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Maximize credit card points earned through everyday spending
Usually, the most advantageous credit cards come with hefty annual fees. In exchange for paying the annual fee, the cardholders can receive category spending bonuses, such as 2x points on travel or dining. But what about non travel or dining purchase? There’s an easy answer: the Chase Freedom Unlimited card earns 1.5x points on ALL spending, making it ultimate everyday spending card. We think this is one of the best if not the best card for the Covid-19 pandemic as you don’t have to worry about bonus travel categories that are hard to hit right now, you simply get a 1.5x multiplier on all spend.
But what’s even better is Chase has made a fantastic card even better. New cardholders can now earn 5x points on all grocery store spending during the the first year with the card. We’re not sure why Chase is offering this one time 5x multiplier for the first 12 months, but we believe its most likely due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. That’s the best grocery store bonus on ANY card, let alone on a card without an annual fee. And with travel and dining out limited, there’s never been a better time to take advantage of a grocery spending bonus! (Please note that bonus is limited to the first year as of August 2020)
Chase Freedom Unlimited Sign-up Bonus
The Chase Freedom Unlimited card currently offers a $200 sign-up bonus after spending $500 on the card within the first three months. In addition, part of the sign-up bonus is the potential to earn 5% cash back at grocery stores for the first year. Both are very generous offers, especially with a credit card without an annual fee.
There are three caveats to the grocery spending bonus. The first caveat is that spending at Walmart and Target are specifically excluded from the bonus. Probably because they are not just grocery stores but more like superstores where you can buy almost anything. Buying a new big screen TV and earning 5x points would be nice, but no such luck. The other caveat is that the grocery spending bonus is limited to $12,000 in spending, which equates to $1000/month. Also please keep in mind this extra award was most likely given due to the Coronavirus pandemic and is unlikely to be renewed after the first year. Still, that leaves the possibility to earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points from grocery store spending alone. That’s enough points for a one-way business class to Europe.
That’s a lot of grocery spending… but keep in mind that you could also purchase gift cards (such as Amazon gift cards) at the grocery store and effectively earn 5x points on your Amazon order. So maybe you could get 5x points on that new TV…
Cash-back Card, but Potential for Points
One of the best parts of the Chase Freedom Unlimited card is that when it is paired with a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Ink Business Preferred card, all of the “cash back” earned with the Chase Freedom Unlimited card can converted into Chase Ultimate Rewards points. From there, the points can be redeemed for business class travel on some of the best airlines in the world, including Emirates, Singapore Airlines, ANA, and Lufthansa. So while 1.5% or 5% cash back is nice, 1.5x or 5x Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be much more lucrative. For example, those Chase points can be redeemed for over 7 cents/point, an effective value of 7% cash back!
The Best Way to Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points?
Simply put – the Chase Freedom Unlimited card is the ultimate card for rapidly earning Ultimate Rewards points. It should be the default card in your wallet since you can earn 1.5x points on ALL spending.
Let’s move on from big screen TVs to gas for your car. Even with the Chase Sapphire Preferred ($95 annual fee) or Chase Sapphire Reserve ($550 annual fee), you would only earn 1x points for every dollar spent. Meanwhile, you’d earn 1.5x points with the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card, which doesn’t have an annual fee at all. It’s the perfect compliment to one of the Ultimate Rewards earning cards!
Let’s face it… as much as we all love traveling and eating out at restaurants, most of our spending isn’t going be on flights or five-course meals due to the Covid-19 pandemic (especially right now, considering that Americans can’t even go to Canada as of August 2020). It’s going to be on mundane purchases for necessities like groceries, gas, online shopping, etc. The Chase Freedom Unlimited card earns 50% more than the other Chase cards on these types of purchases. It should be the card you use everyday.
Low Intro APR
Another great feature of the card’s current welcome offer is 0% introductory interest (APR) for the first 15 months. That’s a very generous APR, especially as we face a recovery (and more uncertainty) with the ongoing pandemic. This means that you don’t have to pay any interest on carrying a balance for the first 15 months.
It’s important to note that the APR after this introductory period has ended will to the regular rate which can be higher than 20% in some cases. Clearly, this isn’t the best card if you’re planning to carry a balance from month to month. That kind of APR can decimate the value of the points you’re earning, so be sure to avoid interest entirely before jumping into the credit card points world.
Also keep in mind that this 0% interest rate does NOT apply to balance transfers. The balance transfer fee for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card is $5 or 5% of the amount transferred to the card (whichever is larger). Since other cards offer 0% balance transfer fees, it’d be best to look elsewhere if you’re planning to transfer a balance to a new credit card.
While we’re on the subject of the card’s downsides, you’ll also need to use a different card when traveling overseas. The Chase Freedom Unlimited card is subject to foreign transaction fees, which adds 3% a fee for any purchase in foreign currency. Not ideal. But since card is most effectively paired with one of the Chase Sapphire cards or Ink Business Preferred card, you could use one of those to avoid the foreign transaction fees.
- 20,000 point sign-up bonus (or $200 cash back)
- 5% back on travel purchases made through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
- 3% back at restaurants (including takeout and delivery)
- 3% back on drugstore purchases
- 1.5% back on all other eligible purchases
- No annual fee
- Foreign transaction fees when you go abroad
- Balance transfer fee
The Chase Freedom Unlimited is the ultimate personal card to maximize credit card points earned through everyday spending. Its new 5x category bonus for groceries makes this card even more compelling, especially as we’re spending less on travel and dining. The Chase Freedom Unlimited card goes to show that you don’t need to pay expensive annual fees to have a credit card that can help you earn free travel. Especially when combined with a Chase Ultimate Rewards card to turn these cashback points into UR points!