Two reasons you should apply for the Chase Freedom before it disappears forever
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Last week Chase shook things up with the announcement of a new rewards card, the Chase Freedom Flex — it’s essentially the Chase Freedom as you know it, except with a nitrous oxide engine under the hood. With that, Chase is axing the beloved Chase Freedom on Sept. 14, 2020. If you want the card, you’ve got until then to open it.
The Freedom Flex will offer a $200 sign-up bonus after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening and 5% cash back (5x Ultimate Rewards points) on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year. Similar to the current Freedom, the Freedom Flex will earn 5% back (5x points) in rotating categories on up to $1,500 in spend each quarter (after you activate the bonus), but the card will also come with:
- 5% back (5x points) on travel purchased through the Chase Travel Portal
- 3% back (3x points) on dining, including takeout and delivery
- 3% back (3x points) on drugstores
- World Elite card benefits (cell phone protection, Postmates discounts, Lyft credits, ShopRunner, etc.)
That is unheard-of for a no-annual-fee card, and significantly better than the current Freedom on offer from Chase. Heck, it’s good enough for me to take the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card out of my wallet. So why on earth would you want to sign-up for the Chase Freedom before it disappears? There are actually two solid reasons, and they involve up to 80,000 bonus points in just the first year, and up to 30,000 points every following year.
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Last-ever chance to earn the $200 welcome bonus
Once a credit card disappears, its bonus is gone -- like forever. If you haven't yet earned the Chase Freedom welcome bonus, you're on the clock.
You'll earn $200 (20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. You'll also be able to earn 5% back (5x points) on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year. If you max out the grocery bonus, that's another $600 in cash back (60,000 points) in the first year — for a grand total of $800 cash back or 80,000 points. And earning this bonus will not disqualify you from earning the Chase Freedom Flex bonus when it arrives.
The only thing to keep in mind is that these cards are subject to the Chase "5/24 rule." That is, Chase will not approve you for most of their cards if you’ve opened five or more cards from any bank (not counting certain business credit cards) in the past 24 months.
The Chase Freedom is technically a cash back credit card, but if you have a Chase Ultimate Rewards earning card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve® or the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, you can convert that $800 bonus into 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. We estimate Chase points to be worth 1.7 cents each, meaning those points should easily be worth $1360 in travel. Read our post on the best ways to use Chase points to understand why.
In short, you can convert your points into airline miles or hotel points at a 1:1 ratio with valuable Chase transfer partners. For example, you could transfer 60,000 Chase points to Hyatt for two nights in a standard room, or one night in a Park Corner Suite, at the Park Hyatt Zurich. The suite retails for more than ~$2,600 per night. That's a value of 4.3 cents per point.
It's also worth noting that current Freedom cardholders are eligible for the welcome bonus on the new Freedom Flex card since the Freedom Flex will be considered a separate product. So, you can sign up for the Freedom now and earn its bonus first, and still get a separate bonus for the Freedom Flex when it launches next week.
Potentially 30,000 more bonus Chase points each year
With both the current Chase Freedom and the upcoming Chase Freedom Flex, you can earn 5% cash back (5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar) on up to $1,500 in bonus categories every three months, once you activate the bonus.
Historically, Chase had added very accessible spending categories, including Amazon, grocery stores, gas stations, mobile payments, etc. It's quite easy to spend $1,500 per quarter in these categories, and then some. If you're like many of us in the miles and points community, you wish Chase provided the 5% bonus for more than $1,500 each quarter.
There's a simple solution.
This $1,500 cap is actually a per-card limit. If you open the Chase Freedom before it's discontinued, and later open the Chase Freedom Flex, you'll have two cards with $1,500 limits, which equals $3,000 in eligible 5% spending per quarter. That's potentially 30,000 more bonus points each year! If you max out both the Freedom and Freedom Flex's 5% (5x) categories, you'd earn a total 60,000 points per year.
Again, in our points and miles valuations, we estimate Chase points to be worth 1.7 cents on average. That means those extra 30,000 points you could earn for holding a Freedom card would net you $425 more in travel each year.
Opening the Chase Freedom can earn you up to 30,000 extra points each year -- not to mention the 20,000 point sign-up bonus and the 5x points on groceries in the first year. That's great for a no annual fee card.
Opening the card and earning its bonus will not prohibit you from earning the Chase Freedom Flex when it arrives on September 14, 2020. Might as well earn both bonuses before it's too late!
Let us know if you plan to open the Chase Freedom before it's gone. And subscribe to our newsletter for more credit card news and strategy delivered to your inbox once per day.
Featured image by Eric Kolly / Shutterstock.
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