April 3rd, 2014
The Chase Freedom Visa is an excellent no annual fee card. They market the signup bonus as $100 for spending $500 in 3 months, but really it comes in the form of 10,000 bonus points which can be worth much more than $100. Plus if you add an additional user and make a purchase within 3 months you’ll get another 2,500 bonus points, for a total of 12,500 points.
But the real beauty of the card is in the quarterly 5% categories. Again, while they call it 5% cash back you’ll really get 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent which can be worth much more than 5% cash. For $1,500 in spending per quarter you will earn at least 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points (7,500 points per quarter at 5 points per dollar spent).
I say at least because if you have a Chase checking account active by December you’ll get a 10% bonus on all points earned that year. So if you spend the $1,500 per quarter and have Chase checking you will earn 33,000 points per year, or 5.5 points per dollar. You’ll also earn 1.1 points per dollar on all other purchases that you make.
If you and your spouse only has a Freedom card you won’t be able to transfer points to airlines and hotels. However if you or your spouse has a Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, or Ink Bold card (or will get one in the future) 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 5 point categories for the rest of 2014 are as follows:
Q2: Restaurants and Lowe’s.
Q3: Gas stations and Kohl’s.
Q4: Amazon.com, Zappos.com, and Department stores.
So go out to eat from now until June 30th and you’ll earn a whopping 5 or 5.5 points per dollar spent. Buy a gift card from your favorite eatery to lock in savings.
Or buy gift cards from Lowe’s. See this post for gift cards that they sell for all kinds of other stores where you’ll be able to earn 5 or 5.5 points per dollar.
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)