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December 14, 2019, is the last day to register your Chase Freedom to earn 5x Ultimate Rewards for the past quarter at department stores and via PayPal and Chase Pay. If you max out the potential bonus for the quarter on the Chase Freedom, you’ll earn 7,500 points that can be transferred (circuitously) to Aer Lingus, British Airways, Flying Blue, Iberia, JetBlue, Singapore, Southwest, United, and Virgin Atlantic.

Note that the Freedom is different than the Chase Freedom Unlimited card

The bonus applies to all of October 1 through December 31 you just need to register by next Saturday and your Freedom purchases will earn 5 Ultimate Rewards per dollar spent, even retroactively, on purchases at department stores and every purchase made through Chase Pay or PayPal.

Where You’ll Earn 5x Ultimate Rewards Retroactively From October Through the End of the Year

Department Stores

You can find a list of example merchants that qualify/don’t qualify as a gas stations here.

Purchases from traditional department stores count, like:

  • Belk
  • Dillards
  • Macy’s
  • Nordstrom

Superstores like Walmart or Target do not count.

Chase Pay

Add your Freedom card to your Chase Pay Digital Wallet, set it as your default payment method, and you’ll earn 5x when paying with your Freedom this way. Don’t have an iPhone? I read a data point of a blog commenter who uses Samsung Pay via their Android device. They were able to add Chase Pay as an option this way, and tap to pay most places so as not get to get left out of the 5X earnings.


All you need to do is set your Freedom as the preferred payment method on PayPal, use PayPal checkout when completing an online purchase (no fees and many merchants–with the exception of Amazon–let you do this), and you’ll earn 5x.

Unfortunately at this point associating your Freedom card with your Chase Pya or PayPal wallets won’t enable you to earn 5x points retroactively for Q4, and Q4 is almost over*. But if you have any big purchases you need to make by Saturday, and you can make them through Chase Pay or or PayPal, then associate your Freedom card now and you’ll earn 5x back on up to $1,500 spent.

*That’s not to say that buying a PayPal gift card with your Freedom card wouldn’t trigger the 5x. As far as I know, it would…and this would be the easiest way to max out Q4’s bonus if you haven’t already. You could also then use the PayPal gift card on Amazon purchases, which is a workaround to not being able to use PayPal checkout on Amazon.

Using Gift Cards to Maximize the Freedom’s Category Bonuses

To maximize the quarterly bonuses, you’ll need to spend $1,500 within each three month period. That would get you a total of 30,000 Ultimate Rewards over the course of a year:

($1,500 in purchases x 5 Ultimate Rewards per dollar) x 4 quarters in a year = 30,000 Ultimate Rewards

If you haven’t maximized the third quarter’s potential bonus points yet, there is a work around that enables you to spread out whatever amount of spending you have left do over the course of a more reasonable amount of time– gift cards.

All of the examples of department stores that count for 5x that I gave above sell gift cards.

Nordstrom Rack counts too. And they also sell gift cards. Photo by Ryan McKnight

The same practice of widening the time window you have to maximize category bonuses via gift cards can typically always be applied to the Freedom’s category bonuses, so you ideally you should be maxing out the $1,500 in purchases each quarter for the maximum bonus of 7,500 Ultimate Rewards.

How to Activate the Category Bonuses

Your Freedom card will not automatically start earning 5x Ultimate Rewards each time the quarter changes. You have to you register your card at to activate the category bonuses.

The deadline to activate the 4th Quarter Bonus is SATURDAY, December 14, 2018.

Other Reasons to Get the Chase Freedom

  • You’ll get $150 cash back or 15,000 Ultimate Rewards after spending $500 in the first three months of opening the card
  • 1% Cash back or 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar on all other spending with no limit
  • No Annual Fee

With no annual fee, It’s easy to see why this card is worth signing up for and keeping, to use whenever you’re not meeting minimum spending requirements for new cards. Everyday 1x spending aside, you can earn 45,000 Ultimate rewards just from the sign-up bonus and maximizing the category bonuses each quarter for a year:

15,000 + 30,000 = 45,000

That’s either $450 cash back, or 45,000 Ultimate Rewards transferrable to ten types of airline miles or three different kinds hotel points if you also have a Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred account you can move your points to.

If you are planning on opening the Freedom card and don’t already have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Business Preferred, or Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you should consider opening one to expand your Ultimate Rewards redemption possibilities. Not to mention the current sign-up bonus offers of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards for the Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve and 80,000 Ultimate Rewards for the Ink Business Preferred can take you far.

Bottom Line

Charges on the Chase Freedom card at department stores and purchases made through PayPal or Chase Pay made between October 1 and December 31, 2019, will earn 5% cash back or 5x Ultimate Rewards if you have a Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred. Make sure you register your card here by Saturday if you want to earn 5x points retroactively for this past quarter.