Chase Freedom is offering 5x Ultimate Rewards at gas stations and Kohl’s stores from July 1 – September 30, 2014. You must activate those category bonuses, and you can do so now.

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(It’s too late to activate the 5x at restaurants that runs through June 30. If you haven’t hit $1,500 in restaurant spending yet, buy some gift certificates to your favorite places.)

The Freedom markets itself as a cash back card, but it actually earns Ultimate Rewards that do NOT transfer to airline or hotel partners like United and Hyatt. You can, however, transfer the Freedom’s Ultimate Rewards to your Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, or Ink Bold account or your spouse’s. From there, you can transfer the Ultimate Rewards to a dozen incredible airline and hotel partners.

Each quarter, you can earn 5x Ultimate Rewards per dollar on your first $1,500 in the bonus categories as long you register your Freedom card. Max out the $1,500 each quarter, and you’ll earn 30,000 Ultimate Rewards in a year.

That’s on top of the current sign up bonus of 20,000 Ultimate Rewards after spending $500 in three months on the card.

  • How can you register for the Freedom 5x categories?
  • How can you indirectly transfer the Freedom’s Ultimate Rewards to airline miles and hotel points?
  • Why is transferring the points more valuable than cash back?
  • Who are the Ultimate Rewards partners?

Activating the 5x Back

Chase sent out emails that allow cardholders to activate with one click. If you can’t find yours, you can activate your third quarter bonus here.

Redeeming Ultimate Rewards

Freedom earns non-transferable (to airlines or hotels) Ultimate Rewards that can be redeemed for 1% cash back, so 5x Ultimate Rewards is 5% cash back. If you planned to redeem your Ultimate Rewards that way, I am so glad you are reading this post.

Do not redeem your Ultimate Rewards for cash back!

Instead transfer your Freedom’s Ultimate Rewards to your Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold, or Ink Plus account inside your account.

1. Sign into and click on the Ultimate Rewards balance on the right side of your screen.

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I’m at zero because I already transferred!

2.Click Manage Ultimate Rewards and Combine Points.

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3. Enter your other card’s credit card number, and how many points you want to transfer.

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From your Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold, or Ink Plus account, you can transfer to United, Hyatt, Southwest, and many more airlines and hotels.

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Transferring points should allow you to get far more than 1 cent per point of value.

Bottom Line

 The bottom line is that the Freedom’s 5x rotating categories are some of the best category bonuses on the market, and I always try to max out my $1,500 in spending per quarter.

Sure I’d rather put non-bonused spending on an Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® or Starwood Preferred Guest Credit card, but you cannot beat 30,000 Ultimate Rewards per year from 5x category bonuses and a current 20,000 Ultimate Rewards sign up bonus after spending $500 in the first three three months.


Earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points after you spend $4,000 spend in 3 months

Just getting started in the world of points and miles? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for you to start with.

With a bonus of 60,000 points after $4,000 spend in the first 3 months and 2x points earned on dining and travel spend, this card truly cannot be beat for getting started!

Learn More

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