Today is also the first day of a new quarter and a new set of 5 percent categories for the Chase Freedom card (one of my favorite credit cards). Although the Chase Freedom is technically a cash back card, if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Ink Business Preferred or Ink Plus card you can transfer points from your Freedom account into one of those accounts and then can transfer those points to various Chase travel partners.
This quarter (April 1, 2019 – June 30, 2019), the Chase Freedom 5% categories are Grocery Stores (not including Walmart and Target Purchases) and Home Improvement Stores.
Chase provides some clarification on what is included or excluded in each category.
• Grocery stores: Merchants in the Chase Freedom Grocery stores category that does not include Walmart® and Target® purchases, includes supermarkets as well as smaller grocery stores. Please note that some merchants that sell grocery items are not included in this category; for example, larger stores that sell a wide variety of goods, such as Target®, Walmart®, discount stores, warehouse clubs, and some smaller merchants such as drugstores and merchants that specialize in only a few grocery items. In addition, please note that purchases made at gas stations operated by merchants who also operate grocery stores are not included in this category.
• Home Improvement Stores: Merchants in the home improvement stores category specialize in selling a variety of home improvement supplies, from larger home improvement stores to smaller hardware stores. Please note that some larger merchants that sell a wide variety of general goods which may include home improvement supplies, for example, warehouse clubs, discount stores, or grocery stores, are not included in this category. Also, merchants that specialize in home furnishings, garden and landscaping supplies are not included.
The 5% only applies to the first $1,500 spent on combined purchases each quarter. This means if you spend $1,500 on a combination of grocery stores and home improvement stores this quarter you will receive a total of 7,500 points (1,500 plus a bonus of 6,000 points).
Don’t Forget to Activate
Please note, that in order to earn the 5% you must activate the offer each quarter (by text, email or other methods). If you have a Chase Freedom and have signed up for email reminders you should have already received an email asking you to activate this quarter’s categories. If you have not yet activated the 5% for this quarter, you can register now or any time during the registration period and earn the full 5% for the entire quarter retroactively. Registration for this 2nd quarter of 2019 has already started and ended on June 14, 2019.
How to Maximize the 5% Bonus
This is a pretty easy quarter to maximize the bonus. If you were not planning on spending a total of $1,500 on your Chase Freedom on grocery stores and home improvement stores this quarter, you can maximize the bonus by buying gift cards at grocery stores and home improvement stores.
Overview of the Chase Freedom Credit Card
For anyone not familiar with this card, the Chase Freedom credit card is a great no annual fee card that earns you points that can be indirectly transferred to frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs. Chase Freedom is technically a cash back card only and points earned using the Chase Freedom cannot be directly transferred to airlines and hotel programs. However, if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Ink Business Preferred or Ink Plus card you can transfer or combine your points from your Chase Freedom account to one of those cards and then from there to the various Ultimate Rewards travel partners. See related post How To Combine or Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Between Accounts.
While the Chase Freedom® normally offers 1% cash back on all purchases, every quarter there are certain bonus categories for which you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in bonus categories each quarter. This means if you spend the full $1,500 each quarter in those 5 percent categories you can earn a total of 30,000 points a year (6,000 points + extra 24,000 bonus points).
The 5 cash back categories vary each year. You have to register each quarter for the bonus and then you can earn the 5% on up to $1,500 on purchases for that quarter.
The Chase Freedom® card is currently offering a signup bonus of 15,000 bonus points (which can be redeemed for $150 cash back) after you spend $500 in your first 3 months from account opening.
If you already have the Chase Freedom you are currently able to earn $50 for referring the Chase Freedom to friends/family using Chase refer-a-friend.