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I love the Chase Freedom Visa and Chase Freedom MasterCard 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.
The Chase Freedom is a fee-free card, so it is a good Chase card to keep for a long time.
Up to the end of September (3 days away!), you earn 5 times the number of points for purchases in gas stations and in restaurants with the Chase Freedom Visa and MasterCard (provided you already activated the category).
And from October to December, you get 5 times the number of points for airline and hotel purchase directly through the airline or hotel, Best Buy & Kohl’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, Chase Ink Plus and from there to airline or hotel partners such as Hyatt or United.
Mommy Points has a post on how to use Chase Blueprint to track your spending by category.
We did not max out the $1,500 spending limit for gas stores, so we went to our Kwik Shop gas station (part of the Kroger chain) and stocked up on the following:
1. Kwik Shop store brand cards. We can use the Kwik Shop gift cards to not only pay for gas, but also to pay for groceries because Kwik Shop gift cards are also valid at Dillons & Kroger grocery stores.
2. Restaurant gift cards. We stocked up on restaurant gift cards. I know we’ll give these as gifts at some point, so I might as well earn 5 times the number of points!
3. Amazon gift cards. I try to do as much of my shopping online, so I bought ~$200 worth of Amazon gift cards and applied them to my Amazon account.
As I expected, all these purchases counted towards the 5% category bonus for gas stations!
Our gas station carried a HUGE selection of gift cards – Starbucks, Bob Evans Restaurants, Target, Marriott, McDonalds, Lowes, Macy’s – so don’t give up if you haven’t yet maxed out the 5% category bonus for gas stations with your Chase Freedom!
Bottom Line: If you suspect that you won’t max out the 5% category bonus for gas stores or restaurants with the Chase Freedom Visa and MasterCard, buy gift cards from your gas station or from your favorite restaurants and use them later on.
But make sure that you can pay off your entire credit card balance when it comes due! You could even buy a $500 Visa, MasterCard, or AMEX gift card and use that for regular purchases. You’d still come out ahead, even with the ~$6 purchase fee.