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The Chase Freedom® has long been considered one of the most popular cash-back credit cards on the market — and for good reason. This cash-back credit card lets you earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter! Plus, you can earn unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases. This card allows you to earn a $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. The best part is, the Chase Freedom® doesn’t charge an annual fee, meaning you can earn these rewards for free.
Another reason the Chase Freedom® is a wallet mainstay for consumers is the many, many ways you can redeem your rewards. Like all Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards, the Chase Freedom® lets you cash in your points for statement credits and gift cards. You also have the option to redeem points for merchandise ordered through Amazon.com or for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
Also note that carrying the Chase Freedom® can pay off even more if you also carry a premier Chase travel credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Since Chase lets you combine points in one account, having the Chase Freedom® lets you maximize points on the earning side then transfer them to a Chase travel card for premier travel redemption's and transfers to airlines and hotels.
Chase Freedom® 2019 Categories
While the benefits we’ve listed are important, there’s another reason to pick up the Chase Freedom® this year if you don’t have it already. With this card, you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases from department stores and purchases made using PayPayl or Chase Pay® from October through December 2019. You will need to activate this offer by December 14th, 2019.
Since you earn 5% cash back on your first $1,500 spent in this category from October through December 2019, this card can be especially fruitful if you spend a ton of money on transportation or use toll roads frequently. This category is also a winner for people who shop at drugstores like CVS and Walgreens often enough to max it out.
Chase hasn’t released its categories for the year 2020 quite yet, but they are usually common ones most people use. In the past, for example, Chase Freedom® bonus categories have included gas stations, grocery stores, dining out, movie theaters, and wholesale clubs.
If you’re considering the Chase Freedom® for your rewards game in 2019, the chart below explains which categories offer 5% cash back each quarter on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in that quarter's bonus categories.
||Chase Freedom® 5% Cash-Back Category
|January – March
||Gas Stations, Tolls, and Drugstores
|April – June
||Grocery Stores (not including Walmart® and Target® Purchases) and Home Improvement Stores
|July – September
||Gas Sations and Select Streaming Services
|October – December
||Department Stores and all Purchases made using PayPayl or Chase Pay®
Consider This Rewards Strategy to Rack Up More Cash-Back
Since the Chase Freedom® offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate, as well as unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases, it's not hard to choose if this card is right for you. Choosing this card can help you earn more cash back rewards if you activate this card’s 5% cash back category.
For the first quarter of 2019 (January through March), for example, the Chase Freedom® card offers 5% cash back for gas station, toll, and drugstore spending (activation period closed for this offer). You could strategize your spending to make the most of each card’s categories, thus racking up more cashback over time.
Another strategy is picking up a card that offers a flat rate of rewards on everything you buy. That way, you’re never in a position where you’re earning only 1% back on regular purchases. One solid example is the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card, since it offers 1.5% cash back on on all purchases, without a limit. This card also comes without an annual fee and offers the same redemption options as the Chase Freedom®. With this card, you can also earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
The Bottom Line
If you’re in the market for a new cash-back credit card, cards that offer 5% back in rotating bonus categories are a solid choice. However, there are plenty of other cash-back credit cards to consider, including flat-rate rewards cards and cards that offer up to 5% back in specific categories all year long.
Make sure to compare cash-back credit cards and their details before you pull the trigger. The right rewards card for you is out there, but it’s up to you to find it.
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