Chase Freedom 2021 Q2 Bonus Categories

The Deal:

The Chase Freedom Visa (no longer available) and the Chase Freedom Flex (review) are great no annual fee credit cards that earn 5x back on rotating quarterly categories. While these cards are advertised as cashback cards, they actually earn Chase Ultimate Rewards. Therefore, the default is 5% cash back, but see below on how to get greater than 1 cent per point when redeeming Chase Ultimate Reward points!

The categories for April – June 2021 are:

  • Gas
  • Home Improvement Stores

Key Info:

  • ACTIVATE at chase.com/freedom or chase.com/freedomflex
    • Must Activate no later than June 14, 2021
    • Activation is retroactive – you will earn 5x for all qualified bonus category purchases since April 1
    • NOTE: If you have more than one Freedom Visa and/or Flex card, you MUST ACTIVATE each one separately
  • Purchases must post between April 1 and June 30.
    • Bonus only applies to the first $1,500 in net purchases

What Counts?

A common question with the Freedom bonus categories is what counts and what doesn’t count. There is a Merchant List but here are the highlights …

Gas Stations:

This category includes what you would expect – basically if the merchant is a standalone gas station, it will likely work – though if you are unsure, do a small test purchase to verify. The merchant list does include a number of examples.

Of note, the following are explicitly identified as NOT included: truck stops, boat marinas, oil and propane distributors, and home heating companies.

Home Improvement Stores:

This category not only includes Home Depot and Lowes, but 83 other stores that sell home improvement merchandise, from Blinds to Paint to Specialty Tools, etc.

Of note, the following are explicitly identified as NOT included even if they sell home improvement type merchandise:

  • discount stores
  • garden
  • grocery stores
  • home furnishings
  • landscaping supplies
  • warehouse clubs

Hacking the Deal:

Hack #1: Get the Freedom Flex Card

If you don’t already have one, then you can apply for a Chase Freedom Flex card now, and still have plenty of time to utilize the card for the first quarter. Just make sure that you are eligible for the Freedom Flex:

  • You don’t already have the Freedom Flex card. (Having the Freedom Visa or Freedom Unlimited do not preclude you from getting the Freedom Flex.
  • You have not earned the bonus on the Freedom Flex in the past 24 months
  • You have not opened 5 or more credit cards in the past 24 months (the Chase 5/24 rule)

For reference, here is the 2021 Quarterly Calendar:

Hack #2: Use at Wholesale Club Gas Stations

The merchant list specifically lists the following as included:

  • BJ’s Wholesale Fuel
  • Costco Wholesale Fuel
  • Sam’s Club Fuel

Hack #3: Use a Shopping Portal

Before going to the merchant to make a purchase in person, see if (A) they have an online presence, and (B) there is extra cashback for using an online shopping portal. My current favorites are:

Hack #4: Redeem for > 1 cent per point in Value

There are a number of ways to increase the Value of an Ultimate Reward point. As a baseline, they are worth $0.01 per point in value by getting a statement credit or redeeming it in the Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

Get 1.25 cents per point

Ultimate Rewards Points are worth $0.125 each when redeemed in the travel portal or using the Pay Yourself Back feature if you have one of the following credit cards:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • Chase Ink Business Preferred

Get 1.50 cent per point

Ultimate Rewards Points are worth $0.150 each when redeemed in the travel portal or using the Pay Yourself Back feature if you have one of the following credit cards:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • J.P. Morgan Reserve

Hack #5: Transfer Points to Partners for outsized value

If you have one of the following Chase cards , then you can transfer your points to one of Chase’s Transfer airline or hotel partners for potentially outsized value:

  • Consumer Cards
    • Chase Sapphire Preferred
    • Chase Sapphire Reserve
    • J.P. Morgan Reserve
  • Small Business Cards
    • Chase Ink Business Bold (No longer available)
    • Chase Ink Business Preferred

I am often able to get at least 2 cents per point, which makes this card earning effectively 10% cashback on above bonus categories!

Chase Airline Transfer Partners:

  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Emirate Skywards
  • Flying Blue Air France KLM
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • United MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Chase Hotel Transfer Partners:

  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • World of Hyatt

The Deal expires on Thursday July 1st, 2021 (i.e., make sure you make the purchase before Thursday July 1st, 2021)

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[…] 5x everywhere on all my Chase co-branded consumer cards! So 5x Everywhere for these cards, plus 5x at Gas Stations and Home Improvement Stores on my Chase Freedom Cards – Chase will be getting a lot of my swipes this quarter! What about you, what did you […]

[…] Chase Freedom Flex and Freedom Visa 5x (up to $1,500 spend) on: […]