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The arrival of October means the arrival of a new quarter of bonus categories for the Chase Freedom. Each quarter, Chase Freedom cardholders can get 5% cashback — or 5x Ultimate Rewards points if they also have a premium Ultimate Rewards-earning Chase credit card, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, on a new list of categories. From Oct. 1 – Dec. 31, 2018, Chase Freedom cardholders who register for the bonus can earn 5 points per dollar spent at wholesale clubs, department stores and purchases made via Chase Pay, up to the $1,500 quarterly max.

This is a truly amazing list of bonus categories for families heading into the holiday season. With even a little bit of strategy, families can easily max out earning 5 points per dollar on the Chase Freedom. To get you thinking, here are five easy ways to earn 5 points per dollar this quarter.

1. Bonus Points on Winter Clothes

Kids never stop growing, so the need for new winter clothes comes around every single year. With the new 5 points per dollar bonus category of department stores, your family can earn 5 points per dollar purchasing new jeans, boots or jackets at department stores such as JC Penney, Kohl’s, Nordstrom or Nordstrom Rack, Macy’s, Saks Off Fifth, etc. This bonus category is also helpful if you need to pick up a round of clothing for upcoming family holiday card photos!

Photo by Holly Young Photography
Photo by Holly Young Photography

2. 5x at Starbucks, Please!

Starbucks started serving pumpkin spice everything back in late August, which was a bit early for my taste, but pumpkin everything is 100% appropriate in October. One of the Chase Freedom 5x bonus categories this quarter is Chase Pay, which works at Starbucks. To use Chase Pay in stores, just download the Chase Pay app and use your regular Chase log-in credentials. Perhaps even easier than that, you can reload your Starbucks balance from within the Starbucks app by selecting Chase Pay as the payment option.

HONG KONG, HONG KONG - AUGUST 13: A view of Starbucks Coffee an US company in Hong Kong on August 13 2018 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. (Photo by Marcio Rodrigo Machado/S3studio/Getty Images)
(Photo by Marcio Rodrigo Machado/S3studio/Getty Images)

3. Discounted Disney (and Other) Gift Cards + 5 Points per Dollar

I could have easily led with this one, as I think it might be the most exciting use of this quarter’s Chase Freedom bonus categories. Since wholesale clubs are included under the 5 points per dollar bonus, you can shop at Sam’s Club and pick up discounted retailer gift cards, such as Disney gift cards. Disney gift cards can be used at Disney Stores, but they can also be used at Disney World, on Disney Cruises, Disney’s Aulani in Hawaii or at Disneyland!

Photo by Matthew Paulson/Flickr
Photo by Matthew Paulson/Flickr

Right now I see a $500 Disney gift card available on the Sam’s Club website for $484.98 for Sam’s Club members. For every $500 spent on Disney gift cards, that means saving about $15 and earning 2,425 Ultimate Rewards points worth $48.50 by current TPG calculations. Not bad!

4. Bonus Points at Walmart

You can use Chase Pay to shop at Walmart.com, which around the holidays is a popular online shopping spot in my family for toys and electronics. Note that Walmart sells Apple products online, so this could be a way to rack up extra points on that new iPhone, iPad or whatever iGadget is on your family’s shopping wish list.

5. 5x Points at Costco

There is quite the debate around TPG as to which credit card is best to use at the family shopping hotspot of Costco. Is the best card to use at Costco the Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi, the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card (using mobile payments) or something else? Well, right now the answer is “something else,” as the no-annual-fee Chase Freedom takes the cake at 5x points per dollar at wholesale clubs this quarter.

In addition to picking up family-sized food and beverage items, note that Costco also sells some Apple products and retailer gift cards. My family likes to order $100 in Blue Apron gift cards from Costco.com for $79.99 and then use those gift cards to have ready-to-cook boxes of Blue Apron food shipped to our house a few times a month. With this bonus category of wholesale clubs, we could add 5 points per dollar to our saving and earning totals.

Bottom Line

Some 5x bonus categories are easier for families to max out than others, and this quarter is a home run as long as you are willing to do the tiniest bit of strategizing on when and how to use your Chase Freedom.

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Chase Freedom®

It's a stellar cash back card on its own, but when paired with the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred, the Freedom's 5x Category Bonuses let you rack up Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, transferrable to partners or redeemable via the portal.

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More Things to Know
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 17.24-25.99%. Balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee
Intro APR on Purchases
0% Intro APR on Purchase for 15 months
Regular APR
17.24% - 25.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$0
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the 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.

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