Both the Discover Card and Chase Freedom card have rotating bonus categories each quarter. Registration is now available for both cards for the first quarter of 2016.
Chase Freedom will give 5x points (or 5% cash back) on purchases made at gas stations and for local commuter transportation (taxis, subways, local buses, etc. but not parking, tolls or Amtrak). I haven’t heard if this includes Uber purchases or not. To register, enter your information HERE on the Chase website.
The Discover More and Discover It cards are also offering the 5% bonus at gas stations and on ground transportation. They specifically INCLUDE Uber and Lyft as well as:
- Charter & Tour Bus Lines
- Local & Suburban Public Transportation – Buses, Trains
- Taxis, Limos
- Bike Share Programs
- Rental Cars
Note that purchases made via travel agencies will be excluded. Register for this bonus HERE at the Discover website.
Both programs are valid on bonuses up to $1500 in purchases.
This is one of the quarters where I generally don’t max out the bonus. I have trouble finding gas stations that sell gift cards and of course I don’t spend enough in the other categories to reach the max. But I will register anyway because 5x/5% is better than any other bonus I’ll receive for this category for the rest of the year.
Now on my Christmas wish list: that Freedom and Discover will each do different categories for the rest of the year so they don’t overlap!
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is one of my favorite as it earns bonus Ultimate Rewards points in categories I use often, like dining and travel. Normally there’s a 40,000 point sign-up bonus once you meet minimum spend but starting today that bonus hasa been increased to 50,000 points.
A great companion to the Sapphire Preferred is the Freedom card. It is a no-annual-fee card that earns Ultimate Rewards points – but unless you also have the Sapphire Preferred card or one of the Ink cards (which do have annual fees) you cannot transfer the Ultimate Rewards points earned on the Freedom card to an airline or hotel loyalty program. The Freedom card has rotating categories each quarter where you can earn 5x points. This quarter’s categories includes Amazon.com, just in time for the holidays.
This is a temporary increase in the signup bonus so be sure to sign up for it while it’s around. Then register your Freedom card to get the 4th quarter bonuses.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Earn 50,000 points after spending $4000 in the first three months after approval. Add an authorized user and get an additional 5000 points.
This card earns double points on dining and travel. With this offer the $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.
Earn 15,000 points after $500 spend in three months after approval. Add an authorized user and get and additional 2500 points.
This card earns 5x points in quarterly rotating categories. Once you’ve received your card you must register for each quarter. You can do that HERE.
Starting today Chase is changing where they’ll allow you to transfer your Ultimate Rewards (UR) points, which are earned from their Sapphire Preferred, Freedom and Ink series of cards.
In the past, you could transfer URs to a family member who lived at the same address. Now you can only transfer the points to a household member who is listed as an authorized user on your credit card. For business cards, you can only transfer points to yourself or an owner of the company who is listed as an authorized user on your card account.
Note that this does not change the ability of families to pool URs within the Chase system, only the ability to transfer those points to a frequent flyer or hotel program.
I expect this will make things more difficult for families who in the past could use URs to top off a child’s frequent flyer account. As a single person this doesn’t really affect me.
We’re over halfway through September and that means it’s time to register/activate the bonus categories for the 4th quarter of 2015.
Discover offers 5% cash back in the following categories:
- Department Stores
- Clothing Stores
Those are great categories for holiday shopping. Some department stores also carry gift cards, which means that 5% can last much longer than just the three month period!
You can earn the bonus cash back for up to $1500 in spend throughout the quarter.
Sign up for the Discover cash back bonus HERE. If you don’t sign up, you will NOT get the bonus.
Chase’s Freedom card also offers 5% back for Q4. There’s an overlap with Discover:
The Freedom card actually earns Ultimate Rewards points and you’ll earn 5 points per dollar spent at one of these retailers. If you want to cash those points in, they’re worth a penny apiece. But if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred or one of the Chase Ink business cards, you can transfer these points to several airlines and hotel programs where you may very well get a value of 2-3 cents per point.
To register for the Freedom Q4 bonus, look for the email sent by Chase (I received mine on 18 SEP) or log into your account on Chase.com and look for the activation link.
While we’re still wrapping up spending for Q2 categories that include restaurants, you can now register your Chase Freedom card for Q3 bonus categories which include gas stations and Kohl’s department store. When using your Freedom card in bonus categories you’ll receive 5 Ultimate Reward points per dollar spent on up to $1500 in combined purchases. Ulitmate Reward points can be redeemed for 1 cent each or used like cash to redeem for travel through the Ultimate Rewards shopping portal.
But if you also have a Sapphire Preferred personal card or one of the Ink business cards, all of which carry an annual fee, you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards point to one of several frequent flyer or hotel programs. When Ultimate Rewards are used in this way, it’s possible to get a lot more value than just 1 cent per point.
Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners
To activate your bonus, look for the email from Chase. Just click on the link and you should see this activation screen. You must activate your account by September 14 to qualify for bonuses for Q3.
Once again it’s the first Friday of the month and that means 3x points on dining when you use your Chase Sapphire Preferred to pay. But really, if you don’t have the Chase Freedom card that’s been earning 5x points on dining since April 1st, what are you waiting for? The Freedom is a no-annual-fee card that’s a terrific complement to the Sapphire Preferred. And if you don’t have either of these, the Discover cards are offering a 5% bonus on dining for the April-June time frame so that’s a better choice.
Rewards-earning cards are great…but only if you take advantage of them!
Tomorrow is the first Friday of the month so by now you know that means 3x points on dining with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. But like I mentioned last month, it’s not the best option this quarter if you want to earn Ultimate Rewards points as the Chase Freedom card will get you 5x points this quarter – provided you’ve registered for the promotion. And for those who prefer cash back, the Discover cards are earning 5% back on dining from April through June.
If you only have the Sapphire Preferred, it only makes sense to apply for the Freedom card too. There’s no annual fee so it’s one you can keep forever and as long as you have the Sapphire Preferred or one of the Ink business cards you can pool the Ultimate Rewards points and transfer them to your favorite frequent flyer or hotel program.
Quick reminder that today you’ll get 3x Ultimate Rewards points on purchases at restaurants today if you use your Chase Sapphire Preferred card. But that’s not the card I’ll be using today.
The no-fee Chase Freedom card is offering 5x Ultimate Rewards points at Restaurants throughout April, May and June so that’s a better rate than the CSP. The Ultimate Rewards points earned with the Freedom card can be combined with those of the Sapphire Preferred so that you’ll have a single pool of points.
If you don’t have a Freedom card but do have a Sapphire Preferred, why not sign up for one now? There’s no annual fee and even though the sign-up bonus isn’t great (10K points after spending $500 in 3 months) you can also get a 2500-point bonus for adding an authorized user and then you’ll have access to the quarterly rotating bonus categories.
Note: I do not have any affiliation with Chase and do not receive any compensation for any credit cards opened via these links. It will benefit another deserving blogger, however.
Today is the last day to get 5% bonuses by using the Chase Freedom card at Grocery Stores, Movie Theaters and Starbucks or by using one of the Discover Cards at Gas Stations and for Ground Transportation.
Starting tomorrow you can register for Q2 (April-June) bonuses for the Freedom card which includes bonuses on Restaurants. Registration for the Discover card is already open and it will give bonuses on Restaurants and Movies.
I loved the Freedom bonus at Grocery Stores and quickly maxed that out. In my area there aren’t many (any?) gas stations that will allow me to purchase gift cards with a credit card so I struggle with that category.
I eat out a lot so restaurants are a great category for me – but I’m really bummed that both cards are offering the bonus in the same quarter. I can’t even remember the last time I went to a movie theater so that doesn’t help me but I was surprised to see that both Netflix and RedBox count in the movie category for the Discover card.
Both of these cards limit the bonus to the first $1500 in purchases in all of the bonus categories. To sign up for these bonuses, log into your account at chase.com or discover.com and you’ll see the link for the promotion.
Here’s a reminder to activate your Chase Freedom card so that you can get 5x points (or 5% cash back) on select categories for the first quarter (January – March) of 2015. Q1 categories are: grocery stores, movie theaters and Starbucks. Note that Wal-Mart, Target and warehouse clubs such as Costco and Sam’s do NOT qualify for the bonus. You can get the 5x/5% bonus on up to $1500 in purchases.
The Freedom card is a favorite of mine because it has no annual fee and it earns Ultimate Rewards (UR) points. If you only have the Freedom card you can use URs like cash to buy airline tickets, hotel rooms and even merchandise (but please, don’t buy merchandise) at the rate of 1 UR = 1 cent. Or, if you have a premium Ultimate Rewards card like the Sapphire Preferred or one of the Ink cards, you can transfer URs to one of the associate frequent flyer or hotel programs get more than 1 cent per point in value.
Here are the current transfer partners:
Korean Air is not currently on the list but is rumored to be returning as a partner in the new year. When they do, that means the three major airline alliances will each have a representative airline. And Virgin Atlantic miles can be used on Virgin America and Virgin Australia too!
So be sure to activate your Freedom Q1 bonuses by March 14, 2015 to ensure you’re maxing out all the points you can.