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Just a quick reminder that Saturday, September 14, is the last day to activate your Chase Freedom card category spending bonuses for the third quarter of 2013. The Q3 2013 bonus categories where you can earn 5X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar up to $1,500 are gas stations, theme parks and Kohl’s. The bonus categories are in effect until September 30, 2013, and even if you haven’t registered your card yet, Chase will retroactively credit you with the bonus points on your category spending from the whole quarter.
You will also be able to register your card for the Quarter 4 bonus categories starting the following day, Sunday, September 15, and they will include select department stores (including Macy’s, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Barney’s, Sears and more) and Amazon.com purchases made from October 1 – December 31, 2013.
If you don’t want to forget to activate your card in the future, you can have Chase send you a reminder by email or text. I also always get reminded at Chase ATMs and was able to activate this quarter’s 5X by clicking a button at the ATM.f
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.
Not only that, but the Freedom recently revised its bonus earning structure so that starting August 1, 2013, instead of the old Chase Exclusives formula where you earned a 10% bonus on the base points you earned every year and a 10-point per-transaction bonus to just earning a flat 10% bonus on all points you earn in the year, including the 5X bonus points, so if you max out these categories, you’re looking at another 3,000 points on top of it.
Those 33,000 points are equivalent to $330 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 Sapphire Preferred, or Ink Plus.
If you have one of those premium Ultimate Rewards cards, travel partners include: United, British Airways, Southwest, Korean Air, Virgin Atlantic, 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.
Check out this post for how to maximize the Freedom/Sapphire Preferred/Ink combination’s points-earning potential.