Approximate annual rewards value: $268
First-year bonus cash back value: $200
First-year rewards value: $468
You’ll earn 5% cash back on the first $1,500 spent in quarterly rotating bonus categories that you activate. Historically, bonus categories have included gas stations, grocery stores, home improvement stores, tolls, wholesale clubs, Chase Pay purchases – Chase’s mobile wallet – and more. All other purchases receive 1% cash back.
This rewards structure can be great if you spend a lot in different categories and like the challenge of figuring out ways to maximize your rewards. Also, with no annual fee, the card lets you keep all the cash back you earn, provided you don’t incur interest charges.
Based on average spending data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Chase Freedom’s 2018 cash back calendar, cardholders can earn an estimated $268 each year.
|Expenditure||Annual cost||Cash back earning rate||Annual cash back earned|
|Groceries||$4,400||5% one quarter, 1% three quarters||$88|
|Apparel and services||$1,800||1%||$18|
|Flights and hotels||$1,000||1%||$10|
|Gas||$2,000||5% two quarters, 1% two quarters||$60|
|Personal care products and services||$800||1%||$8|
|All other expenditures||$2,000||1%||$20|
|Total annual cash back||$268|
|Bonus cash back||$200|
|Total first-year value||$468|
Values for each spending category are based on average data from the 2017 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey. Each category is rounded to the nearest $100.
The card’s $200 cash sign-up bonus can help you accelerate your reward earnings in the first few months. To earn it, you will need to spend $500 on purchases in your first three months from account opening. You can also earn extra cash back through the Chase Offers program. Chase Offers are deals from popular brands to help Chase cardholders save money on purchases. To view your Chase Offers, sign into the Chase Mobile or Chase Pay app, where you can browse and activate deals from participating retailers and restaurants.
Chase Freedom cardholders can redeem rewards in a handful of ways. You can opt for cash back as a statement credit or direct deposit, gift cards, travel, or shopping with points on Amazon.com. You can redeem for cash back, gift cards and travel at a rate of 1 cent per point; shopping with points gives you a value of just 0.8 cent per point.
One popular strategy to make the most of your rewards is to pair Chase Freedom with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve. Chase allows you to transfer points earned with Chase Freedom to one of these cards, giving you access to more lucrative redemption options.
For example, if you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers 25% more value than what you’d get by redeeming your points for travel with Chase Freedom.
With Chase Sapphire Reserve, travel redemptions through Chase Ultimate Rewards get you 50% more value.
The two Chase Sapphire cards also allow cardholders to transfer points to multiple Chase airline and hotel partners, allowing you to potentially squeeze even more value out of your rewards. According to U.S. News research, here’s the average level of value you can get with some of these partners:
|Chase travel partner||Average value of points or miles|
|British Airways Executive Club||2.51 cents|
|Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards||1.37 cents|
|United Airlines MileagePlus||1.69 cents|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||5.29 cents|
|World of Hyatt||1.99 cents|
Chase Freedom offers a handful of standard credit card benefits. For example, purchase protection provides up to $500 in coverage per claim if an item you recently purchased with the card was stolen or damaged. And if you buy an item with a manufacturer’s warranty of three years or less with the card, it will automatically extend the warranty for an extra year.
For added security when you check out, the card is equipped with contactless technology that allows you to tap to pay with certain card readers instead of swiping or inserting your card. This is the same technology that Apple Pay and other mobile wallets use.
In addition to a cash sign-up bonus, Chase Freedom offers more upfront value through its introductory APR promotion. You’ll get a 0% APR on purchases for 15 months, then an APR of 14.99% to 23.74% variable APR, depending on your creditworthiness.
If you’re looking to finance a big-ticket item, you will have plenty of time to do it interest-free with this card. That said, the ongoing APR can be high, so set a goal to have a zero balance when the promotional period ends.
Chase Freedom doesn’t charge an annual fee, which can be a priority for some credit card holders. Depending on your spending habits, however, you could get more net value from a card with this fee. Take some time to compare options holistically to determine which card is the best for you.
Other fees include the card’s balance transfer fee, which is 5% ($5 minimum) on balance transfers. The card also has a 3% foreign transaction fee.
Should You Get Chase Freedom
- Prefer paying no annual fee
- Need an introductory 0% APR promotion
- Want opportunities to maximize your rewards earning
Questions About Chase Freedom
Q: How Does Chase Freedom Work?
A: Chase Freedom earns 5% cash back on the first $1,500 spent each quarter on rotating bonus categories that the cardholder activates and 1% cash back on all other purchases. There is a 15-month 0% APR on purchases and no annual fee.
Q: What Credit Score Do You Need for Chase Freedom?
A: You need good or excellent credit to qualify for Chase Freedom, so a FICO score of at least 670 is required.
Q: What Is the Difference Between Chase Freedom and the Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card?
A: Chase Freedom earns bonus cash back on quarterly rotating bonus categories, while Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card earns a flat rewards rate.
Q: Is Chase Freedom a Good Card?
A: Chase Freedom is a good choice for consumers who want to maximize rewards or take advantage of a 0% introductory APR on purchases without an annual fee. But the rewards structure may be too complicated for some, and the sign-up bonus isn’t particularly valuable.