Summary

Pros Cons
5% cashback $1,500 quarterly max
No Annual Fee Chase’s 5/24 Rule Applies
Cashback can turn into UR points

Considerations Before Applying/Credit Score Needed

Before applying for the card make sure your credit scores are at least 690 or higher. It’s possible to get approved with a lower score of course, but it just makes it easy if your score is already this high in the first place. 

Additionally, there is Chase’s infamous 5/24 rule that states you cannot have been approved for 5 or more credit cards from any issuer. If you are 5/24 or above, you will not be approved

Sign Up Bonus/Annual Fee/Foreign Transaction Fee

Currently, the sign up bonus on the Chase Freedom card comes in the form of $150 for spending $500 within the first 3 months. That comes out to a 30% return if you are strictly looking at it from a cashback perspective. If you you are able to convert $150 into 15,000 UR points by transferring that bonus over to an Ultimate Reward earning Chase card, then that bonus could be worth ~$300 in travel. Of course, that assumes a value of 2 cents per point (TPG). 

Additionally for the first 15 months of having the card, you can get 0% APR on any purchases and balance transferred within the first 60 days. 

There is no annual fee on the Chase Freedom. The card is subject to foreign transaction fees of 3% though. 

Reward Categories

When it comes to reward categories, the Freedom has a pretty unique system in place. Instead of having set reward categories like most other cards out there, the Freedom’s categories rotate every 3 months (every quarter). Chase decides what the reward category is for that quarter, and if you are able to spend in that category, you will earn 5%. There is a maximum you can earn per quarter though, and that is $75, which equates to a total spend of $1500. After you reach that maximum, you will go back to earning 1% until the start of the next quarter.

The one thing to note here is that in order to earn 5%, you will have to activate the quarter. You can do that by either logging into your account, calling in, or sending a secured message to Chase. 

Cards This Competes With

There are two other cards that offer a similar setup to the Chase Freedom card, and those are the Discover IT and Citi Dividend cards. 

The Discover IT also offers 5% cashback on rotating categories, with a maximum of $1500 per quarter spending. One difference is that Discover likes to publish their categories for the year upfront whereas Chase likes to publish their categories 2 weeks before the quarter starts. However with Discover there is no way to get more value out of your cashback, as there isn’t any way to transfer them over to points. On both cards though, you can either redeem the cashback or gift cards. 

The other card that has a similar setup is the Citi Dividend. It also comes with a rotating 5% cashback categories. The difference between both the Freedom and Discover IT card is that there is a $6,000 limit for spending throughout the year with no quarterly limit. If you wanted to spend the entire $6,000 in one quarter, you would be able to. Of course, once you reach the limit, you would only earn 1% again. This card is not available to new applicants directly, however, if you have a different Citi card, you can product transfer over to this card. 

Cards This Pairs Well With

This card is one of the foundations for the Chase Trifecta/Quadfecta setup. If you wanted to run a Chase setup, you’re going to want to pair this card with one of the Sapphire cards (Reserve or Preferred), and the Freedom Unlimited. 

The Freedom Unlimited Earns 1.5% on every purchase you make. This card is the catch-all in the Chase setup. Basically if you are making a purchase that does not fall into any category, you use the Freedom Unlimited so you can earn 1.5% instead of 1%. 

The Sapphire cards are what ties the system all together. The Preferred earns 2x on travel and dining for a $95 annual fee, and the Reserve earns 3x on travel on dining with a $450. Of course the Reserve comes with other benefits such as a $300 travel credit, global entry, etc to make up for the difference in annual fee.

Either way, both cards earn Ultimate Reward points which are worth 2 cents per point (TPG). When you spend on either Freedom card, you can convert that cashback into Ultimate reward points by transferring the cashback over to the Sapphire card. Once on the Sapphire card, you can either redeem the points directly on the Chase travel portal (1.25x for the Preferred or 1.5x on the Reserve), or transfer the points out to any of Chase’s travel partners for the potential to redeem them for much more value. 

Final Thoughts

The Freedom card has a unique reward setup with its rotating 5% cashback categories that is only present on two other cards out there. What makes the Chase Freedom the best choice between those cards is the ability to convert the cashback that you’ve earned into Ultimate Reward points. Those points can be incredibly valuable if you redeem the correct way. At a minimum, if you are redeeming the points through the travel portal with the Sapphire Reserve, you’re getting 1.5 cents per point.

What are your thoughts about the Freedom card? Let us know below!

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