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INSIDER SECRET: Sometimes cards with no annual fee have certain perks that are better than cards with a $450+ annual fee. The Chase Freedom has the ability to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points faster than any of its annual-fee counterparts.
If you’re serious about free travel, the Chase Freedom should be a critical part of your strategy. That’s because it earns 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Plus, the card comes with a $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
Earning 5% back for everyday purchases is pretty spectacular, especially with a card that has no annual fee. It’s a keeper.
The big question is: Will *you* be approved for the card?
Data points from online forums suggest it’s possible to be approved for this card with a credit score below 650. However, your credit score is just a slice of the data Chase uses to decide whether to approve you for a credit card.
Here are our Chase Freedom approval tips to increase your chances of snagging this powerful miles and points tool.
Chase Freedom Approval Tips
Apply Here: Chase Freedom
Read our review of the Chase Freedom
In addition to the easy-to-earn $150 Chase Freedom welcome bonus, the card has a ridiculous earning rate:
- 5% cash back (5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1) on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate the bonus
- Unlimited 1% cash back (1 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1) on all other purchases
The bonus categories rotate each quarter, but historically have been things like gas stations, grocery stores and Amazon — purchases that many of us make regularly. If you’ve got enough horsepower between the ears to juggle these bonus categories, this is the card for you.
While it’s marketed as a cash-back card, the Chase Freedom actually earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which are one of our favorite types of flexible points. You can redeem them for cash, but if you have a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ve got way better ways to redeem those points.
For example, you can redeem your points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal at a rate of between 1.25 cents and 1.5 cents each (depending on which card you have). Or, you can transfer points to any of Chase’s travel partners to potentially receive much more value!
How to Improve Your Chances of Approval With the Chase Freedom
1. Remember the Chase 5/24 Rule
Here’s the Chase “5/24 rule” in short: You won’t be approved for most of their cards, including the Chase Freedom, if you’ve opened five or more credit cards from any bank (NOT counting Chase small business cards and certain other business cards) in the past 24 months. Even if someone added you as an authorized user, Chase will count those cards against you, too.
2. Have a Solid Credit Score
The general consensus is that a credit score of at least 680 is ideal for a Chase Freedom approval. I take it a step higher. Don’t apply for credit cards unless your credit score is 700 or above. If you’re not quite there yet, that’s okay … Just nurse it and swaddle it until you’re there.
That said, there are reports online of folks being approved with a credit score of ~640. You’re far less likely to be approved with a lower credit score like that, but it’s certainly possible. Banks look at more than just your credit score when they approve you for a card.
Not Immediately Approved? Here’s Your Next Step
It’s happened to literally all of us. The application status goes to pending, and your upper lip begins to perspire.
If you’re not immediately approved, it’s not a big deal. You’ve still got a great shot at receiving the card. Many miles and points enthusiasts would immediately call the Chase reconsideration line and try to convince the representative that they deserve the card. DON’T DO THIS. Instead, wait for Chase to make a decision.
If you get an official decline, then call Chase and ask for a reconsideration. Check out these tips to make your reconsideration call a success. Sometimes the bank just needs a bit of extra information from you.
The golden rule is to be polite on the call. Also, touch on the below items:
1. Show Your Knowledge of Your Own Credit
Chase looks at all kinds of things when deciding to approve or decline your application. One time when I called seeking reconsideration, the representative told me I had been declined due to the number of cards I’d opened recently.
If you prepare ahead of time, you can confidently inform the agent of things like:
- Payment history on existing Chase cards and other banks
- Length of history with Chase and other banks
- Number of recent credit card applications
- Credit utilization on your existing cards
You’ll show you are knowledgeable about your own finances, and banks love that awareness.
2. Explain Why You Want the Chase Freedom
If you’ll be using the card regularly, say so. Banks don’t like when someone opens a card for the welcome bonus and then cuts the card up. Tell the representative how you love the rotating bonus categories, and explain how it fits into your everyday spending. Just remember to be totally honest.
One of the most valuable cards in the miles and points hobby is the Chase Freedom. Its rotating bonus categories are a little more complicated than other cash-back cards, but the payoff is well worth it.
You’ll have a good chance to be approved for this card with a credit score of 680 or above, but Chase looks at other factors, too. If you AREN’T approved for the card, you can call the Chase reconsideration line and plead your case. Be polite and respectful, and outline why exactly you want the card. Do not say you want it for the sign-up bonus, but instead highlight the card’s perks, earning rate, etc.
Looking to learn more about Chase Ultimate Rewards points? Check out our guides:
- Chase Ultimate Rewards Review
- Chase Points Value
- Best Way to Use Chase Points
- Chase Transfer Partners
- How to Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
- How to Setup a Chase Ultimate Rewards Account
- How to Use Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
- Do Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Expire?