Warning: Do not apply for a cash back card without reading this review. As of right now (May 2013) Chase Freedom® Visa is featuring the best signup offer for the category:
Earn a $100.00 bonus -AND- get 0% for 15 mo. on purchases & balance transfers
When you use the above link, to get the bonus you only have to spend $500 within the first 3 months (most card offers have much higher spend requirements). After the 0% intro ends, the APR is 13.99%-22.99% (V).
Over the years many reward credit cards have come and gone but the Chase Freedom has been going strong for a decade. During that time it has undergone a few changes, some better than others however at the end of the day, it still remains the king of cash back cards in 2013 for 3 reasons:
Reason #1: Best program for 5% cash back
The Freedom card gives you a full 5% rebate on multiple categories that rotate each quarter. Unlike other credit cards, the amount of spending which qualifies for the 5% is quite high (up to $1,500 in category spending per quarter) and that means you can earn 5% on up to $6,000 of your spending every year!
Reason #2: You get high cash back on your other purchases too
One of the biggest drawbacks with many credit cards is that they give you great rewards for a couple categories, but a below-average payout on everything else you buy… not cool!
For example the Discover More offers a similar 5% program but it comes with a drawback – it only gives a quarter-percent (1/4%) cash back for the first $3k spent annually on non-category purchases. However the Chase Freedom offers you an unlimited 1.00% on everything else. This makes it the perfect “all-in-one” choice since you won't have to juggle multiple cards.
Reason #3: There is no annual fee and no inactivity fee
During the entire history of this card, Chase has NEVER charged a fee. So what you are getting is a totally free card and it has the best cash rebate program… as Charlie Sheen would say that combo is winning!
Here are the Chase Freedom 5% cash back categories for 2013:
If you apply now, it means you will get 5% on gas for half the year since they include it 2 of the 4 quarters.
- Q1 (Jan 1 – March 31, 2013): Gas stations, Drug Stores, and Starbucks Stores
- Q2 (April 1 – June 30, 2013): Restaurants, Movie Theaters, and Lowe's®
- Q3 (July 1 – Sept 30, 2013): Gas Stations, Theme Parks, and Kohl’s
- Q4 (Oct 1 – Dec 31, 2013): Amazon.com and Select Department Stores
Rewards redemption without the BS
Did you know with Bank of America’s credit card points, you have to save up a whopping 25,000 points (with 1 pt/dollar that means spending $25,000) in order to get cash back that’s worth a full 1 cent per point? Redeem less and the point value is watered-down big time – as low as a 1/2 cent per point.
Many credit card companies play games like that but fortunately, Chase isn’t one of them!
With the Chase Freedom rewards program you always get a full 1 cent per point value for your cash back. You can start cashin’ out with as little as $20 worth, which is a much lower minimum than many other cards.
But the rewards program is not just cash back and gift cards. You also can redeem your points for:
- Travel - You can use your points for flights, hotels, and car rentals.
- Merchandise - I've never seen a credit card that offers so many choices for merchandise. There are literally tens of thousands of options!
- Experiences - There are all sorts of unique opportunities for concerts, culinary events, the hottest games, safaris/tours and much more.
- Gift Cards - Sometimes these allow you to get even more value per dollar. When you redeem gift cards for rewards, often times there are some available at discounted values:
(This screenshot was taken last year to show you some of the examples)
You also get a number of unique benefits…
What many people don’t realize (probably because most credit card reviews fail to mention these things) is that the Chase Freedom card’s benefits go above and beyond just rewards. You get purchase and travel benefits, some you won’t even find on high-end cards that cost hundreds per year. For example...
Participation in Chase Ultimate RewardsVerdict for 2013?
What is that you ask? Well, in a nutshell it's a program that gives you a ton of additional ways to save money and earn even more points on your spending.
Price Protection (a.k.a. Lowest Price Guarantee)
- Book your air travel through Ultimate Rewards and get double points on every dollar spent
- Shop at over 400 popular online stores and earn more rewards for every dollar spent. For example, you get 2x at Walmart.com and Target.com, 7x at Drugstore.com, 8x at TurboTax, and 10x at Kohls.com just to name a few.
Don’t you hate it when you buy something and it goes on sale after? Whenever that happens with qualified purchases, you can use Chase Freedom’s Price Protection and get refunded for the difference! This coverage is offered for 90 days from date of purchase, up to $500 per claim/$3,500 annually. Now here’s a shocker… none of the American Express cards offer this benefit but the Freedom does!
Visa Signature benefits (if your credit qualifies you for this tier)
Not all applicants will get this, but those with qualifying credit might get the "Signature" level, which is the highest tier of Visa cards available. With it comes additional benefits such as purchase security, extended warranty service, travel and emergency assistance services, and much more. Consult Visa for terms and conditions.
As you have seen in my review, Chase packs a lot of punch into the Freedom. That's why I use it myself on almost a daily basis. You get top-notch rewards, valuable benefits for free, and of course there’s never an annual fee. Best of all right now you can this 3-in-1 signup deal when you apply using this offer:
- $100.00 bonus (just spend $500 in 3 months)
- 0% intro APR for a full 15 months on purchases
- 0% intro APR for a full 15 months on balance transfers