Chase Freedom Q1 2019 Registration Now Open

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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. Most people use this as a cashback card, meaning the 5x points really translates into 5% cashback in these categories.

The best part is that in conjunction with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardChase Sapphire Reserve® Card, or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, points earned on this card can be converted into Ultimate Rewards points, and be transferred to the Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel partners. Since I value one Ultimate Rewards point at significantly more than one cent, that’s my preferred use of those points.

Now open: register to earn 5x points for Q1 2019

Registration has just opened for the first quarter 2019 Chase Freedom® Card bonus categories. Specifically, you can earn 5x points on the first $1,500 of combined purchases at gas stations, drugstores, and tolls, between January 1 and March 31, 2019. See here for a list of participating merchants in each category.

Registration is easy — just go to the registration page and enter your last name, billing zip code, and the last four digits on your card, and you’ll be registered.

As mentioned above, while registration is now open, you won’t start earning 5x points in these categories until January 1.

In the meantime you can continue to earn 5x points at department stores, wholesale clubs, and with Chase Pay, assuming you’ve registered (registration closed yesterday, December 14, 2018).

My take on the new bonus categories

Gas stations, drugstores, and tolls, are some pretty specific categories:

  • If you spend a lot of money on gas then that’s a useful category; I make virtually no gas purchases
  • Drugstores is a category that’s useful since they’re not otherwise eligible for bonus points with many cards, though most people don’t spend that much at drugstores (unless you have expensive meds you get there)
  • Tolls is also a category where most people don’t spend that much

On the surface it would be nicer to see some broad categories on the list. But maybe this gets at part of the “problem.” The bonus categories on other cards have largely gotten so good that 5x points isn’t as spectacular as it used to be.

For example, dining has historically been one of the popular Freedom bonus categories, but nowadays you can earn 3x points on dining with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, 4x points on U.S. dining with the American Express® Gold Card, and as of January, 5x points on dining with the Citi Prestige, so the incremental return is limited.

How to make Chase Freedom points even more valuable

Just to recap, you earn points on the Chase Freedom® Card, and each point can be redeemed for one cent cashback.

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

So 5% cashback converts into 5x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar with one of the above cards.

Bottom line

The Chase Freedom® Card is one of the best no annual fee cards out there, and I do everything I can to max out the 5x points category every quarter. If you’ve already registered for the fourth quarter bonus categories, you can continue to earn 5x points for these categories through December 31.

Meanwhile I’d recommend going ahead and registering for the first quarter 2019 bonus categories, so you don’t forget. I’ll certainly get some value out of 5x points at drugstores, but don’t think I’ll be maxing it out.

What do you make of the Chase Freedom Q1 2019 bonus categories?

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  1. Not much use for me this quarter. I don’t use tolls and I don’t shop at drugstores much. I suppose I can get gift cards there but I purchase those mostly at discount gift card sites such as Cardcash or Raise. I use the Costco Anywhere card for 4x on gas so I suppose I could get an additional points using the Freedom but all in all lean pickings this quarter.

  2. I wonder how the CVS’s that are now inside Targets code, drugstore or big box store. If you only have a few items in hand while purchasing some meds they’ll usually offer to ring them up for you, and 5x on Target purchases isn’t half-bad.

  3. It’s TPG-esque malpractice not to at least mention that drug stores sell gift cards to other stores. Does your agreement with chase preclude that

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