The Chase Freedom® earns 5% cash back in popular categories, such as grocery stores and gas stations. Bonus categories rotate every 3 months. For all other purchases, you’ll earn 1% cash back.
You must activate your bonus category each quarter, which is a slight hassle. Nonetheless, this card is a favorite among those who aim to maximize their cash back. If the bonus categories and period when you can earn your 5% cash back correlate with your spending habits, the Chase Freedom® Card can be of good value to you.
If you’re interested for more offers from Chase, check out all the ongoing Chase Checking/Savings account bonuses!
|Chase Total Checking®SM||$200 Cash||Review|
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Table of Contents
Chase Freedom Card Summary
Earning The $150 Chase Freedom Bonus
It’s pretty straightforward to spend $500 in 3 months for the bonus if you use your card for everyday spending. Here are some tips if you’re stuck:
|• Plastiq: Plastiq allows you to pay for expenses that you generally won’t be able to with your card like rent, tuition, auto lease, mortgage payment, and more. There’s a 2.5% processing fee for using your credit card. However, this’ll be worth the card bonus you’ll get. There’s also a referral program where you can earn “Fee-Free Dollars” to use towards processing fees. See our Plastiq review.|
|• Fund Checking accounts with your card: Many banks will allow you to fund the opening deposit with a credit card. Consider opening Checking accounts that also offer a sign-up bonus. This way, you can work towards bonuses from two different sources. Big banks like Chase, HSBC, Huntington, and TD Bank have great offers and allow credit card funding. You can generally fund anywhere from $50 to $1,000 towards the opening deposit with a credit card, depending on the bank.|
|• Buy gift cards: Consider buying gift cards with your credit card that you can then spend later at your leisure. Individual merchant cards (restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets, etc.) generally don’t have purchase fees, so this is a plus. On the other hand, American Express and Visa gift cards will have purchase fees. Amazon gift cards are a great idea as you can shop for almost anything there with no purchase fees either. Unfortunately, Citi credit cards tend to code gift card purchases as Cash Advances and there’ll be a fee. Call in to customer service and lower your Cash Advance limit to $0 before purchasing gift cards. You can also buy discounted gift cards as well from Raise or find gift cards on eBay.|
|• Everyday spending & bills: Always using your credit card for everyday spending, such as for dining, gas, groceries, etc. You can also use your credit card to pay for things like insurance bills, property taxes and income taxes. However, you’ll have to consider the convenience fees.|
Earn 5% Cash Back Each Quarter
Each quarter with the Freedom card, Chase designates specific categories or retail brands that are eligible for 5% cash back. Any purchases made under these categories will be qualified to receive 5% cash back for up to the first $1,500 spent. This means, you can earn $75 in bonus cash back each quarter. Then, you’ll earn a standard 1% back until the next quarter. The 1% is uncapped.
To earn the 5% bonus, you must activate cash back categories each quarter by visiting the Chase Freedom® website. It’s best to do this on the first day of every quarter to ensure all your bonus spending is tracked accurately. Your cash back rewards are delivered as points which can then be converted to cash back at a rate of 1 cent per point.
Opt Into Bonus Categories
Bonus categories generally include common household expenses. That means, the 5% bonus cash back is available on broad categories that most people spend a lot of money on. Categories in the past have included gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, drugstores, and wholesale clubs. For many cardholders, earning these rewards are easy.
However, you must opt into the bonus category each quarter by activating it online. If you forget to do this, you’ll be stuck with 1% rewards even in the bonus category. You have until the 14th day of the third month in the quarter to sign up and earn retroactive rewards for that quarter. This is plenty of time for most people, but don’t forget!
You can keep up with each Chase Freedom® 5% quarterly cash back categories here:
- First Quarter 5% Cash Back Categories — Jan. 1 – Mar. 31
- Second Quarter 5% Cash Back Categories — Apr. 1 – Jun. 30
- Third Quarter 5% Cash Back Categories — Jul. 1 – Sept. 30 (coming soon)
- Fourth Quarter 5% Cash Back Categories — Oct. 1 – Dec. 31 (coming soon)
Chase Freedom® rewards are accumulated as points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. Points can be redeemed for many options, including gift cards, Amazon purchases, travel, and cash back. Points are generally worth 1 cent per point in this manner.
Earn More Ultimate Rewards Points
Did you know? You can combine Ultimate Rewards points from all Chase products that earn them. The Chase Sapphire℠ Checking account is offering bonus Ultimate Rewards points when you sign up today. Read our Chase Sapphire℠ Checking review.
The United ClubSM Infinite Card offer entails:
With this card, you'll earn:
• 4X miles per $1 spent on United purchases including tickets, Economy Plus, inflight food, beverages and Wi-Fi, and other United charges.
• 2X miles per $1 spent on all other travel
• 2X miles per $1 spent on dining
• 1X mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
Plus, you'll get 25% back as a statement credit on purchases of food, beverages and Wi-Fi onboard United-operated flight when you pay with your Club Card.
This card does carry an annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $525. However, you can get up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PrecheckTM Fee Credit. In addition, you'll get a savings of up to $320 per roundtrip by getting your first and second checked bags for free!
Maximize Value With Chase Freedom Card
Because Chase Freedom card has no annual fee, it costs nothing to carry and only use on the 5% quarterly categories. You should then supplement it with a higher flat-rate rewards card. This will help you get more points, rather than only having that 1% cash back on all other purchases to fall back on.
If you’re a low to moderate spender, you can pair with a no annual fee, flat rate card. A couple of good ones include the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card or American Express Cash Magnet Card.
If you spend enough each year on credit card purchases to negate the annual fee, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® earns great rewards and has an excellent bonus offer.
If you have or are planning to apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® and/or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can earn even more Chase Ultimate Rewards® points. For a business option, consider the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card. Generally, points are worth 1 cent apiece with both cards. However, if you redeem them for travel booked through Chase, the point value increases to 1.25 center per point with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® and 1.5 cents per point with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
The Chase Freedom® isn’t eligible for these increased point values, but if you have either Sapphire-branded cards, you can transfer your Chase Freedom® points to it. Then, you can redeem for travel to increase your rewards rate.
Points on the Sapphire-branded cards can also be transferred at a 1:1 ratio to other loyalty travel programs. Some include United Airlines, British Airways or Marriott Bonvoy. You can potentially get an even higher rewards rate.
To apply for this card, you don’t need excellent credit and a long credit history like many top rewards cards need. Just make sure your credit score is good. Overall, this is a great card if you’re just starting out.
Because this card has rotating categories to earn rewards, the benefits of having the Chase Freedom® Card is all about taking advantage of the 5% cash back calendar. To get the most value out of your card, you must be sure the bonus categories fit your lifestyle. Then, you must stay on top of the calendar. Very few credit cards can match the high 5% rewards rate. If the Chase Freedom® Card aligns with your spending habits, then go for it. If not, you can check out other credit card promotions and what they offer, here on BCS.
Since the Chase Freedom® doesn’t have an annual fee, it’s also great as a secondary card. To maximize rewards, we recommend using the Chase Freedom® when the bonuses apply, and use another card with better flat-rate rewards for other purchase that fall into the non-bonus categories. Consumers also use the Chase Freedom® card in conjunction with the more premiere Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to maximize points and bonuses.
Great Cards To Pair With Chase Freedom Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®!
You'll earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide; 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. And when you redeem your points for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards, you'll get 25% more value!
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
You'll earn 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. When redeeming your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, you'll get 50% more value.
This card does carry a $550 annual fee and there are no foreign transaction fees. However, you're able to earn a $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year & up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
The Chase Ink Business PreferredSM Card offers 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
You'll earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year; 1 point per $1 on all other purchases - with no limit to the amount you can earn. Furthermore, points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
This card does come with a $95 annual fee but does not have any foreign transaction fees.
The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Card offers a one-time $150 cash bonus after spending $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
You'll be able to earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day with no rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards.
This card comes with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees which makes this card a viable option for your go-to everyday card.
The American Express Cash Magnet® Card offers $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 or more in purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
You'll earn unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on your purchases; your cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
The card has no annual fee. (See Rates & Fees).
The Best Bank Offers are updated here. See the below pages to get started with some of the best offers:
• Chase Bank Offers. Chase offers a range of attractive Checking, Savings and Business Accounts. Chase has a great selection of sign-up bonuses in comparison to other big banks.
• HSBC Bank Offers. HSBC Bank routinely has offers for several of their Personal Checking and Business Checking accounts. They also have a good referral program.
• Huntington Bank Offers. Huntington Bank has high bonus amounts available through their Checking and Business Checking. Huntington also offers a Business Premier Money Market Account.
• Discover Bank Offers. Discover Bank offers top cashback, savings, money market accounts and CD rates for you to take advantage of. Discover has industry leading selections to cater to your banking needs.
• TD Bank Offers. TD Bank consistently offers a fantastic selection of checking accounts to cater to your banking needs. However, savings account offers are less frequently available.
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|HSBC Premier Checking Member FDIC||Up To $700||Review|
|HSBC Advance Checking Member FDIC||$225 Cash||Review|
|HSBC Advance Checking Member FDIC||Up To $270||Review|
|Chase Premier Plus CheckingSM||$300 Cash||Review|
|Chase Total Checking®||$200 Cash||Review|
|TD Bank Beyond Checking||$300 Cash||Review|
|TD Bank Convenience CheckingSM||$150 Cash||Review|
|Huntington 25 Checking||$500 Cash||Review|
|Huntington 5 Checking||$200 Cash||Review|
|Huntington Asterisk-Free Checking®||$150 Cash||Review|
|Huntington Bank Unlimited Plus Business Checking||$750 Cash||Review|
|Huntington Bank Unlimited Business Checking||$400 Cash||Review|
|Huntington Bank Business Checking 100||$200 Cash||Review|
|CIT Bank Money Market||1.30% APY||Review|
|CIT Bank Savings Builder||1.25% APY||Review|
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