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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.

Chase Freedom Q32013

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.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
16.49% - 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
5.00%
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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.