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 (October 1, 2019 – December 31, 2019), the Chase Freedom 5% categories are Department Stores, PayPal and Chase Pay.
Chase provides some clarification on what is included or excluded in each category.
• Department stores: Here is a list of merchants included and merchants not included in the Department Store category. Purchases made on a merchants website are included. The Department Store category does not include supercenters, discount stores, or specialty stores (i.e. stores that sell primarily one line of products such as shoe stores, pet stores, electronics stores, clothing stores) except for purchases made with these merchants using Chase Pay (a 5% category). If a merchant is not on the list, you will not earn bonus rewards. Department Store gift card purchases outside of the specific Department Store are excluded and will not earn bonus rewards.
• PayPal: Includes transactions made using your Chase Freedom card with PayPal for purchases or sending money. Purchases made using PayPal at merchants in the current 5% quarterly categories will be awarded a total of 5% Cash Back rewards on up to $1,500 in combined purchases. When you send money to Friends & Family via PayPal using your Chase Freedom card, standard transaction fees apply. See PayPal’s fees. Payments made through the Xoom transfer service are not eligible for 5%. Must have/open a PayPal account to send and receive money.
• Chase Pay: Includes purchases made using your Freedom card with your Chase Pay digital wallet during check out. Eligible purchases only qualify for a total of 5% Cash Back rewards; purchases using Chase Pay at other current 5% quarterly categories will be awarded a total of 5% Cash Back rewards on up to $1500 in combined purchases. Here is a list of places where Chase Pay is accepted.
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 department stores, PayPal and Chase Pay 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 4th quarter of 2019 has already started and ends on December 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 department stores this quarter, you can maximize the bonus by paying using Chase Pay or PayPal when that is an option.
Overview of the Chase Freedom Credit Card
For anyone not familiar with this card, the Chase Freedom 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.
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.