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Maximize rewards this spring

By Janna Herron ·
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Posted: 5 pm ET

Chase Freedom and Discover cardholders may want to redo that bathroom or kitchen renovation this spring.

Chase said Wednesday that purchases up to $1,500 at Lowe's -- one of the largest home improvement retailers -- will earn up to 5 percent cash back from April through June on the Chase Freedom credit card. Similarly, Discover cardholders will get 5 percent back on purchases from home improvement stores, up to $1,500, during the same period.

That means if you need to shell out $3,000 on new cabinets, flooring, light fixtures, appliances and paint -- it would be best to split the costs on your Discover and Chase Freedom credit cards to get the most cash-back rewards.

Want even more points? You could use your Discover card for any restaurant and movie charges until the end of March and receive a 5 percent cash-back bonus in those categories as well. Then, from April to June, switch to your Chase Freedom card for those purchases and you can get 5 percent cash back in those categories in addition to your Lowe's purchases.

Currently, Chase Freedom cards are offering these accelerated cash-back earnings on gas stations, drug stores and Starbucks purchases through the end of March.

Both credit cards offer 1 percent back on all other purchases, with no limits. Cardholders must register to receive the accelerated cash-back earnings.

But make sure you can pay off your entire bill each month. Otherwise, your interest charges will be funding your cash-back bonus, which won't be a bonus at all.

Do you time your purchases with rotating spend categories on your rewards card?

Follow me on Twitter: @JannaHerron

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March 06, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Discover offered me a 1 year 0% interest card with balance transfer option. I signed up in November. Over Christmas I charged a few things and last week I paid that balance off. I decided to check about the balance transfer as I have one last card to pay off to be debt free.

They reneged on the agreement and now say it was a temporary offer. They would not tell me when I could transfer any balances.

I asked for a manager and was told the same thing so I told him I wanted to cancel the card. He politely told me that he needed to transfer me to a service representative and then left me on hold for more than 30 minutes before I finally hung up.

I should not be surprised to get the runaround from a credit card company.

They borrow money from the Fed at .025% interest and they have the highest profit margins of any industry in the world, even after any losses wish they promptly find a way to make into public debt.

Talk about a credit card scam!

BTW, I would be happy just to lower the interest rate from the other card to a non-userous rate but I can't even do that!

February 28, 2013 at 10:26 am

Those rotating categories give me a headache. They're helpful if you need to make a large purchase in one of the categories otherwise not worth the trouble if you have another card that pays more than 1%. A caveat you forgot to mention is that typically there are minimum redemption amounts like $20 or $50 so if you earned say $15, the $15 might "get stuck" until you exceed $20, etc.