The Chase Freedom credit card is one of the most popular cash-back cards on the market. The Chase Freedom card is attractive because it does not impose a fee on card members, and current promotional interest rates offer 0% on both purchases and balance transfers for qualified applicants. Card members are also drawn to the Chase Freedom rewards program as a way to earn cash-back on all purchases. The card functions as a rotating bonus rewards program, meaning additional rewards points are earned during certain times of the year for specific retailers or categories of purchases. The card also offers a flat-rate cash back for purchases made outside the bonus categories throughout the year. Before learning how rewards can be redeemed, let’s take a look at how rewards are earned.
Chase Freedom Rewards Potential
Card members with Chase Freedom earn 5% cash back on purchases made in bonus categories each quarter. As an example, bonus categories in the past have included grocery stores and restaurants, gas stations and home improvement stores, and wholesale clubs like Costco or BJs. To earn rewards in bonus categories, card members must activate the enhanced rewards program each and every quarter. Combined purchases of up to $1,500 in bonus categories are eligible for the 5% cash back reward.
In addition to the 5% cash back potential, Chase Freedom card members earn 1% on purchases that fall outside the quarterly bonus categories. Card members are no up against a limit as far as earning rewards is concerned, and the benefit is automatically activated at the time the card is opened. Additional rewards points may be earned through promotions for new card members, including a $150 cash back bonus when $500 or more in purchases are made using the card within the first three months after account opening. Adding an authorized user also earns card members $25 bonus cash back when a purchase is made within the same three-month time frame.
Chase Freedom rewards points do not expire, giving card members flexibility as to how rewards are used over time. But the greatest benefits to the Chase rewards program is the ability to redeem points in a variety of ways.
Redeeming for Cash
Chase Freedom rewards points can be redeemed for cash easily through the card issuer’s website, by calling a representative with Chase, or by visiting a Chase Bank branch location. Card members who opt for cash can use accumulated rewards points to obtain a statement credit to reduce the outstanding balance held on the card. Card members should note that a statement credit does not alter the minimum payment due. Alternatively, cash back can be redeemed as a direct deposit in to a checking or savings account held at a financial institution within the United States. For both statement credit and direct deposit redemptions, a minimum of 2,000 points – the equivalent of $20 – is required.
Redeeming for Gift Cards or Shopping
Chase Freedom card members also have the ability to redeem accumulated cash back rewards for select gift cards made available through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards site. Participating retailers include major stores such as Lowes, Home Depot, Target, Amazon and Apple (iTunes), and more than 70 partners make gift cards available through the Chase rewards program. While it is necessary to have the same minimum accumulated rewards balance of 2,000, gift cards can be redeemed in amounts as small as $5, or 500 points.
Chase Freedom rewards points may also be used to shop directly through certain partner sites, the most notable being Amazon.com. Through the Ultimate Rewards portal, card members with at least 2,000 points can link their individual Amazon.com account to Chase and utilize points at checkout. Card members who download the Chase Freedom mobile app have additional options for direct shopping with accumulated points. Through the app, card members select the merchant they wish to pay (more than 30 are available at this time), and the amount they want to spend. Chase creates a custom gift card specifically for that store that is available through the app. When the card member is ready to pay, they simply present the phone at checkout for the amount selected.
Redeeming for Travel
One of the most attractive ways to redeem points through Chase Freedom is on travel purchases. Through the Chase Ultimate Rewards site, card members have an overwhelming number of options including air fare, hotel stays and rental car reservations. Additionally, Chase aggregates a number of activities catered to family-friendly adventures or vacations, romantic getaways or outdoor fun. The site also provides a list of location-specific activities for card members, such as museum visits, new and noteworthy restaurants and community events.
Redeeming Chase Freedom rewards through the site also requires a minimum of 2,000 points, although some travel partners may require a higher number of points to make purchases. Any purchases made above and beyond the total available points value may be completed using the linked Chase Freedom credit card, and those balances earn points at the flat cash back rate of 1%.
Card members also have the opportunity to combine cash back rewards earned through the Chase Freedom credit card with other credit cards offered through Chase Bank. Moving points does not cost the card member anything, and it can be done as long as the card remains in good standing with Chase. All Chase cards that offer the Ultimate Rewards program are eligible for points transfer, as long as the card member is the same, a spouse or a domestic partner.
The Chase Freedom Ultimate Rewards program offers a number of ways to utilize cash back earned in either the bonus categories or through regular purchases that earn a flat rate. Card members have the opportunity to redeem accumulated rewards as statement credits for their Chase Freedom credit card balance, or via direct deposit into a bank account. Gift cards and shopping experiences are also available through the Ultimate Rewards site or through the Freedom rewards mobile app. Travel, activities and local events may also be purchases using cash back rewards through Chase Freedom. As long as the minimum amount of points are available, card members can use cash back however it best fits their needs.