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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.
Now open: register to earn 5x points at Walmart and department stores
Through September 30, 2017, Chase is offering 5x points on restaurants and movie theater purchases. However, registration for that category closed yesterday.
Chase has just opened registration for the fourth quarter bonus category. You can now register to earn 5x points on the first $1,500 spent at Walmart and department stores between October 1 and December 31, 2017.
Registration is easy — just go to the registration page and enter your last name, billing zip code, and the last four digits on your card, and you’ll be registered.
Just to clarify what’s included in these categories, here’s what the terms say:
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 click here for merchants included and merchants not included in the Walmart Category.
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 click here for merchants included and merchants not included in the Department Store category.
For the most part I think these categories are pretty straightforward. When it comes to Walmart, walmart.com does qualify, while Sam’s Club doesn’t qualify. As far as the department store category goes, it includes most merchants you’d expect, but doesn’t include stores like Target, Kmart, TJ Maxx, electronics stores, etc.
On the surface I was more excited about the third quarter bonus offering 5x points at restaurants, since I spend a lot more money on dining than shopping. However, in reality the incremental return I was getting on dining was only 2x points, since I’d otherwise put that spend on the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, which offers 3x points. So on $1,500 of spend, I earned 3,000 additional points.
While I’m not someone who usually spends a lot on shopping, at least this is a category that doesn’t otherwise typically earn bonus points. So for shopping spend I’d usually earn 1.5x points with the Chase Freedom Unlimited® or Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card, making my incremental return 3.5x points. Even if I don’t spend $1,500, I may still end up coming out ahead in terms of my incremental points earning next quarter.
How to make Chase Freedom points even more valuable
Just to recap, you earn points on the Chase Freedom, and each point can be redeemed for one cent cashback.
However, if you have this card in addition to one of the cards that accrues Ultimate Rewards points, you can transfer these points to Ultimate Rewards. Cards that accrue Ultimate Rewards Cards include the:
So 5% cashback converts into 5x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar with one of the above cards.
The Chase Freedom is one of the best no annual fee cards out there, and I do everything I can to max out the 5x points category every quarter. If you’ve already registered for the third quarter bonus category, you can continue to earn 5x points at restaurants and movie theaters for the next couple of weeks.
Beyond that, you can now register to earn 5x points at Walmart and department stores between October 1 and December 31, 2017.
Do you plan on maxing out the Chase Freedom fourth quarter bonus category?