Chase Freedom is offering 5x Ultimate Rewards at gas stations and Kohl’s stores from July 1 – September 30, 2015. You must activate those category bonuses, and you can do so now.
(It’s too late to activate the 5x at restaurants that runs through June 30, but if you registered for that this quarter, you still have time to maximize it. 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 Cash 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 in one click.
Redeeming Ultimate Rewards
Freedom earns non-transferable (to airlines or hotels) Ultimate Rewards that can be redeemed for 1 cent 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 chase.com account.
1. Sign into chase.com and click on the Ultimate Rewards balance on the right side of your screen.
2.Click Manage Ultimate Rewards and Combine Points.
3. Enter your other card’s credit card number, and how many points you want to transfer.
From your Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold, or Ink Plus account, you can transfer to United, Hyatt, Southwest, and many more airlines and hotels.
Transferring points should allow you to get far more than 1 cent per point of value.
Current 20k Sign Up Bonus
Until Wednesday June 24, the Freedom comes with a 20,000 Ultimate Rewards sign up bonus after spending $500 in the first three months. Normally the Freedom comes with a 10,000 Ultimate Rewards sign up bonus after spending $500 in the first three months.
Chase markets the bonus as $200, but you get 20,000 Ultimate Rewards that you can redeem for $200 or transfer to Sapphire Preferred and Ink Plus to transfer to airlines and hotels.
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 a Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ 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.