Chase Freedom Card Review: 5% Cash Back on Quarterly Categories + $150 Sign Up Bonus

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The Chase Freedom Card is a popular cash back rewards credit card. What makes it unique is the combination having no annual fee and the ability to get 5% Cash Back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter. Here are the highlights:

  • $150 cash bonus after $500 in purchases within your first 3 months.
  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate.
  • New 5% categories every 3 months like Gas Stations, Restaurants, and Select Grocery Stores
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers. 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit JourneySM
  • No annual fee.

Note the following text regarding the sign-up bonus eligibility:

This product is available to you if you do not have this card and have not received a new cardmember bonus for this card in the past 24 months.

2020 5% Cash Back Category Calendar

From July 1st through September 30th, 2020 you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in the following categories:

  • Whole Foods Market

Activate each quarter at, via your online account page, or call the number on the back of the card.  The categories usually include at least one big-spending area, and seem to go with the seasons (home improvement for spring, gas and travel for the summer). This is another “keeper” card for me, as I can keep it around and use it when the bonus categories fit my spending needs.

If you’d rather have “set it and forget it” rewards, compare with the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card, which offers a flat 1.5% cash back on everything (no special 5% categories) and no annual fee.

Synergy with Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve. Technically, you earn Ultimate Rewards points which can also be converted to airline miles or hotel points instead of cash if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

This turns the 5% cash back categories into 5X Ultimate Rewards categories. That’s like earning 5 United miles per dollar spent, or 5 Hyatt points per dollar spent. With the Sapphire Reserve, 5X Ultimate Rewards = 7.5% back towards travel (flights, hotels) booked through the Chase travel portal.

Bottom line. The Chase Freedom Card is a unique cash back rewards card that lets you earn 5% cash back on select categories each quarter. It’s a little extra work to keep track of things, but it allows me to earn hundreds of dollars in extra cash each year without buying extra stuff I don’t need.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

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  1. My wife is currently an authorized user on my Freedom card. I’d like for her to take advantage of this $200 signup promotion. Can she open up her own credit card and qualify for the bonus even though she is currently an authorized user on my account? I wonder if I just need to remove here as an authorized user first. Any experience out there?

  2. @Steve – In my experience, you don’t have to remove her as an authorized user. Credit cards are considered only issued to individuals. If she opens her own card, she is a new person solely responsible for any fees and debt incurred on that card and will be eligible for the bonus.

  3. I was a Freedom card holder previously but then I consolidated the credit limit from that to my Slate and closed Freedom. This was about a year ago. Do you think I would be eligible for the promotion if I opened another Freedom card?

  4. @Thomas – Sorry I didn’t reply because I don’t know. If it was me, I might try if it was definitely over a year ago since you closed it. I wouldn’t bother if it was less than a year.

  5. Your RSS feed is broken 🙁

    This page contains the following errors:

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    Below is a rendering of the page up to the first error.

  6. @Adam – Thanks for alerting me. I’m still not sure why it happened, but the RSS feed should be fixed now.

  7. No 5% back on grocery stores for ANY quarter of 2014? I may need to find an extra card for that; even a limited-time promotional offer would do, since I could just stock up on gift cards.

  8. @Steve/Jonathan, re: “Credit cards are considered only issued to individuals. If she opens her own card, she is a new person solely responsible for any fees and debt incurred on that card.” This is a basic question but how does marriage factor into credit card debt (or debt generally)? I always thought one always assumes responsibility for any debts incurred by one’s spouse prior to or during the marriage regardless of the source?

  9. I am afraid … Your RSS feed is broken

  10. @Antonio – Can you refresh and check again? It was down but I fixed it earlier today and I just checked it again.

  11. @Cody – First I want to say that I am wrong about there not being joint credit cards, apparently there are some although I’ve never applied for one. But if you apply for an individual card, they will only check your individual credit report and make a decision based on that, not whether your spouse has the card or not.

    Here’s what Nolo says about marriage and cc debt:

    Most states (called common law states) use common law rules when determining who is liable for a particular debt in a marriage. In common law states, you are usually only liable for credit card debt if the obligation is in your name. This means that if the credit card is only in your spouse’s name, you are typically not liable for that debt. However, keep in mind that if you have jointly owned assets, then the credit card company can still go after your spouse’s interest in that property.

  12. I had applied for chase freedom card in the month of December under the $200 cash back offer. But unfortunately it got rejected due to poor credit history (Am new to US, been here from only 3 months).
    Now I have a fair credit rating. Can I ask Chase to reconsider my old application and see if it can be approved and also will that $200 cash back bonus still hold good?

  13. FYI – be extremely careful applying for Chase co-branded cards if you regularly get credit card bonuses.

    Check Flyertalk for more information, but the general feeling is that Chase has made changes to their approval policy, and for the Chase owned cards (Freedom, Sapphire, Ink) they seem to be rejecting applications if there are >4 or 5 credit card applications in the last 24 months (total, across all issuers not just Chase). Even people with credit scores over 800 are getting rejected for Freedoms.

    • Interesting… I got denied and called the reconsideration number. They told me what you just outlined. I had too many credit card applications in the past 2 years. I asked if they were referring to my chase activity or all issuers – they told me from all issuers. I was just approved for the united card two months ago, so this seems like a new policy. Kind of sad to see the game end, at least with chase 🙁

  14. Is the 10% cash back only for new accounts? When I sign into my Freedom account I don’t see anything above and beyond the 5% quarterly bonus. Or perhaps the 10% is targeted?

  15. Thanks for the heads-up on the Amazon 10% cash back promo! Time to stock up on their giftcards. Wonder if Amazon (or Target) will have another Black Friday special where they give you 10% off their GC purchases.

  16. Jonathan,
    You must have heard the entire hoopla where Discover refused the 10% on purchase of gift cards via Apple pay. But since Discover is doubling cash back for this year; can you buy Amazon gift cards from Amazon website using Discover and at least get 10% cash back (after year end doubling)?

  17. For 10% bonus, does it apply to products sold by third party companies and fulfilled by Amazon? For example, if I buy an expensive watch which is sold by another company and fulfilled by Amazon, will I get 10% bonus?

    Thank you very much for the info.

    • From their FAQ:

      What types of purchases qualify for 5% cash back in the category?
      All purchases you make at, including digital downloads, Gift Cards, Amazon Fresh orders, Amazon Prime subscriptions, and items sold by third party merchants through’s marketplace are included. 5% cash back does not apply to purchases made at,,,,, or any other website operated by, its affiliates and subsidiaries.

  18. Pennie Nickels says

    I have about $20,000 credit card debt.. Looking to transfer balance with no transfer fee… Trying to avoid the $250.00 in interest that I am paying every month.. Please advise … All advice welcomed…

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