Chase Freedom's 5% Back at Grocery Stores - picture of woman reaching for something in dairy aisle

Don’t Forget Chase Freedom’s 5% Back at Grocery Stores for Q3 2016

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Editor’s Note: This post was written in 2016 and does not reflect current credit card offers. For a list of current information, please see our Chase Freedom Card review or our Chase Freedom Flex Card review.

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 benefits of 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 25% 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
  • $50 annual Chase Ultimate Reward Hotel credit
  • Earn 5X points on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Earn 3X points on dining
  • Earn 2X points on other travel 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.

(Please note: The following offer is no longer valid!)

By signing up for this card, you’ll earn 6% cash back on your first $6,000 in grocery spending each year, plus a $250 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. (See Rates and Fees.) It’s still totally worth it, but it’s always worth pointing that out. The details:

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

(Note: These offers are no longer valid.)

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
  • $250 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 (See Rates and Fees)

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 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?

To see rates and fees for the American Express cards featured, please use the following links: American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card: See Rates and Fees.

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8 Comments

  1. We just sign up for the Sapphire to get the 50k bonus. We have a particular trip in mind. Can you transfer points between card owner, say if between my wife and myself?

  2. We’ve had the Chase Freedom card over 10 years. It’s a great card and always has the most useful 5% cash back out of all the cards we’ve hard over the years (which is why we’ve kept it so long). I had, however forgotten that the quarterly bonus had switched to groceries. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. These rewards are very enticing. As a single person, my expenses are very minimal in general. I don’t spend a whole lot of money on anything really. That’s why I debate whether I need one of these cards. In the future, I’ll probably get a travel rewards card.

  4. I love when Discover runs their quarterly 5% cash back deals. They are pretty smart for forcing you to actually go in and activate it though. I imagine a lot of people don’t take that step and miss out on lots of $.

  5. I have only had the Freedom card since late last year, so I don’t know if this happens every year, but just before Black Friday ’15, Chase upped it to 10 percent cash back on Amazon.com. Good incentive NOT to shop early! I had my money already set aside and stayed within budget to finish my shopping. The cash I earn back I apply towards paying extra on my mortgage. This year, I will hold off and do most of my shopping in late Nov. on in hopes that bonus returns.

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