Chase Freedom Plus – 3% cash back in 6 categories

Chase Freedom PlusChase has lured me in with the $250 sign up bonus last March and despite the usual fate of cards with these promotional offers (I tend to close most of them after some use) this one stuck with me thanks to the great cash back rewards it offers.

In fact it has become my primary credit card ever since except for dining and travel expenses which I still charge to my American Express from Costco.

I have just learned that Chase has sweetened the Freedom offer with a Plus card which in mostly the same card but with certain important improvements.

How does Chase Freedom work?

Chase sorts out all your spendings into a few categories like Gasoline, Eating out, Groceries, Utility bills, etc. At the end of each statement period Chase picks 3 categories where you spend the most and pays you back 3% in cash back or points, whatever you choose. In addition you earn a flat 1% on everything else.

If you wait till you collect $200 in rewards then the amount goes up to $250 essentially turning your 3% into 3.75% and 1% into 1.25%

How is Freedom Plus different?

I called the number on the application screen and spent some time verifying the information. It appears there are two important changes according to the rep.

  1. The number of bonus categories increases from 3 to 6;
  2. The rewards cap for bonus categories is lifted

These are very good changes. The traditional Chase Freedom card caps the extra 2% you could earn to $12 per statement period. I have been hitting that cap consistently over the past months effectively under-earning rewards. No cap for me would mean more rewards.

While on the phone, I also confirmed that this new card has no $30 annual fee which was mistakenly mentioned on one of the application pages.

Update: a reader reports that there is a $30 annual fee which is waived the first year. The reps at the application hot line refer to it as a “membership fee”

New customers get 10,000 miles

The application page also mentions a 10,000 miles bonus for new customers which they earn after the first purchase made on the card. I am not sure what happens if you vote for cash back instead of points when you apply for the card. I will update this post as I find more information about this promotion.

Should you apply?

If you already have the regular Chase Freedom card, the upgrade should be a no-brainer. The Chase Freedom Plus is arguably the best card on the market for average folks.

If you don’t think your spending pattern falls under the “average” category, you might consider other cards. There are some good promotions mentioned here, also this post summarizes how I personally use credit cards.

Update 03/15: I received my first Chase Freedom Plus statement. Read more here.

Update 03/28: Popular merchants not included in the 15 Chase spendings categories can be found here.

Update 04/05: What is the breaking point in monthly spendings when Chase Freedom Plus start to beat the old Chase Freedom card in rewards? Find out here.

Update 05/08: Received my third statement. Read about it here.

See also:

25 Responses to “Chase Freedom Plus – 3% cash back in 6 categories”

  1. 1 JohnT Dec 18th, 2007 at 8:43 am

    According to the reps at the number provided, there is a membership fee of $30 which is waived the first year. They’re a little funny about whether they call it a annual fee or membership fee.

  2. 2 Yan Dec 19th, 2007 at 10:51 am

    I just called again and asked about annual fee. There is none for this card, according to the Chase rep.

    When you call, make sure you give them the BJX9 card code mentioned on the bottom of the screen. This is how they know what offer you are talking about.

  3. 3 JohnT Dec 19th, 2007 at 10:56 am

    Yeah, when I talked to them they wouldn’t admit to an annual fee, but instead they just called it a membership fee for the rewards program that’s waived the first year. I had mentioned the code.
    I have a regular Freedom card and when I called the number on the back of that card, they immediately said annual fee. When I called the number on the offer page, that’s who called it a membership fee for the rewards program.

  4. 4 Yan Dec 19th, 2007 at 11:07 am

    Thanks, John. I have updated the blog post to mention this fact. I might still apply since I have reached the $12 bonus cap every month. Just need to double check there is really no cap. With how this “annual fee” thing turned out, I am not sure about the cap any longer.

  5. 5 JohnT Dec 19th, 2007 at 12:05 pm

    I agree this could still be a good card. I have another card for 5% on Gas/Groceries and Drugstore so that plus 3% on 3 for regular Freedom works for me. Plus the $50 bonus on $200 redemption makes it a suitable “everything” card.

  6. 6 user Jan 23rd, 2008 at 7:21 am

    So what is the verdict here? Is there a fee? Do you recommend this card?

  7. 7 user Feb 4th, 2008 at 7:05 am

    Thanks anyway.

  8. 8 Yan Feb 6th, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    I have applied for the card and just received it in the mail today. So far I don’t see any tricks. There was a booklet that repeated what you can find at the website. I will write more about it later

  9. 9 user Feb 9th, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    If I buy lots of stuff at would that count as one of the “categories” and therefore get 3% reward?

  10. 10 user Feb 20th, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    Thanks anyway

  11. 11 Yan Feb 20th, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    Sorry for ignoring you, dear user. ;-) It is unintentional.

    I believe all your purchases are categorized one way or another which means anything you buy gets into a category and is rewarded. The question is how narrow those categories are. The narrower they are, the less rewards you can get.

    I have not received my first bill yet so I don’t know the details. I will make a post about it as soon as I get the bill.

  12. 12 user Feb 27th, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    Outstanding! Will that post be a reply to this thread or a new topic about your experience with this card?

    Thanks so much for all your help.

  13. 13 Yan Feb 27th, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    It will be a new topic. Check back soon!

  14. 14 user Mar 1st, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    Cool. I monitor the main page every day via RSS anyway so I should see it when it comes up. Thanks again!

  15. 15 Eddie Apr 4th, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    I have looked into both these cards and my question is: Does anyone know how much you must spend per year in order for the plus card with the $30 fee to be a better deal? Thanks

  16. 16 Yan Apr 4th, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    Eddie, I just answered your question with this post. Hope it helps!

  17. 17 Eddie Apr 5th, 2008 at 9:21 am

    Yan, thanks for the post. I also have a interest in credit card deals. I have in the past used them for borrowing money (balance transfer) with 0% interest and no transfer fee (hard to find now) if the balance was paid back within one year. That is how I got the Freedom Chase Card. I just paid off the balance so now I can begin using the card. To anyone reading this that does what I did in the above please be aware that you can not use the card for purchases because if you do they will use your monthly payment to pay off the balance transfer first which will leave you paying interest on all your purchases until the balance transfer is paid off, unfortunately they don’t tell you that (I learned the hard way with another card)!
    Before this card I used the Discover, 1% cash back on all purchases with no cap and you also don’t have to ask for a check or redeem points, it can be applied towards a credit to your account which I like. I also have the dividend citibank card which basically is like the freedom chase card but they do have some good deals for new card holders and you can check it out on their website but for me I think the Freedom card or the Freedom plus will be best. I would have to check out my catagories on the Citicard which are about the same as the Chase and compare them to see if I should go with the plus card. This wesite is great, I just found it yesterday and need to spend some more time looking around. Thanks for the info Yen.

  18. 18 newbie Oct 6th, 2008 at 4:14 am

    any update on the Chase Freedom Plus credit card? I was looking all over the place and I couldn’t find anywhere that states that if you accumulate $200 in rebate you can turn it into $250. Is that a “hidden” feature? On top of that 10,000 miles does that always translate over to $100? I mean is each mile equivalent of $0.01? Thanks

  19. 19 Eddie Oct 6th, 2008 at 9:37 am

    Hi newbie,
    I use this card for almost everything except gas because on the AAA card I get 3%. I use the cash back feature so couldn’t say about the miles stuff. I am at or close to the redeeming $200 so I will let you know how that turns out.

  20. 20 AlekseyUS Oct 13th, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    awesome card, just called a Chase representative and he stated that as long as you have a specific Checking/Savings account at Chase the 30$/year fee is waved every year, he wasn’t certain which specific account and told me to stop by my local chase and find out. Without the $30 fee is is definitely as good as the regular Chase Freedom only BETTER.

  21. 21 newbie Oct 19th, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    AlekseyUS, does wamu count? we don’t have chase branches here in the west coast.

  22. 22 Eddie Oct 20th, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    AleksyUS, There is no fee for this card. you don’t have to have a checking or savings with them.

  23. 23 Bob M Feb 11th, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    I have had the Chase Freedom card for a couple years and never understood why my reward dollars back were so little. I had maybe 550 bucks in rewards and we charge everything on that card for a couple of years. We do it just for the rewards. I called today and they said I really should have the plus because the regular Freedom caps out at 600 bucks per billing period for the 3 percent. They went on to say the cap is lifted on the plus card.

    Yes, 30 dollar fee and I think that is annual

  24. 24 Elgitha Baldonado-Ranosa Jul 20th, 2009 at 12:17 am

    How do you apply for the 3% Cash Back on the Chase Debit Card?

  25. 25 JBM Oct 21st, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    I have this card, in general it is a good card but I have been telling them…you need to put a column on the bill where you FLAG the items that get bonus, so we can check your math…right now, bonus dollars are summarized so you cannot tell where they come from or which line items paid the bonus.
    Also, they told me today that Verizon is now under CABLE TV category…used to be in the TELECOMMUNICATIONS category.

Leave a Reply