Chase Freedom® – $100 Bonus is a solid cash rewards credit card issued by JPMorgan Chase. It offers a $100 Bonus to new sign-ups after you spend $500 on purchases during your first 3 months from account opening. You also earn a $25 Bonus when you add your first authorized user to your card and make a purchase within this same 3-month period. This card is designed for those of you who want to earn cold hard cash in return for your spending. Personally, I find it an ultra good deal that users can get up to 5% cash back on some of their purchases, and a flat 1% cash back on all others. Chase Freedom made it to DailyMarkets.com’s Best Credit Cards 2014 in the cash back category.
After looking over the fine print, I’ll share with you pros and cons of Chase Freedom so that you can decide for yourself if this is the best cash rewards card for your personal finances. As a prime cash back card, you need good to excellent credit in order to apply for it.
Things We Like About This Card
No annual fee. You don’t have to pay any annual fee to enjoy the cash back rewards and other great cardholder benefits.
Earn a $100 Bonus. This is one of the best deals this card has to offer. You will receive this $100 bonus after spending just $500 on purchases in your first three months of having this card. This $500 spend cannot be in the form of balance transfers, cash advances or checks.
Earn a $25 Bonus after adding your first authorized user and making a purchase within this same 3-month period.
Receive 5% cash back in quarterly rotating categories, up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter (this is the catch!). 5% cash back is a lot, and this is one of the most attractive benefits this card has to offer. This 5% deal actually averages out to 2% cash back on every category throughout the year, if you take into account a 1% cash back on 3 quarters for the year! You’ll be notified in advance which categories you will be able to benefit from each quarter and can then plan your spending for the year. It can help you save a lot of money if you use it to your advantage. The catch: you must activate each quarterly 5% program – it’s free, and you can do so via phone, email, text message or online. The good thing is you can sign up for Chase Freedom 5% text reminders so that you will be informed promptly when the time comes for you to activate the next quarter.Here is the list of rotating categories for 2014 that qualify for 5% cash back, up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter:
- Jan 1 to March 31 – Gas stations, Starbucks and movie theaters. Activation deadline is March 14, 2014.
- April 1 to June 30 – Restaurants and Lowe’s® home improvement stores
- July 1 to Sept 30 – Gas stations and Kohl’s®.
- Oct 1 to Dec 31 – Zappos.com, Amazon.com and Select department stores.
Receive 1% cash back on all other purchases. This is a fantastic offer as 1% applies to all your spending, without any spending tiers or minimum/maximum cash back limit! Again, do note that it does not apply to balance transfers, cash advances, checks, travelers checks or money orders.
No earning limit and cash rewards never expire. Accumulate as much cash back as you want, and without worrying if and when it expires. There are also no spending tiers.
0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 15 months and on purchases for 15 months. This introductory period is great if you want to make a big-ticket purchase and pay it over 15 months or if you want to transfer a balance from an existing card. After the introductory period, your annual percentage rate will be a variable 13.99%-22.99%, depending on your credit score. Do note that you’ll still have to pay a balance transfer fee of 3% of the amount you transfer, or $5 minimum.
Chase Blueprint feature included for free. The Blueprint program has certain features which help you repay your balances faster and save on interest. For example, you can choose to pay in full for certain types of purchases each month like gas or groceries so you don’t pay any interest on them, even though you already owe a balance.
Our Least Favorite Things About This Card
The Chase Freedom card is such a solid credit card that we don’t really dislike anything about it – and that’s rare for us to say.
Chase Freedom is a great cash back card to get if you like cash rebates. Personally, I prefer cash back to getting rewards because with cash, you can buy whatever you like or use it however you want. A nice incentive offered to new card members is that you get a $100 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening – a big plus since you only need to spend less than $167 per month in order to get the $100 Bonus! You will also receive a $25 Bonus when you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within this same 3-month period. What I like best is that you get 5% cash back on quarterly rotating categories (up to $1,500 in combined purchases per quarter), which can save you a lot of money if you plan your spending ahead of time.
As a Visa card, you will be able to use this card almost everywhere in the world. Make Chase Freedom card your top choice if you have good to excellent credit and are looking for a great cash back card.