Increased Chase Freedom Bonus: Is It 20,000 Points or $200?

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Million Mile Secrets reader Nandan emails:

If I sign-up for Chase Freedom, after I spend $500 in first three months – will I get 20,000 points or $200?   If I add an authorized user – will I get 2,500 points or ??  And any more?

Nandan is referring to the increased sign-up bonus on the Chase Freedom card.  For a limited time, Chase is offering 20,000 points after spending $500 in 3 months, plus an additional 2,500 points for adding an authorized user.  Usually, the sign-up bonus is 10,000 points after meeting minimum spending requirements.

Is The Bonus 20,000 Points, $200, or Both?

Link:   Chase Freedom 20,000 Point Sign-Up Bonus

Link:   Chase Freedom 2014 5X Points Bonus Categories

Nandan is looking for clarification because Chase advertises the sign-up bonus as $200 cash back, plus $25 for adding an authorized user.

The Chase Freedom card actually earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which are worth 1 cent each when redeemed for cash back.  You’ll earn:

  • 5 points per $1 you spend in rotating bonus categories (like restaurants and gas stations)
  • 1 point per $1 you spend on everything else

And because Chase Freedom points are worth 1 cent each, 20,000 points = $200 cash back (20,000 points x 1 cent per point).  And 2,500 points for adding an authorized user = $25 cash back (2,500 points x 1 cent per point).

Chase makes it clear in the offer details for the card:

Rewards Currency

Your Cash Back rewards are tracked as points in this program.  Each penny in Cash Back rewards earned is equal to 1 point.  Your points can be redeemed for cash back or any of the other redemption opportunities provided through Chase Ultimate Rewards.  A minimum of 2,000 points is needed to redeem for cash back.

It’s easier for Chase to advertise this as a straight cash-back card rather than get into the details of the Chase Ultimate Rewards point system.  They probably don’t want to confuse potential new customers!

Is Cash Back the Only Option?

Link:   Chase Freedom Ultimate Rewards Transfers

Some folks think that Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned from the Chase Freedom card can ONLY be redeemed for cash back.  But that’s not the case!

Increased Chase Freedom Bonus Is It 20,000 Points Or 200
Chase Freedom Points: More Than Just Cash Back!

If you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, (no longer offered) Chase Ink Bold, or Chase Ink Plus card, you can indirectly transfer points earned from the Chase Freedom card to partner airlines and hotels, including United Airlines, Southwest, and Hyatt.  And Chase recently added Singapore Airlines as a transfer partner.

Increased Chase Freedom Bonus Is It 20,000 Points Or 200
You Can Transfer Chase Freedom Points INDIRECTLY to Airlines and Hotels…but Only If You Also Have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold, or Chase Ink Plus

You can read my post about how to transfer Chase Freedom points to your other Chase accounts & then redeem them for Big Travel with Small Money!

If you don’t have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold or Chase Ink Plus card, you can still use Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned from the Chase Freedom towards travel.  They’re worth 1 cent per point when you redeem for travel (airlines, hotels, cars) through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

Bottom Line

The Chase Freedom sign-up bonus has increased to 20,000 points for a limited time.

Although Chase advertises this as a $200 cash back bonus, the Chase Freedom card actually earns Ultimate Rewards points.  These points can be cashed in at a rate of 1 cent per point, so 20,000 points is worth $200.

That said, you can get more from Chase Freedom points by indirectly transferring them to partner airlines and hotels.  But you can only do this if you also have the Chase Sapphire PreferredChase Ink Bold, or Chase Ink Plus card.

Thanks for writing Nandan!

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