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One of the best features of the Chase Freedom card is the ability to earn 5 points per $1 you spend up to $1,500 each quarter on certain categories of merchants that also change quarterly. Since Quarter 2 of 2012 is (already!) coming to an end June 30 and Quarter 3 will be starting July 1, that means two things for Freedom cardholders.
1. Make sure you activate your card for the Q2 spending bonuses on grocery stores and movie theaters by today, June 14. Chase will retroactively credit you with all spend in those categories so far this quarter and you’ll still have two weeks to max it out, like buying gift cards at your local grocery store even if you don’t plan on spending $1,500 in groceries on the card. I wrote about the spending bonuses in this previous post if you want more information.
2. Starting tomorrow, June 15, you can register your card for the Q3 category spend bonuses including gas stations and restaurants.
The great thing about activating your card is that, per this FAQ section on the Freedom card’s site, even if you don’t activate till the last day of the activation period (ie today!), you will still earn 5 points per $1 you’ve spent all quarter up to $1,500. You just have to be sure to activate before the deadline. That’s also why you should get ahead on Q3 by just activating your card tomorrow.
To avoid a last-minute time crunch in the future, you can elect to have reminder text messages or emails sent to you so you remember to activate your card for the bonus earnings each quarter.
If you just have the Freedom card, those points are just good toward cash back, but remember, if you also have a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Bold with Ultimate Reward card those Ultimate Reward points can be transferred to United, British Airways, Southwest, Korean, Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Priority Club and Amtrak. I personally find United miles to be the most valuable transfer partner since their award thresholds are pretty low, they have generous routing rules and fees are dirt cheap. Earning 5 United miles for every dollar spent is a pretty amazing deal for a card that has no annual fee.
It's a stellar Cash Back card on its own, but when paired with the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred, the Freedom's 5x Category Bonuses let you rack up Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, transferrable to partners or redeemable via the portal.