The Chase Freedom Card is one of my favorite cards on the market. For those of us who aren’t spending a ton of money every year, it’s an easy way to rack up a ton of Ultimate Rewards.
The Important Stuff
- Earn $150 bonus after spending $500 in 3 months of being approved for the card. (15,000 points when transferred to a Chase Sapphire card)
- No annual fee
- 5% back on quarterly bonus categories, 1% back on every other purchase
- Cash back can transfer to Ultimate Rewards if you have a Chase Sapphire card
- NerdWallet suggests a needed credit score above 690 to be approved for this card
Who should get this card?
- has good credit and is looking for a starter travel rewards card.
- is looking for a card with no annual fee.
- already has the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve.
- wants to start working toward earning points redeemable for travel but doesn’t want to think about which card to use.
Like I mentioned above, the Chase Freedom card is one of my absolute favorites. Not only does it not have an annual fee, but it also allows for great Ultimate Rewards earning potential through it’s category bonuses every quarter. Card holders can get 5% back for the first $1,500 each quarter for certain categories. See the most recent category calendar below:
I only use this card for the bonus categories. For example, in 2018 (above diagram), I only used this card in the first quarter to pay for my gas, phone and internet bills, and then anywhere where I could pay with Apple Pay. If I could’ve used Google Pay, Chase Pay or Samsung Pay, I would’ve used it for that too. For 2Q, it was only used at grocery stores. For 3Q, I used it for gas stations, Lyft and Walgreens. You get where I’m going with this – only use it for the bonus categories.
If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve card, it’s a no brainer to get the Chase Freedom as well. Not only will you be one step closer to holding the Chase Trifecta. I’m always a fan of valuable cards that don’t have an annual fee. I can keep this card forever, increasing my average age of credit which will improve my credit score.
I never come close to the $1,500 a quarter, so it does not typically restrict me. If you did max out the spend per quarter on this card, it would be worth 24,000 Ultimate Rewards at the end of the year. From time to time, Chase will add in additional bonuses throughout the year. I doubt we’ll ever see it again, but in fourth quarter of 2015, the Freedom card game back 10% cash back at Amazon.com. It was not only perfect for the holiday gift-buying season, but I also loaded up on household supplies such as toilet paper and paper towels to max it out!
How to earn and redeem
As we mentioned above, the Chase Freedom card is a cash-back card. Only when it is paired with the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserved can you earn Ultimate Rewards. This card is most useful for the category bonuses every quarter since you will get 5% cash back. It’s best to pair this with the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, so you can earn 1.5% back on everything else!
The Chase Trifecta
The Chase Trifecta is an important and powerful key to earning Ultimate Rewards. Pairing the Freedom with a Sapphire card with one or both of the Freedom or Freedom Unlimited Card is even more powerful. The Freedom (5x on quarterly rotating categories) and Freedom Unlimited (1.5x on every purchase) are both cash-back cards. However, when a cardholder has a Chase Sapphire card, the cash back credits can transfer to become Ultimate Rewards.
This card isn’t the best card on the market, but for those of us who are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, it’s an easy way to earn points through the 5% bonus categories. And, because it doesn’t carry an annual fee, you will get value out of it and can keep it forever!