Editor’s Note: This post was written in 2016 and does not reflect current credit card offers.

If you enjoy eating out, you won’t want to miss out on this quarter’s bonus category with your Chase Freedom® Card. From July until the end of September 2016, you’ll earn 5% cash back on your first $1,500 in restaurant purchases. Score! 

Besides that, Christmas is coming up… and your Chase Freedom Card can help you save. From October through December, you’ll earn 5% cash back on your holiday shopping. That includes department stores and Amazon.com. Bam! Savings!

As if that weren’t enough, you’ll also earn a cool $150 cash back just by signing up for the card and using it for $500 in purchases within the first three months. If you’re smart, you’ll use if for groceries, pay that baby off, and earn some (basically) free money.

Meanwhile, the Chase Freedom® Card offers 1% cash back on all purchases as well and comes with no annual fee to boot. So, if you like free stuff, this is where it’s at. Here are some more details to consider:

Chase Freedom® Card

Highlights:

  • $150 signup bonus for spending $500 in three months
  • 5x cash back on categories that rotate each quarter
  • 0% APR for 15 months on balance transfers and purchases (subject to balance transfer fee)
  • Annual fee: None

If you already have the Chase Freedom® Card, make sure you activate the 5% cash back bonus category through your online account management page. You can also do it here.

And in case you’re wondering, the rest of the bonus categories for this year are:

  • July – September 2016: Restaurants and More
  • October – December 2016: Holiday Shopping

How to Maximize the Chase Freedom® Card

While I think earning cash back is an extremely smart idea – and especially smart on purchases you planned to make anyway, I must admit that this card is most powerful when paired with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. By signing up for both cards, you have the ability to transfer points from your Freedom card to your Chase Sapphire Preferred® account for utmost flexibility. Once transferred, your points can be sent to some of my favorite loyalty programs at a 1:1 ratio, including Southwest Airlines, Marriott, IHG Rewards, and British Airways. Plus, you can use it to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal with a 20% discount.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is also offering a stellar signup bonus right now, which makes it the perfect time to sign up. Some details to check out:

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Highlights:

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. Those points are worth $750 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Earn 2X points on travel and dining plus 1X points on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees, plus EMV chip technology
  • 1:1 point transfers to top hotel and airline loyalty programs
  • $95 annual fee

Want 6% Back at the Grocery Store? Consider This Card Instead

While I’m a huge Chase enthusiast and love Chase cards above all others, I am pretty obsessed with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. By signing up for this card, you’ll earn 6% cash back on your first $6,000 in grocery spending each year, plus a $200 statement credit to boot after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. In addition, you’ll earn 3% back at gas stations and 1% back on all other purchases.

Since maxing out the grocery benefit is worth $360 alone, I peg this card’s value at $560 for the first year – and that’s if you use it for almost nothing else. The only downside to this card is that it does charge a $95 annual fee. It’s still totally worth it, but it’s always worth pointing that out. The details:

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Expressblue cash preferred amex

Highlights: 

  • Earn 6% cash back at U.S. grocery stores, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and 1% cash back on other spending
  • $200 statement credit when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Introductory 0% APR for first 12 months on balance transfers and purchases (subject to balance transfer fee)
  • Annual fee: $95



The Bottom Line

If you’re going to spend a ton of cash at the grocery store, you might as well earn something in the process. With any of the cards on this page, you can earn Use your Chase Freedom card to get 5% cash back rewards on rotating categories each quarter. Right now, you can earn 5% cash back on groceries. Here's how!hundreds of dollars in cash for purchases you planned to make anyway.

The key to making this work is using your card only for planned purchases, paying it off every month, and avoiding credit card interest like the plague. Free cash and travel is awesome by using some of the best travel rewards credit cards, but credit card interest really sucks. Don’t fall into the trap of spending more than you can afford. Instead, pursue credit card rewards with a plan – and a goal – in mind.

What is your favorite card to use at the grocery store? Do you have the Chase Freedom?