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One of the best ways out there to rack up bonus points on specific spending categories is with the Chase Freedom Visa and Freedom Mastercard’s quarterly rotating categories of merchants and retailers where cardholders earn 5 points per $1 up to a $1,500 quarterly cap. If you maximize the $6,000 in yearly spend, you are looking at 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points, which may not seem like a ton, but it’s pretty awesome for a card that has no annual fee. Normally 30,000 Freedom Ultimate Rewards points equal $300 in cash-back, but I value them at about $600, since I can transfer them to my Sapphire Preferred and Ink Ultimate Rewards accounts and then transfer on to partners like United, Southwest and Hyatt.
Which Card to Use?
I always recommend planning your spend ahead of time to spend where you aren’t already getting bonus points so in Q1, I already get 2.14 points per dollar at Starbucks using my Sapphire Preferred (or for purchases under $10 I use my Freedom with Exclusives and get a 10 point per transaction bonus and 10% bonus on points). I also already get 2x points on gas by using either my Plus or Amex Premier Rewards Gold cards so I’ll probably aim to spend mostly at drug stores and either get reimbursed through my Flexible Savings Account or try to purchase Vanilla Reloads to load into my Bluebird account.
Freedom, Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold/Plus Combo
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 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 and Priority Club. 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.
|Intro APR||Regular APR||Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee||Credit Rating|
|0% for 15 months||14.24%-23.24% Variable||$0||3.00%||Excellent/Good|