Chase Freedom Plus – received third statement

Ever since I switch to Chase Freedom Plus as my primary credit card, I have been trying to keep an eye on my spending and accumulated rewards. Last week I received my third statement and can share some more details on the benefits the Plus upgrade offers compared to the regular Chase Freedom card.

First of all, when I signed up, the card came with miles rewards and I have still not been able to switch to the cash rewards mode. I called the customer service a couple times but several weeks later I still see miles in my account rewards page. The whole procedure also resulted into some mess in the rewards reported online. Last month reporting was partially frozen and I now see those rewards credited back to me as an adjustment.

Difference between miles and points

The main difference is in the options available for redeeming rewards. In the miles mode, a $50 Shell Gift Card in exchange for 5,000 reward miles is probably closest you can get to cash. There are more options if you are willing to travel, for example an unrestricted round trip ticket to any destination (max value $350) for 25,000 rewards miles looks very interesting. In the cash mode your best option is to wait till you collect 20,000 points and exchange them to a $250 check. This is what I have always done with the old card.

Charging travel on Chase Freedom is not a good idea

My total bill this month came to $3719. We are planning a trip to my friends’ wedding for June, hence more expenses than usual. A big chunk of it is the tickets from United Airlines. They were correctly categorized as “Travel” on the account activity page but are missing from the Top Purchase categories on my bill due to the fact that “Travel” is not one of 15 categories currently covered by Chase (scroll down for the complete list of covered categories). I would have gotten a better deal if I used my Costco American Express for this purchase since it offers straight 2% on travel related expenses.

On average this card pays 3.75% straight cash rewards

My overall bonus earnings this month came to 2,222 miles (or points) which means 30% of my spendings qualified for bonus rewards. This is much less than I had during the first month (48%). If I exclude travel (tickets and car rental) then the percentage goes up to 52%. Looking back at the last 3 months, 42% of my spendings qualified for bonus rewards, 55% if I exclude this month’s travel. This overall means that the card pays back approximately 3% straight rewards, or slightly more (3.75%) if you wait to convert 20,000 points into $250 check.

Spending categories eligible for bonus rewards

Here is the complete list of 15 categories that qualify for Chase Freedom bonus rewards. Out of these, the top 6 categories by spending will be used to calculate your rewards.

  • Department stores
  • Utilities
  • Fast food & quick service restaurants
  • Gas & convenience stores
  • Drugstores
  • Cable/Satellite TV, internet providers
  • Pet supply stores/veterinarian
  • Phone/cell phone bills
  • Movie theaters
  • Grocery stores
  • Gym memberships
  • Beauty salons/SPAs
  • Movie rentals
  • Dry cleaners
  • Local commuting

Please share your own experience in the comments. Have you had problem switching from miles to cash like I did? What is your average cash back rewards rate on this card?

See also:

17 Responses to “Chase Freedom Plus – received third statement”

  1. 1 Patrick May 8th, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    Did you convert your existing Freedom card to Plus or did you open a new card? I currently have the Freedom card and would like to get a Plus without having to open another separate credit card account.

  2. 2 Yan May 8th, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    I had the old Chase Freedom on my name and opened the new (Plus) card card on my wife’s name. The only reason in doing so is the 10,000 miles bonus points you get at sign up (equivalent to $100, or $125 if you switch to cash rewards and wait till you have 20,000 points to convert to $250). Can’t afford to lose that $125! ;-)

  3. 3 KF May 11th, 2008 at 12:31 pm


    It sounds like you’ve done some extensive research on Chase Freedom Plus. I have read all your postings on the matter. Maybe you could suggest a good mileage card, to redeem for flight tickets? Thanks, for your input.

  4. 4 Jake May 11th, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    Not sure if you’ve seen this, but Chase is running a promotion from April-June (not sure on the exact dates) where they will credit your checking account $25 for every 250 you *credit* your Check Card for.

    Obviously this only benefits those who bank with Chase, but right now I am putting everything that doesn’t fall under my main spending categories on my Check Card and garnishing a 10% return!

  5. 5 Jake May 11th, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    Oh yeah… you have to register your card when you log in to Online Banking.

  6. 6 Jake May 11th, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    Some more info on this great offer:

    “All qualifying purchases from April 1 through June 15, 2008, will count toward the cash reward, regardless of the date you enroll your card (as long as it is during the promotion period).”

  7. 7 Yan May 11th, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    Thanks for the tip. The enrollment screen asks for a 16-digit card number. Is this my Chase credit card number or do I need to open a checking account with Chase to participate?

  8. 8 Yan May 11th, 2008 at 11:46 pm

    KF: you can use Chase Freedom to collect either miles or points. I will try to find more about other good credit cards that give you miles as rewards and will write about in a separate blog post.

  9. 9 Jake May 12th, 2008 at 8:51 am


    Sorry for the lack of clarification. The “Get25″ promotion is only for Chase customers with a checking account and a corresponding Check Card (Debit Card). The promotion pays back $25 for every $250 you spend with your Check Card (up to $750). You have to make the purchases as a Credit, i.e. without using your pin…so no Costco unfortunately :P

  10. 10 sandra May 14th, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    Is there a list of points needed to redeem airline tickets somewhere? What about international tickets?

  11. 11 user May 18th, 2008 at 9:36 am

    I’m still interested in using this card for Does anyone know what rewards this card will give for Amazon purchases? Does it matter if you use Amazon Prime?

  12. 12 Daniel May 27th, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    Chase Freedom has a new promotion I got in the mail recently called Travel Statement Credit. Can anyone shed some light on this? I called Chase about it but even they couldn’t explain how this works very clearly.

  13. 13 Alex Jun 3rd, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    Be careful when you switch your rewards type from miles to rewards (cash back) on your Freedom Plus card. When you do, Chase will most likely downgrade your Plus account to just a regular Freedom card. It’s happened to us twice now – first my wife’s Plus card, and now my Plus card. Once that happens, they will not be able to convert it back to Plus account (don’t know why). I’m pretty pissed about it; we’ve been using Chase as our primary bank for everything (checking and all credit cards), but I’m to the point where I’m ready to close all my accounts and move on to AmEx.

  14. 14 Yan Jun 4th, 2008 at 2:02 am

    Alex, the same thing happened to me but they did convert it back to “plus” and kept my rewards. I am still at miles though even though I want to move to cash. Will have to call Cahse again. :-(

  15. 15 Alex Jun 4th, 2008 at 9:02 am

    Hmm… They told us it was impossible to convert it back to the Plus account when they “downgraded” my wife’s card. We complained, they submitted a request to some other department, and said we’d be receiving a letter with the results. About a week later, we received the letter that basically said there was nothing they could do. I thought it was a glitch in their system or something, so we just closed her account since I also had mine. Well, about a week ago I changed my reward type from miles to cash, and now I’m going through exactly the same process. I spoke to them last night, they once again submitted a request to change my account back to Plus, and said it may take up to 30 days before that happens. In the mean time, we’re accumulating the regular Freedom rewards, which is capped at $600 per month. Since we spend on average $5000 per month using our credit card(s), Freedom Plus was the perfect card for us, but now the AmEx Blue Cash card is starting to look better and better…

  16. 16 KN Jun 5th, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    For the plus account, do you need to pay $30 a year “rewards fee” or “membership fee”

  17. 17 Dave Jul 3rd, 2008 at 5:44 am

    I have both the Chase Freedom and the Chase Freedom Plus cards. For my spending habits i do not really benefit from having the Chase Plus card. It is not worth the $30 membership fee for me. Out of the 15 categories, I only spend a significant amount of money in 3 of them. Chase sent me applications for 3 different cards in the same month. Those 2 and a Chase Freedom Matercard. I applied for and recieved all 3 with a $100 bonus on all of them. I am going to cancel the Chase Freedom Plus and the Chase Freedom Mastercard.

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