Chase Freedom: A More Rewarding Way to Shop

By Christina Majaski. Last updated 20 April 2016. 3 comments

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With the opportunity to earn as much as 5% cash back, the Chase Freedom® credit card is one of the most popular cash back rewards card. Each quarter, cardholders have the opportunity to earn 5% cash back on categories like dining, gas, and more. Savvy credit card users know that 5% is about as good as it gets when it comes to getting rewards for credit card purchases.

Why We Like This Card

  • Up to $175 sign up bonus
  • Up to 5% cash back

How This Card Works

The card awards 5% cash back in rotating categories that you activate each quarter (up to $1500 in combined purchases each quarter) and 1% on other purchases. Quarterly categories vary and can include groceries, department stores, gas, and others. When you have reached the cap in the quarterly categories, those purchases earn an unlimited 1% cash back. There are also opportunities to earn more cash back if you shop online through Chase Ultimate Rewards. There is no annual fee for this card.

Sign up bonus: New cardholders can earn a bonus of $150 after spending $500 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening the account. Adding a first authorized user and making a first purchase within the same 3 months will get you an additional $25. There is a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 billing cycles, then a variable APR of 14.24%-23.24% applies. There is a 3% balance transfer fee.

Cash back is awarded as points with 100 points equal to $1. You can redeem at 2,000 points for cash back in the form of statement credit or electronic deposit into a checking or savings account. You can also redeem for gift cards, travel, and merchandise.

Other Benefits

Purchase protection. Your purchases made with the card are covered against damage or theft for 120 days, up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.

Price protection. If a purchase you make with the card is advertised in print or online within 90 days at a lower price, you can be reimbursed for the price difference, up to $500 per item and $2,500 per year.


  • $0 Annual Fee
  • 14.24%-23.24% Variable APR for purchases and balance transfers (0% intro APR for 15 billing cycles)
  • 3% Balance Transfer Fee ($5 minimum)
  • 3% Foreign Transaction Fee


Good sign up bonus. Getting a cash bonus of $150 plus another $25 for adding an authorized user makes this among the highest cash bonus offers available. The TD Cash Visa Credit Card offers $200 but you have to spend $1,500 within the first 90 days.

0% introductory APR. If you need to transfer a balance from another card or make a large purchase, you can save money on interest by taking up to 15 billing cycles to pay down the balance. This is one of the longest duration 0% APR offers available for both balance transfers and purchases. The Discover it card offers 0% for 18 months on balance transfers and the Chase Slate offers 15 months of 0% intro APR for both purchases and balance transfers (and no intro balance transfer fee if you transfer a balance within the first 60 days).

5% cashback. You can earn as much as 5% cash back (up to a maximum of $1,500 in total purchases made in bonus categories each quarter). If your spending falls into these bonus categories, you can rack up significant cash rewards each year. If your spending falls heavily in groceries, however, there's no card better than the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, which offers 6% cash back for purchases at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year).

Opportunity to combine points. If you carry a Chase Sapphire or Ink Plus card, you can transfer your Freedom points to those cards and get even more value by redeeming for travel rewards. There's no other opportunity to earn 5x points for your purchases and get travel rewards for them (which are usually worth more than cash rewards). (See also: Why This Is The Best Travel Rewards Program You Can Get)


Activating bonus categories. Although Chase offers tools and reminders to help manage the rotating categories, you still have to activate the bonus every month. If you forget, you won't get the bonus cash back. If you don't like to deal with extra procedures to get your credit card rewards, you might consider other cash back cards like the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card which offers a straightforward 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

Foreign transaction fee. The 3% foreign transaction fee can become costly if you frequently travel abroad or make foreign transactions with your card. If this is the case, you might be more intersted in a travel rewards card like the BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card that earns 1.5 points on every purchase and has no foreign transaction fees nor annual fee.

Who This Card Is Best For

This card is best for those whose spending is primarily domestic, and varies from month to month rather than in one or two categories. It is also best if you don’t mind keeping track of purchase categories and making sure they are activated each quarter in order to earn the most cash back for those purchases. The Chase Freedom® credit card is also ideal if you can take advantage of one of the best sign-up bonuses and introductory APRs on the market. 

The information related to Chase Freedom credit card has been collected by Wise Bread and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank, card issuer, airline or hotel chain.

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Guest's picture

As far as I recall, the 5% back is only on the first $1,500. Certainly something to consider.

Guest's picture

I've seen the 350$ offer before, if they bring it back, even with a 1,500 spend, I'd go for it!

Guest's picture

FYI, I have the visa signature version of the Chase Freedom, I'm sure you can try to request it. So there goes the "Fewer Protections Than Other Cards" category.