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- Chase Freedom® Bonus
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The Chase Freedom® credit card is offering $150 bonus cash back after you spend $500 in purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. This is a solid sign-up bonus for a credit card with no annual fee, and has been a favorite of bonus seekers for quite some time. *If you weren’t already aware, Chase Bank offers great bonuses with their Checking/Savings accounts also.
This card is well-known for its 5% bonus cash back in quarterly rotating categories. The bonus cash back is great, but you’ll still need to have some consideration before applying due to the 1% cash back rate on purchases outside of these bonus categories.
We’ll review the bonus offer and ongoing cash back with the Chase Freedom® card below.
$150 Chase Freedom® Bonus Offer
The $150 bonus cash with the Chase Freedom® card comes in the form of Ultimate Rewards points, and the Ultimate Rewards program is one of the best in the business. You can redeem your bonus for a $150 statement credit, or via gift cards, merchandise, travel,etc. Redeeming for cash back in the form of statement credits is simple and you’ll get the maximum value, so we recommend going this route.
While the 5% cash back on quarterly rotating categories is great, it may not be that appealing to users looking for a simple flat rate on their purchases. You’ll have to keep up with the categories every quarter not only because they change, but because you actually have to activate the bonus category each quarter before you’ll earn that bonus rate. Plus, you’ll only earn the 5% in that category on up to $1,500 in purchases, or $75 max that quarter. You can potentially earn $300 in cash bonuses over the course of the year, but that means spending at least $1,500 in the bonus categories each and very quarter.
5% Chase Freedom® Categories For 2016 & 2107
The categories change every year, but they typically follow a trend.
|Q1 2016 (Jan. 1 to March 31)||Gas stations and local commuter transportation (not including parking, tolls or Amtrak)|
|Q2 2016 (April 1 to June 30)||Grocery stores and wholesale clubs|
|Q3 2016 (July 1 to Sept. 30)||Restaurants and wholesale clubs|
|Q4 2016 (Oct. 1 to Dec. 31)||Department stores, wholesale clubs and drugstores|
|Q1 2017 (Jan. 1 to March 31)||Gas stations and local commuter transportation (not including parking, tolls or Amtrak)|
|Q2 2017 (April 1 to June 30)||Grocery stores (not including Walmart and Target purchases) and drugstores|
|Q3 2017 (July 1 to Sept. 30)||Restaurants and movie theaters|
|Q4 2017 (Oct. 1 to Dec. 31)||Walmart, Department Stores|
Maximizing With The Chase Freedom Card®
We believe the typical user that is interested in the Chase Freedom® card is also interested in taking a little extra effort in maximizing rewards potential. Because the card has no annual fee, it costs nothing to carry and only use on the 5% quarterly categories. You can then supplement with a higher flat-rate rewards card.
If you’re a low to moderate spender, you can pair with a no annual fee, flat rate card like the Capital One® Quicksilver® (earns 1.5%; has a sign-up bonus) or the Citi Double Cash (earns 2%; doesn’t have a sign-up bonus). If you spend enough each year on credit card purchases to negate the annual fee, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ (2-2.1% rate) and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® (1.25%-2.5% rate) card earn great rates and have two of the best card bonuses in the market. You can actually pool together the Ultimate Rewards points earned with the Chase Freedom® and Chase Sapphire Preferred® card and redeem at the higher rate associated with the Sapphire Preferred®. Points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal when you have the Sapphire Preferred® card.
Just like with bank bonuses, we here at MoneysMyLife enjoy the up-front value of maximizing sign-up bonuses. We’ll compare all the current bonuses for these competitor/supplemental cards below.
What’s The Competition?
Whether it’s to supplement the Chase Freedom® or to substitute for it, here’s more info on the card bonuses and rewards rates of the ones mentioned above:
Barclaycard Arrival Plus™
Chase Sapphire Preferred®
|The Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card currently has an offer for 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Redeeming these bonus points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program, which is praised by users, will get you $625 in value towards travel. |
The 50K bonus points are worth $625 because you get 25% more value whenever you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Ongoing rewards with this card include earning 2 points per $1 on Travel and Dining at restaurants. The annual fee is $95, but it is waived for the first year. Full Review
Capital One® Quicksilver®
Citi Double Cash
|The Citi Double Cash Card doesn't have a sign-up bonus offer, but people use this card as a comparison point because it essentially earns up to 2% cash back on all purchases. You'll earn 1% cash back for all purchases charged to the card. You'll then earn an additional 1% cash back when you pay off those purchases, as long as you pay at least the minimum due. There are no spending categories to keep up with.|
There's an introductory 0% APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months, which will revert to a variable 14.49% to 24.49% after the intro period. Balance Transfers will incur a fee of $5 or 3% (whichever is greater) and must be completed within 4 months of account opening for the intro rate.There's no annual fee with this card. Full Review
Earning The $150 Chase Freedom® Bonus
Spending $500 in 3 months for the bonus offer should be a straightforward process with your everyday spending. If you think you’ll have any issues or if you’re applying for more than one card bonus, be sure to see our Card Bonus Spending Requirement write-up for tips.
Some ideas in our guide include:
- Paying bills where credit cards aren’t an option. Most of the time, bills like your mortgage, rent, and car note can’t be paid with a credit card. Third party services like TIO.com and Plastiq.com will allow you to pay such bills with your credit card. They take the payment from your card, and send off payment towards your bill. The typical processing charge is around 2.5%.
- Fund bank accounts with your credit card. Many readers of MoneysMyLife are taking advantage of the cash bonuses offered by banks, and using their credit cards to fund these new bank accounts. See the list of current bank bonuses here. See the list of banks that offer credit card funding here.
Have a look at our guide for more tips on meeting the spending requirement for card bonuses.
In conclusion, the Chase Freedom® credit card has been a long-time contender in the cash back credit card market, and the bonus offers consistently available make this a winner for the masses.
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