How To Maximize Chase Freedom® 5x Points With Mobile Payments

Filed Under: Chase, Credit Cards
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Update: This article contains mentions of Chase Freedom® and Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card whose terms have expired and are in the process of being updated. All other offers reflect accurate offer terms. Learn more about the current offers here.


The Chase Freedom® Card is one of my favorite no annual fee credit cards, as it offers 5x points in rotating quarterly categories, for up to $1,500 of spend per quarter. As I explained a few days ago, this quarter the card is offering 5x points for mobile payments (Chase Pay, Android Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay), gas stations, internet, cable, and phone services. If you haven’t yet registered, be sure you do so, since you need to activate the offer every quarter to earn bonus points.

In this post I wanted to share my strategy for maximizing bonus points this quarter. It goes without saying that we all have different spend patterns, so we’re all going to maximize our spend in different ways. When it comes to maximizing your quarterly return on the Chase Freedom, there are two things that are most important, in my opinion:

  • You want to max out the $1,500 bonus category
  • As much as possible you want that spend to be in categories where you’d otherwise earn the fewest points; in other words, you’d rather put 5x points spend on the Chase Freedom when the alternative is earning 1.5x points, rather than 3x points

With that in mind, I figured I’d share my strategy for maximizing this bonus, now that I’ve put some thought into it. Given my situation:

  • It has been months since I’ve filled up a gas tank, so I don’t see myself benefiting much there
  • I already earn 5x points on internet, cable, and phone services with the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

So that leaves me with using mobile payments to maximize my points. Everyone will have different preferences between the various choices, though given that I have an iPhone, I find Apple Pay to be the most widespread and useful, so I’ll use that for the purposes of my example.

If you have an iPhone and haven’t yet set up Apple Pay, it’s super easy. Just search “Apply Pay” in settings, and then enter your Chase Freedom information. If you have other cards as well, make sure you specify the Chase Freedom as your default card.

My first thought was that Uber accepts Apple Pay, so I linked Apple Pay to my Uber account. I’ll certainly take 5x points on my Uber rides!

However, I think it’s important to acknowledge that this is only an incremental 2x points per dollar spent, since the alternative is earning 3x points with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®  (since Uber qualifies as travel).

Then I started thinking of what other apps I use where I earn fewer points. My go-to option for getting food delivered is Postmates, and rather annoyingly Postmates no longer qualifies as “dining” for the purposes of credit card spend. In other words, right now I only earn 1.5x points per dollar spent with Postmates. I was thrilled when I found out that Postmates accepts Apple Pay, since that’s an incremental 3.5x points per dollar spent with the card. That’s much better, if you ask me.

Apple Pay is accepted at many retailers, so you can check that page for a more comprehensive list. Many of these are dining establishments that would otherwise earn 3x points with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, though there are also some clothing stores and other retailers.

Bottom line

Maximizing this quarter’s Chase Freedom bonus is a bit more nuanced than some of the past bonuses we’ve seen. For example, in the past we’ve seen them just offer 5x points at supermarkets, which is pretty straightforward — you keep spending at supermarkets until you’ve maxed out the bonus.

But for those of us who don’t spend money on gas and don’t want to put our cable, internet, or phone bills on the card, maximizing this takes a bit more planning. This should be easy enough to maximize thanks to Apple Pay and other mobile payment options, the key is just to maximize the bonus while using the card for spend where you’d otherwise earn the fewest points.

Earning 5x points when you’d otherwise earn 3x points is great, but earning 5x points when you’d otherwise earn 1.5x points is much better.

To those maximizing the Chase Freedom 5x points category using mobile payments, which businesses are you finding most valuable for this?

(Thanks to Colin for getting me thinking about this)

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Comments
  1. What I am looking for are places I can use mobile payment for big payments so I can just get it over with. E.g. Can you make a big prepayment on phone or cable?

  2. Thanks for this tip! Just to make sure I’m understanding – if I use apple pay anywhere, even, say, a grocery store, drug store, or in a taxi cab, with my Chase freedom, I’ll get 5x?

  3. Done drug store retailers, like Rite Aid accept Apple Pay, so depending on your prescription insurance situation and general spending habits at drug stores, that could be a +3.5x incremental bonus for many to help max out this quarter’s category.

  4. @PJ….I linked my Freedom to my wife’s Apple Pay and used it at Sprouts. Got the 5x so works just fine….

  5. I do drive, so gas at 5x is useful. Right now I’m using Apple Pay at Best Buy to stock up on gas gift cards. Through 1/6 Best Buy is also offering a $10 Best Buy gift card for every $100 in gas gift card purchases. So I’m getting some valuable Best Buy gift cards in the process as well.

  6. I got 2x UR when they were promoting +1 point on the Sapphire cards. I used that at Microcenter when we needed to purchase a router.

    Now I have been thinking about building a new computer in the coming months, chances are I would max it out when I go there and get some of my part! 🙂

  7. Hi Lucky, please help me decide! Would You Rather 12 hours in Qatar J on A350 TYO-DOH + 8 hours in Qatar F DOH-CDG or 12 hours in JAL F from TYO to CDG?

  8. Plus, also save some for your mobile/cable bills per T&C. The utility category is not usually bonuses either.

  9. Worth noting that the Target iPhone app takes Apple Pay. And of course Walmart takes Chase Pay, which is also allowed.

    There is also Apple Pay on the web at some sites, including some places like clothing stores that wouldn’t otherwise be bonused spend, but it requires using Safari, not Chrome, so make sure you are using the right browser to see all opportunities. And some retailers like Bonobos also support Apple Pay in their iPhone app but not on their site.

  10. And of course purchases of Apple products themselves, which would not normally be subject to much of a bonus, can be bought using Apple Pay in the Apple Store iOS app, or on Apple.com if using Safari.

  11. Has anyone else noticed the bonus spend progress bar on the Chase rewards site doesn’t appear to be updating to reflect Apple/Chase pay?

    I’ve only made three payments with apple pay this quarter and I seem to be getting credit for 5x spend based on my math but the status bar still says $0. None of the three are pending transactions.

    Probably just a simple tracking error or a lag in recognition, but last quarter the bar seemed to update daily. Maybe there’s an off-chance the site doesn’t cap the 5x reward after you’ve maxed it out if they can’t track it correctly?

  12. Walmart takes Chase Pay, so anything you’d buy from Amazon at 1.5x, you can just buy from Walmart for 5x. Walmart prices are pretty comparable to Amazon.

  13. @Nat: “Amazon is always the white whale for me points-wise. So I use Android Pay to buy gift cards at Walgreens. Easy peasy.”

    That’s fine if you’re buying supplies (toothpaste, coffee, etc) from Amazon. If you buy anything durable that you want extended warranty protection for, then you’re best off using a credit card to purchase it directly (on Amazon or elsewhere).

  14. @snic – a good point for others, but I’m buying diapers and baby food. The least durable goods imaginable.

  15. Samsung Pay FTW here. It can be used virtually anywhere with its MST tech mimicking real credit card swipes. It will make maximizing this bonus a lot easier than the restricted ability of Apple and Android Pay.

  16. Agreed, Samsung Pay is great and easy to use, drag up the bottom of the phone screen, put in 4 digit pin, tap and go. Accepted pretty much everywhere.
    Chase pay just spits out a QR code after the usual lengthy password input. I have not found Chase pay nearly as widely accepted or as easy to use.

  17. And don’t forget about ebags, which if you time the double dip with a high-multiplier portal bonus, you could make out with a ~20-30% return easily.

  18. Bgriff I’m confused by your comment re:Apple Pay at Target via the app. I know my Redcard is loaded to be scanned in the app, but as of this point, my Target doesn’t take Apple Pay. Am I missing something?

  19. When you say Walmart takes Chase pay, are you referring only to online? What about the Walmart neighborhood stores (which would be easy for me)?

  20. I am using Samsung Pay. I received 2000 Ultimate Rewards points for making 5 quick small purchases at a Target and now will use it at Costco, where we will get to $1500 quite easily.

  21. 1. Best Buy accepts ChasePay, AndroidPay, et al., and …

    2. My daughter’s refrigerator just died.

    That’ll take care of about $1,000 of spending right there 😀 Paying the cell phone and Internet bills, plus filling my gas tank (two-hour commute every day) and grocery shopping (with ChasePay, AndroidPay et al) should take care of the rest.

  22. Here is my question. Can I double dip? Next quarter grocery stores are 5 % bonus as is payments with quick pay. If I use quick pay at a grocery store, will I get 5 or 10% bonus? Thanks.

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