Once the king of cash back credit cards, the Chase Freedom® Card still has a lot to offer. Cash back enthusiasts love this card’s earnings structure – which can lead to huge cash back savings in certain categories. Plus, it’s got an easy to earn signup bonus, making it attractive to those looking for a quick buck.
Even though Chase has a new unlimited cash back version of this card, the Chase Freedom® Card remains a great card to have. The points you earn can be used as true cash back, or pair it with a premium travel card from Chase to combine points and get access to great travel deals. I’ve had mine for years, and it continues to occupy a spot in my wallet!
Chase Freedom® Card Highlights
Before we dig into the details, here’s a quick overview of some of the Chase Freedom® Card’s best features:
- Easy to Earn Signup Bonus: You’ll earn a $150 signup bonus for spending only $500 in 3 months! That alone makes this card worth considering.
- 5% Cash Back on Rotating Categories: Earn 5% cash back for spending on rotating categories every quarter. Keep in mind, the 5% cash back is capped at $1,500 in combined purchases.
- Unlimited Cash Back on Everyday Spending: Earn an additional 1% cash back on all other purchases.
- Introductory 0% APR: This card is also a good card for balance transfers. Enjoy an introductory 0% APR on all purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months.
- Rewards Don’t Expire: Provided you keep your card open, your cash back rewards will not expire.
- No Annual Fee: Unlike some premium credit cards, the Chase Freedom® Card does not charge an annual fee.
Where It Shines
It’s not a fluke that people love their Chase Freedom® Cards, starting with the signup bonus. Getting $150 for spending just $500 in the first 3 months is easy money. When it comes to signup bonuses, it doesn’t get any simpler than that. Plus, the card offers a nifty 0% APR for the first 15 months on both balance transfers and purchases. So far, so good!
Let’s talk a little about the cash back earnings. For starters, you earn an unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases, regardless of category. Chase sweetens the pot by offering 5% cash back on rotating categories each quarter. This is subject to a cap at $1,500 in combined spending. Redeem your rewards for “true” cash back, use them for gift cards, or turn them in for purchases made through Amazon.com. Your points never expire as long as your account stays open; plus, there’s no annual fee, so it won’t cost you to keep the card.
So, what are these rotating categories? Here’s where you can earn 5% cash back in 2016:
- January through March – Gas Stations, Local Commuter Transportation
- April through June – Grocery Stores
- July through September – Restaurants and More
- October through December – Holiday Shopping
All pretty practical things that you’re going to spend money on anyway, right? Use your Chase Freedom® Card and take advantage of the 5% cash back!
Tips for Getting the Most From Your Card
The Chase Freedom® Card is a pretty great card on it’s own, but it becomes even more powerful when you pair it with one of Chase’s premium travel cards. If you hold either the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Ink Plus® for Business, you gain access to the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal. There, you can make your points go even further by transferring them to take advantage of tons of awesome travel deals.
With the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you’ll also earn additional points where the Chase Freedom® falls short. For instance, you can earn an unlimited 2X points on restaurants and travel. So, as long as restaurants aren’t available for the 5% bonus, you’ll earn more points with the Sapphire Preferred® when you go out to eat. Plus, the card offers a 50,000 point signup bonus after spending $4K in 3 months. Use those points on $500 in gift cards or $625 in travel through the Chase portal. Read our complete review.
What You May Not Like
The Chase Freedom Card® is a great cash back card to have, but it isn’t right for every situation. Here are a few of its drawbacks:
- Not Great for Travel: Although the cash back on the card can be used to cover incidental expenses, the Chase Freedom® Card is not a great travel card on its own. Pairing it with cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® or Ink Plus® for Business, however, allows you to use your points through the Chase travel portal.
- More Cashback with Other Cards: Some cards offer a larger cash back amount for everyday spending than the Chase Freedom® Card. For instance, the Chase Freedom® Unlimited Card offers 1.5X cash back on all purchases, regardless of category. The Discover it® Cashback Match doubles your cash back the first year, so you’ll again earn more on everyday spending.
Alternatives to the Chase Freedom® Card
One of the biggest advantages of the Chase Freedom® Card is the cash back you can earn, particularly through the 5% rotating categories. However, for everyday spending, there are other alternatives that earn more.
If you like the additional cash back you can earn through rotating categories, one alternative to consider is the Discover it® Cashback Match. With this card, you’ll still enjoy 5% cash back on rotating quarterly bonus categories. again limited to the first $1,500 in combined purchases. You’ll also earn an unlimited 1% cash back on everything else. And while there is no signup bonus available, Discover will double your cash back after your first year. So, if you earn just $100 in cash back, you’ll more than make up for the signup bonus you missed out on with the Chase Freedom® Card. Learn how you can get your Discover it® Cashback Match card here.
With 5% cash back on rotating categories, unlimited 1% cash back everyday spending, and a $150 dollar signup bonus, the Chase Freedom® Card is definitely one to consider. There’s no annual fee and it has an intro APR of 0%, good for all purchases and balance transfers. Plus, pairing the card with premium Chase cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® allows you to use your points for great travel benefits as well. I’ve had mine for years, and plan to keep it for many more.