New Quarter New Categories

If you are a Chase Freedom cardholder, with every new quarter comes new 5% bonus categories. The Chase Freedom earns 5% cash back or 5x Chase Ultimate Rewards and rotates categories quarterly. Each quarter, you are required to activate the earnings, which will require a little extra work four times a year. Luckily, it is easy enough to log in to your account and click the “activate” button. Don’t forget to do this or you’ll be missing out on some serious points! The 2019 Q4 earnings included 5% or 5x Ultimate Rewards per dollar spent at Department Stores, on PayPal or when you use Chase Pay. If you haven’t done so already you can still take advantage of these Q4 2019 bonus categories until December 31, 2019. Chase just announced the 2020 Q1 bonus categories for January 1, 2020 through March 31, 2020 which will include Gas Stations, Internet, Cable, Phone Services, and Streaming Services. Keep in mind these bonus categories have a cap of $1,500 in spend which equals a total of 7,500 Ultimate Rewards. Keep in mind that if you hit that $1,500 cap before March 31, 2020 you will only be earning 1% or 1x back after and on all other non category purchases. When you hit that cap, we recommend switching back the specific spend on to the card in your wallet that makes the most sense to optimize points earning. For example, we will be switching our streaming services, utilities, and phone service to the Chase Freedom, but after we hit our cap, we will switch the spend back to the Chase Freedom Unlimited or American Express Blue Business Plus respectively, as to not miss out on any points!

2020 Quarter 1 Categories

Gas Stations – If you commute to work, you likely spend some serious coin on gas during the week. According to USA Today, the average American family spent $165 on gasoline per month in 2019. If that cost stays about the same in 2020, between January and March, Chase Freedom card holders could be earning about 2,475 Ultimate Rewards points on their average $495 of gasoline spend. If you are getting to the end of March and have not yet hit that $1,500 cap you can pick up a gift card at your favorite gas station for the difference to round out the rewards bonus.

Internet, Cable, Phone Services – Why not earn a little extra on your utilities since you have to pay them anyway? Over a three month period you could be earning 5x the points, rather than just 1x, 1.5x or 2x. It does not sound like too much now, but just for example, we booked a Hyatt stay for a wedding using 5,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which you could earn in 2020 Q1 alone. Keep in mind before switching your phone payment to the Chase Freedom, you may be losing phone protection if your card offers it. For example, the Chase Ink Preferred provides cell phone protection if you pay your monthly bill with it. In this case, the point’s are not worth the gamble of a catastrophic phone drop or theft!

Streaming Services – With the rise in spending on steaming entertainment services Chase was very wise to include this as a bonus category. Unfortunately, most people tend to set it and forget it when it comes to streaming services. They purchase it, auto pay it, and sometimes even forget about the subscription all together. Chase is likely trying to capitalize on this so once you change cards, you will forget you put your subscription charge back once you cap on your 5% back. Don’t be that person! Chase’s 5% back includes the following streaming services: Hulu, Netflix, Sling, Vudu, FuboTV, Apple Music, SiriusXM, Pandora, Spotify, and YouTube.

Final Point

One of our core beliefs here at Points Passport is to teach people to earn free travel on the daily spending you will be doing anyway. If you are listening to your music on Spotify while you scroll on your phone as your pumping gas, why not be rewarded 5x this quarter? Once you’ve earned the points on money you would have spent anyway, you can book that weekend getaway you’ve been dreaming about!  Pro Tip for individuals with multiple Chase Freedom Cards, you can earn 5x Chase Ultimate Rewards (up to 7,500) on as many cards as you have. Just for clarification, some people may find themselves with more than one Chase Freedom card after downgrading from an annual fee card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred. If you have two Chase Freedom cards this allows you to earn up to 15,000 Ultimate Rewards per $3,000 spent between your two cards. If you want to learn more about the Chase Freedom card, click here to read our deep dive article.