Chase Freedom Review–One Of The Best 5% Cash Back Cards On The Market

New users get 1 year FREE of M1 Plus and earn $30 if they fund their accounts with $1000 or more in the same month!

  • 1% APY on checking
  • Low 2% rate for emergencies or to consolidate loans
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Choose FI has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Choose FI and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Disclosures.

Important note 10/2020:  You can no longer apply for this card and please consider all this information out of date since it is no longer publicly available

The Chase Freedom is my favorite credit card in my wallet. The 5% cash back rewards categories are easy to activate (in fact, Chase sends an email every quarter to remind you), and the reward options are flexible.

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Details: $95 annual fee | $4k min spend in 3 months to earn $1,000+ of travel and earn up to a $50 statement credit on grocery store purchases in your first 12 months.

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The Capital One Venture Rewards can be used for almost any travel expenses.
Details: $95 AF | $20k spend in 12 months to earn $1,000 in travel, or $3k spend in 3 months to earn $500+ in travel.

Flexible Chase UR Points & Cashback Card

The Chase Freedom Flex has no Annual Fee (AF) and earns Chase UR points.
Details: No AF | $500 spend in 3 months to earn $200.

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Side hustlers! The Ink Business Preferred can earn you $1.25k+ of free travel!
Details: $95 annual fee | $15k spend in 3 months to earn $1,250+ of travel

And, since I’m a stickler for avoiding cards with an annual fee, the Chase Freedom is perfect!

Here’s a quick overview of what the Chase Freedom offers:

  • 5% back in select categories
  • 1% back on all other purchases, with no limit to how many points you can earn
  • No annual fee
  • $150 sign-up bonus
  • Decent APR

Chase Freedom Features

The Chase Freedom has a lot to offer, so let’s dive into the details of the card.

Annual fee

As I said earlier, there’s no annual fee for using the Chase Freedom credit card, making it perfect for anyone who doesn’t earn enough rewards to cover the fee. Or for anyone who simply doesn’t believe in paying annual fees.

Rewards

The Chase Freedom offers 5% cash back on rotating categories, which change each quarter. For example, in 2018, the reward categories were:

  • January–March: Gas stations and internet/phone services
  • April–June: Grocery stores (not including Walmart and Target)
  • July–September: Gas stations, Lyft, and Walgreens
  • October–December: Department stores and wholesale clubs

You can only earn the 5% on the first $1,500 you spend in the bonus categories per quarter, so if you’re a big spender, this card may not be right for you.

But you also earn 1% back on all other purchases, with no limit to how much cash back you can earn here.

Also, rewards that you earn through the Chase Freedom never expire!

Sign-up bonus

At the time of writing, the Chase Freedom card offers $150 after you spend $500 within the first three months you have the card.

Again, for those who are used to earning a much larger sign-up bonus, you might be better served looking elsewhere. Check out the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, for example.

Check out our full review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card here.

Redemption Option #1—Cash

If you get the Chase Freedom you are probably looking for cash back.

Technically, Chase Freedom earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points but you can redeem for cash at a rate of 1 cent per point. The minimum redemption for cash is 2,000 points or $20.

Redemption can be done on the Chase website or with a representative. The cash is sent either by direct deposit or given as a credit to your Chase Freedom card.

Redemption Option #2—Book Travel

With Chase Freedom, you can also redeem your rewards through Chase’s travel portal. However, keep in mind that while Chase Freedom is a good card for cash back, it isn’t your best bet for a travel rewards card.

If you looking to earn travel rewards check out the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve.

If you book through Chase Ultimate Rewards, your points can go towards:

  • Flights
  • Hotel stays
  • Car rentals
  • Vacation rentals
  • Cruises

Chase’s portal makes it easy to find flights and lodging, and they’ll tell you next to each flight/hotel/etc. how many points equals a free flight/stay.

You can transfer points to the following airlines:

  • British Airways Avios
  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • United MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • World Of Hyatt
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Rewards
  • Emirates
  • Flying Blue
  • Iberia Plus

If you’d like to learn more about Chase Ultimate Rewards here’s a full explanation.

Redemption Option #3–Amazon

The next redemption option is to use your points through Amazon. All you have to do is link your Chase card to Amazon and you can use your points at checkout.

The kick is, your Amazon order has to be eligible to use Chase rewards, but you shouldn’t have a hard time finding items that are.

Your points can even count towards shipping and tax. 

Redemption Option #4–Apple

You can now use your Chase Freedom rewards through Apple to pay for any purchases. Currently, 100 Chase points is equal to $1 at Apple.

Redemption Option #5–Gift cards

Finally, if you want a simpler way to use your points, you can get your points credited to your account, or you can buy gift cards.

Why You Should Use Chase Freedom

If you’re looking for a simple, 5% back credit card, the Chase Freedom is a hard one to beat. While you can only earn a total of $1,500 per quarter in the 5% category, for those who are looking for a straightforward, no annual fee credit card, this is your answer.

Paired with the 0% APR for 15 months AND the $150 sign-up bonus, the Chase Freedom is for those looking for a cash back card to keep in their wallet all the time.

Plus, in addition to the perks mentioned above, Chase customers also receive:

  • Chase Pay (which is typically part of the 5% rewards)
  • Zero liability protection
  • Purchase and fraud protection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Fraud alerts

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Choose FI has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Choose FI and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Disclosures.
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