The fourth quarter bonus categories for the Chase Freedom credit card are out and points/cash back earning for spend on those categories can now be activated.
Freedom’s fourth quarter bonus categories include:
- Department Stores
All purchases made in these categories earn 5% cash back – or my favorite, 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent – on up to $1,500 in combined purchases.
Bonus earnings at Walmart and Department Stores will begin October 1, 2017, and run through December 31, 2017.
If you haven’t received your activation email yet, you can activate the fourth quarter categories here.
Obviously, you can activate your third quarter bonus categories at any point between now and December 14, 2017, to ensure you earn the bonus cash back/Ultimate Rewards points. I usually get it out of the way as soon as it becomes available to make sure I don’t forget.
In the last Freedom bonus categories post, where we passed along that dining and movie theaters were the spend categories for the third quarter, I closed the piece by saying, “Here’s hoping the fourth quarter categories hold more cash back/points earning potential.”
Well, while not spectacular, the fourth quarter categories do hold promise for earning the full $75 cash back or 7,500 Ultimate Rewards points.
HOW TO PLAY IT
Of course, holiday shopping could put a large dent in that $1,500 of spend if most of your purchases will be made at Walmart and the various retailers Chase has determined fall into the department store category.
If, however, you don’t shop at Walmart, and your department store spend won’t come close to hitting that $1,500 quarterly spend mark, here’s what you can do.
Actually, Chase recently gave a preview of this quarter’s bonus category by providing Ultimate Rewards earning cardholders 10% cash back/10x Ultimate Rewards points on Walmart purchases up to $250 when Chase Pay was used to checkout.
And my trick for earning those bonus points will work for this quarter’s bonus earning, too.
Simply purchase Visa gift cards from Walmart – online or in-store – using your Chase Freedom card to pay.
A $200 Visa gift card comes with a fee of $6.88, which is about as low a fee as you’ll find for a $200 card. And that $200 gift card will get you 1,034 Ultimate Rewards points (or $10 cash back, effectively wiping out the fee and “making you” $3.12).
Then, use the gift card(s) to pay for things that don’t earn a credit card spending bonus.
For me, it’ll be groceries purchased at stores other than Walmart. Or for dining out. Or for any other purchases that don’t earn at least 5x miles or points with some other credit card.
And if you don’t want to pay the gift card fee, Walmart – and I’m sure a number of the department stores – sell merchant specific gift cards that do not include an additional fee.
Grab a bunch of gift cards to retailers you’ll be buying from anyway and earn the extra cash back/UR points in the process.
While not the absolute best quarterly bonus categories, Walmart and department stores are pretty good, and give plenty of options for maxing out your cash back or points earning to end 2017.