Chase Freedom Review: 5% Cash Back is King - NerdWallet
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Chase Freedom Review: 5% Cash Back is King

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Chase Freedom® Editor's Rating: 4.6 / 5

With an annual fee of $0 and generous cash-back rewards, the  Chase Freedom® is a good fit for rewards rookies and cash-back connoisseurs alike. It offers 5% cash back on rotating quarterly bonus categories and 1% elsewhere, and you can qualify even with less-than-excellent credit. On top of that, there’s an easy-to-snag sign-up bonus: Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Here’s what you should know before applying.

Chase Freedom®

Apply Now on Chase's secure website

Pros

  • Bonus 5% cash back categories
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers
  • Qualify with Good credit

Cons

  • If you value simplicity, a flat rate cash back card may be better

Bonus Offer

Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR Promotions

0% for 15 Months on purchases and 0% Intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers

APR

  • APR: 14.24-23.24% Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.24%, Variable

Card Details

  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn a $25 Bonus after you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within this same 3-month period
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period, a variable APR of 14.24-23.24%
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like gas stations, restaurants, and select grocery stores
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • Cash Back rewards never expire as long as your account is open
  • No annual fee

In this article:

The Chase Freedom® basics
Where it shines
Where it falls short
Chase Freedom® vs. the other 5% cash-back credit cards
Should I get the  Chase Freedom®?

The Chase Freedom® basics

The Chase Freedom® offers 5% cash back on bonus categories that change every quarter, up to $1,500 spent quarterly. For 2016, the bonus categories are as follows:

Q1 (Jan. 1 – March 31)

Gas stations and local commuter transportation (not including parking, tolls or Amtrak)

Q2 (April 1 – June 30)

Grocery stores and more

Q3 (July 1 – Sept. 30)

Restaurants and more

Q4 (Oct. 1 – Dec. 31)

Holiday shopping (specifics to be announced)

Aside from the 5% cash back on bonus categories (up to $1,500 spent quarterly), it gives an unlimited 1% cash back elsewhere. The card’s annual fee of $0 and introductory APR of 0% for 15 Months on purchases and 0% Intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 14.24-23.24% Variable, makes it easy to pay off a big purchase over time while earning competitive rewards.

If you have less-than-excellent credit and are looking for a good deal on cash-back rewards, this card could be your best option.

Where it shines

The Chase Freedom® is an excellent card if your spending habits closely resemble the bonus categories. Here’s why you may want to get it:

The rotating categories often include places where people make everyday purchases. Each quarter includes broad categories, such as restaurants or gas stations, as well as more specific brands, sometimes including companies like Starbucks and Amazon.com. For many people, earning these rewards doesn’t require many spending acrobatics.

You can generally qualify for it without a long credit history. You may be able to get the  Chase Freedom® even if you don’t have excellent credit, so it’s a great fit if you’re just starting out.

You can get even more value on merchandise. With this card, you can access the Chase Ultimate Rewards site, an online storefront that gives you up to 10% cash back on your online purchases.

It goes well with the Chase Sapphire Preferred®. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® earns Ultimate Rewards Points, which are worth 1.25 cents each if you redeem for travel booked through Chase. The Chase Freedom® isn’t eligible for this perk, but you can transfer the points earned on the Chase Freedom® to your Chase Sapphire Preferred® account to take advantage of the points value boost. If you use this rewards hack, the Chase Freedom® effectively earns 6.25% rewards on bonus spending and 1.25% everywhere else.

Where it falls short

Here’s why you might not want to get the  Chase Freedom®:

The rotating rewards can be a hassle for some. With the  Chase Freedom®, rewards categories change every three months, and that can be tedious to keep up with — especially if your spending habits don’t always align with the new categories. If you’re looking for a no-fuss card, you might be better off with one that offers flat-rate cash-back rewards on all purchases.

It’s not good for traveling abroad. Like most cash-back cards, the  Chase Freedom® charges a foreign transaction fee. Because of this, it’s not the perfect card to take with you on your next international getaway.

You have to opt in to rotating awards every quarter. If you want to qualify for the  Chase Freedom®’s 5% rotating rewards, you have to log on to your account and activate the rewards every three months. If you miss the deadline, you may be stuck with only 1% cash back on everything for a quarter. Generally, though, you’ll have until the 14th day of the third month in the quarter to sign up and earn retroactive rewards for that quarter, which is plenty of time for most people.

Chase Freedom® vs. the other cash-back credit cards

The  Chase Freedom® isn’t the only solid cash-back card on the market. Here’s how it stacks up with competitors:

Chase Freedom® vs. U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Apply Now on US Bank's secure website

Pros

  • Bonus cash back categories
  • No annual fee
  • 0% for 9 mos on transfers

Cons

  • Needs excellent credit

Bonus Offer

N/A

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR Promotions

Purchase: None

Transfer: 0% for 9 mos

APR

  • Min APR: 13.24%, Variable
  • Max APR: 24.24%, Variable

Card Details

  • 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined net purchases² each quarter on two categories you choose*.
  • 2% cash back on your choice of one everyday category (like gas or groceries)*.
  • 1% cash back on everything else*.
  • No limit on total cash back.
  • Subject to credit approval.

The U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card  has slightly better long-term value than the  Chase Freedom® because of its higher 5% spending caps. It offers 5% cash back on two bonus categories (you choose from a list that changes quarterly) for up to $2,000 each quarter, 2% on gas, groceries or drugstores and 1% elsewhere with no limit of maximum points you can earn. If the  Chase Freedom®’s bonus categories don’t quite match your spending habits, the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card may be a better fit.

Chase Freedom® vs. Discover it®- Double Cash Back your first year

Discover it®- Double Cash Back your first year

Apply Now on Discover's secure website

Pros

  • Bonus cash back categories
  • No annual fee
  • 0% on purchases for 12 months and 0% on balance transfers for 12 months
  • No foreign transaction fee

Bonus Offer

We'll DOUBLE all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year. So if you earned $101 cash back, we'll double it to $202—Automatically. Only for new cardmembers.*

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR Promotions

0% on purchases for 12 months and 0% on balance transfers for 12 months

APR

  • APR: 11.24% – 23.24% Variable*
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.24%, Variable

Card Details

  • We'll DOUBLE all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year. So if you earned $101 cash back, we'll double it to $202—Automatically. Only for new cardmembers.*
  • 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter like gas, restaurants, home improvement stores and more -up to the quarterly maximum when you sign up.* 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • 0% intro APR* on purchases & balance transfers for 12 months—then a variable purchase APR applies, currently 11.24% – 23.24%. A 3% fee applies to each transferred balance.
  • Freeze It℠ on/off switch lets you prevent new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers on misplaced cards in seconds by mobile app & online.* Plus get 100% U.S.-based service.
  • Track your recent FICO® Credit Scores for free in one easy-to-read chart on monthly statements & online.*
  • No annual fee.* No overlimit fee. No foreign transaction fee. No late fee on first late payment & paying late won't raise your APR.*
  • Each Discover purchase is monitored. If it's unusual, you're alerted by e-mail, phone or text and you're never responsible for unauthorized purchases on your Discover card.
  • Click "Apply Now". *See rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms & other information.

The Discover it®- Double Cash Back your first year offers a similar rewards program to the Chase Freedom®, with a $1,500 quarterly cap on bonus spending and an unlimited 1% rewards elsewhere. It doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, like the Chase Freedom® does, but Discover isn’t as widely accepted overseas as Visa and MasterCard, so it might not be a great card to travel with. The Chase Freedom® also offers a sign-up bonus, whereas the Discover it®- Double Cash Back your first year doesn’t.

Chase Freedom® vs. Citi®Double Cash Card

Citi®Double Cash Card

Apply Now on Citibank's secure website

Pros

  • High rewards rate
  • No annual fee
  • 0% if you qualify for 15 mos on transfers

Cons

  • Needs excellent credit

Bonus Offer

The only card that earns you cash back twice on every purchase

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR Promotions

0% on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months*

APR

  • Min APR: 13.24%, Variable
  • Max APR: 23.24%, Variable
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99%, Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.49%, Variable

Card Details

  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.24%-23.24%, based on your creditworthiness*
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • The only card that earns you cash back twice on every purchase with:
  • 1% cash back when you buy
  • Plus 1% cash back as you pay for those purchases, whether you pay in full or over time*
  • No Category Restrictions, No Caps, No Enrollments in Rotating Categories
  • No Annual Fee

If you don’t want the hassle of opting into and keeping track of 5% bonus categories, you should consider the Citi®Double Cash Card, instead. Offering 1% back on all purchases when you make them and another 1% when you pay them off, the Citi®Double Cash Card is a low-maintenance card with high rewards. The card also boasts an annual fee of $0 and an introductory APR of 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 13.24% - 23.24% Variable .

Should I get the  Chase Freedom®?

If you’re looking for a no-fuss, flat-rate cash-back card, you might be better off with another offer. But if you spend in line with the Chase Freedom®’s 5% bonus categories, this card could potentially net you an extra $300 a year, assuming you max out your categories every quarter. If that sounds like a good deal to you, consider applying.

At a glance
Annual fees $0
Foreign transaction fee 3%
Rewards program Cash back
Sign-up bonus Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
Verdict: If the bonus categories fit your spending habits, go for it.
Good for:
  • Someone whose spending aligns with the Chase Freedom®’s rotating bonus categories
  • Someone with a short credit history
  • Someone who has the Chase Sapphire Preferred® (we’ll explain later)
Bad for:
  • Someone who doesn’t want the hassle of changing bonus categories
  • Someone who wants to travel abroad
  • Someone looking for a low-maintenance cash-back card

Erin El Issa is a staff writer covering personal finance for NerdWallet. Follow her on Twitter @Erin_Lindsay17 and on Google+.

Image via iStock.

  • Tweetyiniowa

    This isn’t going on anymore. I clicked link, applied and was then told the sign up is 100.00, not 200.00. Was very disappointed. Only did it for the $200.00. $100.00, doesn’t seem worth it in my opinion.

    • Robbb

      I just got the $200 offer approved today (3/5)

  • http://www.checkinsurancequotes.com/car-insurance-quotes Check car insurance

    There are many car insurance plans available in the market. The type of motor insurance you should sign up for depends on the car you drive and the personality you have.

    It is obvious that the owner of a brand new Porsche 911 will have very different needs from an old Ford Focus. Fortunately insurers are creative. And in order to remain competitive in the financial industry, they will have to think of many different insurance plans that suit every need.

  • Del Futrell

    Chase says their Chase Freedom card is being discontinued at the end of October 2012 and cardholders are being switched to Chase Flexible Rewards. Boo!

    • http://twitter.com/wtfci wtfci

      Chase did this to my account. You can just apply for another Chase Freedom card. If you have a good score they will approve you on the spot.

    • http://www.iname.com/ Nathan Flatus

      Hi, I’m from the future and in 2014 am still using my Chase Freedom card which still exists, to fill up my flying car.

  • Del Futrell

    Chase says their Chase Freedom card is being discontinued at the end of October 2012 and cardholders are being switched to Chase Flexible Rewards. Boo!

  • Del Futrell

    Chase says their Chase Freedom card is being discontinued at the end of October 2012 and cardholders are being switched to Chase Flexible Rewards. Boo!

    • http://twitter.com/wtfci wtfci

      Chase did this to my account. You can just apply for another Chase Freedom card. If you have a good score they will approve you on the spot.

    • http://www.brentbrowngraphix.com Brent Brown

      Hi, I’m from the future and in 2014 am still using my Chase Freedom card which still exists, to fill up my flying car.

  • Josh

    “You earn a total of 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent” — does this mean I can earn a total of 1500, or does it mean I can earn 5% of $1500 = $75.00?

  • Josh

    “You earn a total of 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent” — does this mean I can earn a total of 1500, or does it mean I can earn 5% of $1500 = $75.00?

  • Josh

    “You earn a total of 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent” — does this mean I can earn a total of 1500, or does it mean I can earn 5% of $1500 = $75.00?

  • JJ Smith

    Is it true that this card will be discontinued by end of Oct 2012 as Del Futrell

  • JJ Smith

    Is it true that this card will be discontinued by end of Oct 2012 as Del Futrell

  • JJ Smith

    Is it true that this card will be discontinued by end of Oct 2012 as Del Futrell

  • Gsad Dasg

    Being a VISA Signature card, does that mean it doesn’t report the credit limit to the credit bureaus?

  • Gsad Dasg

    Being a VISA Signature card, does that mean it doesn’t report the credit limit to the credit bureaus?

  • Gsad Dasg

    Being a VISA Signature card, does that mean it doesn’t report the credit limit to the credit bureaus?

  • TV

    You should mention that Discover allows you to redeem rewards for greater value. ie you can cash in $45 to get a $50 gift card.

    • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

      Hey there-

      It’s true that most rewards cards have “redeem 4,500 for a $50 gift card” offers, but that’s not necessarily exclusive to Discover – each card issuer has merchant affiliates who want to unload their excess gift cards.

      Hope this helps!
      The Nerds

  • TV

    You should mention that Discover allows you to redeem rewards for greater value. ie you can cash in $45 to get a $50 gift card.

  • TV

    You should mention that Discover allows you to redeem rewards for greater value. ie you can cash in $45 to get a $50 gift card.

    • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

      Hey there-

      It’s true that most rewards cards have “redeem 4,500 for a $50 gift card” offers, but that’s not necessarily exclusive to Discover – each card issuer has merchant affiliates who want to unload their excess gift cards.

      Hope this helps!
      The Nerds

  • chatsnoir

    don’t know about YOUR Discover card, but mine requires that you spend $3,000 during your bonus year (mine runs June 1-May 31) on purchases OTHER THAN cashback bonus categories, Sams/Walmart, and perhaps others I can’t think of offhand such as online rewards shopping, BEFORE you earn 1% cash back — SO, before you spend this $3,000 above and beyond all bonus categories, you get a mere .25% (that’s one quarter of one percent) cash back……. not too hot. so now i mostly use the Chase card unless Discover has a deal Chase doesn’t have, just so i can get at least 1% cash back on every purchase.

    • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

      Hey there, it seems like you have an older Discover card – the new Discover it pays out the full 1% rewards rate from the get-go, rather than paying 0.25% on non-bonus rewards for the first $3,000 spent annually.

      • chatsnoir

        thanks for the info! I just converted to the IT card PLUS grandfathered in my old, low interest rate which is lower than what they are offering new IT cardholders. PLUS i’ll get the full 1% at Sams (which doesn’t take visa) instead of only 0.25. they could have told us long-term cardholders about the new card. I also was recently dismayed with Discover that, had they not sent me a terse e-mail about this being the ‘only notice’ I would get that my due date was changing, I would have missed the new, earlier due date for the first time ever and then would have had to hassle with getting late charges and interest charges dropped. they could have put a notice in the bill….but didn’t. I hope that this lower standard of customer care does not become a trend with them.

  • chatsnoir

    don’t know about YOUR Discover card, but mine requires that you spend $3,000 during your bonus year (mine runs June 1-May 31) on purchases OTHER THAN cashback bonus categories, Sams/Walmart, and perhaps others I can’t think of offhand such as online rewards shopping, BEFORE you earn 1% cash back — SO, before you spend this $3,000 above and beyond all bonus categories, you get a mere .25% (that’s one quarter of one percent) cash back……. not too hot. so now i mostly use the Chase card unless Discover has a deal Chase doesn’t have, just so i can get at least 1% cash back on every purchase.

  • chatsnoir

    don’t know about YOUR Discover card, but mine requires that you spend $3,000 during your bonus year (mine runs June 1-May 31) on purchases OTHER THAN cashback bonus categories, Sams/Walmart, and perhaps others I can’t think of offhand such as online rewards shopping, BEFORE you earn 1% cash back — SO, before you spend this $3,000 above and beyond all bonus categories, you get a mere .25% (that’s one quarter of one percent) cash back……. not too hot. so now i mostly use the Chase card unless Discover has a deal Chase doesn’t have, just so i can get at least 1% cash back on every purchase.

    • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

      Hey there, it seems like you have an older Discover card – the new Discover it pays out the full 1% rewards rate from the get-go, rather than paying 0.25% on non-bonus rewards for the first $3,000 spent annually.

      • chatsnoir

        thanks for the info! I just converted to the IT card PLUS grandfathered in my old, low interest rate which is lower than what they are offering new IT cardholders. PLUS i’ll get the full 1% at Sams (which doesn’t take visa) instead of only 0.25. they could have told us long-term cardholders about the new card. I also was recently dismayed with Discover that, had they not sent me a terse e-mail about this being the ‘only notice’ I would get that my due date was changing, I would have missed the new, earlier due date for the first time ever and then would have had to hassle with getting late charges and interest charges dropped. they could have put a notice in the bill….but didn’t. I hope that this lower standard of customer care does not become a trend with them.

  • Name

    How do I enroll for this qtr. I already have Freedom Card.

  • Name

    How do I enroll for this qtr. I already have Freedom Card.

  • Name

    How do I enroll for this qtr. I already have Freedom Card.

  • Hohlraum

    Pretty much every one of these bonus cash back category cards under normal usage are going to get you less than 1.5% over your total spend if you use that card for everything. I’ve tracked our discover card use over the last many years and I think the best I ever saw was a 1.3% cash back return. Thinking about shelving the Discover entirely and getting a flat 1.5% cash back for the majority of our purchasing from now on.

  • Hohlraum

    Pretty much every one of these bonus cash back category cards under normal usage are going to get you less than 1.5% over your total spend if you use that card for everything. I’ve tracked our discover card use over the last many years and I think the best I ever saw was a 1.3% cash back return. Thinking about shelving the Discover entirely and getting a flat 1.5% cash back for the majority of our purchasing from now on.

  • Hohlraum

    Pretty much every one of these bonus cash back category cards under normal usage are going to get you less than 1.5% over your total spend if you use that card for everything. I’ve tracked our discover card use over the last many years and I think the best I ever saw was a 1.3% cash back return. Thinking about shelving the Discover entirely and getting a flat 1.5% cash back for the majority of our purchasing from now on.

  • nunya_bid

    the problem is, as always, the fine print. only certain merchants fall into the 5% categories. for instance, this quarter to date, i’ve spent $1k on dining, so i should have nearly 4000 bonus points ($40 in cash back reward) but i only have about 1500..that’s computing with the 4% above the std 1% reward. so, the bonus is kinda BS with no transparency as to how much bonus they give to which charges. the only info i can see is how many total points i have, not to which charges they’re attached. i might ditch this card and just use my sapphire preferred. such bull.

  • nunya_bid

    the problem is, as always, the fine print. only certain merchants fall into the 5% categories. for instance, this quarter to date, i’ve spent $1k on dining, so i should have nearly 4000 bonus points ($40 in cash back reward) but i only have about 1500..that’s computing with the 4% above the std 1% reward. so, the bonus is kinda BS with no transparency as to how much bonus they give to which charges. the only info i can see is how many total points i have, not to which charges they’re attached. i might ditch this card and just use my sapphire preferred. such bull.

  • nunya_bid

    the problem is, as always, the fine print. only certain merchants fall into the 5% categories. for instance, this quarter to date, i’ve spent $1k on dining, so i should have nearly 4000 bonus points ($40 in cash back reward) but i only have about 1500..that’s computing with the 4% above the std 1% reward. so, the bonus is kinda BS with no transparency as to how much bonus they give to which charges. the only info i can see is how many total points i have, not to which charges they’re attached. i might ditch this card and just use my sapphire preferred. such bull.

  • Rocky

    Called Chase to request for a smart card – the ones with a chip. They told me that, at present, this feature was only available to the residents of Elysium (Sapphire Card holders). I called Citibank and got me my smart card. Guess who is getting my business from this point on! Chase told me essentially what the nut said to the bolt – “Screw me!”

  • Rocky

    Called Chase to request for a smart card – the ones with a chip. They told me that, at present, this feature was only available to the residents of Elysium (Sapphire Card holders). I called Citibank and got me my smart card. Guess who is getting my business from this point on! Chase told me essentially what the nut said to the bolt – “Screw me!”

  • http://centerfiremedia.blogspot.com Rocky

    Called Chase to request for a smart card – the ones with a chip. They told me that, at present, this feature was only available to the residents of Elysium (Sapphire Card holders) – not to the lesser mortals who had the “Freedom” card. I called Citibank and got me my smart card. (Some “Freedom” eh?!) Guess who is getting my business from this point on! Chase told me essentially what the nut said to the bolt – “Screw me!”

  • Scott S

    If you transfer the points earned from Chase Freedom to the Chase Sapphire Preferred account, can you then transfer them to a hotel rewards program such as Hyatt?

  • Scott S

    If you transfer the points earned from Chase Freedom to the Chase Sapphire Preferred account, can you then transfer them to a hotel rewards program such as Hyatt?

  • Scott S

    If you transfer the points earned from Chase Freedom to the Chase Sapphire Preferred account, can you then transfer them to a hotel rewards program such as Hyatt?

  • Teresa S.

    It seems like just last week the rate was 6%, am I wrong?
    Thanks.

  • Teresa S.

    It seems like just last week the rate was 6%, am I wrong?
    Thanks.

  • Teresa S.

    It seems like just last week the rate was 6%, am I wrong?
    Thanks.

  • Annie

    The application process sucks, they are rude and do not get back to you on time. Then you will get denied for a stupid reason like your gov. ID is fake. Even though the ID was definitely not fake. Many friends have applied and have run into problems

  • Annie

    The application process sucks, they are rude and do not get back to you on time. Then you will get denied for a stupid reason like your gov. ID is fake. Even though the ID was definitely not fake. Many friends have applied and have run into problems

  • Annie

    The application process sucks, they are rude and do not get back to you on time. Then you will get denied for a stupid reason like your gov. ID is fake. Even though the ID was definitely not fake. Many friends have applied and have run into problems

  • Abe

    Hi Nerd, can you please explain the Sapphire, Freedom pairing?
    How can you earn 5% cash back AND have all the benefits of sapphire?
    is it only that you earn cash back through freedom purchases (usually not on travel) and then redeem them on the sapphire account? I’m confused by your description.

    Further, if you’re abroad and want to pay no foreign transaction fees youd have to use the sapphire card and then not earn any cashback.

    • Deke

      It sounds like you get the gist, but just to try and help clarify:
      If you only have the Freedom you earn Ultimate Rewards points, but you can only redeem them for cash. The Sapphire Preferred earns UR points too, but it also gives you the ability to redeem them on travel at a better rate (among other things). When you have both cards you can combine your UR points earned from each and redeem them for travel.

      Clear as mud?

      Personally, I think the Freedom card stands on it’s own pretty well as a cash back card. However, if you are looking at getting the Sapphire for travel, you might as well also get the Freedom to rack up extra points on those rotating categories.

  • Abe

    Hi Nerd, can you please explain the Sapphire, Freedom pairing?
    How can you earn 5% cash back AND have all the benefits of sapphire?
    is it only that you earn cash back through freedom purchases (usually not on travel) and then redeem them on the sapphire account? I’m confused by your description.

    Further, if you’re abroad and want to pay no foreign transaction fees youd have to use the sapphire card and then not earn any cashback.

  • Abe

    Hi Nerd, can you please explain the Sapphire, Freedom pairing?
    How can you earn 5% cash back AND have all the benefits of sapphire?
    is it only that you earn cash back through freedom purchases (usually not on travel) and then redeem them on the sapphire account? I’m confused by your description.

    Further, if you’re abroad and want to pay no foreign transaction fees youd have to use the sapphire card and then not earn any cashback.

    • Deke

      It sounds like you get the gist, but just to try and help clarify:
      If you only have the Freedom you earn Ultimate Rewards points, but you can only redeem them for cash. The Sapphire Preferred earns UR points too, but it also gives you the ability to redeem them on travel at a better rate (among other things). When you have both cards you can combine your UR points earned from each and redeem them for travel.

      Clear as mud?

      Personally, I think the Freedom card stands on it’s own pretty well as a cash back card. However, if you are looking at getting the Sapphire for travel, you might as well also get the Freedom to rack up extra points on those rotating categories.

  • vacuumation

    How easy is it to be approved for the Chase Freedom card?

    I have a “fair” credit score around 650. Currently have no debt accounts aside from 2 student loans. Haven’t opened a credit card in almost 10 years, when I opened a bunch right after college. Had those closed, including a few charged off. But have repaired on the marks on my report.

    I’m considering the Chase Freedom card as well as the Barclay Rewards card, which is also apparently an ideal starter card for those with “average” credit.

  • vacuumation

    How easy is it to be approved for the Chase Freedom card?

    I have a “fair” credit score around 650. Currently have no debt accounts aside from 2 student loans. Haven’t opened a credit card in almost 10 years, when I opened a bunch right after college. Had those closed, including a few charged off. But have repaired on the marks on my report.

    I’m considering the Chase Freedom card as well as the Barclay Rewards card, which is also apparently an ideal starter card for those with “average” credit.

  • vacuumation

    How easy is it to be approved for the Chase Freedom card?

    I have a “fair” credit score around 650. Currently have no debt accounts aside from 2 student loans. Haven’t opened a credit card in almost 10 years, when I opened a bunch right after college. Had those closed, including a few charged off. But have long since repaired those marks on my report.

    I’m considering this Chase Freedom card as well as the Barclay Rewards card, which is also apparently an ideal starter card for those with “average” credit.

    Any advice will be deeply appreciated…

  • Rick D

    Terrible, terrible, terrible. The worst card I have ever had – their practices are not only rude but should be illegal. I have had a Chase Freedom card for a few years now. Last year, they had canceled a Walmart charge without notifying me. A week later, having not received my merchandise, Walmart informed me that the credit card had canceled it. I was lazy and let it go. Now we ordered a ticket for my son to study abroad overseas — $600. We were so happy we got a good deal. Chase canceled that. We had to settle for $850 a few days later. Customer service told me that it was their right to do so and that I had no recourse. They said that they could do that at any time. I have always had Mastercard and Amex, and they notify me if there is a potential fraud. Not Chase. They just cancel it. The reason for having a credit card is convenience, and I have spent over 3 hours on the phone with different reps and managers, all not only unhelpful, but rude. And at times I have had to wait over 20 minutes to get a rep.

  • Rick D

    Terrible, terrible, terrible. The worst card I have ever had – their practices are not only rude but should be illegal. I have had a Chase Freedom card for a few years now. Last year, they had canceled a Walmart charge without notifying me. A week later, having not received my merchandise, Walmart informed me that the credit card had canceled it. I was lazy and let it go. Now we ordered a ticket for my son to study abroad overseas — $600. We were so happy we got a good deal. Chase canceled that. We had to settle for $850 a few days later. Customer service told me that it was their right to do so and that I had no recourse. They said that they could do that at any time. I have always had Mastercard and Amex, and they notify me if there is a potential fraud. Not Chase. They just cancel it. The reason for having a credit card is convenience, and I have spent over 3 hours on the phone with different reps and managers, all not only unhelpful, but rude. And at times I have had to wait over 20 minutes to get a rep.

  • Rick D

    Terrible, terrible, terrible. The worst card I have ever had – their practices are not only rude but should be illegal. I have had a Chase Freedom card for a few years now. Last year, they had canceled a Walmart charge without notifying me. A week later, having not received my merchandise, Walmart informed me that the credit card had canceled it. I was lazy and let it go. Now we ordered a ticket for my son to study abroad overseas — $600. We were so happy we got a good deal. Chase canceled that. We had to settle for $850 a few days later. Customer service told me that it was their right to do so and that I had no recourse. They said that they could do that at any time. I have always had Mastercard and Amex, and they notify me if there is a potential fraud. Not Chase. They just cancel it. The reason for having a credit card is convenience, and I have spent over 3 hours on the phone with different reps and managers, all not only unhelpful, but rude. And at times I have had to wait over 20 minutes to get a rep.

  • Rick D

    Warning. Do you want a convenience credit card that
    runs a serious risk of being inconvenient?
    I have had a Chase Freedom card for a few years now. Last year, they had
    canceled a Walmart charge without notifying me. That was the second time they
    had done this. A week later, having not
    received my merchandise, Walmart informed me that the credit card had canceled
    it. I was lazy and let it go. Now we ordered a ticket for my son to study
    abroad overseas — $600. We were so happy we got a good deal. Chase canceled
    that. We had to settle for $850 a few days later. Customer service told me that
    it was their right to do so if the charge was suspicious (which they said could
    be nothing more than we had never ordered from that merchant before) and that I
    had no recourse. They said that they could do that at any time in the future. I
    have always had Mastercard and Amex, and they notify me if there is a potential
    fraud. Not Chase. They just cancel it. The reason for having a credit card is
    convenience, and I have spent over 3 hours on the phone with different reps and
    managers, all not only unhelpful, but rude. And at times I have had to wait
    over 20 minutes to get a rep. They told
    me that that was the way of protecting themselves. When I said that my other cards call or email
    me, they said that Chase was not interested in risking the cost. Terrible!
    Rude, poor customer service,long wait times. It may be worth it for some, but when you
    really need them, there is a difference.

  • Rick D

    Warning. Do you want a convenience credit card that
    runs a serious risk of being inconvenient?
    I have had a Chase Freedom card for a few years now. Last year, they had
    canceled a Walmart charge without notifying me. That was the second time they
    had done this. A week later, having not
    received my merchandise, Walmart informed me that the credit card had canceled
    it. I was lazy and let it go. Now we ordered a ticket for my son to study
    abroad overseas — $600. We were so happy we got a good deal. Chase canceled
    that. We had to settle for $850 a few days later. Customer service told me that
    it was their right to do so if the charge was suspicious (which they said could
    be nothing more than we had never ordered from that merchant before) and that I
    had no recourse. They said that they could do that at any time in the future. I
    have always had Mastercard and Amex, and they notify me if there is a potential
    fraud. Not Chase. They just cancel it. The reason for having a credit card is
    convenience, and I have spent over 3 hours on the phone with different reps and
    managers, all not only unhelpful, but rude. And at times I have had to wait
    over 20 minutes to get a rep. They told
    me that that was the way of protecting themselves. When I said that my other cards call or email
    me, they said that Chase was not interested in risking the cost. Terrible!
    Rude, poor customer service,long wait times. It may be worth it for some, but when you
    really need them, there is a difference.

  • Rick D

    Warning. Do you want a convenience credit card that
    runs a serious risk of being inconvenient?
    I have had a Chase Freedom card for a few years now. Last year, they had
    canceled a Walmart charge without notifying me. That was the second time they
    had done this. A week later, having not
    received my merchandise, Walmart informed me that the credit card had canceled
    it. I was lazy and let it go. Now we ordered a ticket for my son to study
    abroad overseas — $600. We were so happy we got a good deal. Chase canceled
    that. We had to settle for $850 a few days later. Customer service told me that
    it was their right to do so if the charge was suspicious (which they said could
    be nothing more than we had never ordered from that merchant before) and that I
    had no recourse. They said that they could do that at any time in the future. I
    have always had Mastercard and Amex, and they notify me if there is a potential
    fraud. Not Chase. They just cancel it. The reason for having a credit card is
    convenience, and I have spent over 3 hours on the phone with different reps and
    managers, all not only unhelpful, but rude. And at times I have had to wait
    over 20 minutes to get a rep. They told
    me that that was the way of protecting themselves. When I said that my other cards call or email
    me, they said that Chase was not interested in risking the cost. Terrible!
    Rude, poor customer service,long wait times. It may be worth it for some, but when you
    really need them, there is a difference.

  • Kevin

    I always find the “you’ll be earning 6.25% on the rotating categories!” a bit misleading. Yes, this is true if you have a Sapphire and are going to redeem ALL of the points for travel through Chase’s portal only. But I imagine not everyone is using all of their points for travel through Chase every single time. So no, it’s not really 6.25%, it’s 6.25% when used at the maximum. But the article makes it sound like it’s a foregone conclusion.

  • Kevin

    I always find the “you’ll be earning 6.25% on the rotating categories!” a bit misleading. Yes, this is true if you have a Sapphire and are going to redeem ALL of the points for travel through Chase’s portal only. But I imagine not everyone is using all of their points for travel through Chase every single time. So no, it’s not really 6.25%, it’s 6.25% when used at the maximum. But the article makes it sound like it’s a foregone conclusion.

  • Kevin

    I always find the “you’ll be earning 6.25% on the rotating categories!” a bit misleading. Yes, this is true if you have a Sapphire and are going to redeem ALL of the points for travel through Chase’s portal only. But I imagine not everyone is using all of their points for travel through Chase every single time. So no, it’s not really 6.25%, it’s 6.25% when used at the maximum. But the article makes it sound like it’s a foregone conclusion.

  • Bailey Howe

    I applied for a Chase Freedom card after hearing positive reviews from friends and family members. I have only had one credit card previous to this, which I paid off on time. My credit score is above 700 and I make a decent and steady salary, and yet I was told that I can’t have a chase credit card because I don’t have enough credit history. The entire purpose of my applying for a chase credit card was to build my credit history. It is unbelievable to me that three of my friends, who are in college, with no income have Chase Freedom cards, and I cannot because I haven’t had enough credit cards in the past. I’ve heard great things about Chase credit cards and am disappointed by the level of discretion (or lack thereof) that they use when approving credit cards.

  • Bailey Howe

    I applied for a Chase Freedom card after hearing positive reviews from friends and family members. I have only had one credit card previous to this, which I paid off on time. My credit score is above 700 and I make a decent and steady salary, and yet I was told that I can’t have a chase credit card because I don’t have enough credit history. The entire purpose of my applying for a chase credit card was to build my credit history. It is unbelievable to me that three of my friends, who are in college, with no income have Chase Freedom cards, and I cannot because I haven’t had enough credit cards in the past. I’ve heard great things about Chase credit cards and am disappointed by the level of discretion (or lack thereof) that they use when approving credit cards.

  • Arun

    Chase Credit Card System is the worst ever. I have experienced it twice. Poor Customer service as well. If someone prefer to choose a credit card for Balance Transfers, please dont apply it online for a Chase ( any type say Slate or whatever ) .
    I would definitely choose Discover it Card, which has the best customer support I have seen so far .

  • JC Siles

    Not so king at the moment. I can tell they’ve cut back on rewards drastically for 2016. This year it’s 5% on gas/transportation (bus, taxi, uber). Not sure why Chase cut back so much as the variety of categories was what made this card my favorite.