The Chase “Freedom to Double-Dip”

The points game isn’t only about credit card sign ups.  It’s also about maximizing your everyday spending.

I previously wrote about the Chase Sapphire credit cards, which earn 2x or 3x points on travel and dining.  Those are great bonuses, but what about credit card spending on everything else?  There’s gas, groceries, utilities, Amazon purchases, doggy daycare (or maybe actual human daycare)… the list goes on.

Luckily, there’s a way to earn additional credit card points for these kinds of purchases, too.  At first glance, they may look like run-of-the-mill cash back credit cards, but I wouldn’t do that to you. 🙌

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The Chase Freedom card (***Use our referral link here!***) is a pretty standard no annual fee credit card option.  Like most cards without an annual fee, the rewards and benefits are quite basic.

  • No annual fee (obvi)
  • 1% cash back on everyday spending
  • 5% cash back on quarterly rotating spending categories, such as gas stations, grocery stores, cable/phone bills, etc.
  • $150 sign-up bonus after spending $500 on card within three months
  • Negative: does not waive foreign transaction fees, which add about 3% to charges made abroad 👎

The main takeaway with the Chase Freedom card is the 5x bonus (1 point = 1%) on the quarterly spending categories.  The benefit is capped at $1,500 in spending (meaning $75 cash back), but it’s a great benefit for a credit card without an annual fee.  The specific bonus categories will vary, and Chase announces them over the course of the year.  As you can see below, the cardmember will need to “activate” the bonus category in order to be eligible for the 5x points.

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Chase Freedom quarterly bonus categories.  5% back (or 5x the points) for up to $1500 in spending during the specified quarter.

Used alone, cash back from Chase Freedom card probably won’t be sending you abroad on some crazy awesome trip.  Still, the 5x points on quarterly bonus categories is a nice perk.

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A newer edition to the Chase credit card family is the Freedom Unlimited card (***Use our referral link here!***). While it doesn’t have 5% cash back on quarterly bonus categories, the card has another nice benefit.

  • No annual fee
  • 1.5% cash back on ALL SPENDING
  • $150 sign-up bonus after spending $500 on card within three months
  • Negative:  again, foreign transaction fees 😢

Not a huge boost for specific category spending, but 1.5x points on all everyday spending is better than the Chase Freedom card.  Again, used alone, you probably won’t be booking a business class flight on Emirates, but it’s another way to maximize points through credit card spending.  But it could be a huge boost if you use the…

Chase “Freedom to Double Dip”

Why would I even suggest a cash back card after berating the Capital One Venture card (sorry, Jennifer)?

Because if you have one of the Chase Sapphire cards AND one of the Chase Freedom cards, you can combine ALL of your points together and transfer them to one of the Chase airline partners. 

So rather than being a simple cash back credit card, the Chase Freedom cards have the ability to earn “real” points.  And not just any “real” points, but one of the best airline credit card currencies:  Ultimate Rewards points.  Even the $150 sign-up bonus will effectively become 15,000 Ultimate Rewards points, making a pretty sweet deal even sweeter.

For example, if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Freedom, and Chase Freedom Unlimited cards, this means that you could earn 3x points on dining and travel, 5x points on the rotating bonus category, and 1.5 points on ALL other spending.  That sure beats earning 1 point/dollar on your average airline credit card.

Take note that the two Chase Sapphire cards as well as the two Chase Freedom cards are impacted by the Chase 5/24 rule.  So if you intend to sign up for multiple cards, you’ll want to take Chase’s rule into consideration to properly time your credit card applications.

Alternatively, you could downgrade your Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve card to a Chase Freedom card.  While you won’t earn the 15,000 bonus points, this may be a better option to 1) avoid paying an annual fee on the Sapphire card and 2) acquire a Freedom card without actually “applying” for an additional credit card, which would count against the Chase 5/24 rule.

This is exactly what I did when I switched from the Sapphire Preferred card to the Sapphire Reserve card.  First I downgraded my Sapphire Preferred card to the Chase Freedom Unlimited card.  This helped me avoid the $95 annual fee, and it also kept me under the 5/24 limit since Chase does NOT consider downgrades as new credit card applications.  I then signed up for the Sapphire Reserve card, which allowed me to pool Ultimate Rewards points from both my Sapphire and Freedom credit cards.  So I went from earning 2x points to 3x points on travel and dining, and then 1.5x points on all other purchases.  Perhaps we’ll have enough points for another beach vacay in business class soon…🤔

The Chase “Freedom to Double Dip” loophole is our go-to method to maximize credit card spending.  And unlike George Constanza, you can double-dip this chip all you want.

Interested in learning more? Check out the rest of our blog, or better yet, sign up with your email address below to receive a message whenever we write a new post!  Don’t worry… we have day jobs, so we won’t bug you too often.

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