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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
When it comes to the best travel credit cards out there, I often focus on some of the more premium offerings like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express, but the Chase Freedom card can be one of the most powerful tools out there to rack up tons of points if you can maximize it.
While the card normally offers a sign-up bonus of just 10,000 points (the equivalent of $100 cash back) when you spend $500 within the first three months of account opening, Chase is currently offering a limited-time higher sign-up bonus of 20,000 points with the same $500 spending requirement. Plus, you earn an additional $25 cash back (or an extra 2,500 points) when you add an authorized user and make a purchase.
Here are the offer details:
Chase Freedom® – $200 Bonus
- For a limited time, earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Offer ends June 24, 2015. Apply now!
- Earn a $25 Bonus after you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within this same 3-month period
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period, a variable APR of 13.99-22.99%
- 5% Cash Back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter.
- You’ll enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like Gas stations, Restaurants and Amazon.com. It’s free and easy to activate your bonus each quarter!
- Unlimited 1% Cash Back on all other purchases
- No annual fee and rewards never expire as long as your account is open
If you maximize this offer, you’re getting the equivalent of $225 cash back on $500 of spend – a return on spending of 45%! But that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
While that cash-back amount is impressive enough, if you also have one of the premium Ultimate Rewards cards (like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Ink Plus Business Card), you can then combine points from your various Ultimate Rewards accounts (including the one attached to your Chase Freedom card) and transfer them to any of the program’s 11 travel partners as well.
You might figure, if you already have the Sapphire Preferred and/or Ink Plus, what do you need the Freedom for? Sure, the Sapphire Preferred earns 2x points per $1 on travel and dining, and the Ink Plus offers 5x points on up to $50,000 of purchases each year at office supply stores and on telecommunications, as well as 2x points per $1 on up to $50,000 of spend on hotels and gas.
However, in addition to earning 1 point per $1 on everyday purchases, the Freedom’s biggest selling point is that it offers the ability to earn up to 5 points per $1 on up to $1,500 of purchases per quarter at certain merchants. That’s up to 30,000 bonus points per year!
The calendar for 2015 is as follows:
- January 1 – March 31: Grocery stores, movie theaters and Starbucks
- April 1 – June 30: Restaurants, Bed Bath & Beyond, H&M and Overstock.com
- July 1 – September 30: Gas stations and Kohl’s
- October 1 – December 31: Amazon.com and more
We’re already almost through Q2, but the summer merchants/categories include gas stations and Kohl’s stores, so you can stock up on summer gear at Kohl’s and then pack the family into the car for a road trip and earn 5x points per $1 on a good chunk of your summer leisure spending.
Once you get your Freedom card, or if you’re already a cardholder, you can register here to activate your spending bonus each quarter. I value full-fledged, transferable Ultimate Rewards points at about 2.1 cents apiece, so the total potential 30,000 points you’d earn by maximizing your spending on $6,000 worth of purchases at participating merchants each year are worth $630 – better than a 10% return on your spending.
On its own the Chase Freedom is one of the best cash-back cards on the market, but by maximizing the bonus categories and combining it with one of Chase’s premium Ultimate Rewards cards, it becomes one of the most powerful points-earning cards out there and one that is a no-brainer considering there is no annual fee.
This offer is only around until June 24, so if you’ve been thinking about applying, better do it before then while the sign-up bonus is 20,000 points.
For my review of the Chase Freedom card, check out this video
For more information on the Chase Freedom card, check out these posts:
- Chase Freedom 20,000-Point Sign-Up Bonus Returns
- Why Chase Freedom Isn’t Just Another Cash Back Card
- What is the Best Rewards Credit Card with No Annual Fee?
- Ranking the Top Cash Back Credit Cards
- Quarterly 5% Bonus Categories: Chase Freedom & Discover It
- Ways to Maximize Each Ultimate Rewards Partner
- Chase Freedom Ends 10% Annual Bonus & Other Changes
- How to Get 1.34 Cents Per Point for Travel with Chase Freedom
- Maximizing Credit Card Bonus Categories to Earn More Points
- Top Credit Card Offers with No Annual Fee