, call the 1-800 right away and verify the balance, unload the GC right away, do not let it sit.

  5. It’s also getting harder and harder to find a working Express Money Center kiosk at Walmart. Walmart is enforcing the policy of no loading prepaid GC to BB or Serve and Customer service desk and cashiers want to see the debit card before you can swipe it. They want to verify that your name is on the debit card. At least that is what I have encountered at many Walmarts around Orange County in Southern California.

  6. The fine print of the offer states nothing about receiving bonus points, just cash back. Am I missing something?

    ■5% Cash Back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases between 1/1/15—3/31/15 at grocery stores (not including Walmart® and Target® purchases), movie theaters, and Starbucks® stores

  7. Couldn’t you just take the gift card to a store and buy something that costs about the amount of the gift card and then go back a few days later for a refund and say you no longer have the gift card and want cash?

  8. Costco does not accept the Chase Freedom card, so even if they were considered a grocery store you would be out of luck.

  9. @Buddy, you should test that theory and let us know how it works out for you. My prediction, not well. I think they would try and put the money back on the card, treating it as a credit card, or they would offer store credit, if you’re lucky. I have made returns using gift cards and the money always went back to the card. They treat them like credit cards (at least in my experience). If your thought process was accurate people would try it using a credit card. Once Costco gave me cash back on a return that involved a credit card. I was impressed, but I know it was an exception.

  10. Katherine Tucker

    Also note that some Grocery stores will not allow you to buy VISA gift cards with a credit card. Giant Eagle in Columbus Ohio, for example, won’t allow it. They will allow you to buy other retailer gift cards. The only advantage of doing that would be to get the Freedom 5x points plus, in the case of Giant Eagle, fuel perks for 20 cents off gas per every $50 of purchases.

  11. Can we purchase gift cards from Safeway online and earn points? Or does that count as purchasing from the giftcard mall?