Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Chase Freedom: 5% Back Categories for 2015

The Chase Freedom is one of my favorite credit cards and is an integral part of my points-earning strategy.

The card has no annual fee (which is amazing!) and currently has a sign-up offer of 20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (after spending $500 in your first three months). And the card earns up to 5 points per dollar spent in select categories (capped at $1,500 per quarter).

Chase Freedom just announced its categories for 2015:

Source:  Chase

5 points per dollar is a very, very high points-accumulation rate. So what do you do once you've earned all those points?

If you only have the Chase Freedom card, you can redeem the points for cash (100 points = $1).

But if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card as well (2 points per dollar on travel and restaurants; 1 point for everything else), you can transfer your points 1-for-1 to lots of other programs.

Transportation
British Airways
Singapore Airlines
Southwest Airlines
United Airlines
Virgin Atlantic
Amtrak

Hotel Chains
Hyatt
IHG
Marriott
Ritz-Carlton

The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers a 40,000 point sign-up bonus after you spend $4,000 within your first three months with the card. There's no annual fee for the first year (Here's a link to a referral code that gets me some points if you sign up. I don't get any of your info, just points.)

If you sign up for both cards, you get 60,000 points after spending $4,500 within your first three months. That's enough for a one-way Suites Class redemption on Singapore Airlines from New York-JFK to Frankfurt (57,375 miles), or two nights at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme (30,000 points per night).

I recently redeemed my Chase points for Singapore Airlines Suites Class from Los Angeles to Shanghai via Tokyo-Narita and Singapore for 106,250 points.

Suites Class double bed

If you're just getting started in the points world, I'd start with the Freedom and/or the Sapphire. Almost all of my everyday spending goes on one of those two cards.

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