Chase Freedom is an excellent no annual fee card thanks to its quarterly 5% categories. 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 over the course of a year (7,500 points per quarter at 5 points per dollar spent).
For a limited time only the signup bonus is increased to $150 for spending $500 in 3 months plus $25 for adding an additional user and making a purchase. Those actually come in the form of 17,500 points that can be used for $175 cash back, but would be put to better use if used as airline miles.
2016 bonus categories:
Q1: Gas stations and local commuter transportation
Q2: Grocery stores and more to be announced.
Q3: Restaurants and more to be announced.
Q4: Holiday shopping (Likely Amazon.com and more to be announced)
You can earn 5 points per dollar on up to $1,500 in spending at gas stations between 01/01-03/31. You can buy gift cards to other stores at gas stations as well.
Visa counts all 7-Eleven’s as gas stations, even if they don’t sell gas!
You’ll also get 5 points per dollar on local commuter passenger trains, subways, metro, buses, taxis, and ferries.
There are 2 weeks left to finish the special holiday “Q5” spending on Freedom. From 11/23-12/31 you can earn 10 or 11 points per dollar with Chase Freedom at Amazon. That’s 15K points for $1,500 in spending!
Gift cards are a great way to make sure that you take advantage of that and you can use the gift cards for everything that is sold on Amazon at any point in time. Amazon gift cards never expire and allow you to lock in significant savings.
-You can lock in the savings by buying up to a $1,500 gift card with Freedom. Amazon gift cards never expire.
-You can also buy an eGift card that is sent right away.
-Or you can load any amount of funds directly onto your Amazon account here.
-Alternatively you can buy gift cards here from Amazon for lots of other stores as well. Sample gift cards include American Eagle,Express,Forever 21, Hollister, Nordstrom, Southwest, Staples,Starbucks, and Whole Foods
-Lock in savings on future years of Amazon Prime
–These Amazon gift cards come in various denominations and your choice of a free bookmark.
-Want to give the gift card as a present? Have it send in one of these gift boxes:
Amazon Gift Card With Diamond Plate Box
Amazon Gift Card With Black Box
Amazon Gift Card With Red Box
Amazon Gift Card With Brown Box
Amazon Gift Card With Heart Box
Amazon Gift Card With Snowflake Box
Amazon Gift Card With Cupcake Box
Through the end of 2015, the Freedom card also earns a 10% annual point dividend if you have a Chase checking account. The final dividend will be paid out in February 2016 for 2015 purchases. That means for Q5 that you’ll earn an effective 11 points per dollar on purchases from the bonus point categories and you’ll earn an effective 1.1 points per dollar everywhere else.
Freedom alone can’t transfer points into much more lucrative airline/hotel/train currencies, but if you or your spouse has a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus card then you can transfer points from Freedom to one of those cards and from there to your favorite travel currency. You can read at the end of this post which currencies they can transfer to and why those points are much more valuable than just taking cash back. The Freedom card can also keep your points alive for free if you do close one of those 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 20-22% back on those “10 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!