Update: If you signed up for the Chase Freedom Flex when it launched with an intro offer of 5% back on $12,000 of groceries in your first year, you can stack that offer with Q3’s grocery bonus! As both offers are actually 4 bonus points per dollar on top of the 1 base point, you will earn an effective 9 points per dollar on up to $1,500 of grocery purchases during Q3 broken down as 1 base point, 4 bonus points for the Q3 bonus, and 4 bonus points for the new cardmember bonus!
Chase Freedom Flex and Freedom are excellent no annual fee cards thanks to their quarterly 5% categories. You can read about the differences between those cards here. 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.
If you max out the $1,500 in bonus spending per quarter you will earn at least 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points over the course of a year (7,500 points per quarter at 5 points per dollar spent). My wife and I have 6 Freedom cards, which makes it all the more lucrative!
From 7/2-9/30, Chase Freedom Flex, Freedom, and Freedom Unlimited cardholders will be able to use Chase Pay Yourself Back to offset up to $250 in dining purchases at a value of 1.1 cents per point. That’s on top of the 3 points per dollar that you earn on dining with the Chase Freedom Flex or Freedom Unlimited cards.
A great feature of the program is that you keep the original points that the purchase earned, even though you paid yourself back for the purchase. That means your points will be worth more than 1.1 cents each!
In other words, if you spend $250 on dining, you can use 22,727 points to offset that purchase and make it free. Plus, you’ll still earn the 750 points for dining, so you effectively used 21,977 points to offset the purchase. That means your points were actually worth 1.14 cents each!
- Grocery stores. This includes large grocery chains and small local grocery stores. These stores sell gift cards to other stores as well. You can lookup how a store is categorized here.
- Select streaming services, including Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, Netflix, Sling, Vudu, Fubo TV, Apple Music, SiriusXM, Pandora, Spotify and YouTube TV.
Multiple readers report that Bingo Wholesale stores now code as grocery stores. If you try using them in July, post a comment to let us know if they earn 5 points per dollar!
You still can finish Q2 spending through 6/30 at:
- Gas stations: This includes most 7-Eleven stores and gas stations that sell gift cards for other stores as well. You can lookup how a store is categorized here. My local GetGo gas stations earn sweet rewards on gift card purchases, making this quarter even more lucrative.
- Home Improvement stores. This includes large chains like Home Depot and Lowe’s and smaller home improvement stores. These stores sell gift cards to other stores as well.
You can check your current 5% earnings here by clicking on “Your Dashboard.”
You can currently earn a $200 signup bonus in the form of 20,000 Ultimate Rewards points for spending $500 on the Freedom Flex Mastercard. Plus you’ll earn 3 points per dollar on drugstore and dining purchases and 5 points per dollar on all Travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Read more about the Freedom Flex card here.
While Chase Freedom Flex is a great card for the bonus categories, it’s not a great card for everyday spending. However the Chase Freedom Unlimited card also has no annual fee and the same signup bonus, plus it’s excellent for everyday spending thanks to 1.5 points per dollar that can be earned everywhere with no limit, though it doesn’t have rotating 5x categories. You’ll also earn 3 points per dollar on drugstore and dining purchases and 5 points per dollar on all Travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Read more about the Freedom Unlimited card here.
The no annual fee business version of Freedom Unlimited is the Chase Ink Unlimited Card, which offers $750 in the form of 75,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $7,500 within 3 months plus 1.5 points per dollar spent. Read more about the Ink Unlimited card here.
Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, and Ink Unlimited alone can’t transfer points into much more lucrative airline or hotel miles, but if you or your spouse has an Ink Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or Sapphire Preferred, or card then you can transfer points from Freedom to one of those cards and from there to your favorite travel currency. Those cards also allow you to redeem your points for paid travel or other select consumer categories and business categories at a value of 1.25 or 1.5 cents per point. The Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, or Ink Unlimited card can also keep your points alive for free if you do close one of those premium cards.
The value of the points will be based on where you use them, but if you use those points for a trip worth where they are worth 2 cents each then you’ll have effectively earned 10% back on those “5 point categories.” The sky is the limit of the value of airline miles as they aren’t tied to the cost of a ticket. That’s good for people in the know and bad for those who are not. 1 mile can be worth 0.25 cents or it can be worth 25 cents, it all just depends on how you use them!
Where will you make your Q2 and Q3 purchases?