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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.
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.
Up to the end of December you earn 5 times the number of Ultimate Rewards points for up to $1,500 in airline and hotel purchase directly through the airline or hotel, Best Buy & Kohl’s with the Chase Freedom (provided you activate the category by December 14, 2012). Note that the $1,500 limit applies to quarterly purchase among ALL categories – airlines, hotels, Best Buy & Kohl’s.
Million Miles Secrets reader harvson3 pointed out that airline and hotel purchases made via the Ultimate Rewards travel portal also earn 5X Ultimate Rewards points PLUS an extra 1% for using the Ultimate Rewards portal for a total of 6X Ultimate Rewards points or cash back.
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 or the JP Morgan Select card 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.
5X Points for Airlines & Hotels
In the comments to a post on the Chase Freedom Q3 2012 category bonuses, readers asked if buying hotel and airline gift cards would count towards the 5X Ultimate Rewards point category bonus.
Airline ticket purchases made directly with the airline will qualify for bonus cash back. Please note that other air travel-related purchases will not qualify
I was curious to see if I would earn 5X Ultimate Rewards points by buying airline and hotel gift cards.
I earned 5X Ultimate Rewards points for buying an American Airlines, Marriott, & Southwest gift card directly from the hotel website. I even earned an extra 2X Ultimate Rewards points for purchasing 1 Marriott gift card via the Ultimate Rewards portal.
|Experiment||Delivery Fee||Amount||Total||5X Chase Freedom Bonus||2X Bonus For Using Ultimate Rewards Portal|
|$75 American Airlines Gift Card from American Airlines Website||$4.95||$75||$79.95||Yes||NA|
|$90 Hyatt Gift Card from Hyatt Website||$6||$90||$96||NO||NA|
|$120 Gift Card from Marriott thru Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal||$1||$120||$121||Yes||Yes|
|$100 Gift Card from Marriott Vacations (Southwest Promotion)||$1||$100||$101||Yes||NA|
|$147 Southwest Gift Card From Southwest Website||$2.95||$147||$149.95||Yes||NA|
I also double dipped and bought another Marriott gift card though the promotion with Southwest and earned Southwest points in addition to 5X Ultimate Rewards points. But I didn’t earn any Southwest Companion Pass points.
The American Airlines, Southwest and Marriott gift cards didn’t have an expiration date on them.
However, I didn’t earn any points for buying a Hyatt gift card. Note that these were MY results, and things could have changed over the last month. Your miles could vary.
Bottom Line: If you suspect that you won’t max out the 5% category bonus for airlines or hotels with the Chase Freedom, you could buy gift cards and use them later on. Be sure to do a test purchase to see if you earn bonus miles for the purchase before buying a ton of airline & hotel gift cards.
And make sure that you can pay off your entire credit card balance when it comes due!