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The Chase Freedom is one of my favorite no annual fee credit cards, as it offers 5x points in rotating quarterly categories, for up to $1,500 of spend per quarter. Most people use this as a cashback card, meaning the 5x points really translates into 5% cashback in these categories.
The best part is that in conjunction with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, points earned on this card can be converted into Ultimate Rewards points, and be transferred to the Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel partners. Since I value one Ultimate Rewards point at significantly more than one cent, that’s my preferred use of those points.
For this quarter (July 1 through September 30), Chase is offering 5x points at restaurants and movie theaters. Registration for this bonus category closes today, so if you haven’t yet registered, be sure you do so today. You’ll continue to earn 5x points through the end of the month (assuming you haven’t maxed out the bonus category), though only if you activate the bonus by September 14.
Up until now, Chase has kept the 5x points category for the fourth quarter a secret. They’ve simply said that the bonus will be on “holiday” purchases.
Well, Doctor Of Credit notes that the Chase Freedom will offer 5x points at Walmart and department stores between October 1 and December 31, 2017. Registration for this category will open tomorrow. Here’s the fine print associated with these bonus categories:
The “Walmart” category does not include merchants operating within or on Walmart premises such as merchants that sell fast food, beauty services, and gas stations that are not Walmart branded. Walmart affiliate businesses such as Sam’s Club are excluded and will not earn bonus rewards. Please see https://creditcards.chase.com/freedom/merchants for merchants included and merchants not included in the Walmart Category. For more information, please see Chase Freedom Frequently Asked Questions. Visit Walmart.com to find the location nearest you.
The Department Store category does not include supercenters, discount stores or specialty stores (i.e. stores that sell primarily one line of products such as shoe stores, pet stores, electronics stores, clothing stores); if a merchant is not on the list, you will not earn bonus rewards. Department Store gift card purchases outside of the specific Department Store are excluded and will not earn bonus rewards. Please see https://creditcards.chase.com/freedom/merchants/ for merchants included and merchants not included in the Department Store category. For more information, please visit chase.com/freedom and click on the “View Chase Freedom FAQs” link at the bottom of the page.
This seems like a solid bonus category, especially given that people will be doing holiday shopping during this quarter. What also makes this compelling is that there aren’t any useful cards out there that ordinarily offer bonus points at Walmart and department stores.
So while my favorite 5x points category is usually dining (since it’s what I spend most on), in reality my incremental return is just 2x points per dollar, since I’d otherwise earn 3x points per dollar with the Sapphire Reserve. In the case of Walmart and department stores, the incremental return is 3.5x points (since I’d otherwise earn 1.5x points with the Chase Freedom Unlimited®).
I’ll post again tomorrow when registration for the quarter opens.
What do you make of the Chase Freedom fourth quarter bonus category?
(Featured image courtesy of jonnyboyca)