The Chase Freedom card was my first rewards-earning credit card and it’s pretty fantastic for a card with no annual fee. I got it when I first moved to New York in 2010 and walked into the nearest bank branch, which happened to be Chase, and told an associate there, “I just got a job and I need a real credit card.”
Two weeks later, the Freedom was mine and it ended up providing the bulk of my points for my first class extravaganza last year to Thailand and Laos. There is no annual fee and if you have a Chase checking account, as I do, you will receive an additional 10% bonus on all spend, so each dollar spent earns 1.1 Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
The best part about this card is the 5% quarterly bonus categories for the first $1500 of spending in certain categories, which Chase is nice enough to let you register by going online or replying through texting, as you can see in the picture below:
Lowe’s is useful for buying gift cards – they often have Starbucks, Best Buy, Amazon, etc. If you want to buy a new TV, for example, find the TV on Amazon, then go to Lowe’s and buy enough Amazon gift cards to cover the TV price and earn 5 points per dollar rather than the usual 1 point.
I don’t think I’m going to spend $1500 at bars/restaurants in the next 3 months, as I am trying to save some money for moving to DC and the Sept-Oct blowout Europe/Japan Trip, but it’s pretty nice to know that whenever I go out to eat or drink from April 1-June 31st, I will be earning 5.5 points per dollar – the 5% and 10% bonuses together, remember!
The 5% is much better than the 2% earned with restaurant spend on the Chase Sapphire Preferred, so my CSP spend will only be on travel-related purchases, which earn the same bonus as restaurants/bars.
The movie theater bonus is great as well, since the blockbuster summer movies start coming out in May and June, which is during the bonus period.