Best Bonus On No Annual Fee Travel Credit Card Is Back!

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Woohoo, an increased sign-up bonus is back on my favorite no annual fee personal credit card!

For a limited time, Chase has increased the sign-up bonus on the no annual fee Chase Freedom®. The sign-up bonus is marketed as follows:

  • For a limited time, earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months from account opening
  • Earn a $25 Bonus after you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within this same three month period

The sign-up bonus is marketed as cash back

In reality, you earn points on the Chase Freedom®, and each point can be redeemed for one cent cash back.

In other words, the sign up bonus offers 20,000 points after making $500 of purchases in the first three months, and an additional 2,500 points after adding an authorized user and having them make a purchase within three months, for a total of 22,500 points.

However, if you have this card in addition to one of the cards that accrue “premium” Ultimate Rewards points, you can transfer these points to Ultimate Rewards. Cards that accrue “premium” Ultimate Rewards Cards include the:

What makes the Chase Freedom great

So what makes this no annual fee card so rewarding even if you have other cards with annual fees that offer category bonuses?

The Chase Freedom offers 5% cash back (five points) per dollar spent on rotating quarterly categories, which can translate into a huge return. When you register your card each quarter you then earn 5x points for the first $1,500 spent in those category.

This quarter you can earn 5x points at restaurants and more. That’s probably my favorite bonus category, as I spend a good amount on dining, and earning 5x points on that is pretty awesome. I’ve already maxed out the 5x points category for this quarter. Now I’ll go back to putting my dining spend on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, which also offer bonus points on dining.

Keep in mind that if you get the card now, there’s still a good chance you’ll have at least a couple of weeks to take advantage of that bonus category, which is arguably the best of the year.

Having no annual fee cards are great for your credit score

As if the huge rotating quarterly categories weren’t enough, keep in mind that one part of your credit score is the average age of your accounts. It’s good to keep some cards long term just to help increase the average age of your accounts, even if the card itself isn’t that rewarding.

In this case you’re getting a rewarding credit card which you can also keep open long term to help build your credit score.

Keeping some cards long term is how I keep my credit score so high.

This is probably the best sign-up bonus you’ll see on this card

Back in the day this card regularly had 20,000+ point sign-up bonuses. But over the past couple of years the standard sign-up bonus has been $100 cash back/10,000 points.

We’ve occasionally seen increased sign-up bonuses of $200 cash back/20,000 points. But with this bonus you can earn $225 cash back/22,500 points, which is only the second time I’ve seen this sign-up bonus. Earning 22,500 Ultimate Rewards points for a no annual fee card (in conjunction with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, of course) is a fantastic bonus, if you ask me.

Bottom line

If you don’t yet have the Chase Freedom®, I suspect this is as good as the bonus will get. I picked up the card a couple of years ago, and am really happy to have it.

I know some people have been waiting for an increased sign-up bonus on the card, so now is the time to apply. Especially since you can potentially still take advantage of some of the quarter two bonus categories.

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  1. @ Luis — You can do it at Just log into your account there and you’ll be given the option.

  2. Hi Lucky. I have the CSP and Freedom and my wife is an authorized user on both. Can she get the Freedom and make me and Authoized user? Then we can combine points right? Thanks

  3. I signed up for the Freedom in March with the 10k UR offer. I sent a secure email to Chase and they matched the 22.5k offer. Chase is great!

  4. Thanks Lucky… Glad to see Chase’s “refer a friend” is working again, it was down for weeks.

  5. Lucky- Chase is giving a 5000pt bonus for referring people for this card. I don’t know if Chase is one of your partners, but if you don’t get a chit from Chase, can I post my email address for people looking for referrals?

  6. I also have this card and like it, but disagree with calling it a “travel credit card” in the title. Chase does not market this as a travel card and the travel-related benefits are pretty weak: 1) no bonuses on travel spending (unless you count gas stations or restaurants); 2) the card charges foreign transaction fees, making it a poor choice for international travel; and 3) travel-related card benefits are limited to roadside assistance and rental car damage waiver.

  7. It seems Chase is making it harder to get any of their cards. I just opened up an IHG card with them in March, hopefully I won’t have any problems trying to get the Freedom and CSP cards later this month!

  8. Hi Lucky, would my fiancee be able to get a Chase Freedom card (it would be her only Chase card), earn points with it, and then transfer the points to my account through the UR website? That way I can then transfer points to the airline partners through my chase ink plus card and book us award travel. I see someone above asked about making his spouse an authorized user (and vice versa), but is doing that necessary? I don’t want to go the AU route and add another new card to my credit report and lower my average age of credit (have opened 5 cards this year so far). What do you think?

  9. Thanks. I just seem to recall reading some threads a month or so ago about how Chase is being more aggressive about shutting down people’s UR accounts who transfer points to others because Chase thinks they’re selling points. Yikes.

  10. Some data points on flyer talk suggest that applicants will be auto denied by chase for freedom/ CSP/ ink with no reconsideration if they have opened 5 or more credit card accounts from any bank in the last 24 months.

    I don’t have any chase card, but with four new credit cards in the last few months, it looks like I may have to pick between CSP or freedom. Just thought I would mention that since if this new policy is true, it’s going to be hard for someone with that doesn’t have open accounts with CSP or Freedom to acquire both cards and benefit from using freedom for ur points.

  11. It’s true. Just got denied for a Freedom – only have 2 Chase cards. Three calls to recon and request to my Chase branch for “special recon” (I have substantial balances in my accounts with my branch) yielded no success. During one of the recon calls, rep told me this “24 month look back” into how many cards have been opened is a new policy, started just a couple weeks ago. Similar reports on FT.

  12. Applied ang got rejected. “You opened to many new accounts in the last two years and already hold two Chase credit cards”. Asked them to move some of my credit line to a new freedom – they refused. They’ll no longer see my salary.

  13. Where do you go to view if you’ve maxed out the 5x points category like you did? I am trying to find it on the website but am having no luck (no pun intended).

  14. @ Saz — Have you tried logging into your Freedom account? You should see the status bar there.

  15. Lucky – how do you convert these cash back points to transfer to UR? Is it 1:1 and a simple process?

  16. @Lucky – so would the 20,000 bonus miles translate into 20,000 miles at ultimate rewards, to combine with CSP?

  17. @ R — Indeed. In conjunction with the Chase Sapphire Preferred those points could be transferred 1:1.

  18. Ben,

    Does Chase usually limit the number of credit cards a person can have at one time? If so, do business cc count too?


  19. @ Michelle — The limit seems to be mostly with the overall credit they’ll allocate someone, as opposed to an exact number of cards. At least that has been my experience.

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