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Before we dig into the details of the Chase Freedom® benefits, let’s talk about when it’s right to choose a bonus category credit card.
A bonus category credit card offers higher rewards on certain rotating categories. For example, Chase Freedom® offers 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 spent in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate — and 1 percent cash back on all other purchases automatically. The bonus categories change quarterly. Once you’ve hit $1,500, you receive 1 percent cash back until the cycle resets.
Alternatively, some credit cards offer a flat-rate rewards structure, giving you the same rewards rate on every purchase. For example, Chase Freedom Unlimited® offers unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase.
A bonus category card is great in the following situations:
- You want to maximize your rewards.
- You’re willing to do a little extra legwork to prioritize your spending.
- You’re flexible with how you spend your money.
5 ways to maximize your Chase Freedom® rewards and benefits
There are several ways to maximize the card’s rewards. Don’t skip out on these easy tips.
1. Add an authorized user
Chase Freedom® offers an already excellent bonus of $150 after you spend $500 in purchases in your first three months from account opening — but you’ll also get an extra $25 bonus if you add an authorized user and make a purchase within the same three-month period.
What’s more, adding an authorized user can get you to that sign-up bonus faster and more rewards in the long run if the authorized user is also spending money.
2. Be flexible with your spending
With bonus categories that change every quarter, you may have to re-prioritize how you spend your money every few months.
For example, if one of the current quarter’s bonus categories is grocery stores, it typically excludes retailers like Target and Walmart that carry many products beyond food. If you get most of your groceries at one of those two stores, switch to a local grocery store for a few months to maximize your cash back.
If you shop online regularly, you can earn even more cash back when you use the Shop through Chase® online shopping mall. When you spend with participating merchants, you’ll earn 1 percent to 15 percent in extra cash back.
3. Transfer your points
Chase Freedom® offers several ways to redeem your rewards, including for cash back, gift cards and travel. But if you also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ card, you can transfer your Chase Freedom® rewards to that account to get more value out of your redemptions.
4. Pair your card with another to boost your total rewards haul
One of the main drawbacks to Chase Freedom® is that non-bonus spending nets you only 1 percent cash back. If you’re really into maximizing your rewards, use the Chase Freedom® card for its 5 percent cash back categories and another card with high flat-rate rewards for everything else.
For example, the Citi® Double Cash Card offers 1 percent cash back on every purchase, plus another 1 percent back when you pay for those purchases. If that card isn’t your top choice, there are several other cash back cards that can do the trick.
This is also a good option if you can’t be flexible with your spending in all of the bonus categories the Chase Freedom® card offers. In those cases, you’ll still be able to beat the card’s base rewards rate.
5. Get familiar with the card’s ancillary benefits
The Chase Freedom® benefits extend far beyond its rewards program. You also get the following perks:
- Price protection provides reimbursement in case the price of an item you bought with the card drops within 90 days. If approved, Chase will refund you the difference (up to a certain amount) between what you paid and the new price.
- Purchase protection might cover you in case an eligible item you purchased gets damaged or stolen within 120 days of the purchase date.
- Extended warranty protection, which may extend the U.S. manufacturer’s warranty on an item you purchased for an extra year.
- Return protection could protect you in case the store won’t take back an eligible item that you purchased with your card.
- Rental car collision damage waiver provides collision insurance for most cars when you decline the rental company’s collision insurance and charge the entire rental cost to your card.
- Roadside dispatch provides help when you’re in an emergency on the road.
- Travel and emergency assistance services can aid you if you run into legal, medical or other travel-related problems away from home.
For a card with no annual fee, Chase Freedom® offers a lot of value through its rewards program and other perks.
You can tap some of that value even if you don’t spend a lot of time trying to maximize the card’s benefits. But if you want to get the most bang for your buck, you’ll have plenty of opportunities — especially if you use some of this article’s tips and tricks.
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