That’s 5% cash back if all you have is a no annual fee Freedom card.
Or if you have a Chase card that earns Ultimate Rewards like Chase Sapphire PreferredSM , Ink Plus® Business Card or Ink Bold® Business Card, you can move your points earned via Freedom over to an account with one of those cards — and then transfer the points that had been earned via Chase Freedom over to United, Korean Air, British Airways, Southwest, Amtrak, Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, or Priority Club.
So for all intents and purposes you earn 5 transferrable miles per dollar, up to $1500 per quarter in spending, in a variety of categories.
Which means you can earn 7500 points each quarter instead of 1500, an incremental 6000 points per quarter means an extra 24,000 points per year.
But the trick is you have to register each quarter for the category bonuses. Back in June I asked Chase about this, my theory was it was a way for them to advertise 5 points per dollar but keep their costs lower, since many cardholders wouldn’t actually remember to register (unless they read frequent flyer blogs, I suppose!).
Turns out that a substantial majority of cardmembers do register, so it doesn’t actually have that effect for Chase. I don’t remember the precise figure, but I believe I was told something along the lines of ‘over 80%’.
Instead they suggested they found great value in ongoing engagement. Cardholders paid much more attention to their Freedom cards, and as a result used them more, kept them top of wallet. The act of registering caused cardholders to see their card as primary. Interesting psychology.
The January – March 2013 5x bonus is for gas stations, drugstores, and Starbucks. And registration for the bonus is now live.
This is an easy one to meet $1500 in spend for, since drugstores often sell gift cards. Some gas stations do, too.
Bonuses for the rest of the year are:
- April – June: Restaurants, Movie theaters
- July – September: Gas stations, Theme parks, Kohl’s
- October – December: Select department stores, Amazon.com
Interesting that gas stations appear twice, likely because surveys show consumers have tremendous anxiety over gas prices. Amazon and restaurants will both be pretty easy spend categories to max out in their relevant 3 month periods.
(Note that I receive referral credit from Chase if you choose to use my links above and are approved for a card, which I greatly appreciate.)