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Does the Chase Freedom’s Sign-Up Bonus Make it a Good Rewards Card?

March 23, 2015
Credit Cards
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Finding a cash-back credit card that offers a sign-up bonus can be tough. One popular cash back card that provides a sign-on promotion is the Chase Freedom®. You’ll Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

But is this a good reason to get the Chase Freedom®? The Nerds explain below.

What the Chase Freedom® brings to the table

The Chase Freedom® provides a lot of ongoing value to users, in addition to its generous sign-up bonus. You’ll earn 5% cash back in rotating quarterly bonus categories (up to $1,500 spent per quarter) and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Historically, 5% bonus categories have included popular retailers like restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations and more. As a result, nearly every type of shopper will have the opportunity to earn extra rewards throughout the year with the Chase Freedom®.

Nerd tip: In order to get the bonus 5% cash back, you’ll have to go online every quarter and opt in to the new categories. Set calendar reminders so that you don’t forget to take this extra step.

Also, the Chase Freedom® charges an annual fee of $0, which makes it a good card to hold onto over the long haul.

Other cash back cards with a sign-up bonus

If getting a cash-back card with a sign-up bonus is important to you, the Chase Freedom® isn’t the only game in town. Here are two other cash-back cards that provide a little green after you sign on the dotted line:

The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card is a good alternative for people who aren’t interested in managing rotating quarterly bonus categories. With it, you’ll earn 1.5% cash back on all of your purchases. There’s no limit to the cash back you can earn, and rewards are redeemable in any amount.

As far as the welcome offer goes, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card delivers: One-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. Also, it charges an annual fee of $0 and no foreign transaction fees.

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Heavy gas and grocery spenders should definitely keep the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express on their radars. This card earns 3% cash back at U.S supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent per year), 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. This is a very high rewards rate for a card without an annual fee of, so you could be making a killing on your everyday spending. There’s a welcome offer too.

Should you get the Chase Freedom®?

Getting the Chase Freedom® (or any card) just because it offers a sign-up bonus probably isn’t wise. Think of a sign-up bonus as a feature that adds extra value to a card, as opposed to the feature to exclusively consider. Other attributes – like the value and accessibility of ongoing rewards, fees, etc. – are more important factors for most people to use in the decision-making process.

With that being said, the Chase Freedom® is a very good cash-back card. The Nerds encourage you to apply if your spending aligns with its bonus categories and you’re interested in having a new opportunity to maximize your rewards every quarter. Otherwise, continue to explore your cash-back options – there’s undoubtedly a card out there that will meet your needs.

Lindsay Konsko is a staff writer covering credit cards and consumer credit for NerdWallet. Follow her on Twitter @lkonsko and on Google+.