Chase Freedom Card

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Chase Freedom

FM Mini Review: Great for 5X categories. Good companion card to Sapphire Reserve or Sapphire Preferred.


Card Type: Visa Signature or Platinum

Base
Shop
Other

Earning rate: 5X in rotating categories on up to $1,500 spend per quarter. Q4 2019: 5X PayPal, Chase Pay, and Department Stores

See also: Chase Ultimate Rewards Complete Guide


Chase Freedom

The Chase Freedom is a solid fee-free card for juicing up your rewards with its rotating 5X categories. Even though it is advertised as a cash back card it actually earns valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points. This card is a good companion card for premium Ultimate Rewards cards such as the Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, or Ink Business Preferred.

The Freedom card does charge foreign transaction fees, so leave it at home when traveling internationally. But within the US, the Freedom Card is a great choice for earning 5X rewards in selected categories.

Chase Freedom Application Tips

Chase Application Tips

  • Shut-Down Caution: Signing up for new Chase cards can lead to Chase reviewing your accounts. This may lead to Chase shutting down all of your accounts if you appear to be a credit risk. See this post for details and recommendations: Why Chase shutdowns have increased and how to avoid them.
  • 5/24 Rule: With most Chase cards, you won't get approved if your credit report shows 5 or more cards opened in the past 24 months. Details here.
  • 24/48 Month Rule: With most Chase cards, you can get the same card and bonus again 24 months after having received the bonus as long as you no longer have the card open. With Sapphire cards, you must wait 48 months. No wait is required for Chase Ink cards.
  • 30 Day Rule: It is tough to get approved for more than 2 Chase cards within 30 days
  • Get Same Card Again: You can get the same exact card and again if you first cancel the older card and follow the 24/48 month rule. Ink cards are OK to get again without cancelling previous card if you apply with a new business.
  • Better Offers: You may be able to get a better offer than the best available public offer. Details here.
  • Hard inquiries combine into 1 when approved same day (not always true when mixing business and personal)

Call (888) 338-2586 to check your application status
If denied, call reconsideration here:1-888-270-2127 for both personal and business cards

Should you apply?

In my opinion, this is a decent card to have but it’s not on my list of “must have” Chase cards (see this post for details).  It is a decent starter card for young adults, but it rarely has an exciting welcome bonus.  In other words, getting this card is neither an obvious choice nor a bad one.

Are you eligible?

To get this card you must be under 5/24.

Chase's 5/24 Rule: With most Chase credit cards, Chase will not approve your application if you have opened 5 or more cards with any bank in the past 24 months.

To determine your 5/24 status, see: 3 Easy Ways to Count Your 5/24 Status. The easiest option is to track all of your cards for free with Travel Freely.

Application status

After you apply, call (888) 338-2586 to check your application status.

Reconsideration

If your application is denied, I recommend calling for reconsideration (1-888-270-2127). It’s surprising how often denials can be changed to approvals just by asking.

Chase Freedom Perks

Purchase Protection

Extended Warranty: “Extends the time period of U.S. manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year, on eligible warranties of three years or less.”

Damage and Theft Protection: “Covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.”

Chase Freedom Earn Points

Welcome Bonus

The welcome bonus for this card is advertised as cash back, but the rewards are actually delivered as Ultimate Rewards points. Here’s the current offer:

Refer Friends

Referring friends is often a good way to earn extra points with Chase products, but referral offers come and go over time.  When referral offers are available, Chase sends emails to eligible cardholders with the offer details.  Cardholders can also look for Chase friend referral offers here.

Bonus Spend

Chase Freedom
Base
Shop
Other
Earning rate: 5X in rotating categories on up to $1,500 spend per quarter. Q4 2019: 5X PayPal, Chase Pay, and Department Stores

This is the most interest aspect of the card.  5X bonus categories change every 3 months.  5X rewards are capped at $1500 in spend per 3 months.  It’s often possible to maximize your 5X earnings by buying gift cards.  For example, during a quarter in which the card offers 5X at grocery stores, you can buy $1,500 in gift cards at grocery stores and then spend those gift cards at your leisure.

Chase Freedom Redeem Points

Cash Back

Cardholders can redeem points for 1 cent each either as statement credits or as cash back. Cash back can be taken as a statement credit or via check or ACH transfer.

Travel

If you or another household member has a premium or ultra-premium Ultimate Rewards card, it is easy to get better than 1 cent per point value when redeeming points for travel.  The trick is to move the points from your no-fee Ultimate Rewards card to the premium card before using points to buy travel.  Chase allows you to freely move points to another card you own or to a card owned by a household member or business partner.  They call this "combining points" (see: Combine Points Across Cards in our Ultimate Rewards guide).

Redeem points for travel: 1.5 cents per point

This option requires that someone in your household has the ultra-premium Chase Sapphire Reserve card.  First move (combine) points from your no-fee card to the Sapphire Reserve account. Next, log into Chase under the Sapphire Reserve account, and go to the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal to book your travel.  A $500 flight would usually cost 50,000 points if you used points attached to the no-fee card, but with the Chase Sapphire Reserve it would cost only 33,333 points.

Redeem points for travel: 1.25 cents per point

This option requires that someone in your household has a premium Ultimate Rewards card: Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Business Preferred.  First move (combine) points from your no-fee card to one of these premium cards. Next, log into Chase under the account that now has the points, and go to the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal to book your travel.  A $500 flight would usually cost 50,000 points if you used points attached to a no-fee Ultimate Rewards card, but with the Chase Sapphire Preferred it would cost only 40,000 points.

Details about booking travel through Chase

You can use the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal to book airfare, hotels, cruises, activities, and car rentals. Airfare purchased through the portal still earns airline miles and elite qualifying miles.  Hotels booked this way do not earn hotel rewards.  Worse, hotels booked through the portal often won't offer you elite benefits even if you have status. Unfortunately, Chase switched to an Expedia-backed portal and removed some ultra low cost carriers. For example, you can no longer book Spirit Airlines or Southwest through Chase Ultimate Rewards.  There is a work-around for some carriers though.  Please see this post for details: How to book the cheapest flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Travel protections apply

When you pay with points for travel, Chase's automatic travel protections do apply.  So, you can be covered for things like car rentals, trip delays, trip cancellation & interruption, lost luggage, etc.  The coverage you receive will be based on which card's rewards were used to book the trip. For example, if you have both a Chase Sapphire Preferred and a Sapphire Reserve, you would want to move your Ultimate Rewards points from the Preferred to the Reserve and then use the Reserve points to book your trip. You will get both better value (1.5 cents per point) and better travel protections.  See: Sapphire Reserve Travel Insurance.

Transfer points

The best use of Ultimate Rewards points, in my opinion, is to transfer points to airline and hotel partners in order to book high value awards.  Your best bet is usually to wait until you find a great flight or night award before transferring points.

Move points to premium or ultra-premium card first

You cannot transfer points directly from a no-fee Chase Ultimate Rewards card to airline and hotel partners, but you can move points first to a premium card (Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred, for example) or ultra-premium card (Sapphire Reserve) and then transfer the points to airline or hotel partners.  Points can be transferred to the loyalty accounts of the primary cardholder or any authorized user on the account. Points can also be transferred to the loyalty account of a joint business owner, but they do need to be an authorized user on the associated business account.

Transfer Partners

Rewards ProgramBest Uses
Air France KLM Flying BlueMonthly Air France Promo Awards often represent very good value. Air France miles can be used to book Sky Team awards, including Delta awards.
AviosWhile flights on British Airways itself often incur outrageously high fuel surcharges, many BA partners charge low or no fuel surcharges. Great value can be had in redeeming BA points for short distance flights. Iberia offers very low award prices on their own flights. Round trip partner awards can offer good value under some circumstances as well. Fuel surcharges are often lower than when booking through British Airways. Aer Lingus shares the "Avios" currency with British Airways and Iberia. In most cases it is best to move points to one of those programs in order to book awards for less.
Emirates SkywardsEmirates has different award charts for each airline partner. Sometimes they allow one-way awards, sometimes they do not. In general, award prices are fairly high, but there are a few sweet spots such as New York to Milan for 90K round trip in business class.
HyattUse for Hyatt free nights or points + cash nights. Hyatt points are often worth at least 1.7 cents each towards free nights, but they’re sometimes worth far more. One hidden bonus: award nights are not subject to resort fees.
IHG
JetBlueJetBlue points offer the most value when cheap ticket prices are available and when award taxes are high relative to the overall cost of the ticket (more details can be found here). The JetBlue Plus Card and the JetBlue Business Card offer a 10% rebate on awards, so you can get more value by holding one or both cards.
Marriott Bonvoy5th Night Free awards
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyerUse to book Singapore Airlines First Class awards (generally reserved for their own members) or for Star Alliance awards. Low change fees and no close-in booking fees make this a very good program for booking United Airlines flights.
Southwest Rapid RewardsAward flights are fully refundable. Point values vary due to certain taxes not being charged on awards, but tend to average around 1.5 cents per point.
United MileagePlusEven though Singapore Airlines miles have a number of advantages over United miles for booking Star Alliance flights, United has advantages too. For one, it is possible to book most Star Alliance awards online at United.com. Additionally, United awards sometimes cost fewer miles with United than with Singapore (especially premium awards on United’s own flights). And, most importantly, United never charges fuel surcharges for awards. In some cases, United is far cheaper than Singapore Airlines for this reason alone.
Virgin Atlantic Flying ClubVirgin Atlantic miles can be usefully thought of as a way to get a discount off Virgin Atlantic flights (high fuel surcharges make the flights far from free), but there are some better uses. Use miles to upgrade paid flights or to fly partner airlines. A fantastic use is to fly ANA in business or first class thanks to Virgin’s generous ANA partner award chart. Or, if you can find saver level Delta awards for nonstop international travel, you can often book through Virgin Atlantic far cheaper than with Delta directly.

Other ways to redeem points

Through the Ultimate Rewards portal you can redeem points for cash back, gift cards, merchandise, or experiences.  With this approach you'll usually get 1 cent per point value.  One exception is that Chase occasionally offers gift cards at a discount so you may be able to get better than 1 cent per point value during a gift card sale.
You can also use points to pay some merchants directly (Amazon.com, for example or via Chase Pay).  Don't do this.  These options offer very poor value. Further, they may compromise the security of your account (i.e. if someone hacks into your Amazon account, they might spend your Ultimate Rewards points - causing you a headache in getting your points reinstated).

Chase Freedom Manage Points

Combine Points Across Cards

If you are the primary account holder with multiple cards, you can freely combine Ultimate Rewards back and forth between your accounts.  Your points can then be redeemed according to the card to which you move them.  For example, if you have the no-fee Ink Business Cash card and the ultra-premium Sapphire Reserve card, you can earn 5X points per dollar on office supply purchases (or on gift cards purchased at office supply stores) with the Ink Card and then move those points to your Sapphire Reserve account to redeem them for 1.5 cents per point towards travel.
If you intend to cancel a Chase Ultimate Rewards card, you should first combine your points with a card you intend to keep active. Once you cancel, you will forfeit any unused points in that account (See: My 90,000 Ultimate Rewards Points mistake). A product change should not affect your balance, but some people prefer moving points before a product change as well just to be safe.

Share Points Across Cardholders

Chase allows customers to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to any other account in that customer's name or to one additional household member or joint business owner (for free).
share Chase Ultimate Rewards with friends Why this is valuable:
  • You earn points with the card offering the best return on purchases and then use points with the card offering the best redemption rate.
  • Only one member of your household needs to maintain a premium card for transferring to partners or booking travel (though note that the primary cardholder can only transfer points to partner loyalty programs in the name of the primary cardholder or authorized users).

Transfer difficulties? Create a loop

If you have trouble transferring between accounts, some users have been able to combine points between their own accounts — like from Bob’s Ink Business Cash to Bob’s Sapphire Reserve — via secure message.
However, you may run into an issue if you try to connect more than one of your cards to a single card that belongs to someone else. Chase allows you to combine/transfer to someone else who lives in your household (or a co-owner of your business for business cards), but I’ve had complications with this from time to time.
For example, let’s say that Joe and Suzy live in the same household and are joint owners of a business and have the following accounts:

Joe first combines points from his Freedom Unlimited to Suzy’s Sapphire Reserve. Later, he logs into his Ink Business Cash account and tries to combine points with Suzy’s Sapphire Reserve. Joe may run into an error adding Suzy’s Sapphire Reserve card to combine points. This has happened in our household several times. In that case, Joe should log into his Freedom Unlimited account and remove Suzy as a household member (click “remove saved card). About 24 hours later, he should be able to add Suzy to his Ink Business Cash in order to combine his points to her account.
The easy solution I’ve found is to create a loop. In the example scenario they should transfer like this:
Joe’s Freedom Unlimited —> Joe’s Ink Business Cash —> Suzy’s Sapphire Reserve —> Joe’s Freedom Unlimited
Creating a loop chain has solved that problem in my household. As noted, it took 24 hours after removing accounts to re-add them to other cards, so be aware of that limitation.

How to Keep Points Alive

Thankfully, it is very easy to keep Chase Ultimate Rewards points alive: simply keep the points in an open Ultimate Rewards account and they will not expire. Note that if you close an Ultimate Rewards card, you will lose any points associated with that card. You should first combine points to move points away from the card you intend to close and to another card that will remain open as per the sharing section above before canceling. See: My 90,000 point Ultimate Rewards mistake. See also: A checklist for cancelling credit cards.

Chase Freedom Lifecycle

How to meet minimum spend requirements

Once you are approved for a Chase card, you have three months to meet the required spend in order to get the signup bonus. If your usual spend isn’t enough, consider using the Plastiq bill pay service to use your card to pay bills that can’t usually be paid by credit card (rent, mortgage, contractors, etc.). Click here to find many more options for increasing credit card spend.

Keep, cancel, or product change?

Is this card worth keeping in the long run?  Yes!  It has no annual fee and it offers rotating 5X rewards.  If you decide to cancel anyway, make sure to first redeem any remaining points or move them to another Ultimate Rewards card.

Related Cards

Ultimate Rewards Consumer Cards

Chase Freedom

FM Mini Review: Great for 5X categories. Good companion card to Sapphire Reserve or Sapphire Preferred.


Card Type: Visa Signature or Platinum

Base
Shop
Other

Earning rate: 5X in rotating categories on up to $1,500 spend per quarter. Q4 2019: 5X PayPal, Chase Pay, and Department Stores

See also: Chase Ultimate Rewards Complete Guide

Chase Freedom Unlimited

FM Mini Review: Great to earn 1.5X Ultimate Rewards in categories with no bonuses. Excellent companion card to Sapphire Reserve or Sapphire Preferred!


Card Type: Visa Signature or Platinum

Base

Earning rate: 1.5X on all purchases.

See also: Chase Ultimate Rewards Complete Guide

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
60K points
60K after $4K spend in the first 3 months

$95 Annual Fee

FM Mini Review: Great signup bonus. This may be the single best "starter card" for those eager to get into miles & points.


Card Type: Visa Signature

Base
Travel
Dine

Earning rate: 2X Travel and Dining

Noteworthy perks: Primary auto rental collision damage waiver

See also: Chase Ultimate Rewards Complete Guide

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
50K points
50K after $4K spend in 3 months

$450 Annual Fee

This card is known to be subject to Chase's 5/24 rule.

Recent better offer: 100K after $4K spend in 3 months, last seen 3/11/2017 in-branch

FM Mini Review: Excellent all-around card for frequent traveler. Best when paired with no-fee Chase Freedom, no-fee Freedom Unlimited & no-fee Chase Ink Cash


Card Type: Visa Infinite

Base
Travel
Dine

Earning rate: 3X Travel and Dining

Noteworthy perks: ⚬ $300 Annual Travel Credit ⚬ Points worth 1.5 cents each towards travel ⚬ Primary auto rental collision damage waiver ⚬ Priority Pass Select lounge access ⚬ $100 Global Entry fee credit

See also: Chase Ultimate Rewards Complete Guide

Ultimate Rewards Business Cards

Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card

FM Mini Review: This one should be in everyone's wallet. Incredible signup bonus for a no-fee card. Great card for 5X categories. Excellent companion card to Sapphire Reserve or Sapphire Preferred!


Card Type: Visa Signature Business

Base
Dine
Gas
Phone
Office

Earning rate: ⚬ 5X office supplies ⚬ 5X cellular/landline/cable (on up to $25,000 in total purchases in 5x categories annually) ⚬ 2X gas and restaurants

See also: Chase Ultimate Rewards Complete Guide

Chase Ink Business Preferred Card
80K points
80K after $5K spend in 3 months

$95 Annual Fee

This card is known to be subject to Chase's 5/24 rule.

Recent better offer: This is the best public offer we've seen. A 100K offer is sometimes available in-branch through a Business Relationship Manager.

FM Mini Review: Great card for signup bonus and 3X categories. Also consider the no-fee Chase Ink Cash for its 5X categories, and the no fee Ink Business Unlimited to earn 1.5X everywhere.


Card Type: Visa Signature Business

Base
Travel
Phone
Biz

Earning rate: 3X travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone, and advertising with social media sites (up to $150K spend per year)

Noteworthy perks: ⚬ Points worth 25% more when redeemed for travel ⚬ Cell phone protection against theft or damage

See also: Chase Ultimate Rewards Complete Guide

Chase Ink Business Unlimited

FM Mini Review: Great to earn 1.5X Ultimate Rewards in categories with no bonuses. Excellent companion card to Ink Business Preferred, Sapphire Reserve or Sapphire Preferred!


Card Type: Visa Signature Business

Base

Earning rate: 1.5X on all purchases.

See also: Chase Ultimate Rewards Complete Guide

Chase Ink Plus® Business Credit Card

FM Mini Review: Great card for 5X categories!


Card Type: Visa Signature Business

Base
Travel
Gas
Phone
Office

Earning rate: ⚬ 5X office supplies, 5X cellular/landline/cable ⚬ 2X gas and hotels.

Last updated on December 12th, 2019

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[…] card.  Keep in mind that Department Stores qualify for 5X bonus points with both Discover It and Chase Freedom cards this […]

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[…] is offering Freedom and Freedom Unlimited cardholders 10% cash back on up to $2,500 in hotel and car rental bookings […]

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[…] is out with a couple of terrific referral offers for those who refer friends to the Chase Freedom card or the Chase Sapphire […]

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[…] Chase Freedom card […]

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[…] Chase Freedom: Earn 5X rewards in rotating categories (up to $1500 spend per quarter), and 1X everywhere else […]

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[…] that was available a couple of months ago — and it has returned. This offer is good on the Chase Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, and Chase Sapphire Reserve cards based on the landing pages I’ve found. […]

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[…] either of these services, then you should be able to earn 5X this quarter (Jan-March 2018) with the Chase Freedom card, or 3X (worth 4.5% towards travel) at any time with the US Bank Altitude Reserve.  If you have […]

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[…] the same information from Chase representatives. Remember that these categories apply to the Chase Freedom Card — not to the Freedom Unlimited […]

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[…] Rewards accounts in your household or combine them with a joint business owner (e.g. from your Freedom to your Sapphire Reserve or from your partner’s Sapphire Preferred to your Ink Business […]

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[…] else in order to apply for the new Freedom Unlimited 3x offer. My no-annual-fee options were the Chase Freedom card (with rotating 5x categories) or the no-fee Chase Sapphire card (which is only available for […]

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[…] still be an easy freebie, and it should stack nicely with this quarter’s 5x category on the Chase Freedom (PayPal is one of this quarter’s options). I imagine this will sell out […]

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[…] $150). eBay gift card deals make a great stack with this quarter’s bonus categories on the Chase Freedom Card as PayPal purchases earn 5x (on up to $1500 in combined purchases across this quarter’s bonus […]

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[…] are common.  Pharmacy bonuses are common with cards that offer rotating category bonuses (e.g. Chase Freedom and Discover It).  See: Best Card for Grocery, Gas, Drugstores, Travel, Dining, […]

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[…] out this quarter’s Chase Freedom bonus categories, you could additionally stack 5x on the Chase Freedom when paying via […]

Ed. C
Guest
Ed. C

I am REALLY trying to embrace the Chase Ultimate Rewards game but am having a difficult time with it. Thanks to some of your advice, I have secured the CSR, CFU, and Ink Business Cash cards and have earned close to 200,000 points just since March. I would like to get the Chase Freedom for the rotating categories and the opportunity to earn 5X points on groceries and gas occasionally as these are my largest monthly purchases on a consistent basis. However, I live in an area where Walmart is the only game in town. Within 5 miles of my home there are 3 Supercenters and 9 Neighborhood Markets. Chase this quarter says Walmart and Target don’t qualify for the 5X on groceries. Does that include Neighborhood Markets in spite of the fact that they code as grocery stores according to the VISA Supplier Locator? I would like to also get the new Citi American Airlines MileUp card for the 2X miles on groceries but have the same question. I can’t seem to find a deifinitive answer in all my research online. Hope you can help!

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[…] 5x categories on the Chase Freedom card provide a shot at another 7,500 Ultimate Rewards points per quarter. If you’re able to […]

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[…] Chase Freedom: 5X rotating categories […]

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[…] Chase Freedom, Discover It: Each card occasionally offers 5X rewards at grocery stores. Take advantage of it when available. […]

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[…] Chase Freedom often offers 5X at Amazon.com as one of their quarterly 5X categories. […]

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[…] of these are good deals, especially when paired with 5x on an Ink Cash or Chase Freedom when paying through PayPal (provided you haven’t yet reached this quarter’s cap on the […]