Chase Freedom bonus categories are the types of purchases on which cardholders earn 5% cash back, up to $1,500 spent each quarter, instead of the regular 1% cash back rate. It is possible to earn as much as $300 in rewards per year by spending up to $6,000 in the Chase Freedom bonus categories. Spending that much on other types of purchases would get you just $60. The 5% cash back categories change each quarter.
Chase Freedom bonus categories can be purchases at specific retailers or a particular type of merchant. There can be more than one bonus category per quarter, too. The Chase Freedom bonus categories for April - June 2019 are grocery stores (excluding Walmart and Target) and home improvement stores. No further categories have been announced yet, but you can check Chase’s calendar for updates. In the first quarter of 2019, the Chase Freedom bonus categories were gas stations, tolls and drugstores.
The downside to Chase Freedom’s bonus categories is that you have to activate the new ones every quarter. The good news is it’s pretty easy to do. You can activate your Freedom card’s bonus categories online, by email, by phone or at any Chase Bank location. Plus, cardholders with Chase checking accounts can activate through an ATM. As long as you activate by the end of the quarter, you’ll get 5% back for all qualifying purchases retroactively.
The categories can have exclusions. For example, 5% back on gas station purchases doesn’t apply to places that don’t specialize in fueling cars, like a boat marina. Plus, earning rewards will depend on how a merchant is categorized, which isn’t under Chase’s control.
Well, right now it's gas stations, internet, cable, phone services and mobile wallet purchases up until March, but they haven't announced the other categories yet. The advantage of spending money in them is that you get 5% cash back.
To get Chase Freedom’s 5% cash back rate, go to the Chase Freedom 5% activation page and enter your name, the last 4 digits of your card number and your zip code. You will need to activate new 5% categories for Freedom every quarter to get the bonus rate.
Chase Freedom cardholders get 5% cash back on the first $1,500 spent per quarter in select purchase categories. Purchases that exceed the $1,500 quarterly limit will earn 1% cash back. The current Chase Freedom 5% categories (for Q3 2019) are grocery stores and home improvement stores. Purchases at big box stores like Walmart and Target are not eligible. Chase has not announced the next quarter’s categories yet, but you can always check the Chase Freedom 5% … read full answercalendar for updates. You can activate an upcoming quarter’s bonus categories on the 15th of the month before it starts.
Purchases that do not qualify for the 5% cash back bonus earn 1% cash back. If you spend up to the $1,500 limit, the Chase Freedom 5% cash back categories can save you $75 every quarter. Just make sure to always activate the new bonus categories, or your eligible purchases will earn only 1%. If you’re worried you’ll forget, Chase makes it easy to set up activation reminder messages and calendar alerts.
The best Chase credit card signup bonus is Sapphire Preferred’s 60,000 points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. Those bonus points are worth $750 in travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards. That’s the equivalent of nearly 19% back, making it Chase’s most efficient bonus. It pays for the Preferred card’s … read full answer$95 annual fee for more than 7 years.
If you’re a business owner, you’ll get the most signup points from the Ink Business Preferred Card. It offers a bonus of 80,000 points, worth $1,000 in Chase travel, for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months. That pays for the $95 annual fee for 10 years.
Another big Chase credit card signup bonus is the IHG Rewards Club Premier card’s 80,000 points for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months. It also gives an additional 40,000 points for spending $5,000 in the first 6 months.
Best Chase credit card signup bonus offers:
Ink Business Preferred: 80,000 points for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months, worth $1,000 in travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards (25% extra value). $95 annual fee. Requires good credit.
IHG Rewards Club Premier: 80,000 points for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months. 40,000 more for spending $5,000 in the first 6 months. $89 annual fee. Requires good credit.
Chase Sapphire Preferred: 60,000 points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months – worth $750 in travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards (25% extra value). $95 annual fee. Requires excellent credit.
Chase Sapphire Reserve: 50,000 points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months – worth $750 in travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards (50% extra value). $450 annual fee. Requires excellent credit.
IHG Rewards Club Traveler: 60,000 points for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months – worth $600 in travel. None annual fee. Requires good credit.
Chase Freedom: $150 cash back when you spend $500 in the first 3 months. $0 annual fee. Requires excellent credit.
Chase Freedom Unlimited: 3% cash back on the first $20,000 spent the first year; unlimited 1.5% back after. $0 annual fee. Requires excellent credit.
As you can see, many of these cards have annual fees. But by taking advantage of their initial bonuses and extra benefits, you should be able to more than make up for that.
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