Bad news for all the Chase Freedom card holders myself including. Chase has just announced a launch of Ultimate Rewards, an inferior program aimed to replace the current lofty rewards structure offered to existing Chase Freedom cardholders.
I just called Chase customer support and the representative confirmed that changes are afoot however declined to give any details suggesting that I will receive a ‘Welcome’ package with all the information I need to know about the new program.
Reports however have been surfacing all over the web since as early as November of 2008 from card holders who received the “upgrade” package. The bits of information I have put together so far confirm a couple of important facts:
- The $250 Chase Freedom Cash Check which you could get for $200 in cash back is being phased out
- The 3% cash back spending categories will be rotating every quarter - very much like the current structure offered by Discover More
WSJ says that all Chase Freedom cardholders will be moved to the rewards program throughout the year. Chase hasn’t spared the $30 per year Freedom Plus card either, according to the customer service rep I spoke with tonight. Too bad because this has been my primary card.
What is next?
I am going to look into a couple cards that I know offer straight 2% cash back rewards: one from Schwab and one from Fidelity. I think I prefer to have to open an investment account (even if it comes with $1000 minimum balance requirement) to the tiered rewards structure of AmEx Blue Cash (another alternative consider).