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.