Will The 5% Cash Back Through Chase Freedom Work on Purchasing Gift Cards at Nordstrom?

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TPG Twitter follower Alexander is looking to take advantage of Chase Freedom’s 5% cash back bonus at select department stores in Q4:

“Will the 5% cash back through Chase Freedom work on purchasing gift cards at Nordstrom?”

Greetings from Madrid, everyone! I am currently at the Radisson Blu Hotel Prado, which is one of the new properties that I’ll be reviewing shortly, so stay tuned!

Earn 5% cash back at department stores this quarter.
Earn 5% cash back at department stores this quarter.

Alexander is asking about one of the best overall benefits of the Chase Freedom Visa card, the 5X points you earn at a rotating list of merchants or merchant categories each quarter up to a cap of $1,500. Quarter 4’s spending bonus categories include “Select Department Stores,” and among those is Nordstrom, so the answer is, yes, buying gift cards at Nordstrom will count, as well those at other department stores including Macy’s, Kohl’s and Bloomingdale’s.

As a reminder, 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. You can activate your Chase Freedom card category spending bonuses for the fourth quarter of 2013.

To earn even more points or miles, go through an online shopping portal.
To earn even more points or miles, go through an online shopping portal.

Whenever you make a purchase from one of these stores, the credit card company has no way of knowing exactly what you are buying, so as long as there is a purchase from one of the following department stores, you will get the 5X bonus points. To maximize your points earnings, you can even try to buy the gift cards online through one of the online shopping portals and earn even more bonus points that way. For example, right now, is offering 5 points per $1 through the Ultimate Rewards portal if you have a Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold or Ink Plus.

Screen shot 2013-10-04 at 4.40.44 PMSo you could potentially earn a whopping 10 Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on your purchases. I value Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents apiece, so in my estimation, that’s like getting 20% back on your spending. Sometimes shopping portals prohibit gift card purchases but some do allow it.

I’d always recommend trying to buy gift cards through one of the online portals if you were going to get it in the store anyway. You might as well try to bank those extra portal points!

List of major department stores included:

  • JCPenney
  • Kohl’s
  • Macy’s
  • Nordstrom
  • Sears
  • Bloomingdale’s
  • Dillard’s
  • Loehmann’s
  • Lord & Taylor
  • Neiman Marcus
  • Saks Fifth Ave and Off 5th

List of Shopping Portals:

Happy shopping!

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