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Final Days To Complete Chase Freedom Q1 Spending; Activate Freedom Q2 Spending Now

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 PreferredInk 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)

Here is a link that explains where you will and won’t earn the 5 points per dollar for this quarter.

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.

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101 Responses to “Final Days To Complete Chase Freedom Q1 Spending; Activate Freedom Q2 Spending Now”

  1. bahayman Says:

    If a 7-Eleven is classified as a Gas Station with Visa, will it be the same for Mastercard?

  2. MeirS Says:

    What can I do with one vanilla gift cards if I don’t have a Walmart next door? Can I upload them onto bluebird over the phone?

  3. JIM Says:

    Tried many are said NO to credit card for gift cards. Even the one I tried last time said NO.
    I have given up up these

  4. berele Says:

    Hey Dan any idea when the 10% bonus shows up on my account? Didn’t see it in January. Also, if I transfer them them to my sapphire before I receive the dividend, do I get at least the 7% sapphire dividend?

  5. L.A. Says:

    Anyone in L.A. have any success with buying cards in a 7-11 or other gas station?

  6. ingvar Says:

    Hello, could someone please advise what’s the limit in walmart for one vanilla? Thank you!

  7. Yankkee Says:

    Hey Dan (or anyone who has an idea), I want to sign up for the Chase Freedom card. Are there better times during the year to sign up for the Freedom card? And if so, Is it worth waiting or is it more K’dai to get it asap and start just accumulating points already?


  8. vanilla Says:

    how did you score 24,000 miles?

    pls explain

    Thank you

  9. Anonymous Says:


    Thanks for reminder. Curious as to how you have three Freedom cards? Authorized users?


  10. YY Says:

    It is all explained in the post but let me try to break it down for you
    AS you can see from the picture dan purchased 9 vanilla reload cards, 3 on each of his Chase freedom cards
    On each he purchased 3 cards for $500 each + $4.95 each service fee. because he purchased them at a “Gas station” 7 eleven he got 5x reward points which is 7500 points + 15 points (service fees) and 10% bonus gives him 8,267 points per card x 3 freedom cards = 24,801 points all for $44.55

  11. Matt Says:

    In the llink you put I didn’t see 7eleven!!!!

  12. james Says:

    Hey dan,Thanks for the great article.

    Was wondering on the policies of 7-11 and cvs. Ive been to some that say only cash, and others that dont care how much i spend there. is it just total luck? Or was one store over used?

    Thanks in advance

  13. @matt Says:

    Just type in 7eleven into search bar. Its clear as day. Next time think before you post.;-)

  14. shia Says:

    When u say chase ink has 50k cap for 5x point per year, when does that year start/end? Does it start jan 1st or at whatever time each individual opened the card.

    Thanks for all your tips!

  15. eli Says:

    Why did you buy these cards instead of the reload or even a PayPal reload ? You have to register each of these cards to activate them.

  16. shana Says:

    This is all ust for the Chase Freedom card, right? What if I have the Sapphire? Is there an opportunity to earn bonus points on that as well?

  17. mo Says:

    tell me if im wrong but most seven elevens dont let you buy reloads on credit cards!!!

  18. Mat Says:

    @mo: You are right I tried 3

  19. Mat Says:

    In the link where it said visa marchand categories

  20. LarryInNYC Says:

    I make that out to be three Freedom cards and five Bluebirds! You must need a carry-on just to carry the cards around!

  21. Joe Says:

    Dan, do you manage your multiple freedom cards online and if so, do you use the same online account to manage them all or have you set up separate online accounts?

  22. DR Says:

    @bahayman – It is about the MCC (Merchant Category Code), Visa and mastercard use the same stuff.

    @MeirS – read Dan’s postings – you can sue Visa cards with BB at Walmart – online is hit or miss at best

    @JIM – 7-11 in areas in hit and miss. I did my three for PP cards, but some cannot get anything from those stores with a CC. Keep trying, also look for Valero stores or other gas stations.

    @berele – read what Dan said – February statement – not Jan

    @ingvar – WM is getting picky, but again depends on your location. Either way it is 1K per BB card per day

    @vanilla – really? READ THE POST!!! Times 3 cards equals 24,801 points

    @james – 7-11 and other gas stations are hit and miss. I have heard of NO real issues buying the cards at the register, just the human is the issue. VR at 7-11 are DEAD at the register. So, go at night when the manager is not there and try 1 card and see what happens.

    @shia – the cap is on 5x not on gas (which is 2x). The cap is calendar year, I think.

    @eli – what??? The OV are GREAT cards, no registration! They are plain old Visa Gift cards. PP cards are also great (the PP MY Cash), but PP is finicky so be careful! VR at a gas station is VERY hard to find.

    @Shana – Freedom cards have quarterly bonus (like the post says!!!), Sapphire cards do not have this feature. They have OTHER GREAT features, but no 5x options at all.

    @mo – it is totally up to each store – so try another, try later in the day, earlier in the day. Once the human says yes, the machine will not fail, unless you try VR which will fail at the register at 7-11.

  23. Yankel Says:

    Cvs in NY is limiting vanilla reload on cc. Some stores have signs posted now cash only. One store did allow me tow take some vanilla reload without putting money on and I brought to another location where they loaded for me, no questions. But some have limit of 1000/day and some don’t let cc at all

  24. Yochanan G. Says:

    It depends if u really need it, because rite now u only get 10,000 bonus points, and if u applied before January 1 u could of got 20,000 points! so it might be better to wait but the next promo can be next year!

  25. Yochanan G. Says:

    That was for yankeeee (7)

  26. cl Says:

    I’m new this. I understand everything but what was the point of Bluebird? Can I purchase the vanilla cards and use at any grocery/department store without the bluebird step?

  27. Dans the man Says:

    If you can load one vanilla to bluebird why can’t you use your ink card to buy one vanillas at Office Depot?!? Or maybe you can…. and I’m loosing out on the 5points per doller….. Someone please answer

  28. DR Says:

    @CL it is called Manufactured Spend – because you are manufacturing the spending! You can “spend” a WHOLE lot more via BlueBird and the sort, than a single human normally actually “spends” in a year! The more you spend the more points you get

    @Dans the man – Office Depot will not let you buy any OV with a CC. They will let you buy the 200 dollar cards – not the OV, which are cheaper and of course have higher potential value.

  29. Dan Says:

    Folks, read these posts for more on Bluebird:

  30. yankee Says:

    Yochanan G. I appreciate your response but kinda leaves the question still open ended.
    Maybe from an experienced perspective(DAN) there’s a more precise answer.
    I don’t need the card. No one needs more then a couple CC’s. Obviously its too take advantage of the point system.
    So going back to my question, is it worth waiting and not accumulating points (I also have a chase checking account) and getting the 20,000 bonus? do you think that the 10,000 difference is much more then i would make on regular day spending? or sign up now and start racking up points..with just 10,000 signup points?
    Also while im at it, based on history, do the signup promo’s happen often or once a year near the end like the one i just missed.

  31. Sheep Says:

    Since when do OneVanilla cards work for loading to BB? Your own Wiki says “The OneVanilla card doesn’t offer check writing, cash advances or any easy way to cash out.” Why the conflicting info? http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=21024.1940

  32. Dan Says:

    The bonus in December was the first in a couple of years.
    I wouldn’t wait, you can earn 33K points/year just from spending in 5x categories.

    Why is that my own Wiki?
    I didn’t write it. And it’s wrong.

  33. deal boy Says:

    What about staples can I just use me ink bold and get 5 times the amount and get 500 vanilla cards just like 711 please answer ASAP

  34. yankee Says:

    Thank You Dan.

  35. Sheep Says:

    @Dan – Fair enough, but it’s on your site blog and commonly used/cited. Thought there would be a higher quality of info on there.

    @Deal boy – Yes. If OneVanilla works, you can use your Chase Ink to get 5x on it all the time (and not capped at $1,500/card).

  36. deal boy Says:

    So why is this a better deal and can I get it online?

  37. Dan Says:

    @deal boy:
    ASAP, really now?

    It’s not on my blog, it’s on the forums which is a user contributed community with hundreds of thousands of posts.

    My blog is DansDeals.com If I had to police the accuracy of the DD Forums and the DD Facebook group I would need to clone myself.

    As long as I’m policing, I’ll police your response first:
    Office Depot doesn’t take credit cards for the OneVanilla or vanilla Reload cards.

  38. deal boy Says:

    @dan is only way to get answers here. Anyway does staples also not take cc or only office depot

  39. Dan Says:

    @deal boy:
    Staples and OM take credit card but their largest card is $200.

  40. Abe Says:

    How could I get more then one bluebird card/account ?
    Any tips for this ? Link ?

  41. David R Says:

    @Dan: A few weeks ago, I found a few $20-$500 Visa cards on the rack at Staples. For a few moments I was real happy, but then the register rang them up as $50 cards and the cashier could not enter another amount.

  42. Dan fan Says:

    Do one vanillas not have a daily cap rate for loading on to Bluebird?
    How did you load all the money at the Walmart ATM without getting maxed out

  43. Dan Says:

    One per person.

    @Dan fan:
    You can do $1,000 per Bluebird per day.
    So either get more Bluebird cards for family members or go at midnight when you can load $2,000 per card before and after midnight.

  44. Dan fan Says:

    I’m assuming the same 5,000 monthly limit still applies to transfer from bluebird to bank account, even if you do it at the ATM? Is it possible to simply write yourself a check for the full amount from bluebird or is that also capped at 5,000/month?

  45. Joe Says:

    Dan, do you have to go to the wallmart to use the “one vanilla”?

  46. Dan Says:

    @Dan fan:
    You can cash out the full amount.

    No, you can use it anywhere.
    If you want to cash it out WM makes it easy. Though you can also cash it out at other places that sell a money order for debit cards.

  47. Sheep Says:

    @Dan – Dealboy was asking about Staples, not OM. Staples takes CCs, including the Ink. That’s why I said *if* OneVanilla works (which you confirmed it does), then yes, he could use an Ink card to purchase them and earn 5x at Staples. Now, if Staples doesn’t carry OneVanilla, that’s a separate issue. Regarding your forums… yes, I understand you can’t police them. I’m just saying that because that is one of the most referenced Wikis on the issue, I would have thought your user base would have updated it to keep it accurate. That’s a huge piece of the MS puzzle that is incorrect in there.

  48. Dan Says:

    Like I said, Staples and OM have nothing larger than $200. They don’t carry Vanilla.

    Anyone can fix or mess up any Wiki. Feel free to delete any bad info that you see.
    You can do the same on Wikipedia.com, it’s up to users to keep it accurate.

  49. Anonymous Says:

    @Dan: almost impossible to find places you can use debit card for money order

  50. Dan Says:

    Speak for yourself.

  51. Anonymous Says:

    @Dan: any ideas in ny/nj? researched DD forums and except for Walmart(which is a hit or miss depending on location) did not see any other options

  52. Dan fan Says:

    Any luck cashing out full amount of the one vanilla for a money order at a specific bank or post office? Or even cash back for the full amount at a specific supermarket?

  53. yuda Says:

    @Dan, in this post you write as follows “Other Vanilla versions, like OneVanilla or any version other than the ones in the picture above can’t be cashed out via cash advance (like the MVD) or via Bluebird (like the VR).” Please explain as in this post u clearly did use one vanilla with bb? http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/26616
    Thank you

  54. Chauncey Says:

    Tired several 7-11s in bay area today but none let me do it with credit card…. gave up..

  55. CtownBin Says:

    I’ll help out Dan on this one, he’s getting it from all sides it seems :-)
    Yuda, the post you referenced was accurate at the time Dan wrote it. It was BEFORE Gift Cards started having PINs. Starting in April of 2013, I believe, all Visa/MC gift cards were required to use PINs, which makes these OneVanilla cards- as well as many other types of gift cards, able to be cashed out at WM via BB.

  56. Solomon Says:

    Dear Dan,
    I tried today to purchase a $500 vanilla in my near 7-11they said that this is only possible to purchase by cash!! (In NJ) also, that in CVS they ask for driving license in our area… What should I do? I already opened a bluebird and got the card over the mail. Thank you.

  57. Dan Says:

    Correct, thanks!

    Find another 7/11 (or even another clerk at that 7/11)

  58. Solomon Says:


  59. Anonymous Says:

    Dan except for walmart where else do you have success paying for money orders with debit card

  60. ari Says:

    Has anyone found a gas station in new york that accepts credit cards for prepaid cards?

  61. Curious M Says:

    Why would 7/11 or CVS care if you are buying VR with CC vs cash? Why would some be fine and some say no? Is there a standard rule that Visa puts out for the VRs and a standard rule CVS or 7/11 puts out about it?

  62. Chaser Says:

    Is there a way to get out of the chase saphire preferred annual fee of 95$?
    For example, can I transfer the saphire prefer credit over to my saphire card and then close the saphire preferred before the end of the 1st year (since the first year has no annual fee), and then reopen the saphire preferred a few months later so I once again retain first year status?

  63. Yitz Says:

    @L.A.: I’m actually from ny but am in la tx to delta (Ty Dan) and just bought a pay pal cash load up card with my cc… Which brings me to my next q….

    Dan or anyone else…. Y not do these cards? It’s a $4 fee for a $500 card which u can lad into ur PayPal acct which can in turn be transferred to ur bank acct. I just did it ,,, anything I should be aware of?????

  64. David R Says:

    That Visa merchant categorization site mentioned in the post has been down for the last few days.

  65. Joe Says:

    Just clicked the link to get freedom card. Doesn’t say anything about 10k points. Is this deal still on?

  66. David R Says:

    @David R: …and it’s still down. Dan, do you know of an alternative site to get that information? I even went so far as to make a small purchase at a 7-11 and then I called Chase to ask if I will be receiving 5% for it, but they could not give me a straight answer.

  67. Michael Says:

    Do vanilla one prepaid visas or any prepaid cards in general allow you to load a bluebird account with more than $5000/month from vanilla reloads?

  68. David R Says:

    @Michael: No. You can load a maximum of $5000 per calendar month to your Bluebird account from a combination of Vanilla Reloads and reloads at Walmart.

  69. ff_lover Says:

    hi dan,
    how did u get 3 freedom cards? Or are some of them for family members?

  70. isaac Says:

    Would buying a visa gift card from tmobile store qualify as telecom??

  71. Anonymous Says:

    @isaac: Tmobile stores sell Visa gifts? If yes, they let you pay with a credit card?

  72. Dan's the Man Says:

    Dan, do any restaurants sell visa gift cards?

  73. Declined Says:

    I’m getting declined trying to buy the one vanilla at 7/11 any help on why this may be? Any advice?


  74. Declined Says:

    I did call my bank and they said nothing is coming thru it’s on the merchants end that they are declining the card

  75. isaac Says:

    @anonymous yes they do. And if youre a tmobile customer you get it for no purches fee. And also you can withdraw the monet from an atm no fee

  76. isaac Says:

    @declined: sometimes banks decline a charge because the amount doesn’t make sense. Like buying something for 500$ from 7/11. Once I was buying a few cases of starbucks syrup for a restaurant and my card got declined becayse no one spends 700$ at Starbucks

  77. Anonymous Says:

    will purchases at sunoco gas stations that have convience store(they sell OV and Sunoco gift cards) qualify for 5% this quarter

  78. Dan Says:


  79. Anonymous Says:


    but I could not find the specific Sunoco location I want to use on the visa supplier website. I believe Sunoco’s use different merchant codes depending if they are franchise, corporate or do other things besides gas?

  80. yoknee Says:

    @Dan can I buy one of those c.c dongles for my phone and swipe like that

  81. h Says:

    i know this is off topic but i have a question. when u check in using chase explorer which is supposed to give you free check in do they swipe the credit card? or do u just show them it?
    because im flying pesach and a few months ago i downgraded my explorer to get it to no fee card.
    please share any info if u have.
    much appreciated

  82. Gas Says:

    Dan how come some gas stations would not allow to purchase their own gas gift cards with a credit card?

  83. Dan Rules (I'm Tuck) Says:

    Dan, Thanks for posting awesome deals every day. There’s a lot of haters, today especially. Your patience is worth it for all the loyal followers.
    My question:how did you get 3 freedom cards?

  84. yakov Says:

    hey dan thanx a ton for all the info.
    I bought a 1 vanilla card and then I went to wallmart where they were not willing to load it onto my bluebird nor were they willing to give me a money order.
    is this a new rule or just wallmart cs?
    (I tried the post office where the transaction for the money order didnt go thru)
    Any other ideas?

  85. Anonymous Says:

    Dan, any tips with how to get 3 (or even just 2 Freedom cards). If you apply for more than 1 is it possible you’ll get automatically approved (with good credit and no recent credit apps)? I assume going through recon wouldn’t work if you already have the card?

  86. ben Says:

    The “Visa merchant categorization site” linky seems to be broken. Is there a new link that works?

  87. checking Says:

    i bought a few gift cards at a particular 7-11 that didnt mind, but last week it was denied by the system. Looks like 7-11 is hardcoding it now just like the reload is.

  88. Dan's the man Says:

    @ben: Almost all 7-11s in my area are coded as gas stations. Do a small purchase a one as a “test” and after it posts to your account, log into to your account online and see what category it came up in Chase “Blueprint”

    @checking: When was this? Last month I was able to find 7-11s that took CC for gift cards. About half the 7-11s I tried did and half didn’t. You just gotta find one that does.

  89. phillyjew Says:

    I am not sure if it was posted before, but all the WAWA stores with gas stations sell visa cards and let you pay with cc.

  90. Anonymous Says:

    @phillyjew: Thanks good to know

  91. question 4 dan Says:

    Why don’t we use paypal here its there credit card machine cant we just swipe all the cards instead of having a bluebird limit of $5000 a month you can swipe it all write

  92. checking Says:

    @Dan’s the man
    the same store that allowed me and it went through, all of a sudden it was denied by the 7-11 register . So unless you have someone who has been able to buy gift cards in the last week, it is dead.

  93. Dan Says:

    Or more likely it was denied by your card issuer.

  94. Shalom Says:

    @Anonymous:I have 2 Freedoms for myself and 2 for my wife.Its very simple.After you have the Saphire for a year you can downgrade to Freedom.I think you can have as many as you want.

  95. checking Says:

    @Dan It didnt seem like that, but maybe. See also comment 74. Anyone been able to get gift cards from 7-11 in the last week? Would love to know.

  96. Dan's the Man Says:

    @Shalom: Owe cool. My wife’s Sapphire is actually coming up on the fee and I was gonna cancel it or switch to Saphhire (not preferred) I guess I should switch to Freedom. They won’t say anything even though she already has a freedom??

  97. Shalom Says:

    @Dan’s the Man: Correct.But they only will transfer it after a year.

  98. Danray Says:

    Tried to buy amazon gift cards today at Office Depot and was told cash only.

  99. Eric Says:

    Dan, I’ve gone to three 7-11s. Didn’t find one vanilla but found my vanilla. Looks like that has more fees. Are you familiar with it? Does it work in the Chase freedom/7-11 “gas station”/Wal-Mart?

  100. Eric from comment 99 above Says:

    @Dan. Found the one vanilla cards. Also finally find your link above about the my vanilla. Thanks. Sometimes hard to Find your gems amongst the crud.

    You rock, btw.

  101. i dont know Says:

    non of my 7-11 take cc. I am :( any advice. I even called chase and they say that they don’t see any transactions on there side.


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