Whether you manufacture spending or collect points as they come through routine spend, one thing most of us can probably agree on is that the Chase Freedom rotating 5x categories are some of the easiest points to bank. For the first quarter of 2015, 5x categories were supermarkets, movie theaters and Starbucks stores, and we’re down to the last week to earn those points.
Chase Freedom pays 5x points that become transferable Ultimate Rewards points when combined into a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink account. Each quarter, Chase offers these bonus categories on the first $1500 of spend.
In this quarter, groceries are an easy category to quickly hit that $1500, especially if you’re shopping for a family. In the event that you haven’t, don’t forget to check out the gift card rack! My local grocery stores have a pretty extensive selection, including variable load Amazon cards up to $500 value without any merchant fees. If you’re shopping Amazon Prime for your baby supplies and household consumables, this is a good way to capture some of that bonus category.
If you’re into a little more effort for more points, you probably buy Amazon gift cards at Staples already, using an Ink card. Forgoing that, many supermarkets also have $500 variable load Visa/Mastercard gift cards with a $5.95 purchase fee. You can use these for regular spending if you wish, or liquidate via other methods that other folks are better at than me. Even if you liquidate the “easy way” using a method like Google Wallet that costs 2.9%, you’re still looking at under a penny per point, which happens to be my target so that I don’t have to have the mental debate over points value and whether a 2% cash back card would have been a better use. If you care to go into that topic a bit further, Frequent Miler has just updated his fair trade values and is generally one of the best voices in the game.
My grocery bills this quarter came in a little low, so I’ll be buying a small gift card to make up the slack. For the aspiring points and milers or manufactured spenders, consider Chase Freedom an excellent training ground for your hobby.
How would I go about seeing whether I have met the $1500 limit or not? I’ve been looking through the Chase site and can’t seem to get a definitive answer to how much I have already spent and how much I have left. Thanks!
The best way is, unfortunately, to look at your statements and add it up. I was looking for a better way yesterday before I went to the grocery store and ended up using my statements from the Chase site and a calculator. If you happen to use something like Quicken, you could probably arrive at an answer quickly that way.
Chase doesn’t have much of an incentive to give you a better way to know exactly what you have left since the goal is to use this 5X bonus to drive additional usage of the card (that only earns 1X). The average grocery bill is $800-900 a month for a family of 4 – if Chase markets this right, you’ll be swiping profitably for them very quickly and for the remainder of the quarter (or you might get used to swiping the Freedom for groceries and just keep doing it forever).
On the flipside, I will add that Amex makes it very easy to figure out where your money goes using their website. But IMHO, Amex’s site is light years ahead of Chase and Citi in almost every regard.
Ok. That’s what I was planning on doing, but just figured there might be a faster way buried in the site. Thanks!
FWIW, if you’re on the Chase Ultimate Rewards website, the progress indicator shows how much cash back you’ve collected this quarter. IF you’re using CHrome as your browser, right click on the progress bar and click “Inspect Element”. It’ll show the percentage of $75 you’ve hit this quarter as part of the width attribute.
Wow fantastic tip. Thanks!