March 26th, 2014
Update, 03/26: Just 5 days left to complete spending in the Q1 bonus categories.
You can also now activate your Q2 Chase Freedom 5x categories.
-Chase Freedom Visa-Earn 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $500 in 3 months.
There is no annual fee for Chase Freedom!
I just got 24,801 points for $44.55 with these cards.
1. You can click here to activate this quarter’s Chase Freedom 5% categories. Although they are called “5% categories” you really get 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent which can be cashed out for 5% cash. For $1,500 in spending you will earn at least 7,500 Ultimate Rewards points.
Make it a trifecta:
2. If you have a Chase checking account you will also earn a 10% bonus on all points earned during a calendar year on the following February statement. That means you’ll earn a whopping 5.5 points per dollar in these categories or 8,250 points each quarter.
3. If you or your spouse has a Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, or Ink Bold card you can transfer Freedom points over to one of those cards and then transfer them at a 1:1 ratio into much more valuable airline miles (United, British Airways, Southwest, Korean, etc) or hotel points (Hyatt, etc). The $1,500 quarterly limit is per Freedom card.
The 5 point categories for 2014 are as follows:
Q1: Gas stations, Movie theaters, Starbucks (Activate starting 12/15)
Q2: Restaurants and Lowe’s (Activate starting 03/15)
Q3: Gas stations and Kohl’s (Activate starting 06/15)
Q4: Amazon.com, Zappos.com, and Department stores (Activate starting 09/15)
Q1 Spending: You will earn 5 points per dollar on gas stations and on all items sold by gas stations. Many gas stations sell a variety of gift cards and even vanilla reload and other prepaid cards. Or you can lock in savings by just prepaying for your gas with gift cards to that gas station. Added bonus: Gift cards usually pay the cash price!
I bought 9 One Vanilla gift cards at 7-Eleven on my Freedom cards. Most 7/11s are categorized as gas stations even if they don’t have a gas station, you can confirm each one on the Visa merchant categorization site. The system wouldn’t let me buy Vanilla Reloads but I was able to buy 9 $500 One Vanilla cards for $4,544.55. Then I went next door to Walmart to load them onto Bluebird cards using the last 4 digits of the One Vanilla card as the pin number without needing to register the card. I’ll get 24,801 points for $44.55. $1,500 on a Freedom card earns 7,500 points plus 15 points for the additional $14.85 in fees for a total of 7,515 points. Plus the 10% checking bonus equals 8,267 points. Times 3 cards equals 24,801 points. That’s 0.18 cents per point or in more practical terms that’s like buying a one-way short-haul flight on American for about $8.
Of course if you have an Ink Plus, Ink Bold, or Ink Cash card you will earn 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent all year round on telecom, cable, internet, as well as everything from office supply stores, which includes gift cards to other stores and prepaid cash cards that can be used anywhere. With the Bold/Plus cards that’s capped at $50,000 per year and with the Cash card that’s capped at $25,000 per year. The cards also earn 2 points per dollar year-round at gas stations and either hotels (Bold/Plus) or dining (Cash)
Q2 Spending: Use your card at your favorite restaurant and earn 5 or 5.5 points per dollar spent. Buy gift cards to lock in savings on future nights out.
You can also get 5 points per dollar at Lowe’s. Click here for a list of gift cards sold by Lowe’s that I compiled last year.