I just discovered an important task that somehow never got done. Small tasks often have big benefits, and I don’t want to miss this bonus. Maybe because I was traveling during October, but holy cow, I never activated my Freedom card for this quarter’s bonus spend.
While the Chase Freedom® normally offers 1% cash back on all purchases, every quarter there are certain bonus categories that will earn you 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spend in bonus categories that quarter.
There is one catch, though.
You have to activate your Freedom card in order to take advantage of the bonus categories. Sometimes we start spending in the bonus categories and don’t even realize we’ve forgotten to register our card. For this quarter bonus, which began on October 1, make sure to activate your card by December 14.
This quarter’s bonus categories are department stores, wholesale clubs, and Chase Pay.
For this quarter’s bonus categories here’s how Chase classifies what’s included or excluded in each category.
• Department Stores: Click here for the list of merchants included and merchants not included in the Department Store category. Purchases made on a merchants website are included. The Department Store category does not include supercenters, discount stores, or specialty stores (i.e. stores that sell primarily one line of products such as shoe stores, pet stores, electronics stores, clothing stores) except for purchases made with these merchants using Chase Pay (a 5% category). If a merchant is not on the list, you will not earn bonus rewards. Department Store gift card purchases outside of the specific Department Store are excluded and will not earn bonus rewards.
• Wholesale Clubs: These merchants operate warehouse-style retail stores, sell in bulk, and concentrate on price appeal. Merchants sell a full range of household goods and merchandise, groceries, furniture, electronics, appliances, and auto supplies. These merchants may or may not have membership requirements. Specialty wholesale merchants and distributors like National Wholesale Liquidators or Wood Floors Plus are not included. Additionally gas, fuel, wholesale specialty service purchase such as travel, insurance, cell phone and home improvement are not included except for purchases made with these merchants using Chase Pay (a 5% category)
• Chase Pay: Includes purchases made using your Freedom card with your Chase Pay mobile wallet during check out. Eligible purchases only qualify for a total of 5% Cash Back rewards; purchases using Chase Pay at other current 5% quarterly categories will be awarded a total of 5% Cash Back rewards on up to $1,500 in combined purchases.
You Must Activate Your Freedom Card Each Quarter
To earn the 5% bonus spend you must activate the offer each quarter. You can always sign up for email reminders from Chase about activating your card. Though you can activate your card up until the last moment before the quarter ends, this email reminder helps you get that task done and over with early in the quarter. Registration for this current quarter ends on Dec 14.
Maximize the 5% Bonus Ideas
This is an easy quarter to meet the $1,500 spend if you do your holiday shopping at department stores. The easiest way to maximize the bonus would be to use Chase Pay to earn 5% on everything. You might also be able to buy gift cards at department stores and wholesale clubs.
Although the Chase Freedom is technically a cash back card, if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Ink Business Preferred or Ink Plus card you can transfer points from your Freedom account into one of those accounts. Those Ultimate Reward points then become transferable to Chase’s travel partners.