However for this year in 2013, the definition for Chase Freedom’s department stores can be a little bit confusing. Why? Because their official marketing verbiage uses the word “select” in it:
“5% Cash Back on up to $1,500 spent between October 1 and December 31, 2013 at Amazon.com and select department stores” (I copy and pasted this direct from their website).
So what exactly does select entail?
Well I’m certainly not going to interpret that myself, so I turned directly to the Chase website for the answer. After you activate your bonus categories for Q4 2013, they take you to a screen with the Freedom card’s list of participating department stores. Here they are (again, I’m copy/pasting these):
- The Big Store
- Boston Store®
- Cee & Cee Department Store
- Cook Brothers
- FLEMINGTON DEPARTMENT STORE
- JC’S 5 Star
- JOE BRAND
- Lord & Taylor
- Magic Mart
- MAX & JILL
- Neiman Marcus
- RH Renny
- Saks Fifth Ave and Off 5th
- SAM MOON
- STANLEY KORSHAK
- UHAN’S Department Store
- VON MAUR®
- WEAVER’S STORE
In addition to these, they also list “Top Department Stores” which are included (presumably these are the most popular).
Now going back to the original marketing verbiage at the top, they say there are “hundreds” participating. But if you count all of them that are listed, obviously that doesn’t equal hundreds. So there might be others, but they’re not on the website’s published list of stores (possibly because they are smaller and less popular, so they didn’t mention them?). Alternately, maybe they meant hundreds of locations, not hundreds of brands. Call Chase for the answer. To be safe, I am not going to analyze that statement in fear of misinterpreting it.
If there is a department store that’s not listed and you wonder if it qualifies, you should consult Chase customer service. Do NOT assume it does because there are exceptions.
For starters, Target, Walmart and membership stores are not department stores so those will NOT earn you 5% cash back.
They also list some other examples of exclusions in their Q&A section:
“Q. What are examples of the exclusions from the Select Department Store category?
A. Membership warehouses, Discount stores, Electronics stores such as Best Buy and h.h.gregg, General Merchandise and Variety stores, Walmart, Target, and Select Department Store gift card purchases made at locations other than the Select Department Stores, are excluded from the Select Department Store category and will not earn bonus rewards.” (That is copy/pasted verbatim)
Your next move?
What department stores does Chase Freedom count? Obviously a lot! So make sure you maximize your rewards during the 4th quarter of 2013 by first activating/enrolling in the categories and then get out there and do some spending. And remember that in addition to the select department stores, Amazon.com is included. That’s why this is my favorite category of the year!
Also I have a little secret tip to share with you. Okay maybe it’s not exactly a secret, but many people aren’t aware of it: when you buy gift cards at a participating department store, those will also qualify for the 5%. For example, if you bought a $100 gift card at Sears, you can earn 5% on it.
This is excellent way to basically pre-pay for your shopping next year, by stocking up on gift cards to places you know you will be shopping at in the coming months. However please note that you need to buy the gift cards directly from the participating stores. If you were to buy that Sears gift card from somewhere else, like a supermarket, that will NOT count for the 5%.
Need this credit card? Check out my review of the Chase Freedom offer.
Do you also have the Discover it? If not, you should get it too.
This article was originally written September 22, 2013.