June 22, 2011 was a sad day for me, a proud cardholder of the Chase Cash Plus Rewards Visa. It was the day I received a letter in the mail from Chase, informing me my card was being switched.
This credit card was by far the best on the market for cash back… it had no annual fee and gave a full 5% rebate on gas/grocery/drugstores all year round. Although it has been closed off to new applicants since July 2006, I was lucky to be grandfathered in as I opened my account just a short time before that. So over the last 5 years, I have been raking in some mad cash back on these categories.
The letter starts out by saying the following:
“Your current Chase Cash Plus Rewards credit card is being changed to Chase Freedom. That means you can now earn even more cash back.”
I find that statement a bit amusing. Not to knock the Freedom which is a great card, but the bottom line is the Cash Plus Rewards Visa is probably the best credit card of all time. For them to say the change means “you can earn even more cash back” may technically be correct, since there’s no ceiling on the 1%. However I am certain myself and many other cardholders won’t be earning “more cash back” over the course of a year, when compared to that killer 5% we were raking in on those 3 popular categories all year long.
Is there any way to opt-out?
I called up Chase and asked to be patched through to supervisor to find out if there was any way to delay the inevitable. Because I know the program has to die someday, but I wanted to be in the very last group to get phased out.
As it turns out, if you are receiving a letter right now that means you are in the last group! The supervisor told me that by August 1st everyone will have been switched. Unfortunately I’m in the group that gets switched by July 1st which means I only have a couple more days left to milk the old rewards program. Time for a big grocery trip? I think so! I need to get one last thrill from the Cash Plus Rewards credit card before it dies forever.
Best alternative for these categories?
You will like the Freedom no doubt, but because the categories rotate, it’s not the best card to use year-round for groceries and gas.
My recommendation? Check out the AmEx Blue Cash Preferred & Blue Cash Everyday, which give 6% and 3% at U.S. supermarkets, respectively (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). These new versions of the Blue Cash were just recently launched and are much more appealing for most people than the older version. Both also offer good gas rewards.