Are You Earning 5x Points On Dining?

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I recently compiled a list with the best bonuses you can earn on your credit card for everyday spend, based on the category in which you spend the most money. In that, I mentioned a few cards that consistently earn double points on dining, which is a big spending category for many of us.

dining

I’ll happily take double points the rest of the year, but for the next few months I’ll be shifting most of my dining spend to my Chase Freedom®.

Why?

The Chase Freedom® is one of my favorite no annual fee credit cards thanks to the fact that it offers 5% cash back in select rotating quarterly categories.

Register to earn 5% cash back at restaurants

The “catch,” if you can call it that, is you have to register your card to be eligible for the 5%. By registering for the second quarter Freedom categories, you earn the 5x bonus on valid purchases between April 1 and June 30, 2015.

The Chase Freedom® second quarter bonus categories include restaurants, Bed Bath & Beyond, H&M, and overstock.com.

I’m especially excited about the 5% cash back at restaurants. My restaurant spend usually goes on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, so it’ll be nice to do better than that next quarter.

While registration stays open through June 14, 2015, it only takes a few seconds to register (you just have to enter your last name, the last four digits of your card, and zip code), so I’d recommend doing so as soon as possible, so you don’t forget.

How to do better than 5% cash back

Keep in mind that while the Chase Freedom® is marketed as offering 5% cash back, the points can be worth much more than that. If you have this card in addition to one of the cards that accrue “premium” Ultimate Rewards points, you can transfer these points to Ultimate Rewards. Cards that accrue “premium” Ultimate Rewards Cards include the:

So 5% cash back converts into 5x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar with one of the above cards.

Bottom line

First of all, make sure that you’re registered for the second quarter 5% cash back category. Second of all, be sure you’re doing what you can to maximize it. If you wouldn’t naturally reach the $1,500 quarterly bonus maximum, I’d consider buying gift cards to restaurants you frequent if you’re in a position to do so.

Having a no annual fee card like the Chase Freedom® is a no brainer. Not only do you earn tons of points in valuable categories, but keeping a no annual fee credit card long term is great for your credit score, since it helps raise your average age of accounts.

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Comments

  1. I spend more than $1,500 per quarter on dining so I used Chase Sapphire instead for First Friday in April (only 3x). Except for first Fridays, restaurant tabs this quarter are going on the Freedom (5x).

    But then again, I respect local merchants and don’t mind paying them cash on small purchases so that they save the credit card processing fees.

    And I think this final year, I am still technically earning 5.5 points b/c I have a Chase Checkign acct. =)

  2. Using Citi Thank You Premier until the end of next week, while it is still 3x for dining. Plenty of time to hit the Freedom, and even if I don’t reach the full $1500, there are GCs at BB&B, or even from the restaurants themselves.

  3. I almost fell for the “no brainer” recommendation and almost got one. But then I checked the terms and they charge 3% for any transaction that does not take place in the U.S.

    For a frequent traveler, that’s a raw deal. No thanks. A no brainer NOT to get such a card!

  4. Ben – I have a CSP and have had it since 2011. I want to cancel it so I can get the sign up bonus again. If I open a Freedom in the meantime, will my UR points “convert” to cash back points, and then “convert back” a few months from now when I open the new CSP? Or will I lose the UR points during this ‘transition’?

  5. @ LTL — If you transfer the points to your Freedom Card then that is indeed how it would work. The points would become points which can only be redeemed for cash, and then when you have the Sapphire Preferred again they can be redeemed as “premium” Ultimate Rewards points.

  6. Discover It, my one cash-back card, which receives the highest marks outside the blogosphere but is hardly mentioned inside because bloggers probably make no money off of it, has exactly the same concept as the card featured here: 5% cash back on a rotating basis.

    Q1 was 5% cash back on gas and ground transportation, so I charged all my taxi rides to the Discover it card.
    Q2 is ongoing and is for 5% cash back on restaurants and movies.
    Q3 – 5% cash back on home improvement.
    Q4 – 5% cash back on holiday shopping.

  7. @ DCS; your Discover card pays cash, right? The Chase card pays some of us in UR points, which are worth approx. 1.6c per point. Thus 5.5% back in UR points worth 8.8% in cash.

  8. @DCS, also cash is boring. You can’t buy first class airline tickets with cash the way you can with UR points.

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