It’s that time again. Chase Freedom, one of my favorite cash back credit cards that I use on a regular basis, is changing their quarterly 5% cash back categories. I almost always use my Chase Freedom card whenever I make a transaction in one of these categories because 5% cash back is very hard to beat.
Fourth Quarter 5% Cash Back Categories
For October, November and December 2013 (the fourth quarter) you can earn 5% cash back at Amazon.com and select department stores.
Tons of people shop at Amazon.com, especially during the holiday shopping season so this 5% category comes at a great time. The department stores category is another appropriate category for the fourth quarter for holiday shopping, as well as getting clothes for the fall and winter seasons. Select department stores include JCPenney, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Sears and many others. However, they do not include stores like Target, Walmart or other discount membership club stores.
If you have a Chase Freedom card, don’t forget to activate your 5% cash back for the fourth quarter of 2013. You can activate your 5% cash back here. As always, you’ll earn 1% cash back on all other purchases you make your Chase Freedom card.
The Chase Freedom card also offers a $100 sign up bonus if you don’t have one yet. You only have to spend $500 within the first three months in order to qualify to receive the $100 sign up bonus. It is one of the easier sign up bonuses to qualify for due to the low $500 spending threshold. If you’re interested, you can apply for the Chase Freedom credit card here.
5% Cash Back Gets Even Better
A great benefit of getting 5% cash back on my Chase Freedom card is the fact that I can transfer the Ultimate Rewards points I earn to my Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card. I can then transfer these points to other rewards programs such as the Southwest Rapid Rewards program at a 1:1 ratio.
This is great because 100 Southwest Rapid Rewards points can be exchanged for up to $1.67 in Wanna Get Away fares, essentially increasing the value of my points by 67%! If I use this strategy and transfer my points to the Southwest Rapid Rewards program, I could earn the equivalent of over 8% value on my bonus category purchases. There are a ton of other programs you can transfer your points to on a 1:1 value as well.
If you don’t have a Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card make sure to check out the Best Credit Card Sign Up Bonuses post to learn more about it. The Sapphire Preferred credit card currently offers a $400 sign up bonus and many other great benefits. Be careful though… it does come with a $95 annual fee that is waived for the first year.
A Word of Warning
I consider credit cards a tool. If not used properly, tools can be very dangerous. Much like using a chainsaw, if you can not handle using credit cards properly you could easily become injured, although it would be financially and not physically.
Please don’t apply for credit cards if you cannot pay them off in full every month. There are other payment methods other than credit cards. You can always use debit cards, cash or even try to remember how to write a check.
Do you have a Chase Freedom or Chase Sapphire Preferred card? Do you have any tricks to get more cash back or more value for your Ultimate Rewards points?