Reminder: Activate Chase Freedom for Quarter 3 Bonuses on Restaurants and Gas Stations

by on September 13, 2012 · 20 comments

in Chase, Credit Cards

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One of my favorite 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. Quarter 3 of 2012 is coming to an end on September 30 and Quarter 4 will be starting October 1. That means two things for Freedom cardholders:

There’s still time to activate your card to earn the Q3 bonuses.

1. Make sure you activate your card for the Q3 spending bonuses on gas stations and restaurants by tomorrow, September 14. Chase will retroactively credit you with the bonus points on your Q3 category spending and you’ll still have two weeks to max it out, like buying gift cards at gas stations and using them to pay for your future gas purchases. I wrote about the spending bonuses in this previous post if you want more information.

2. Starting September 15, you can register your card for the Q4 category spend bonuses including hotels, airlines, Best Buy and Kohl’s

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 Q4 by just activating your card tomorrow.

The Q4 bonuses include hotels, airlines, Best Buy and Kohl’s.

To avoid having to catch up on spending in the future, you can have reminder text messages or emails sent to you so you remember to activate your card for the bonus earnings each quarter.

Which Card to Use? 
I’d recommend planning your spend ahead of time. Personally, I’m going to try and maximize the 5x spend at Best Buy and Kohl’s since the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card already gives 2.14x points per dollar spent on hotels and airlines. I plan to double dip and shop at Best Buy and Kohl’s through the Ultimate Rewards Earning Mall so I get the 5x, plus 10% Exclusives bonus, plus 10 point transaction plus the Earning Mall bonus, which right now is 10 points per dollar at Kohl’s and 1 point per dollar at Best Buy, but these bonuses generally increase drastically around Cyber Monday at the end of November. Even so, if Kohl’s stays at 10x, I’d earn roughly 23,250 points for $1,500 in Kohl’s expenditures by maximizing the Freedom card. I value Ultimate Rewards at least at 2 cents a piece, so that’s like getting $465 back in value for spending $1,500. Looks like my family and friends are getting a boatload of things from Kohl’s this holiday season ;-)

Freedom, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Ink Bold Combo
If you just have the Freedom card, those points are just good toward cash back, but remember, if you also have a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or either the Ink Bold with Ultimate Reward or Ink Plus cards, the Ultimate Reward points you earn with your Freedom card 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. 

Plus, you can also maximize Freedom if you have a Chase checking account because they give a 10% bonus and 10 point per transaction bonus. That makes earning on most purchases more lucrative when using the Freedom over any other card. For more info on the Chase Exclusives/Checking program, check out this post.

Update: The Chase Freedom card no longer offers a bonus of 10% on all purchases plus a 10 point per transaction bonus. Instead, both of those benefits have been replaced with a 10% annual bonus at the end of the year on all purchases.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Grant Thomas

    Too bad kohls never has anything worth buying… Except clothes. Yuck.

  • Carey

    Point Guy,

    How would you recommend purchasing gas gift cards? I’m thinking directly at the gas station itself so it shows up on the statement as a “gas purchase”, but wanted to get your opinion.



  • Liw5215

    I checked my local Kohls store. it has a lot of gift cards such as Amazon, BP gas, etc, etc.

  • PJ

    I bought Sunoco gift cards as Sunoco mini super also same BP gas cards at ARCO am pm also milk at ExXon tiger mart all showed up as gas station purchases.. also I dont think a Chase UR point is NOT just worth a penny more realistically I see is about 1.50 cents per piece.

  • PJ

    here we go: that means gas in 4th quarter and beyond is at least 5 % off BP gas card is good at many states ARCO AM PM in CA Sohio in Ohio etc

  • PJ


    are you assuming you can buy Kohl’s gift cards and get extra point by going through Untilate Reward Mall?

  • Asdfasdfa

    So if you are super careful and do everything right and really carefully watch your spending you get 5 x 1500 = 7500 x 4 quarters = 30000 pts

    If you spend 2 minutes on just one app in the next year you can get 50000, 75000, or 100000 pts

    This quarterly spending is just not worth worrying about unless you have OCD or something.

  • thepointsguy

    Why not get the spend bonuses AND the sign up bonuses? #winning

  • N.D.

    Yes, I agree. 7500 = $750 or 30,000 United miles, but you have to spend a total of $1500 in every category! Geeze I don’t see myself spending thousand of dollars on things I don’t need to get points, unless they are necessities, but only a few of those on the list are necessities such as gas and restaurant. Anyway, 30,000 miles still not enough for a one way award ticket to jump across the pond consider so many spending.

  • N.D.

    THERE IS an ANNUAL FEE attached! that is if you want to transfer those points into loyalty programs, and the only way to do that is to have a an annual fee card along with your Freedom card, so there! It is not free.

  • Asdfasdf

    if the goal is maximizing points no matter how much time/energy you spend, then #winning, but
    because you can earn 12840 points by just charging on a Sapphire for the same spending without thinking, the incremental value is less than 18000 pts for a whole year’s worth of being careful to spend $1500 on categories. #simplifyyourlife

  • Jbeinstein

    I have had issues trying to get the 10% plus 10 point exclusive bonus points to work.

    I’m brought to this URL.

    Can you confirm that this program still exists?


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  • Ron Anson

    Do you know if I get the 5% hotel bonus if I pay for my Marriott stay using Marriott gift cards?

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  • Helen Rodriguez

    wish to be reminded of notifying 3 month rewards

  • GG

    Carey: Office Depot stores sell $50-Chevron and Shell gift card.
    It is 5 points per dollar spend if you use Chase Business Ink/ Bold card.
    They also have $20-gas cards selling online but tend to be out of stock.

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