The Chase Freedom® Visa and Chase Freedom® MasterCard offer 5 points per dollar in a rotating set of categories which change each quarter.

That’s 5% cash back if all you have is a no annual fee Freedom card.

But if you have a Chase card that earns Ultimate Rewards like Chase Sapphire PreferredSM or Ink Bold® Business Card, you can move your points earned via Freedom over to an account with one of those cards — and then transfer the points that had been earned via Chase Freedom over to United, Korean Air, British Airways, Southwest, Amtrak, Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, or Priority Club.

So for all intents and purposes you earn 5 transferrable miles per dollar, up to $1500 per quarter in spending, in a variety of categories.

Which means you can earn 7500 points each quarter instead of 1500, an incremental 6000 points per quarter means an extra 24,000 points per year.

But the trick is you have to register each quarter for the category bonuses.

Last June I asked Chase about this, my theory was it was a way for them to advertise 5 points per dollar but keep their costs lower, since many cardholders wouldn’t actually remember to register (unless they read frequent flyer blogs, I suppose!).

Turns out that a substantial majority of cardmembers do register, so it doesn’t actually have that effect for Chase. I don’t remember the precise figure, but I believe I was told something along the lines of ‘over 80%’.

Instead they suggested they found great value in ongoing engagement. Cardholders paid much more attention to their Freedom cards, and as a result used them more, kept them top of wallet. The act of registering caused cardholders to see their card as primary. Interesting psychology.

The April – June 2013 5x bonus is for Restaurants, Movie theaters, and Lowes. And registration for the bonus is now live.

Bonuses for the rest of the year are:

  • July – September: Gas stations, Theme parks, Kohl’s
  • October – December: Select department stores, Amazon.com

(Note that I receive referral credit from Chase if you choose to use my links above and are approved for a card, which I greatly appreciate.)

  1. Swag said,

    I’m wondering why the Discover card gets so little attention. It also offers 5% cash back on categorized spend every quarter, and sometimes has additional single month 5% categories on top of that.

    Since the categories may differ from Chase’s, having both cards lets you double up on the bonuses. And when they do overlap, you can get to $3K of spend between them.

    No annual fee.

    And maybe best of all, Discover is its own company, so it should be an easy card to get, even for those who already have a wallet full of other Chase affinity cards.

  2. Grant said,

    @Gary, as someone who has an Ink Bold card and can get gift cards for pretty much all of the above categories and stores, does it make sense to get the freedom card?

  3. gottoloveInk said,

    @Grant – getting a gift card at Lowes via Ink = 1 point/$ whereas = 5 points/$ with Freedom…..It’s just another way of accummulating a few extra points per qtr by doing the same thing. Plus what happens when the Ink annual fee kicks in and some want to cancel the card as it’s not as great as it used to be in terms of usage. By having Freedom (no annual fee) you can basically close Ink and ask for the credit line to be combined that having more leverage. Plus with Freedom you do earn 1 point/$ on all regular spending (besides the qtrly bonus capped at $1,500). Freedom points are transferable to any other chase cc linked to the rewards (thus transferable to Start Alliance partners), so it it not just the cash-out option. Life seems to be simplier these days (with no more OD great opps of the past) with Freedom….just my 2 cents…

  4. Grant said,

    @GottoloveInk, I would be using Ink Bold to buy gift cards at OD/OM/S to get 5x. I have a few months to go before the AF is due so I would probably switch to Ink Plus and then a year later switch to Ink Classic.

  5. Daryn said,

    The thing everyone forgets is that if you have a Chase checking account along with the Freedom card you get an ADDITIONAL 10 bonus points per purchase AND an extra 0.1% cash back on all purchases. It’s a no-brainer to open a Chase checking account solely for this bonus, even if you never use it.

  6. HikerT said,

    You can’t downgrade Ink Bold to a no fee Ink card as Ink Bold is a charge card and all the other flavors of Ink are credit cards. You must cancel Ink Bold within 60 days of the AF posting to get the fee refunded.

    And yes, it makes no sense to sign up for Freedom if you can get the same benefit from Ink. The only real benefit might be the additional 10% bonus from checking. If you want Freedom, don’t waste a credit inquiry or Chase app on it as the sign up bonus is minimal. Convert one of your personal Chase cards to Freedom. Of course, most bloggers are happier to throw up an affiliate link instead giving you this advice since it doesn’t pay them.

  7. chemist661 said,

    My wife & I get discover cards in the mail all the time. Usually it is 15 months 0% balance transfer or $100 signup bonus.

    To us, $100 or 15 months 0% is not worth it when we have plenty of funds in the bank.

    A CC has to give us $400 or more in value for us to be interested in applying. There are lots of rewards CC that meet our criteria!!

    The Chase Freedom CC is on our radar. Just not yet.

  8. chemist661 said,

    Clarify to say Discover applications not Discover CC!!

  9. Gary said,

    @daryn – that opportunity is no longer available (“chase exclusives”) unfortunately

  10. Daryn said,

    @Gary, I just checked my most recent Ultimate Rewards statement and I’m definitely getting the bonus points for having the Chase checking account.

  11. Gary said,

    @Daryn Chase Exclusives is not available to new accountholders, and some folks have been informed they will be losing the benefit

  12. gottoloveInk said,

    @Gary – don’t see how it makes sense to justify paying $6.99 for a $200 at OD/S/OM with Ink (all you get is 1,000 points)….With Freedom you can buy 3 beans this qtr and get 7,500 points…and then keep getting 1% on anything…

  13. Gary said,

    @gottoloveink – Why doesn’t it make sense to do an incremental 800 points for $6.99, that’s less than a penny a point. And 3 VRs is nothin’.

  14. Grant said,

    @gottoloveInk, thru the end of March, using a Freedom card, you can get 3 VR cards, total expense is $3.95 x 3 = $11.85 for 7500 UR Points. But the rest of the year you can’t buy VR cards at 5x, so thats why Ink + CVS are better for the rest of the year.

  15. What’s Changed in the Chase Exclusives Credit Card Bonus Program? - View from the Wing said,

    […] the past I’ve explained that for up to $1500 in spend each quarter, once you register you earn 5 points per dollar in designated … or at designated retailers. (For April – June it’s restaurants, movie theatres, and […]

  16. Add A Comment

home | top

View from the Wing is a project of Miles and Points Consulting, LLC. This site is for entertainment purpose only. The owner of this site is not an investment advisor, financial planner, nor legal or tax professional and articles here are of an opinion and general nature and should not be relied upon for individual circumstances.

Advertiser Disclosure: Many (but not all) of the credit card offers on the site are from banks from which we receive compensation if you are approved. Compensation does not impact the placement of cards other than in banner advertising (we do not currently control the banner advertising on this blog). We don’t include all US credit card offers available on this site. Instead, I write primarily about cards which earn airline miles, hotel points, and some cash back (or have points that can be converted into the same).

Editorial Note: The opinions, analyses, and evaluations here are mine and not provided by any bank including (but not limited to) American Express, Chase, Citibank, US Bank, Barclaycard or any other company. They have not reviewed, approved or endorsed what I have to say.