Chase revealed its Freedom card’s 1st Quarter 2020 5x categories this morning to be Gas Stations, Select Streaming Services, and Internet, Cable, and Phone Services.
The Chase Freedom is an amazing card for earning Ultimate Rewards (UR) points quickly on select categories. It’s best used in conjunction with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or the Chase Ink Business Preferred. This is because you can transfer points earned with the Freedom to any of the above cards for access to transfer partners.
My first reaction to these categories was that these categories were the same as those of the Chase Ink Business Cash (minus Office Supply Stores). I have both cards and my Ink Business Cash will be out of my wallet next quarter. However, those who do not have the Ink Business Cash or a small business can have access to those categories for three months with the Freedom. These categories are also mostly a repeat of those from the 3rd Quarter of 2019. The only new categories are the Internet, Cable, and Phone Services.
Gas Stations are a normal first quarter rotating category for the Chase Freedom. Your mileage may vary with this category because not everyone has a car. But for many people, this is a great category because you can maximize the category on everyday driving and on winter road trips. It’s also nice for travelers who need to rent a car and pay for gas throughout their trip.
Streaming Services is an innovative category that lets the Chase Freedom compete with the American Express Blue Cash Preferred for a few months. The Freedom earns 5x UR points and the Blue Cash Preferred earns 6% cash back. The latter wins for cash back lovers, but the former wins for travelers invested in the Chase “ecosystem”. Streaming services is not a category that people would likely maximize on its own. But paying those bills with the Freedom card could be a great way to get a few hundred extra points.
Furthermore, Internet, Cable, and Phone Services is an interesting choice as well. Many people (and not just businesses) have at least one of these services to pay for every month. I am impressed that Chase chose this category because it’s useful for many, but it’s not a common bonus category.
The Chase Freedom allows you to earn 5x points on up to $1,500 spend within the bonus categories. That means you can earn 7,500 UR points per quarter if you maximize the categories. All three categories share the maximum spend limit.
People who have multiple cards could earn loads of points with the Chase Freedom. But if they maximize the categories, they would earn only one point for every dollar they spend over the threshold. This is where bonus category cards come into play.
Use the Freedom if you can’t maximize the categories. But the best strategy is to use a Gas Station bonus category card if you spend more than $1,500 at Gas Stations. The next best card for streaming services is the Amex Blue Cash Preferred. And the Ink Business Cash is the next best card for the three services.
The first quarter of 2019 should be bountiful for most Chase Freedom cardholders, especially those who pay their bills with a credit card. I like that Chase is thinking outside the box (for a personal card) with the three services. But low-spending consumers who have the Ink Business Cash might have to “sock drawer” it.
The current set of categories for Chase Freedom are Department Stores, Pay Pal Purchases, and Chase Pay. Registration to earn 5x points closes on December 14, 2019 for those who have not registered. This is your last chance to register. All you have to do is click on this link to the registration page and enter your name, ZIP code, and the last four digits of your card’s number.
Registration for the first quarter’s categories opens on Sunday, December 15, 2019. Use the same registration page link and follow the above steps to apply.