Activate Chase Freedom For 2013 Quarter 1 5x Spending Bonuses

by on December 19, 2012 · 12 comments

in Chase

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Time to activate your Chase Freedom card for the first quarter category spending bonuses where you can earn 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar you spend at select merchants.

This time around, the Q1 2013 bonus categories: Gas stations, drugstores and Starbucks. You have until March 14, 2013 to activate (though you might as well do so now), and then all your expenditures at those types of merchants up to a cap of $1,500 for the quarter will earn 5 points per dollar.

Even if you don’t have the card yet, but were planning on getting it, Chase will retroactively credit you with the bonus points on your category spending from the whole quarter.


About Bonus Spending Categories

Freedom’s 5x spending bonuses are one of the best ways to rack up bonus Ultimate Rewards points using your Chase Freedom Visa or Freedom Mastercard. The only downside is the $1,500 quarterly cap ($6,000 annually). That’s still a potential total of 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points annually, which is pretty lucrative for a card with no annual fee. Those 30,000 points are equivalent to $300 in cash back if you just have the Freedom, or they can be transferred to Ultimate Rewards’ travel partners if you have one of the premium cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, or Ink Bold or Ink Plus (read about some of those cards’ lesser-known benefits here).

If you have one of those premium Ultimate Rewards cards, travel partners include: United, British Airways, Southwest, Korean Air, Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Priority Club and Amtrak. I personally think United miles are most valuable transfer option since the airline’s award thresholds and fees are pretty low and it has pretty generous award/routing rules. Earning 5 United miles for every dollar spent is a pretty amazing deal for a card that has no annual fee.

My Q1 Spending Strategy

In terms of how this will affect my own spending this quarter, I plan on maxing out the $1,500 cap at drugstores by buying (hopefully) Vanilla Reloads and PayPal/Green Dot cards. I always try to juice the category that I’m not already earning bonus points on and I already earn 2x points on my Amex Premier Rewards and Ink Plus / Ink Bold cards and 2.14x at Starbucks since that spend is classified as dining on my Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (and there is no limit to the bonus points).

As for drugstores, if you have one of the Hilton American Express cards, like the Hilton Amex or the Surpass card, you could consider using those at drugstores since they each earn 6 points per $1, though I’d take 5 Ultimate Rewards points (which I value at 2 cents each) over 6 HHonors points (I value them closer to 0.7 cents each) any day, so if I had one of the Hilton cards, I’d contemplate using it instead.

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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  • jkATL

    Any idea if paying for the Auto-Reload to your Starbucks Rewards Card would count (so I can still earn the Starbucks credits) or does it have to be an in-store purchase?

  • Guest

    What’s up with the chase exclusives 10/10 on the freedom card? 99% sure it went away for new customers, but it may…or may not be grandfathered in for existing customers. is there a new program taking its place?

  • Guest

    terms say it works

  • thepointsguy

    Just emailed my Chase contact, but I believe anyone who was enrolled is grandfathered in

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  • Mike


    I’m looking forward to maximizing the quarterly categories, is buying gift cards allowed by Chase? I don’t want to risk getting blacklisted but would love to take full advantage of the 5%.

    Thank you

  • thepointsguy

    Shouldn’t be an issue- especially if only $1500

  • Michael Spain

    I wanna give a shout out to CVS for stocking Vanilla Reload cards! Bonus: if you have a CVS ExtraCare card, you get an additional 2% back on all your charges…an extra $30 in your pocket, if I did my math correctly. And if you happen to be distracted by the stress of dropping $1500 and forget to give them your CVS ExtraCare card, you can always go back with your receipts and they’ll apply it on the spot. Woohoo! Happy New Year, TPG, and thanks for all your great work. Keep it coming :-)

  • Jeff

    I also just purchased a Vanilla Reload card at CVS with my freedom card. Going back for more to max out the $1500 category.

  • Vcabias

    Just got the Freedom MasterCard version and my enrollment package says there’s a 10% bonus on earned points for Chase banking customers (kind of like the Sapphire Dividend which I also got in MasterCard). So no more exclusives like 10 points per transaction, but if you max out the bonus categories you’d be looking at an additional 3000 points a year just on that spending alone

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