Chase Freedom Credit Card Review
The Chase Freedom credit card is a great no-annual-fee card for earning cash back. If you enjoy planning ahead and tracking bonus categories to maximize your earnings, you’ll have the chance to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in categories that change every quarter.
Earning cash back isn’t the only benefit you get from the Chase Freedom credit card, though. Chase credit card users can use the Freedom card to bump up their travel-rewards earnings. If you have other Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or the Ink Business Preferred card, you can transfer the cash back points you earned using your Chase Freedom card for a higher redemption rate to enjoy your earnings as travel rewards.
Chase Freedom Credit Card Overview
| Strategic spending gets you a high 5% cash back|
No interest on purchases or balance transfers the first 15 months
Use your earnings as cash or travel rewards points in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
| Tracking spending categories is necessary for earnings|
Foreign transaction fees
- Card Type: Cash back
- Rewards Rate: 5% cash back for purchases up to $1,500 in spending categories that change every quarter
- Sign-Up Bonus: $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 within the first three months
- Annual Fee: N/A
- APR: 16.49%-25.24% variable APR
- Intro APR: 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months
- Recommended Credit Score: Good to excellent
- Additional Rates and Fees:
- Balance Transfer Fee: 3% during first 60 days, then 5%
- Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
- Earn 5% cash back — one of the highest rates — for spending categories that change every quarter
- Convert rewards into Chase Ultimate Rewards travel points
- Enjoy a long no-interest spending period of 15 months after sign-up on purchases and balance transfers
Consumers who enjoy planning and organizing their spending to maximize their purchases in cash back categories
Frequent travelers who want to avoid foreign transaction fees
|Chase Freedom||Discover it Cash Back||Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card||U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card|
|5% cash back on the first $1,500 in purchases on bonus categories each quarter 1% cash back on all other purchases||5% cash back on the first $1,500 in purchases on bonus categories each quarter 1% cash back on all other purchases||1.5% cash back on all purchases||5% cash back on the first $2,000 in purchases each quarter on two categories of your choice 2% cash back on everyday purchases like gas and groceries 1% cash back on all other purchases|
|0% on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months Rotating rewards card||0% on purchases and balance tansfers for 14 months Rotating rewards card||0% on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months Flat cash back earnings card||0% on balance transfers for 12 months Rotating rewards card|
|View details||View details||View details||View details|
All information accurate as of Jan. 16, 2020.
Plan ahead and get up to $75 in cash back rewards every quarter
Follow the Chase Freedom card calendar to get 5% cash back on the first $1,500 in spending every quarter on rotating categories. It adds up to $75 cash back on categories such as gasoline, groceries, and more. You’ll have to activate the quarter’s bonus categories to earn the 5% reward, but once you do, the earnings roll in. You’ll also earn 1% on all other spending.
Use your cash rewards for travel or cash
You can redeem your earnings in a number of ways:
- Statement credit
- Direct deposit into your checking or savings account
- Gift cards
- Amazon purchases if your Chase Freedom card is linked to your Amazon.com account
- Travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Transfer points to your other Chase credit cards with Ultimate Rewards to get higher redemptions
Save on interest on the first 15 months
Most cards offer an introductory no-interest period on balance transfers. The Chase Freedom credit card goes one step further by extending no interest to all purchases. Make your larger purchases with the card after sign-up and pay the balance back over 15 months for free.
Earning 5% takes some work
If it wasn’t for this card’s 5% cash back earnings ability, it would be a lackluster cash back card. The higher rewards earnings take some effort, though — you’ll need to watch for quarterly changes in the spending category and activate them. You’ll earn for the first $1,500 spent; this may be easy in larger purchases in the home improvement, gasoline, or electronics categories but harder on internet or drugstore category quarters.
Foreign transaction fee
Chase Freedom provides you with the opportunity to redeem for travel, but we wouldn’t recommend using this card overseas: There’s a 3% foreign transaction fee on all purchases abroad.
Chase Freedom Credit Card Compared to Discover it Cash Back
Chase and Discover go neck-in-neck in the rotating rewards credit card category. They offer similar introductory rates with the same rewards-earning opportunities and no annual fee. The difference lies in your spending habits the first year after sign-up. Chase Freedom gives you a $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first three months for instant gratification. With Discover, you’ll have to wait a year. Then it will match the cash back reward you’re owed after 12 months of spending.
If you regularly carry a card balance, you’ll save money with the Discover it Cash Back card over time. If you’re still unsure of which card to choose, it all comes down to how much you travel. Chase’s Ultimate Travel Rewards portal makes redeeming points and rewards for travel, gift cards, and entertainment easy. Choosing the Chase Freedom credit card to have access to the Chase travel portal is a good solution.
How to Earn Points
You can use your earned points for cash or travel. Here’s how:
- Watch the cash back calendar to make sure you’re earning as much as possible
- Redeem your cash back points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal at about 1 cent per point
- Transfer your points from the Chase Freedom card to your Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink for Business card and your points will be worth 25% more
- Transfer your points from the Chase Freedom card to your Chase Sapphire Reserve card and your points will be worth 50% more
Transferring your points to your other eligible Chase cards is like earning 6.25% or 6.5% in rewards instead of 5%.
How to Redeem Points
Unlike other cash back cards, Chase Freedom allows you to redeem your earnings in more ways than just cash back. You can also use the accumulated cash back earnings for travel, gift cards, or other purchases.
The Chase Freedom credit card is well named — Chase may not give you flexibility on which spending categories you can earn 5% cash back on, but it makes up for it by providing you with plenty of alternative ways to redeem your earnings. You can redeem your cash back earnings:
- As a statement credit
- By direct depositing into your checking or savings account
- By redeeming for gift cards
- By applying the earnings to Amazon purchases if your Chase Freedom card is linked to your Amazon.com account
- By transferring the points to your other Chase travel reward credit cards to bump up their value
- By redeeming for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards online portal
The Bottom Line
The Chase Freedom credit card is not the best stand-alone card for travel benefits and credit card perks. However, it’s a great addition to your Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Ink for Business credit card. Use the Freedom card to bump up earnings on the rotating quarterly categories and then transfer the points to the cards mentioned to get the best benefit out of your earned rewards.