Chase Freedom® Review

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Chase Freedom®

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Our Take

The Chase Freedom is a terrific rewards credit card with no annual fee that earns 5% cash back in quarterly rotating categories. Its sign-up bonus makes it even more attractive compared to similar cash back cards

Total Rewards

5% cash back

bonus categories

Bonus Amount

$150

sign-up bonus

Annual Fee

$0

annual fee

Apr

16.49% - 25.24% Variable variable APR.

Fees

$0 annual fee. Either $5 or 3% of the amount of balance transfers, whichever is greater. 3% foreign transaction fee.

Summary

If you're looking for a cash-back credit card with no annual fee and strong bonus categories, the Chase Freedom card is a great choice. The card has no annual fee and earns 5% cash back on bonus categories that change quarterly. The 5% cash back is capped at $1,500 each quarter, and signing up for the bonus categories every three months can be a pain to remember. Still, they're worth your while; past 5% categories have included gas stations, grocery stores, using Chase Pay, department stores and wholsale clubs, just to name a few. You''ll also earn 1% cash back on everything else.

Unlike most no-annual-fee cards, the Chase Freedom comes with a decent sign-up bonus, too. You'll earn $150. The card also has an introductory {ARP}% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, though you'll still have to pay a fee on balance transfers.

Best of all, the Chase Freedom earns valuable Ultimate Rewards points that you can redeem for statement credits, gift cards or travel. But those points become even more powerful if you combine the Chase Freedom with a premium Chase card, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, where you can transfer points to partner airlines and hotels. That unlocks a whole world of valuable redemptions.

Required Credit Score

Excellent/Good 690

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Healthy 5% cash back categories
  • 16.49% - 25.24% Variable
  • $150 sign-up bonus

Cons

  • 5% cash-back earnings capped at $1,500
  • Bonus categories require quarterly signups
  • Earns just 1% back on non-bonus spending
  • No travel partner transfers

Earn, Redeem, and Optimize Your Rewards

Groceries
5 Points
Gas Stations
5 Points
Pharmacy
5 Points
Other
1 Points

Earn

Sign up for the Chase Freedom's quarterly bonus categories to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases. Previous categories have included spending at gas stations, grocery stores and on Chase Pay. You'll also earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Redeem

  • Cash Back
  • Gift Cards
  • Book Travel

Optimize

Optimizing the Chase Freedom card entails two steps: Maxing out the rotating 5% categories, and combining the Chase Freedom with another premium Chase credit card. You'll earn 5% cash back on the first $1,500 combined in the quarterly bonus categories. So, for example, if gas stations and Chase pay are included, you'd want to shift as much of your spending as you can to max those out. If you wouldn't come close to $1,500 in three months, but want to max out the 5% earnings, consider buying gift cards for other retailers. Many gas stations, grocery stores and pharmacies sell these at face value.

Redeeming for statement credits or gift cards translates to $0.01 per 1 Ultimate Rewards point. But pooling points with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, adds a 25% bonus ($0.0125) when you book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. With the Sapphire Reserve, you get a bonus of 50% ($0.015). More importantly, those cards allow you to transfer points to airline and hotel partners, like JetBlue, Singapore Airlines and United Airlines. Partner redemptions are frequently worth much more than $0.015 per point.

Benefits

$150 sign-up bonus

The Chase Freedom has no annual fee, but comes with a great sign-up bonus of $150.

Earn 5% cash back in rotating categories

You'll earn 5% back on the first $1,500 combined in bonus categories that change every quarter.

Great intro APR

The Chase Freedom has an introductory APR of 16.49% - 25.24% Variable variable APR after that. The intro period gives you time to pay off big purchases and balance transfers.

Pool points with premium Chase cards

You can combine Ultimate Rewards points you earn on the Chase Freedom with points you earn on the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred and Chase Ink Preferred cards to make your points worth even more.

Additional Benefits

  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Fraud alerts