Chase Freedom®

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Claire Dickey @ClaireDickey  in  Cash Back How we rate our cards  |  Advertiser Disclosure
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Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

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Best for rotating cash back categories

Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
Regular APR:
16.74% - 25.49% Variable
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Bankrate Rating

Commonly used for: 0% Introductory APR, Auto Rental Insurance, Balance Transfer, Cash Back, Concierge Service, Editor's Pick, EMV, Extended Warranty Program, Gas, Good Credit, Grocery, Lost Luggage Reimbursement, Mobile Pay Ready, No Annual Fee, Popular, Purchase Protection, Rewards, Roadside Assistance, Rotating Cash Back Categories, Travel Accident Insurance, Travel Assistance, Trip Cancellation Insurance, Unsecured credit card, Visa Signature®, Zero Fraud Liability.

Score Breakdown

Bankrate Rating

Perks
Rewards
Annual Fee
Intro Bonus
Variable APR
Foreign Transaction Fee

Chase Freedom®: Details and benefits

For no annual fee, the Chase Freedom® offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined bonus category purchases each quarter (activation required), plus 1% back on everything else.

If you spend $500 with the Chase Freedom in your first three months of card ownership, you’ll receive a $150 welcome bonus.

The card also offers an introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (16.74%–25.49% variable APR thereafter).

Advantages
  • No annual fee
  • $150 cash back bonus when you spend at least $500 within the first three months of card ownership
  • 15-month 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers (16.74%–25.49% variable APR thereafter)
Disadvantages
  • In order to receive cash back in the 5% category, you must activate each quarter
  • 3% foreign transaction fee on purchases made abroad
  • Balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. (After that, the fee is either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.)

Is the Chase Freedom® worth it for you?

If you’re willing to put in some time and effort to track and maximize the Chase Freedom’s rotating categories, you can earn some serious rewards.

Chase’s Q4 bonus categories for October 2019 through December 2019 include department stores, Paypal and Chase Pay purchases.

You’ll want to consider your annual spending to determine if Chase Freedom’s categories match your spending habits.

If your credit score is less than “excellent” but still in the “good” range (between 670-739), you may still be able to qualify for this card.

Get the most value from the Chase Freedom®

To get the most value from the Chase Freedom, you must remember to activate the quarterly bonus categories. There are five ways to do this:

  • Sign into your Chase account and look for the “Activate Now” button.
  • Call the number on the back of your card and activate over the phone.
  • If you have a checking account with Chase, you can activate your bonus categories at an ATM while making a withdrawal.
  • You can ask Chase to email you when it’s time to activate; the emails include a link to activate.
  • You can go to a Chase bank location and ask a Chase representative to assist you.

The Chase Freedom is really best when paired with other Chase cards in the Ultimate Rewards program, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve. Each of these cards charges an annual fee — which can be substantial depending on which card you get — but can boost your redemption 25% to 50% through the Ultimate Rewards program when you redeem through the Chase portal.

For instance, when you transfer your points to the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, those same points increase in value by 25%. So, 100 Ultimate Rewards points become worth 125 Ultimate Rewards points when redeemed for hotels, airline tickets or anything else that Chase categorizes as travel.

How much are the Chase Freedom® rewards worth?

Maximizing rewards with the Chase Freedom’s rotating categories involves planning your spending accordingly.

As soon as you know the next quarter’s bonus categories, think about how you can shift your spending to best match the high-value rewards.

To completely max out the 5% category each quarter, you’ll need to spend $1,500 every three months. In doing so, you’d earn $300 worth of cash back for the year. When you include the $150 cash back bonus (earned after spending $500 in your first three months), that’s a minimum of $450 in cash back earned by the end of your first year of card ownership.

How to redeem rewards

Redeem your rewards for a cash-back deposit to your bank account, statement credit or transfer them as Chase Ultimate Rewards points to an eligible Chase card that has Chase Ultimate Rewards.

The information about the Chase Sapphire Reserve card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.