Once the undisputed king of cash back credit cards, the Chase Freedom Card still has a lot to offer.
Cash back enthusiasts love the 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 now has an 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 you can pair it with a premium travel card from Chase to combine points and get access to great travel deals through Chase Ultimate Rewards. 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.
As far as cash back cards go, this one is nothing to shake a stick at. The easy to earn signup bonus combined with the 5% cash back on rotating categories makes it one to consider.
Where It Shines
It’s not a fluke that people love their Chase Freedom Cards, and it starts 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!
Now, 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.
You can 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.
Chase Freedom Card Categories for 2018
So, what are these rotating categories? Here’s where you can earn 5% cash back in 2018:
- January through March – Gas Stations, Internet/Cable/Phone Services, Chase Pay/Apple Pay/Google Pay/Samsung Pay
- April through June – Grocery Stores, Paypal, Chase Pay
- July through September – Gas Stations, Lyft, Walgreens
- October through December – Department Stores, Wholesale Clubs, Chase Pay
To take advantage of the 5% cash back, remember that you need to “activate” your card each quarter.
These are 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 its own, but it becomes even more powerful when you pair it with one of Chase’s premium travel cards.
Although you earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points with the Freedom Card, you can not transfer those points to any of Chase’s loyalty program partners. However, if you hold either the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, you can make your points go even further by accessing 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.
Honestly, this is my favorite credit card across all categories. I highly recommend you check it out.
What You May Not Like
The Chase Freedom Card is a superb 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 Business Preferred, however, allows you to get better travel redemptions through the Chase travel portal and transfer points to partner programs.
- More Cash Back 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.
Alternatives to the Chase Freedom Card
One of the biggest advantages of the Chase Freedom Card is the 5% cash back you can earn on rotating categories. However, for everyday spending, there are other alternatives that earn more.
As I mentioned above, the Chase Freedom Unlimited offers an unlimited 1.5X cash back on all purchases. Like its sister card, it also offers the same $150 signup bonus when you spend just $500 in the first 3 months AND 0% APR on balance transfers for the first 15 months. So, if you are spending outside of the 5% cash back quarterly bonus categories offered by the Chase Freedom (or you’ve hit your $1,500 combined purchased cap), this card may be a better fit.
The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express is another solid alternative. This card offers 3% cash back at grocery stores (up to $6,000 in purchases per year), 2% cash back at gas stations and select department stores, plus 1% cash back on everything else. You’ll also be eligible for a $150 welcome offer when you spend at least $1,000 in the first 3 months. There is also no annual fee to worry about. Compare this card to other cash back cards here.
With 5% cash back on rotating categories, unlimited 1% cash back on everyday spending, and a $150 signup bonus, the Chase Freedom Card is definitely one to consider. There’s also 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 get some great travel benefits as well.
So, if you’re looking for a great cash back card, the Chase Freedom Card should definitely be on your radar. I’ve had mine for years, and plan to keep it for many more.
Thanks so much for reading, and feel free to drop any comments or questions below!