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As we move into the final quarter of 2019 its time for Chase Freedom Card holders to make sure that they have activated the new category spending bonuses that their credit card offers, and to make sure that they’re maximizing the cashback/points available for spending in those categories.
A Quick Reminder
Here’s why the Chase Freedom Card is so popular:
- It’s free
- Every quarter the card offers 5% cashback on up to $1,500 of purchases made in rotating categories.
- If you also hold the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Ink Preferred Business Card, the 5% cashback can be converted to 5 Ultimate Rewards points (here’s how) which, in turn, convert to a host of other desirable reward currencies).
- Essentially the Chase Freedom credit card allows you to earn 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points every year with not a lot of effort.
Chase Freedom 4Q Bonus Categories
After a pretty dismal offering from Chase in 3Q I’ve been looking forward to seeing what bonus categories the last quarter of the year will bring and, happily, there’s been an improvement…albeit a slight one.
In the last quarter of 2019 the Chase Freedom Card will offer 5% cashback (or 5 points/dollar) on spending in the following categories:
- Department stores
- Chase Pay
We usually see Department stores pop up as a bonus category this time of year and with Black Friday/Cyber Monday and the holidays all falling into this quarter that’s no bad thing.
I suspect that the majority of people’s yearly department store spending probably falls into this quarter so it’s a good time of year in which to have this bonus category appear.
More and more online retailers (especially the smaller ones) appear to be offering the option for consumers to pay via PayPal so using this category to maximize the quarterly bonuses shouldn’t be too difficult.
It’s also worth noting that, not only does the use of PayPal mean that you don’t have to share your credit card details with yet another merchant, but Paypal also often offers free returns when the retailer itself may not – that’s a service that’s well worth having at a time of year when a lot of online purchases are traditionally made.
Lastly, there’s the option to use Chase Pay to earn 5% cashback (or 5 points/dollar) but although Chase Pay has grown to be accepted by quite a few national retailers (check the full list via this link) this is the weakest bonus category this time around.
Note: Chase is closing down the Chase Pay app from early 2020 but the actual service itself will still be operational.
What Is & Isn’t A Department Store?
While it’s very obvious when you are or are not using PayPal or Chase Pay for a transaction it can be less obvious when you’re performing a transaction through a store that Chase will recognize as a department store.
Fortunately, Chase has published a couple of lists to clear things up:
Merchants Classified As Department Stores
- Beall’s of Florida
- Bergdorf Goodman
- Boscov’s Department Store
- Boston Store
- JC Penney
- Lord & Taylor
- Neiman Marcus
- Nordstrom & Nordstrom Rack
- Peebles Dept Store
- Saks Fifth Ave & Off Fifth
- Stage Stores
- Stein Mart
- The Bon Ton
- Von Maur
Merchants Not Classified As Department Stores
- Discount stores such as TJ Maxx
- Electronics Stores
- General merchandise and Variety stores
- Gift cards purchased at any locations other than department stores on the inclusion list
While I wouldn’t say that these are great bonus categories that we’re seeing for 4Q 2019 they’re not bad either…and they’re a definite improvement on the bonus categories offered in the last quarter.
Personally I suspect that purchases via PayPal will make up the bulk of my Chase Freedom Card shopping this quarter…although I’m sure Joanna will do her bit to make sure we maximize our earings when she does her holiday shopping at the likes of Saks, Macy’s and Nordstrom 🙂