2015 Chase Freedom 5% Bonus Categories Revealed

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What makes the Chase Freedom® so great is that each quarter they have a different category where you earn 5% cash back. You earn the 5% cash back on up to $1,500 of spend in the bonus categories each quarter.

The categories for 2015 have just been announced.

These are similar to the 2014 categories, and I’m especially excited to see restaurants back in the second quarter. I eat out nearly constantly, so getting 5x points on dining is a great deal!

What makes the Chase Freedom great

So what makes this no annual fee card so rewarding even if you have other cards with annual fees that offer category bonuses?

The Chase Freedom offers 5% cash back (five points) per dollar spent on rotating quarterly categories, which can translate into a huge return. When you register your card each quarter you then earn 5x points for the first $1,500 spent in those category.

Having no annual fee cards are great for your credit score

As if the huge rotating quarterly categories weren’t enough, keep in mind that one part of your credit score is the average age of your accounts. It’s good to keep some cards long term just to help increase the average age of your accounts, even if the card itself isn’t that rewarding.

In this case you’re getting a rewarding credit card which you can also keep open long term to help build your credit score.

You can convert cash back into Ultimate Rewards points

Just to recap, you earn points on the Chase Freedom®, and each point can be redeemed for one cent cash back.

However, 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.

The current sign-up bonus is double the usual offer

Back in the day this card regularly had 20,000+ point sign-up bonuses. But over the past couple of years the standard sign-up bonus has been $100 cash back/10,000 points.

We’ve occasionally seen increased sign-up bonuses of $200 cash back/20,000 points. But with this bonus you can earn $225 cash back/22,500 points, which is the best I’ve seen.

Bottom line

If you don’t yet have the Chase Freedom®, it’s absolutely worth adding to your card portfolio. I picked up the card late last year after waiting way too long, and am really happy to have it. Leveraging the bonus categories has resulted in thousands of additional points each year, so it’s a bit of a no-brainer for me.

What do you think of the 2015 categories?

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  1. Lucky – do you have a recommendation between this card and the Amex Everyday cards you blogged about a few weeks ago? I presume part of the answer has to do with the value of Membership Rewards points and, as I’ve never had them, I’m not really sure how they stack up vis-a-vis Chase points. Your thoughts would be really helpful here.

    Many thanks as always,

  2. Monitoring these ever-changing category bonuses seems like a job to me. I am not a monkey, and I wish to use my credit cards as simple purchase instruments. If they happen to yield an incidental bonus, so that’s fine. And while I certainly respect those that want to update spreadsheets and put little stickies on their credit cards, it ain’t for me. Then again, I never clipped coupons or sent in $2 rebates, so what do I know?

  3. Yes, monitoring credit card offers may be too much trouble for some, but next year my wife and I will be traveling to LAX-SIN in SQ Suites Class, and on to China in SQ First…all for a little effort spent in “coupon clipping.” The value to me is of course the experience, but also since the flight is such a pleasant experience, it essentially adds 2 1/2 days to my vacation; the 30 hours spent getting to and from China becomes a holiday rather than an ordeal.

  4. Ben:

    I’d like to have my wife apply for the Freedom card and do it through your website, but the link does not seem to be working…

  5. @ Robert F — I agree in general. But in this case they’re bonuses that work for a quarter, so you simply have to keep track of the categories once per quarter when you register. You’re potentially getting an extra four points per dollar spent, which to me can potentially be an extra 6%+ “value.” That’s worth it to me, and different than clipping coupons.

  6. @Django

    One difference is that the Amex Everyday cards earn full MR points and can be transferred as-is to transfer partners. While you can earn points with the Freedom, (and use them for cashback 1c/pt) you can only transfer them to partners if you also have a card such as the Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus.

    Of course the correct answer if you’re playing the long game is to eventually get both. Go for whichever has a promo high signup bonus at the moment.

  7. First, let me say that of the many points/miles/rewards blogs out there, I find yours to be the most helpful and easy to follow for the somewhat-beginner.

    Question about peoples’ experiences with Chase rewards – if I open the Chase Freedom now and hoard points for a while, can I transfer them to Ultimate Rewards later down the line? Say, if I opened Chase Sapphire in 6-12 months? (I’m in school and don’t want to open too many cards that will have annual fees kick in next year. Trying to make this work as best as I can!)

  8. @ Brandie — Yep, you sure can. Whenever you open a card which accrues “premium” Ultimate Rewards points you can transfer the points over.

  9. My wife and I are really disappointed that Walmart no longer qualifies as a grocery store for the bonus
    points. We do almost all of our grocery shopping there and it has qualified in the past. Any other card Chase offers that would give us bonus points for groceries purchased at Walmart?

  10. @ Brent — Hmmm, unfortunately I can’t think of any major card that would offer bonus points at Walmart. Sorry!

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