The Freedom card is Chase’s version of the “5% cash back” cards, which pay bonuses of 5% cash back on categories that rotate each quarter. The other two competitors are the Discover it
and the Citi Dividend Platinum Select
Each of these three cards tend to have similar rewards program structures, and they each offer roughly the same bonus categories each quarter. Plus all three require that cardholders sign up at the beginning of each quarter, in order to earn these bonuses.
The main differentiators are the quarterly spending limits (the Freedom and It limit you to $1,500 in bonus rewards purchases per quarter, while the Platinum Select caps out at $300 cashback per year) and the bonus categories themselves.
Below is the calendar of bonus categories for 2014:
- Q1 (January 1 – March 31): Gas stations, movie theaters and Starbucks stores
- Q2 (April 1 – June 30): Restaurants and Lowe’s home improvement stores
- Q3 (July 1 – September 30): Gas stations and Kohl’s
- Q4 (October 1 – December 31): Amazon.com, Zappos.com and select department stores
Although we often gripe about how these cards require users to proactively "opt in" to their rewards each quarter, Chase allows users to sign up retroactively
, and still earn the rewards.
And right now, Chase is also offering a killer signup bonus that makes the card a lot more appealing: Get a $100 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.