Credit Card Review: the Chase Freedom Visa Credit Card
How to use the Chase Freedom credit card to earn extra money on your daily purchases
by Paul Diamond Blow
Chase Freedom 5% bonus categories
Each quarter, the Chase Freedom card offers 5% cash back on different, revolving categories including gas, groceries, drug stores, restaurants, travel, and department stores. To get the 5% cash back bonuses each quarter you must sign up for each one, which is easy to do on the Chase Freedom website. A typical quarterly schedule gives the 5% cash back bonus for the following:
January - March: Gas stations, movie theaters, Starbucks stores
April - June: Restaurants, Lowe's home improvement stores
July - September: Gas stations, Kohls stores
October - December: Amazon.com, Zappos.com, select department stores
Chase Freedom Cash Back Boost
With the Chase Freedom rewards credit card, you can also earn an extra 3-10% cash back (on top of the regular 1%) by shopping online using the Chase Cash Back Boost portal. Many popular retailers (such as Macy's, Sears, Best Buy, Walgreens, and scores more) are part of the program, and if you use the Chase Cash Back Boost portal to go to their websites and make purchases with your Chase Freedom card you will earn an extra 3-10% cash back on your purchases. I routinely use my Chase Freedom card to make my online purchases, saving me an extra 4% on average. The Cash Back Boost is definitely worth using.
Earn More with a Chase Bank Account
If you have a Chase bank account you get extra earnings simply by using your Chase Freedom rewards credit card. For instance, you will earn an extra 10 points (or ten cents) for every purchase. That is correct -- you earn ten cents extra cash back, even if the purchase is less than one dollar! For this reason I routinely use my Chase Freedom card for most all my purchases, no matter how small. Also, with a Chase bank account, you will receive an extra 10% bonus on your monthly rewards points. For example, if you earned $10.00 in points in a month, you would receive an extra $1.00 on top of that simply for having a Chase bank account. I personally have a Chase checking account (which comes with an ATM card). The bank account pays no interest itself, but I consider these extra cash back earnings my "interest."
Cashing in your rewards points
Once you have accrued 2000 cash back points (worth $20), you can redeem your points for gift cards, cash (in form of a check), or a statement credit. I most always use my reward points for a statement credit. You can also use your Chase Freedom reward points for purchases on Amazon.com, no matter how many points you have accrued. For example, if you have $4.00 in cash back rewards, you can use that $4.00 toward any purchase on Amazon.com.
$100 sign up bonus
Chase usually offers a sign up bonus of $100 or more for signing up and receiving the Chase Freedom credit card. To get the $100 bonus, you must use your Chase Freedom card for at least $500 in purchases within three months of receiving the card. When I signed up for my Freedom card the offer was for a $150 bonus, and I have seen it as high as $200. The sign up bonus in itself makes getting the Chase Freedom card worth it, and this sign up bonus offer is more generous than what most other credit cards offer.
There you have it! I personally earned over $150 in cash back rewards and bonuses in 2013 just using my Chase Freedom credit card for making my usual purchases. Another bonus of using this credit card for your everyday purchases is you don't have to deal with the small change you get back when paying with cash (I've still got a huge penny collection myself). Of course, if you want to KEEP your cash back money you earn, you need to make sure and pay off your card each month in full and on time to avoid any late fees or interest payments. Happy rewards shopping and tell 'em Paul Diamond Blow sent you!