Earning 5x from the Couch: Last Minute Ways to Max Out Chase Freedom Bonus

Dec 28, 2018

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After the holidays, budgets are tight and most of us are simply exhausted once the holiday dust settles. Luckily, if you have a Chase Freedom (No longer open to new applicants), there are some easy ways to max out the 5x bonus categories without wasting cash — or even leaving the couch.

As is always the case, the end of the year marks the end of your opportunity to max out this quarter’s Chase Freedom 5x bonus categories. 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 rotating list of categories. From Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2018, Chase Freedom card holders who registered for the bonus by Dec. 14, earn 5 points per dollar spent at wholesale clubs, department stores and purchases made via Chase Pay, up to the $1,500 quarterly max.

These categories may not scream “easy to max out” at first glance, but there are lots of ways to max out this quarter’s 5x Chase Freedom categories from the comfort of your living room.

1. Load Up Your Starbucks Account

If ever there is a need for drive-thru caffeinated beverages, it is during the post-holiday slump and the January back to school and work blues.

Fortunately, one of the Chase Freedom 5x bonus categories this quarter is Chase Pay, which works at Starbucks. While you can use Chase Pay in Starbucks stores by downloading the Chase Pay app and using your regular Chase login credentials, you can reload your Starbucks account balance from within the Starbucks app at home 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)

2. Shop Online End-of-Year Department Store Sales

Basically every department store under the sun is having a massive online sale right about now. At Nordstrom you’ll find their Half-Yearly sale running through Jan. 2 at up to 50% off, Nordstrom Rack is offering an extra 25% off clearance items, Neiman Marcus has up to 60% off plus up to $100 off regularly priced items, Macy’s has an extra 20% off using the code JOY and Saks Fifth Avenue has up to 60% off designer items. In other words, high- or lower-end department store items are basically all on sale, so earn 5 points per dollar while shopping online these next few days using your Chase Freedom.

(Image via Shutterstock)
(Image via Shutterstock)

Also remember to go through an online shopping portal to stack on the cash back savings or mileage earning.

3. Discounted Disney (and Other) Gift Cards at Wholesale Clubs

Want to know how I saved money and earned bonus points at Disney World while experiencing all things holiday there a few weeks ago? I purchased discounted Disney gift cards online at Sam’s Club using the Chase Freedom.

I paid about $484 for a $500 Disney e-gift card and earned 2,424 Chase Ultimate Rewards points in the process thanks the Freedom’s current 5x bonus category of wholesale clubs. Disney gift cards can be used at Disney Stores, but they can also be used at Disney World, on Disney cruises, at Disney’s Aulani in Hawaii or at Disneyland!

If Disney isn’t on your radar, that’s not a problem. Sam’s Club, Costco, BJ’s and other online wholesale club sites have a host of other discounted physical and e-gift cards. Some discounted gift cards that you will find online at multiple wholesale clubs include Southwest Airlines, Hotels.com, Outback Steakhouse, Starbucks, Fandango, Uber, Amtrak and more.

Bottom Line

These are just three of many ways to max out this quarter’s Chase Freedom 5x bonus categories. Don’t forget you can also shop at Walmart.com or at Best Buy using Chase Pay (and potentially earn bonus points in the process) or head into a physical department store or wholesale store to pick up some fresh food (to go along with your discounted gift cards).

Some rotating 5x bonus categories are easier to max out than others, and it’s not too late to hit a home run with the Chase Freedom 5x bonus categories — even if you never leave your couch.

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