Credit Card Review – Chase Freedom

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Chase Tower Chicago.
Chase Tower Chicago. Photo by JohnPickenPhoto

Updated: 8/11/2015

Review – Chase Freedom Card

Overview

Unlike many rewards & travel credit cards, the Chase Freedom is a mass market product. While many travel rewards cards require great to excellent credit, the Freedom is slightly easier to get. Chase still doesn’t normally approve people with poor credit or those who have a recent bankruptcy.

Product Features

Cash Back

The Chase Freedom is a pretty straightforward credit card product which earns points in the following way:

  • 1 point per dollar on all purchases every day.
  • 5 points per dollar on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter in select bonus categories.

Each point earned with Freedom is worth $.01 cash back. (See transferring points below for a way to get a higher value from your points.)

Once a year, Chase announces the bonus categories for the Freedom and publishes a calendar showing which categories pay a bonus for each quarter. It is important to note that you must register your Chase Freedom card each quarter in order to earn the 5% bonus.

Best Offer/Sign Up Bonus

Currently the public offer for the Chase Freedom gives the following:

  • $100 bonus after making $500 in purchases during the first three months of having the card.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers during the first 15 months. (Balance transfer fee applies.)
  • $25 bonus if you add an authorized user who makes a purchase on the card within 3 months.

Previously the sign up bonus has gone as high as $350 (back in 2012) and more recently it was $200 in 2015. Sometimes current Freedom cardholders are able to refer their friends to get the card. You can find more information about that program here.

Annual & Other Fees

The Chase Freedom card does not have an annual membership fee. It does currently carry a 3% foreign transaction fee and a balance transfer fee of $5 or 3%, whichever is greater. You can find a full list of the APRs and fees here.

Downgrading Other Cards

You can get the Chase Freedom card by applying for the new member offer, or by downgrading an existing card such as the Sapphire Preferred. To get the Freedom by downgrading another card, simply call in to inquire or send a secure message. Not all Chase card products are eligible to be downgraded to the Freedom.

It is also possible to have more than one Chase Freedom card. I personally applied for the new member offer and then later downgraded a Sapphire Preferred to a second Freedom card.

Transferring Points

Chase Freedom redemptions.
You get $.01 per point redemptions to gift cards, Amazon or cash back. The best value is to transfer your points to a Chase premium card for transfer to travel partners.

While the points earned with Chase Freedom are only worth $.01 each, you can transfer them to a premium Chase product such as the Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus. After the points have been transferred to either of those products, they can be redeemed for 1.2 cents each towards travel or transferred to one of Chase’s travel partners such as Hyatt, United or Southwest.

Transferring points to a travel partner through a premium card is often the best use of these points. In the past, I have personally received anywhere from 2 to 8 cents per point values with my travel redemptions. Having a premium Chase card with the Chase Freedom allows a lot more points flexibility.

Our Review

We personally have three Chase Freedom cards in our household. While these cards aren’t great for everyday use, I make sure to maximize the 5% bonus categories each quarter. By doing so I earn an extra 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points per year (per card) which can be transferred to my Chase Ink card.

I believe that the Chase Freedom card is good to keep since it does not carry an annual fee. Having the Freedom is a good way to establish and continue a long lasting relationship with Chase. This type of relationship is beneficial in getting approved for other cards which have a higher credit threshold, although Chase has cracked down recently on churners making things a bit more difficult.

Conclusion

My personal experiences with the Chase Freedom card have been positive. I have and use the card exclusively to maximize the 5% quarterly bonus categories. Since the card does not have an annual fee, I also use it to continue to strengthen my relationship with Chase. While other cards in my Chase portfolio may come and go, I plan to keep the Freedom card.


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12 COMMENTS

  1. LOL for “establish and continue a long lasting relationship with Chase.” I’m pretty sure that Chase is not exactly thrilled with customers who use their cards exclusively for 5x transactions (which are loss leaders for them). But since I do exactly the same thing with my Freedom card, it’s nice to hear that Chase doesn’t hold it against you.

    • As I mentioned, this is based on my personal experience. Chase like any bank, value the overall customer relationship. In the beginning they only have your credit to judge you on.

      While you are correct that Chase counts on people to use the Freedom for more than 5x, that isn’t really the point I was making.

      When you first become a Chase customer, they are more apprehensive about the number of cards and credit limits given that they have no prior relationship to you.

      Having a card like the Freedom for a long period of time, shows them you are responsible and opens up more doors.

      My credit score over the past several years has stayed relatively steady, however my Chase credit lines have tripled because they now know I am a reliable customer based on their experience with me.

      I hope that clarifies what I meant! Thanks Sharon!

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