Category

Chase Freedom

Easy $75 Cash Back For Discover Cardholders

Discover 5% Cashback

While it is extremely rare that Discover ever gets a mention on any of the frequent flyer blogs, it is that one time of the year when Discover gets their 15 seconds of fame!

To the surprise of many, I am in fact a Discover Cardholder as I may or may not have signed up for a Discover Card in college because they were offering a free Subway footlong for signing up. It is hard to imagine why that practice was outlawed…

While I don’t ever actually use my Discover Card, the only reason I have kept it for all these years is that there is no annual fee and periodically they will offer fairly awesome quarterly 5% cashback promotions.

This is very similar to what Chase does with their Chase Freedom Card.

As you can see, for this quarter, you can get 5% cashback for any online shopping purchases (up to $1,500 in spending).

Typically these promotions are retailer or category specific but this quarter’s Discover promotion is fairly limitless since basically any purchase online should technically count as “online shopping”.

Anyways, I was curious as to what constitutes an online purchase because when Chase Freedom had their Q1 2013 Drugstore 5% cashback promotion, you could easily go buy $1,500 in Vanilla Reloads at CVS and earn 7,500 Ultimate Rewards which is exactly what I did.

Anyways someone on Twitter beat me to it and tweeted out that Amazon Payments was in fact posting as “online shopping” for Discover.

So last month, I did a $1,000 Amazon transfer to a friend and waited to see what happens.

Lo and behold, like clockwork my 5% cashback on my $1,000 Amazon “purchase” posted!

Since the cap on this promotion is $1,500 in spending, this month I did another $500 Amazon transfer and netted myself another $25.

In total, I should get $75 for making $1,500 in Amazon “purchases”. Not bad for literally 1 minute of work…

My Brother and Parents also both have Discover Cards, so I will probably do the same for them so they too can get $75 each!

Remember that Amazon only allows $1,000 in transfers each month, so if you want the full $75, you have to do a $1,000 transfer in November and another $500 in December.

Since there are people that will inevitably ask this in the comments section, I will just go ahead and pre-answer the question here.

Q: If I currently don’t have a Discover Card, should I signup for one to take advantage of this promotion?

A: NO! While this promotion is great if you are already a Cardholder, outside of these promotions, normally my Discover Card gets $0 of spend in a year because their cashback program is really bad and they don’t offer any frequent flyer miles or hotel points. In addition, Discover doesn’t offer a substantial sign on bonus that would make it worthwhile to get their cards to begin with so I would not recommend getting this card.

Recap

While my Discover Card rarely gets any use on a day to day basis, these types of 5% cashback bonuses are exact the reason why I still have a Discover Card, Chase Freedom, and will probably downgrade my AA cards to a similar Citibank Dividend Card in the near future.

While the above Cards don’t earn any miles or points (Chase Freedom being the exception) and thus most people write them off, by taking advantage of just 2 out of the 8 total quarterly promotions offered by Chase & Discover this year, I was able to get $75 & 7,500 UR Points for sending money via Amazon and buying Vanilla Reloads at CVS.

If you figured out a way to max out these 5% bonuses (up to $1,500 in spend) every quarter for both cards, you could potentially “earn” $300 (Discover) AND 30,000 Ultimate Rewards Points (Chase)!

So next time you think about closing your current credit cards, instead think about downgrading to some of the above cards. While they are far from “sexy”, they can easily make you $75+ each quarter for 1 minute of your time!

In this case, it literally pays to be a Discover cardholder…

-Parag

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Chase Freedom – 5% Back At Restaurants & Movies

Quarter 2 Activation

Given that it is a brand new Quarter, I thought I’d take the time to remind everyone to activate their Chase Freedom 5% (or 5x UR) for Quarter 2!

Link To Activation

The Chase 5% bonuses on the Freedom Card rotate every Quater.

Last Quarter it was 5% back at Gas Stations, Drugstores, and Starbucks.

As I talked about in January, by spending $1,500 at CVS on Vanilla Reload Cards + $12 or so in fees, you could easily earn 7,500 Ultimate Rewards Points!

Quarter 2 isn’t quite as lucrative but is certainly far more practical with 5% back at Restaurants, Movie Theaters, and Lowe’s.

I probably won’t be using my Freedom Card at Lowe’s (unless they sell giftcards, which they might…), but I will definitely be putting all my Restaurant and Movie Theater purchases on my Freedom.

Although I probably won’t spend $1,500 in the next 3 month at Restaurants, it will be nice to earn 5% back for purchases I plan to make anyways.

Ironically with this 5% back promotion this Quarter, if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, it is actually BETTER to use your Chase Freedom over your Chase Sapphire Preferred. The Sapphire Preferred only earns 2x Points at Restaurants while the Freedom earns 5x Points this Quarter!

5% Cashback vs 5x UR

I have gotten a few questions about Ultimate Rewards, Chase Freedom, and what the difference is between 5% Cashback & 5x UR, so I will attempt to clarify.

Basically the term, 5% Cashback and 5x Ultimate Rewards Points are interchangeable with the Chase Freedom.

Ultimate Rewards Points are the currency that you earn any time you use any of the Chase Sapphire, Chase INK, or Chase Freedom Cards. They all earn Ultimate Rewards Points!

Since the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase INK Plus, and Chase INK Bold all have an Annual Fee, as a “perk”, you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards Points to Airlines & Hotels at a 1:1 ratio with those Cards.

The Chase Cards that earn Ultimate Rewards but DO NOT have an Annual Fee, like the Freedom and Sapphire (Regular), DO NOT have this ability to transfer to Airlines or Hotels.

Instead you can redeem your Ultimate Rewards Points for Giftcards OR Cashback (Insider Tip: DON’T DO THAT!)

If you convert your Ultimate Rewards Points into Cashback, then 1 UR Points = 1 Cent Cashback.

Therefore with the 5x Quarterly Bonus on the Freedom this Quarter, if you wanted, you could transfer those 5x Ultimate Rewards Points that you earn into Cashback, resulting in 5% Cashback.

While a 1 Cent per 1 UR Point Cashback rate isn’t terrible, there are FAR BETTER ways to redeem your Ultimate Rewards Points, so I would AVOID getting Cashback.

If you have a Chase Freedom and DO NOT have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase INK Cards, instead of getting Cashback or silly Giftcards, simply get a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase INK Card.

Once you have either of those Cards, you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards Points from your Freedom to those Cards. Then you can transfer those Ultimate Rewards Points to Airlines and Hotels, making them FAR MORE valuable!

Basically, Ultimate Rewards Points can be transferred and combined between all your various Chase Credit Cards that earn Ultimate Rewards Points! 

But What If I Don’t Have A Chase Freedom

If you don’t currently have a Chase Freedom, I highly suggest getting one!

However instead of signing up for the Chase Freedom like you typically do for other Chase Cards, the best idea is to instead DOWNGRADE to the Chase Freedom when your Chase Sapphire Preferred Annual Fee comes do.

This way, you:

1) Avoid the Annual Fee on the Chase Sapphire Preferred

2) Avoid closing your Chase Sapphire Preferred account history

3) Avoid a new Credit Inquiry for opening a Chase Freedom

4) You get the Chase Freedom which is a great No Annual Fee Card that lets you earn Ultimate Rewards

Doing the downgrade trick, you will not be eligible for the $100 Sign On Bonus for the Freedom, but that is only equivalent to 10,000 Ultimate Rewards Points, so it isn’t that great of a Bonus to begin with!

Recap

The Chase Freedom in my opinion is the BEST No Annual Fee Card out there due to the 5x rotating categories.

As I pointed out last Quarter, using my Chase Freedom, for about $12, I earned 7,500 UR Points at CVS thanks to the 5x Bonus! No other Credit Card offers that!

The best part about the Chase Freedom is that even though you can’t transfer your UR Points to Airlines & Hotels, if you ever get a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase INK Card, you can simply transfer all your Freedom Points to either of those Cards and then transfer your Points to an Airline & Hotel! All without paying an Annual Fee!

If you don’t have a Freedom, I highly suggest you get one! Just remember to downgrade to it, instead of opening it online!

-Parag

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Chase Freedom – 5x UR At Drugstores This Quarter

Yesterday as I was activating the rotating 5% quarterly Cash Back Bonus for my Discover Card and Chase Freedom Card, I saw something extremely interesting.

For Chase Freedom this Quarter, you can earn 5% Cash Back (or 5x UR) at DRUGSTORES!

Link To Activate 5% Cash Back Bonus

If you are wondering why this make me the tiniest bit excited, it is because Drugstores include the following:

Vanilla Reload 5x

Over the last few months, I had been using Vanilla Reload Cards (VRC) that I purchased at Walgreens and CVS, to hit the $14,000 in Minimum Spend Requirement for my App-O-Rama.

Unfortunately, at $8 per $1,000 worth of VRC, in my opinion it only makes sense to purchase the VRC to complete the Minimum Spend.

However now with this 5x Ultimate Rewards Bonus for Quarter 1, if you bought 3 $500 Vanilla Reload Cards at CVS or Walgreens, you would earn 7,500 Ultimate Rewards for around $12!

Unfortunately there is a quarterly cap of $1,500 in spend on the 5x bonus for Drugstores, so this won’t be another Office Depot extravaganza but it is still an easy way to get 7,500 Ultimate Rewards.

I haven’t done Vanilla Reload Cards at Walgreens or CVS in a couple of months, so I am not 100% sure if you can still buy them with Credit Cards but my guess is that YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary).

If you can’t find any Vanilla Reload Cards then you can also buy the regular Vanilla Prepaid Cards and “liberate” them via Amazon Payments.

If You Don’t Have A Chase Freedom

While you can always sign up for a Chase Freedom Card here, I’d personally recommend not wasting a valuable Chase “Sign Up” opportunity.

Instead if you have any other Chase Cards that have an Annual Fee coming due like a Chase Sapphire Preferred, instead of canceling that Card, simply request to “downgrade” to the Chase Freedom which doesn’t have an Annual Fee.

This way you can keep your Credit Line open, get a Chase Freedom Card, avoid paying an Annual Fee, not have to waste an Application on the Chase Freedom, and still take advantage of this Q1 promotion.

You have until March 14th to get your Freedom Card and register it for the Quarter 1 promotion!

Additionally if you have a Chase Checking account, then you are eligible for Chase Exclusives, which gives you an additional 10% bonus on Chase Freedom purchases. Not sure though if that 10% bonus is on your actual purchase or is on the 5x UR bonus.

Recap

Although there is a $1,500 cap on the 5x UR at Drugstores, this is a still a phenomenal way to “buy” 7,500 UR Points for around $12.

This is a pretty amazing deal when you consider that if you had to buy 8,000 Miles from a Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partner like United Airlines, it would cost you $301.

-Parag

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