Discover It and Chase Freedom are two high-earning cashback credit cards. Every 3 months, there are new bonus cashback categories where you can earn 5% back on purchases. Today is the start of a new quarter for both cards.
Both cards share similarities. Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter. You need to activate the card each quarter to earn the bonuses. And you receive unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
This quarter’s Chase Freedom 5% bonus categories are Gas Stations and Local Commuter Transportation. The commuter transportation category specifically excludes parking, tolls, and Amtrak purchases.
While Chase calls Freedom a cash back card, it comes with a twist. Freedom actually earns Ultimate Rewards (UR) points that you can later exchange for cash at certain merchants or as a statement credit. The redemption value is always 1 cent/point.
Instead of redeeming your UR points, you can transfer them to your Chase premium card like Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve or Ink Preferred Business. Then, in addition to the cash redemption, these points can be redeemed for travel at 1.25 – 1.5 cents/point, or be transferred to various frequent flier and hotel loyalty programs.
The ability to transfer the points you earn on Freedom make them potentially more valuable than simple cashback, if you know your points.
This quarter’s Discover IT 5% bonus categories are Gas Stations, Ground Transportation, and Wholesale Clubs. There is some overlap between IT and Freedom, but for many of you, Wholesale Clubs can make up the difference.
The fine print goes on to say:
Purchases made at Gas Stations affiliated with superstores and supermarkets may not be eligible. Ground Transportation is defined as local and suburban commuter transportation, including: ferries, passenger railways, taxicabs, limousines/rental cars and charter/tour bus lines. Ground Transportation purchases made through travel agencies or travel aggregator sites will not be eligible. Check with your Wholesale Club to make sure your Discover card is accepted.
If you have either or both of these cards, don’t forget to activate the bonus categories using the links I’ve provided above. Happy New Year!