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If you haven’t already done so, you have until tomorrow, December 14, 2012, to activate your Chase Freedom card to earn 2012 Quarter 4 5x bonus spending categories.
The current categories for Quarter 4 of 2012 are airline tickets, hotels, Best Buy and Kohl’s. Don’t panic if you haven’t activated yet because Chase will retroactively credit you with the bonus points on your Q4 category spending so far and you still have two weeks to max it out while getting ahead on your holiday travel plans or gift shopping.
Then, put it in your calendar to activate your Freedom card the next day, December 15, 2012, for the Q1 2013 bonus categories: Gas stations, drugstores and Starbucks.
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). Still, that’s a potential total of 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points annually, which is pretty lucrative for a card with no annual fee. That might not seem like a ton, but it’s equivalent to $300 in cash back if you just have the Freedom, or it 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.