It’s time to activate your Chase Freedom bonus categories for the 2nd quarter of 2019. The upcoming quarter’s bonus categories are good ones – grocery stores and home improvement stores.
The Chase Freedom Visa & 5x UR Earning
The Chase Freedom Visa is a no-fee card that earns 1x Ultimate Rewards (UR) points on all purchases (1% cash back if you don’t have a Chase Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, or Ink Business Preferred card).
This card is valuable, though, for one key feature – rotating 5x bonus categories each quarter. This allows us to earn 5x UR points on the designated categories each quarter, up to $1,500 in spend – that is, up to 7,500 UR points per quarter.
5x UR points earning will be best-in-class for virtually any category of spend. At our baseline valuation of 1.5 cents per UR point (assuming you hold one of the Chase cards listed above), that’s a points rebate of 7.5%, which is excellent.
Details of the 5x Bonus Categories for 2Q19
The 5x bonus categories for the 2nd quarter of 2019 (April 1, 2019, through June 30, 2019) are:
- Grocery stores
- Home improvement stores
You must activate the bonus category offer to receive the 5x bonus. To activate your offer:
- Log in to your Chase online account
- Select your Chase Freedom card
- The far right of the display tells you whether your “5% cash back” has been activated – if not, click through and activate your offer
Here’s where to activate your bonus categories:
Clicking “Activate” will take you to a page where you’ll see a place to activate the categories for the upcoming quarter:
And once you click “Activate now,” the Chase web system will confirm your activation with a check mark:
The deadline to activate your offer is June 14, 2019. If you activate your offer by that date, you should receive 5x UR points for all purchases in the bonus categories during the quarter.
To help you determine what qualifies as a grocery store or home improvement store for purposes of the 5x bonus categories, Chase provides some explanation in a set of FAQs:
Here is a link to the complete set of FAQs for the 5x feature of the Chase Freedom card:
Analysis of the 5x Bonus Category Offer
As we mentioned above, 5x UR points is generally best-in-class for these bonus categories. So, you’ll want to use your Chase Freedom card for purchases at grocery stores and home improvement stores to the extent possible (up to the $1,500 cap; note also that the Chase Freedom card has foreign transaction fees, so you’ll want to do all of your spend in the US).
This quarter’s categories should be easy to use and easy to maximize. If you wouldn’t typically spend $1,500 in a quarter at grocery stores and/or home improvement stores, you should be able to top off the $1,500 spend near the end of the quarter on gift cards (GCs). Most grocery stores sell an assortment of gift cards, including Visa GCs. In addition, the Lowe’s and Home Depot stores in our area also sell an assortment of GCs.
Generally, the bonus categories for the 2nd quarter are excellent, as most people should be able to take advantage of them. We’d add that for us personally, the categories are actually of limited benefit, at least for organic spend. For grocery stores, the Freedom will temporarily replace our personal Amex Gold card as best-in-class. But earning 5x UR points is only a small incremental benefit over earning 4x Amex Membership Rewards (MR) points at US supermarkets on our Amex Gold. As for home improvement stores, we already have an Amex Offer on two Blue Business Plus (BB+) cards that gives us 10% statement credit at Lowe’s. The 10% credit plus 2x MR earning on the BB+ cards certainly beats 5x UR on the Freedom.
Good luck on earning your valuable 5x UR points at grocery stores and home improvement stores during the second quarter of 2019!
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