Chase Freedom offers 5x points in selected categories, which rotate throughout the year. For example, from October to December this year, you can earn 5 points per dollar spent in department stores, wholesale clubs, or drug stores. With just the Chase Freedom card, this amounts to a 5% cash back.
However, if you also have a flexible points earning card, like the Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve, you can transfer the points between accounts. This means the 5x points you earned from Chase Freedom can be transferred to airline and hotel programs. If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you can redeem Tham at 1.5 cents per dollar at their travel portal; this means you can effectively get 7.5% cash back when you spend it on airfare.
Reddit user snorkage says that a Chase representative told her/him that the bonus-ed categories for Q1 and Q2 2017 will be the following:
- Q1: Gas stations and commuter passes
- Q2: Grocery stores and drug stores
As a reminder, this is the 2016 bonus calendar.
Of course, it remains to be seen whether this is true. But personally, I think it’d be pretty sad if grocery stores and drug stores ended up in the same quarter. This is because these merchants can be hugely useful in stocking up on gift cards (which effectively gives you 5x virtually anywhere you want). But since Chase imposes a limit of $1,500 in combine spending (a limit of 7,500 points per quarter), having both categories in the same quarter will reduce the earning potential significantly.
Just for the sake of comparison, the Discover Card also offers 5% cash back on rotating categories. They have already announced the categories for Q1 of 2017: gas stations, ground transportation, and wholesale clubs. This is basically the same as the (rumored) Chase categories. Personally, I value Chase Ultimate Rewards point way more than 1 cent/point, so I’d definitely recommend using the Freedom card first.
What do you think of these rumored categories?