Maximize Chase Ultimate Rewards with Chase Freedom

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This is post #2 of a series regarding the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.

Related Posts:

Now that you got an introduction on the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, there are a few tips and tricks to really maximize your earnings! As I mentioned in the previous post, the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold, and Chase Ink Plus are the only Ultimate Reward earning cards that give you the full benefit of being able to transfer your hard earned points to a partner loyalty program. But what about the Chase Freedom credit card – a pretty common card that gives you cash back. Overall, it is a decent cash back card especially with their 5% quarterly bonuses, but being able to transfer those points earned would be even more ideal, wouldn’t it?

If you couple the Chase Freedom card with either the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Bold or Chase Ink Plus, your points then become more valuable! The points earned from all your Ultimate Reward earning cards are grouped into one account and all points are then able to be transferred over to a participating hotel/airline program.

So if you already have one of the cards, why would you get the Chase Freedom card? The Chase Freedom card has NO annual fee and has rotating quarterly bonuses. For each bonus category you will receive 5x points up to $1,500 spend. The good thing is that these are your typical spending categories, i.e, gas, groceries, travel, etc.

2015 Bonus Spend Categories:

  • January-March: Grocery Stores, Movie Theater, Starbucks
  • April-June: Restaurants and more
  • July-September: Gas stations and more
  • October-December: Amazon.com and more

For example, if you spend $1,500 at grocery stores between January and March, you will earn a total of 7,500 Ultimate Reward points (1,500 from regular spend and 6,000 bonus points). That is a great bonus!

For non-bonus categories, it really does not matter if you use your Chase Freedom, Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold, or Chase Ink Plus, but for the bonus spend categories, make sure you use the Chase Freedom card to get the 5x points! Each quarter you MUST activate the bonus categories – do not forget! If you do not manually activate the 5x points, they will NOT be posted to your account.

Now, that was pretty quick and easy, but that is not all! Let’s say you do not want to get another credit card and couple the Chase Freedom card with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold, or Chase Ink Plus card. Make friends! Currently, points earned from the Chase Freedom card can be transferred to other person’s Chase Ultimate Rewards account. There is nothing in the terms and conditions on who you can transfer your points to, however, Chase has been cracking down on transferring points outside of your immediate family and closing accounts, so tread with caution. So if you transfer points to your spouse/partners account who has Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold, or Chase Ink Plus, those points can then be transferred to a partner loyalty program. When transferring to a loyalty program, you can transfer to anyone’s award account, the names do not have to match (yet), unlike American Express Membership Rewards. So if you followed that, we just did a full circle to get your points earned from the Chase Freedom card into your preferred loyalty program. You can also do this with your own accounts, but applying for either the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold, or Chase Ink Plus when the time is necessary and transfer your points from your Chase Freedom account to the new account you just opened.

And… we are still not done! Having a Chase Checking account will continue to maximize your points, but only works if you also have the Chase Freedom credit card – this program is called “Chase Exclusives.”  UPDATE: This program has been discontinued for new card members, however, those who had the card previously have been grandfathered into the program and the following bonuses will still be honored:

  • 10% extra points on Chase Freedom card purchases – For example, a $100 purchase will actually net you 110 points. If this purchase was part of one of the quarterly bonus categories you would earn 510 points (you will not earn a 10% bonus on the 5% bonus – no double dipping!)
  • 10 bonus points on every purchase – Every time your Chase Freedom card is swiped, you will earn 10 bonus points. For example, 10 five cent purchases will earn you 50 bonus points while 1 $100 purchase will earn you 10 bonus points – moral of the story… split up your purchase into multiple transactions!

You must have both accounts to be enrolled in the “Exclusives” program and unfortunately it does take a month or two to kick in. Additionally, Chase often sends out $150 cash back coupons for opening up a checking account (direct deposit and a minimum amount is necessary). Just make sure to meet the minimum to avoid any monthly fees as those are no fun! Others have also suggested getting the checking account prior to the Chase Freedom card as this will speed up the process. As a reader commented, you can also call Chase to have them manually give you the 10 points per transaction plus the 10% bonus if the two accounts are not yet linked.

So now, your $1,500 in purchases for that quarters 5x bonus category will earn you 7,750 points (or $77.50 if you prefer the cash back option – I’d go with the loyalty points though)! Here is the breakdown:

  • 1,500 – regular spend
  • 6,000 – 5x quarterly bonus
  • 150 – 10% “exclusive” bonus
  • 100 – 10 points per purchase “exclusive” bonus (assuming 10 transactions)

Key Links:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred application: 40,000 bonus points with $4,000 spend in 3 months plus an additional 5,000 points when you add an authorized user and the user makes a purchase within the first 3 months; $95 annual fee waived the first year
  • Chase Ink Plus card: 50,000 bonus points with $5,000 spend in 3 months; $95 annual fee.
  • Chase Freedom Visa application: 20,000 bonus points with $500 spend in 3 months; no annual fee

Disclosure: Some links in this post contain affiliate links where I get paid commission if apply and get approved for a credit card. I will only list the best credit card offers as my goal is for you to travel for free!

Pingbacks

  1. […] This is a great card for your typical spending categories, i.e., gas, groceries, dining, travel. Earning 5x points during the active time frame is a huge bonus, especially when there is no annual fee for this card. This is a card to use for certain categories throughout the year! You have probably heard about this card before and coupling it with the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Ink Bold for the full trifecta affect and fully maximizing your points! Read this prior post on Maximizing your Chase Ultimate Reward points. […]

  2. […] Overall, this is a great card for your typical spending categories, i.e., gas, groceries, dining, travel. It is great to supplement this card with another miles/points earning card for the months/merchants that do not receive the 5x points. While I’ve mentioned this before, I just wanted to point out again that coupling this card with the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Ink Bold for the full trifecta affect will allow you fully maximize your points! Read this prior post on Maximizing your Chase Ultimate Reward points. […]

  3. […] Overall, this is a great card for your typical spending categories, i.e., gas, groceries, dining, travel. It is great to supplement this card with another miles/points earning card for the months/merchants that do not receive the 5x points. While I’ve mentioned this before, I just wanted to point out again that coupling this card with the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Ink Bold or Chase Ink Plus for the full trifecta affect will allow you fully maximize your points! Read this prior post on Maximizing your Chase Ultimate Reward points. […]

Comments

  1. Even though it takes a month or two to “kick in” once you have the checking account and Freedom account, I was able to have them manually credit the points when I got my first “statement” from Chase Freedom. They confirmed I had the checking account, then manually gave me 10 pts per transaction plus the additional 10%. I have had one statement and my second statement runs in another week. I plan to call in for an adjustment if it hasn’t kicked in yet!

    • @kelly s – good to know that the representatives will manually put it through for you. Additionally, having the checking account prior to the Chase Freedom card should also expedite this.

  2. Your link at the bottom for the Ink Bold says 50k points for 3k spend, to my knowledge it is 5k spend. Also, the link doesn’t work?

    • @JDF – Wow, bad copy and paste error on my fault. Yes, it is $5k spend after 3 months for the Ink Bold. The links have also been updated. Thanks for the 2nd set of eyes 🙂

  3. I thought the biz ink had no fx fee —went to apply for the card on ur link and could not find it as a benefit – is your link for what they call the 5-2-1 ink card ??

    thanks

    • @Stan – Great question. You are correct, neither the Chase Sapphire Preferred or The New Chase Ink Bold Business have foreign transaction fees. The old Chase Ink Bold card, however, does. This link on the site is the 5-2-1 ink card. Here are the terms of the card:

      – 50,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in 3 months – that’s $500 in rewards of your choice, or $625 towards airfare when you redeem online through our Ultimate Rewards booking tool
      – No limit to the number of points you can earn – and points do not expire
      – 5X points per dollar on the first $50,000 spent annually on eligible business purchases
      No foreign transaction fees and Free Employee Cards
      – No interest or over limit fees
      – No Annual Fee in the first year – that’s a $95 savings

  4. If you have all three, Business Ink, Freedom(personal), and Sapphire(personal), are the points all linked in one bucket or is the business separate from the personal?

    • @Tim – You are able to transfer all of your points into one bucket, which is great! That is why the points earned from the Chase Freedom card become to valuable as they can be clumped with the Chase Sapphire Preferred points and then transferred to partner loyalty programs. This cannot be done if you ONLY have the Freedom card – needs to be coupled with Business Ink or Sapphire Preferred.

  5. I live in Maryland. When I have tried to open a Chase checking account online I get a message that it is not available to me. Is there a work around?

    • @KKE – Unfortunately no. Only points earned from purchases on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card earn the 7% bonus. Would be amazing if it did though, right?!

  6. @Tim – A more accurate answer is that the points are linked to each individual card account they were earned with, regardless of personal or business. There is no AmEx Membership Rewards style number/account/bucket for earning points, your credit card account is also the points account.

    However the points can be freely transferred at any time to combine your own points or to combine with another person. To transfer to an airline or hotel loyalty program, you would transfer from your Freedom card to SP card(or Ink Bold card) account and then transfer out.

    • @Kroozer – Thanks for that detailed explanation, well put! That is correct, you can combine all your points into one bucket, which would be recommended – easier to keep track of everything!

  7. @kelly S – You said that you were able to have them manually credit the points when you got your first “statement” from Chase Freedom. Did you call the bank or the chase freedom CSR?

  8. I have a Sapphire card and now just got the Sapphire Preferred. If I combine points to the Preferred card, will I be able to transfer them all to airline points?

    Also, any value in keeping the regular Sapphire card (as a backup, free card maybe)? Thanks.

    • @Ken – Yes, if you transfer your Sapphire points to Sapphire Preferred points, you will then be able to transfer them to a participating airline. Since the Sapphire card has no annual fee, there really is no reason to cancel it. Additionally, if you eventually decide to get rid of the Sapphire Preferred due to the annual fee, you still have that as a backup.

    • @Jason – that’s great to hear. I know that the 50k bonus gets the 7% bonus this making the sign up bonus even better!

    • @AP – It is both, just really depends on how you look at it. If you spend $1 you can get 5% cash back (if you select the cash back option). However, if you transfer your freedom points to ultimate rewards that is equivalent to transferring 5 UR points. So it really is one of the same. Let me know if that makes sense!

    • @dwh – Great question and might be a good post for everyone to learn this. But for a quick answer: In your Ultimate Rewards account, click on the “Earn Faster” tab, then select the “Combine Ultimate Rewards Points” option.

  9. I received an offer in the mail for the Chase Business Ink (Classic – not bold). The offer said I would get 40k points after first purchase. Why do you think they are not UR points? I called the telephone # on the application and one of the agents confirmed that they are UR points.

    • @Lawrence – These are UR points, however, points in this account are not able to be transferred to airline/hotel partners. Only the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Ink Bold accounts can be transferred to airline/hotel partners. So while there are many cards there tied to UR points, some UR points are more valuable than others. The best part of the program is that you can transfer your points freely, so those Chase Business Ink Classic points can than be transferred to your Chase Sapphire Preferred account and then transferred to an airline/hotel.

  10. I signed up for the Bold through a link. I can meet the spend. I didn’t realize that not all UR points are equal. I need to be able to transfer them to Hyatt, Marriott, etc.

    Thanks!

    • @Lawrence – The points earned from the Chase Ink Bold card can be transferred to partner loyalty programs – Hyatt, Marriott, etc.

  11. If you combine your Freedom points with the Sapphire points do you need to use them prior to canceling the sapphire card when the annual fees comes due? Or can you transfer any remaining points back to the freedom pot? Can they go back and forth?

    • @jimmybox – points can be transferred back and forth. However, if you want to use your points to transfer to airline and hotel points you must do that prior to cancelling the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Once you cancel this card, all the points in the Freedom card account can no longer be transferred to a participating rewards program.

  12. Several years ago I cancelled the freedom card. I did not receive any bonus points for that card. If I apply for the freedom card now, will I get the bonus after the required spend?

  13. My husband has the Chase Freedom and Sapphire Preferred Cards. I have the Chase Checking in my name, so it shows up with my Chase username and Password along with my Chase credit cards. My question is, when my husband joins my Chase checking account will his Freedom be automatically linked to the checking account?

    • @DealsSeeker – Will you be adding your husband on as a joint user? If so, it should. However, I’d recommend calling to ensure it gets linked.

  14. My husband has the Chase Freedom and Sapphire Preferred Cards. I have the Chase Checking in my name, so it shows up with my Chase username and Password along with my Chase credit cards. My question is, when my husband joins my Chase checking account will his Freedom be automatically linked to the checking account?

  15. I have an old and still valid Chase Freedom card and a new Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. But when I go to the Ultimate Rewards — Combine Your Rewards Points page, there is no way for me to transfer Freedom points to Ultimate Rewards. The Freedom card does not show up on the Transfer From dropdown list. I also called Chase and the rep said that it was not possible to make the transfer. Am I missing a step?

    • @LZ – It absolutely should work. First, go into your Chase Freedom account and select the “redeem for rewards” tab. You will then see two options: 1) Get Cash Back; 2) Log onto Ultimate Rewards. Select the “Log onto Ultimate Rewards” link. Fill in the required fields and the transfer amount. The rest is just verifying the transfer. Let me know if this works.

  16. @dealswelike, thanks but hmm it doesn’t seem to work for me, maybe only for some customers. When I click on redeem for rewards in my Chase Freedom Account, I enter a page that just lists various merchandise I can buy with points. There’s another page that lets me switch to earning cash back, but nothing about Ultimate Rewards. Maybe you can do a post about how it works with screenshots because I suspect my account pages look different from yours.

    • @LZ – I will create a post next week with step by step directions and screen shots on how to do this. Keep an eye out!

  17. Thanks for the article. Couple of questions:
    1. I have the Freedom and Sapphire (not preffered)cards. I was thinking of combining the points to have them all in 1 place. These 2 cards have the same offers as far as ultimate rewards are concerned, correct?
    2. When I signed up for Freedom 2-3 years ago, I did not receive any sign up points. Do you think if I call them they will give me points or is that a waste of time?

    • @Curious George –

      1. Yes, the Freedom and non-preferred Sapphire have the exact same value.
      2. Never hurts to call and try!

  18. @dealswelike, next month bonus will be on grocery. May I ask if we can buy gas gift card in grocery store for the bonus and what stores? Also, can I buy gas gift card inside the gas station now and would it qualify for the gas bonus this month? Thanks.

  19. Hello. What Chase number do we call to link the checking and Freedom accounts for the 10% bonus? I’ve had my Freedom accounts for years and the checking account since August but they’re still not linked.

  20. Just got Chase ck acc ($150). Have pfd sapphire Mentioned I wanted Freedom card. Brick and mortar Rep said let me do it. Received 30,000 pts (I asked) I suspect E -filing would have generated only. 10,000 pts. Rep also got me military account (who knew?) …No fee no minimum balance and free safe deposit box. Also pushed and promised to follow up on Chase exclusives.
    Moral—-Sometimes the old ways work best.

  21. Can I transfer my UR points to my Starwood account and then Starwood account to airline and then get 5000 bonus mikes with 20,000 miles transfer?

  22. @dealswelike – I currently have the Sapphire Preferred and just recently acquired the Hyatt card (a week or so). Should I apply for the Freedom card? I do a lot of driving for work and accumulate $320/month worth of gas expenses, in addition to doing a lot of online shopping (Amazon.com). If so, how long should I wait until I can apply again for another Chase credit card? Thanks in advance!

    • @Daryl – Chase doesn’t have any set policy that you can only apply for X number of cards in X months. Since you only have two other Chase cards that will not hold you back from getting approved.

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