Get Chase Freedom Exclusives Bonuses While You Can
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Hilary Stockton
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Apply: Chase Freedom Visa

Apply: Chase Freedom MasterCard

There's a reason I write about the Chase Freedom so much and why I consider it the best travel card for everyday spend, especially small purchases--the Chase Exclusives bonuses. It's pretty incredible that a no fee card can be such a workhorse when it comes to points earning. Not in the signup bonus, which is only 10,000 points, but in the three types of spend bonuses:

  • 5X bonus on changing category spend (comes with the card)
  • 10% bonus (Chase Exclusives bonus, if you also have a Chase checking account)
  • 10 points per transaction bonus (Chase Exclusives bonus, if you also have a Chase checking account)

If you don't yet earn Chase Exclusives bonuses with the Freedom, you may not have much time left to lock in your eligibility. There is a rumor per Dans Deals that sometime in November the Chase Exclusives program will be downgraded for new customers, but that existing Chase Exclusives members will be grandfathered. Obviously I don't know for sure whether this will occur or not, but it wouldn't surprise me: remember that Chase already eliminated the Business Exclusives program for the Ink Bold last November, which used to offer 20% bonus points and threshold bonuses for everyday spend. Only people with the old Ink Bold were grandfathered into that program.

In any case, my husband and I are not taking chances: my husband applied for the Freedom today. I'd been planning to try to apply later, to see if there was an improved sign-up bonus, but I'd rather that he be able to lock in Chase Exclusives by getting the card now. He already has a Chase checking account, but if you don't, you can often find $150-$200 cash incentives for opening a Chase account, though be sure to be aware of any monthly minimum you need to keep in it to avoid fees, which usually kick in starting the third month unless you keep the required minimum balance.

But back to Chase Exclusives--why is this important? If you don't currently have the Chase Freedom and Chase Exclusives, you're missing out on the best points earning opportunity for small transactions. Yes, even better than using an AMEX Prepaid or a Visa gift card reloaded with Vanilla gift cards using your Ink Bold or Ink Plus, when we're talking about small purchases, especially ones that offer a 5X quarterly bonus.

Let's take, for example, a $5 drink purchase from a hotel, which is currently a Freedom 5X category.

Sapphire Preferred: 2.14 X (taking into account the 7% annual dividend), so 10.7 points

Gift Card or AMEX Prepaid, refills bought with Ink Bold or Ink Plus: ~4.6 X (taking into account cost of purchasing the refills), so 23 points

Freedom: 5X (25 points) + 10% bonus (0.5 point) + 10 point transaction bonus = 35.5 points


Chase Freedom Details:

 

Here are some other examples of why the Chase Freedom is the go-to card for some common purchases; I've put the best points earning opportunity in bold font. 

Purchase

Freedom + Exclusives

Sapphire Preferred

Ink Bold

$1 general spend

11.1 points

1.07 points

1 point

$10 general spend

21 points

10.7 points

10 points

$100 general spend

121 points

107 points

100 points

$2 dining

12.2 points

4.3 points

2 points

$2 dining

(July-Sept. 2012 5X)

20.2 points

4.3 points

2 points

$9 dining

19.9 points

19.3 points

9 points

$9 dining

(July-Sept. 2012 5X)

55.9 points

19.3 points

9 points

$10 dining

21 points

21.4 points

10 points

$10 dining

(July-Sept. 2012 5X)

61 points

21.4 points

10 points

$200 dining

230 points

428 points

200 points

$200 dining

(July-Sept. 2012)

1030 points

428 points

200 points

$20 taxi/transportation

32 points

42.8

20 points

$300 hotel stay

340 points

642 points

600 points

$300 hotel stay

(Oct.-Dec. 2012 5X)

1540 points

642 points

600 points

$300 hotel stay booked via TravelSort or travel agency

340 points

321 points

600 points

$1000 airfare

1110 points

2140 points

1000 points

$1000 airfare

(Oct.-Dec. 2012 5X)

5110 points

 

 

$100 groceries

(April-June 2012 5X)

520 points

107 points

100 points

$50 phone bill

65 points

53.5 points

250 points

$200 spend from office supply store (incl. Visa gift cards)

230 points

214 points

1000 points

$50 gas

65 points

53.5 points

100 points

$50 gas

(July-Sept. 2012)

265 points

53.5 points

100 points

 

So is there any reason I wouldn't advise getting the Freedom?

  • You need to stay away from credit cards in general, either because you still have credit card debt you're paying down, or you'll be getting a major loan (mortgage, refinancing, student loan, etc.) soon
  • You know you'll always forget to activate the 5X bonuses (although you can easily set alerts)
  • You hardly have any small purchases 

Otherwise, I highly recommend using the Freedom and Chase Exclusives in tandem with the Sapphire Preferred and Ink Bold or Ink Plus to maximize your Ultimate Rewards points earning. And I definitely recommending getting the Chase Freedom and Chase Exclusives via a Chase checking account if you don't already have them, so you can be grandfathered in before the Chase Exclusives Program is eliminated, if this indeed happens in November.

Apply: Chase Freedom Visa

Apply: Chase Freedom MasterCard

 

Related Links:

Chase Exclusives Bonuses: Maximize Chase Freedom Ultimate Rewards

Chase Freedom: Activate 5X Points for Airlines and Hotels

Chase Freedom Review

What's In My Wallet

 

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Comments
Avatar_60_masha Masha G. commented 05 Nov 2012
Thanks, very comprehensive.
Picture?type=large Matt G. commented 08 Nov 2012
i'm a little confused on your math here, so i just wanted to check to make sure i'm getting this right... "Freedom: 5X (25 points) + 10% bonus (0.5 point) + 10 point transaction bonus = 33.5 points" ...shouldn't it be 37.5 points? 25 base points, plus 10% of 25 which is 2.5 points (not 0.5), plus the 10 point transaction bonus. 25 + 2.5 + 10 = 37.5 or is there no 10% bonus on the bonus points? is that where you're getting the 0.5? even still, it would be 35.5 not 33.5...
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 08 Nov 2012
@Masha Thanks! @Matt Thanks for correcting my typo! Should be 35.5, just fixed. The 10% bonus is just on base points, not bonus points.
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