Why this is the easiest time of the year to earn 5 points per dollar spent
The most wonderful time of the year has begun. Fall is here, spooky season is upon us, the holidays are coming and...it's the easiest time of the year to earn 5 points per dollar on your purchases.
Just like has happened in the last few years, PayPal is back as a bonus category on the Chase Freedom (no longer available to new applicants) and the Chase Freedom Flex℠.
From Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2022 (activation required), Chase Freedom and Freedom Flex cardholders earn 5% cash back (up to $1,500 in purchases) in one of the easiest-to-maximize categories of all time: PayPal.
Where can you use PayPal?
While you may or may not have noticed before, it’s very common for PayPal to be a checkout option when shopping online — even from major retailers that also accept credit cards directly.
Whether you are checking out at Target.com, HomeDepot.com, Nordstrom.com or just want to reload your Starbucks app, PayPal is often a payment option. Some physical stores are also now accepting PayPal as payment.
As an easy example, if you are placing an order from Target.com, select the edit payment option, choose PayPal with your linked Chase Freedom or Chase Freedom Flex card and then as long as you activate the bonus by Dec. 14, these 5 super easy points per dollar are yours — up to the $1,500 quarterly maximum for the bonus categories.
Can you earn bonus points on PayPal transfers to other people?
What about other PayPal options, like sending money to someone else?
While we haven't tried it yet this year, in the past, these transactions also counted as bonus triggering events. Though keep in mind that unlike when checking out via a retailer’s online site, when you just send money to a friend or similar, you’re typically the one paying the PayPal fee.
When this bonus appeared in the past, I paid a friend back $120 via PayPal. There was a $3.78 fee to send $120 via PayPal. However, I earned 619 points on that charge on my Freedom. Since I also have a Chase Sapphire Reserve®, those 619 points were worth $12.38 to me based on TPG’s point valuations, which is more than the $3.78 in fees it cost me to earn the points.
If you don’t also have a premium Ultimate Rewards card, the points earned on the Freedom are typically worth 1 cent each, which would be $6.19 in the example above.
That’s still $2.41 more in rewards by my calculations than the fees themselves. But even if you don’t need to send money to a friend, you can often check out from hundreds of retailers online using PayPal, pay no added fees and still rack up 5 points per dollar.
The biggest challenge of the rotating Freedom bonus categories, of course, is keeping up with them since they change every three months.
This one is pretty easy though as you can just go set your eligible Freedom card as the default in your PayPal account and then check out via that method when shopping online through the end of the year.
If you do that and have online shopping patterns that are anything like mine during the last few months of the year, you should be maxing out this quarter’s bonus category in no time.
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