Warning: Do not apply without reading this review. Because right now (December 2013) the Chase Freedom® has a $200 bonus cash back offer if you know where to look:
Get a $200 bonus -AND- 0% Intro APR for 15 mo. on purchases & balance transfers
You only have to spend $500 n the first 3 months to earn the $200 (most card offers have much higher spend requirements). This is a limited-time offer, normally the bonus is only half that size. After the 0% intro ends, the variable APR is 13.99%-22.99%. This is the best promo they've run all year so get this while you still can.
Over the years many reward credit cards have come and gone, but the Freedom by Chase has been going strong for a decade. During that time it has undergone 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
Freedom gives you a full 5% rebate on multiple categories that change each quarter. Unlike other cards, the amount of spending which qualifies for the 5% is quite high (up to $1,500 in category spending per quarter when you enroll). That means you can earn 5% on up to $6,000 of your spending every year!
And the 4th quarter of 2013 is my favorite because from October 1st and December 31st 2013, you can signup and earn 5% cash back at Amazon.com and select department stores!
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 all other purchases. This makes it the perfect “all-in-one” choice since you won't have to juggle multiple cards.
Reason #3: There's no annual fee, no inactivity fee, and no expiration of your rewards
Many cards have a 24 or 36 month expiration on rewards, but with this one they never expire. Nor do you ever have to worry about annual fees or inactivity fees… as Charlie Sheen would say that combo is winning!
The Chase Freedom 5% cash back categories for 2014 were just announced on December 3rd. Here's the cash back calender for next year:
It's great to see Chase is doing gas stations again for two quarters - that's half of the year!
- Q1 (January 1 – March 31, 2014): Gas stations, movie theaters and Starbucks® stores
- Q2 (April 1 – June 30, 2014): Restaurants and Lowe’s® home improvement stores
- Q3 (July 1 – September 30, 2014): Gas stations and Kohl’s®
- Q4 (October 1 – December 31, 2014): Amazon.com, Zappos.com and select department stores
Rewards redemption without the BS
Did you know that with Bank of America’s credit card points (called "WorldPoints") you have to save up a whopping 25,000 of them in order to get cash back that’s worth a full 1 cent per point? If you're only earning 1 pt/dollar, that means having to spend $25,000! Redeem less and the point value is watered-down big time – you get as little 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, the current selection may vary.)
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 December 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.
- 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.
- Book your air travel through Ultimate Rewards and get double points on every dollar spent.
- You can transfer/combine points with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. This makes your Freedom rewards even more valuable if you transfer them. Why? Because if you transfer and then spend them thru your Sapphire Preferred account, you can get 20% off travel with Ultimate Rewards. For example, a $500 flight is just 40,000 pts. Think about it... that means your 5% (5x point) categories can be worth up to 6.25% if you transfer the points to Sapphire Preferred before spending them!
Price Protection (a.k.a. Lowest Price Guarantee)
Don’t you hate it when you buy something and it goes on sale after? If that happens with qualified purchases made with the card, 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. And with no annual fee to boot!
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. And don't forget you can get 5% at Amazon.com and select department stores on up to $1,500 spent at those places between Oct 1st and Dec 31st 2013.
Best of all, you can score 3 incentives with 1 signup offer right now when you apply using the link below. After the intro period ends, it's a variable APR of 13.99%-22.99%. This is the best bonus offer of 2013 (normally it's only $100) so if you've been procrastinating on applying, now is definitely the time. Don't miss out on this limited-time deal they're running because the last time I saw them offer the $200 bonus was nearly a year ago.
- $200 bonus (simply make $500 in purchases within first 3 months from acct. opening to get this)
- 0% Intro APR for a full 15 months on purchases
- 0% Intro APR for a full 15 months on balance transfers