The current sign-up bonus on the no annual fee Chase Freedom is 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points ($100 in cash back).
I love the Chase Freedom 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. There are different bonus categories for each quarter in 2013.
This means that spending $6,000 a year ($1,500 each quarter) can get you 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points which is a very good return for your spending!
The Chase Freedom is a fee-free card, so it is a good Chase card to keep 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 offers.
You can also convert your Chase Sapphire Preferred (if the annual fee is coming due) or Chase Slate card to the Chase Freedom card by calling the number at the back of your card. You won’t get the 20,000 points sign-up bonus, but you will be able to keep the credit history associated with your older card.
January to March 2014 5X Categories
The categories for January to March 2014 include:
- Gas Stations
- Movie Theatres
- Starbucks stores
Note that there is a $1,500 limit to quarterly purchases among ALL categories – gas stations, movie theaters, and at Starbuck’s.
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 or Chase Ink Plus and from there to airline or hotel partners such as Hyatt or United.
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!
You can sign-up for a text or email reminder to activate the 5X category bonus on the Chase Freedom website. You have to activate the category by the activation deadline to get the 5x points.
How to Get the Most Points!
This is very similar to the categories for 2013, which had Drug Stores instead of Movie Theaters.
Emily and I rarely go out to the movies unless we’re visiting family and we visit Starbucks only when it is the only option at airports for food or while traveling.
You may also be able to buy Starbucks gift cards for less on gift card trading websites such as Gift Card Rescue etc. So I don’t expect to earn many points from the Movie Theaters and Starbuck’s categories.
But remember that many gas stations sell gift cards to other stores such as Applebees, Southwest etc. Some gas stations are part of larger grocery store chains and you can usually use the gas station gift card at the grocery store!
For example, Kwik Shop gas stations are owned by Kroger/Dillon’s. So you can buy Kwik Shop gift cards with a credit card and use them at Kroger/Dillion’s for groceries!
How to See the 2014 Chase Freedom Categories
I couldn’t find the Chase Freedom 5X categories on the Chase Freedom website. I could only find the 2013 calendar on that page.
So I’ve described how to find the categories for January to March 2014 below, just in case you want to see them for yourselves!
Please let me know if there is an easier way to see the categories for 2014!
Click on the Chase Freedom offer.
Click on the “See Calendar” link in the 3rd bullet point at the top of the application.
You’ll see the “January to March 2014” categories which earn 5X Ultimate Rewards points or 5% cash back.
The Chase Freedom categories for January to March 2014 are announced. I’m pretty sure that I can spend $500 a month or $1,500 in 3 months by buying gas and gift cards at gas stations which I can then use at the gas station’s affiliated grocery store.