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I love the Chase Freedom Visa and 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 June (10 days away!), you earn 5 times the number of points for purchases in grocery stores and in movie theaters with the Chase Freedom Visa and MasterCard (provided you already activated the category). And from July to September, you get 5 times the number of points for purchases in gas stations and in restaurants.
You can either redeem the points earned for cash back (5% cash back isn’t too shabby and some folks prefer cash back) or transfer the Ultimate Rewards points to the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold/Plus card and from there to airline or hotel partners.
We did not max out the $1,500 spending limit for grocery stores, so I went to the local Dillon’s grocery store and stocked up on the following:
1. Dillon’s store brand cards. We can use the Dillon’s gift card to not only pay for groceries, but also to pay for gas because Dillon’s store cards are also valid at Kwik Shop & Quik Stop gas stations.
We also sent a Dillon’s grocery gift card as a gift to a relative to use at a Kroger store. Dillon’s is part of the Kroger family of stores, so you can use their gift cards at either store!
2. Southwest gift cards. We stocked up on ~$200 worth of Southwest gift cards. I know I’ll use them at some point, so I might as well earn 5 times the number of points! I didn’t buy the BP and Shell gas cards because they charge more for gas where I stay, but could be worth it if they have cheaper gas in your area.
3. Amazon gift cards. I try to do as much of my shopping online, so I bought ~$100 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 grocery stores!
Grocery stores carry a HUGE selection of gift cards – Starbucks, Bob Evans Restaurants, Target, Marriott, McDonalds, Lowes, Home Depot – so don’t give up if you haven’t yet maxed out the 5% category bonus for grocery stores with your Chase Freedom!
Bottom Line: If you suspect that you won’t max out the 5% category bonus for grocery stores with the Chase Freedom Visa and MasterCard, buy gift cards 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.