Get 5% Cash Back at Costco, BJ’s & Sam’s Club til End of Year w/ Chase Freedom

Chase Freedom Costco Blend Image B 800w

Want to get 5% cash back at Costco, BJ’s and Sam’s Club purchases for the rest of the year?

You can, simply by activating your Chase Freedom Visa for the bonus categories and using it for purchases at these wholesale clubs!  For Q3 you’ll also get 5% cash back at restaurants.  If you have one of Chase’s other full-fledged Ultimate Rewards cards you can use this promo to rack up Ultimate Rewards to be used for valuable travel!

Activation For Q3 for Chase Freedom is Live and Improved

Chase had already included the wholesale clubs in its second quarter 5% cash back category.  In a bit of a surprise announcement though, they’ve added wholesale clubs to the 5% cash back categories for Q3 and Q4 of 2016 also.  You’ll get the 5% back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in the bonus category, per quarter.

Chase Freedom Quarterly Bonus Categories 3Q2016
Chase’s updated quarterly category graphic shows Wholesale Clubs added for Q3. Word has also leaked that Wholesale Clubs will be included in the Q4 bonus category as well.

If you have a full-fledged Ultimate Rewards card you can transfer the points from the Freedom to that other card’s Ultimate Rewards account.  I value Ultimate Rewards points at a bit over 2 cents each, meaning the 5X points in the bonus categories turn into an effective rebate of about 10%!

Chase Freedom Quarterly Bonus Categories Activation Graphic
Click/tap the image to activate your Chase Freedom for the 3Q2016 bonus categories.

Costco Switching From Accepting American Express to Accepting Visa

This promotion aligns excellently with Costco’s 20 June 2016 switchover to accepting Visa cards (the only credit cards Costco accepts now and for the next few days are American Express cards).  In fact, this is probably Chase’s attempt to get customers used to using a Chase card at Costco and to put off getting a Citibank Costco card.

Chase Freedom $150 Bonus Offer Rectangle

Buy Discounted Gift Cards with Chase Freedom for Max Savings

For super savings, combine this promo with the purchase of gift cards at Costco.  It’s common to see heavily discounted gift cards at Costco stores.  If you combine this promo with a $100-gift-card-for-$80 deal, you’ll effectively end up paying only $76 or $72 for that $100 gift card.  Hard to beat that!

Time-Shift Your Costco Purchases by Buying Costco Cash Cards

If you’re not going to spend $1,500 in the bonus category per quarter but know you’ll be shopping at Costco next year, you can buy Costco Cash cards during this promo timeframe and then use the Costco Cash cards in the future.  That way you’ll get the 5% cash back on the Costco purchases even if they’re not actually made until after this year.

Chase Allows Activation Well Into the Quarter

Chase’s policy on bonus category activation is very generous.  As long as you activate your card for the bonus category before the deadline, the bonus will be applied for the relevant purchases that quarter, even if they were made prior to activation.  The activation deadline for each quarter is usually about two weeks prior to the end of the quarter.  The activation deadline for this Q3 is 14 September 2016.

There Are Some Exclusions to the Promo

As of writing, Chase shows the following verbiage on exclusions: Does not include gas, fuel, wholesale club specialty service purchases such as travel, insurance, cell phone and home improvement. Check with your local wholesale clubs to see if your Chase Freedom card is accepted.

The Chase Freedom is An Outstanding Card Overall

Even separate from this strong promo, the Chase Freedom is one of the best no-annual-fee cards around.  Chase’s current offer for their Freedom card gets you a $150 cash back bonus after you spend $500 in purchases within the first three months.

I rate this card very highly for seven main reasons:

  1. It doesn’t have an annual fee
  2. Credit score required for approval is reasonable (based on experiences w/ friends and family members)
  3. The spending requirement ($500) for the signup bonus is low
  4. The $150 cash back signup bonus is the best it’s been recently
  5. If you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus or Ink Bold (discontinued) you can transfer points from your Freedom card to one of those, turning them into full-fledged Ultimate Rewards worth about 2.1 cents each
  6. The rotating 5% cash back categories are valuable (even separate from this warehouse club promo)
  7. You can get another $25 bonus easily by adding an authorized user to your account (he/she must make a purchase within three months of card approval)

If you’re looking for a lot more detail on the card and its benefits, check out this previous post.

You May Want to Skip Applying for the Chase Freedom Card if…

If you’ve opened 5 or more credit cards in the past 24 months, Chase may not approve your application for the Freedom card.  Though I have yet to see any acknowledgement by Chase of this policy there are a ton of reports of Chase declining applications for the Freedom if the applicant has opened more than 5 credit cards in the past 24 months.  If that description fits you, you may want to instead consider other Chase cards or cards from other banks like CitiBank or Barclays.

The Wrap-Up: Activate Now or Consider Getting a Freedom if You Don’t Have It

Patty and I each have had a Chase Freedom card for years and have been very pleased with the returns it offers.  We use it for bonus categories extensively and it will now be our go-to card for Costco and BJ’s for the rest of this year.  As long as the card carries no annual fee, we’ll happily keep it.

You can apply for the Chase Freedom card with $150 cash back bonus through this link.

As always, feel free to use The Honeymoon Guy’s Credit Card Tracking Spreadsheet to keep track of your credit card applications.

If you’d like to be the first to know when I publish new content, subscribe for free to my email list!  I’ll send you an eBook and my credit card tracking spreadsheet!

Are you excited about this Costco-Freedom combo? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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10 thoughts on “Get 5% Cash Back at Costco, BJ’s & Sam’s Club til End of Year w/ Chase Freedom

  1. I have the SOUTHWEST PREMIER CARD (50,000 MILES) and am thinking about getting the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card (also 50,000)( miles. Both are VISA and will be accepted at Costco. Since I have filled the requirement for the Premier card, wouldn’t it be a good idea to get the other card and get the free miles?
    How would the combination work towards getting the CP?

    1. Hi Grant! Yes, getting both the Southwest Premier and Plus cards is my recommended (and personally used) approach for getting the Southwest Companion Pass. I’ve written extensively on the topic. Check out this post to start (it includes links to other posts that provide every detail you’d want to know about getting and using the CP).

  2. I love that Costco is now doing Visa! Now I can get rid of a few AMEX cards lying around 😉 One way to get around gas being excluded is to buy a Costco cash card for the 5% off and use the cash card for gas. Pretty handy. Costco gas is so much cheaper than everywhere else!

    1. Good gas idea, Vic!!

      Don’t get rid of those AMEX cards too quickly though – I’ve found the AMEX offers (e.g. $25 off $75 purchase at Wal-Mart) to be very valuable. If your AMEX cards have no annual fee they’re worth holding onto for that reason alone. If you open up multiple browser tabs you can even get the same offer on multiple cards a lot of times.

      1. Since I do a lot of shopping at Costco, I will use my Southwest Premier and Plus Visa cards to fulfill my buying requirements and receive the 100,000 mile bonus. Then I will look at the Hyatt Gold Visa card and use it to get the free two nights. All because Costco accepts any Visa Card.

        1. Sounds like a good plan to me, Grant!

          You already have the Premier card, right? So you’re looking to get the Southwest Plus card and the Hyatt card, right? If so, double-check one element before applying for the Southwest Plus card. Count up the number of credit cards you’ve opened in the past 24 months. Remember – it’s opened, not applied for. If it’s under six total, you should be good to go ahead and
          apply for the Southwest Plus card. If it’s six or more, you’re unlikely to get approved for the Southwest Plus card, due to Chase’s purported new rule. The Hyatt card doesn’t appear to fall under that rule so you should apply for it after you apply for the Southwest Plus card.

          Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any questions.

          1. I have applied for just the Premier card during last 24 months. Credit score over 800. Don’t think I will have a problem. What do you think about canceling one of the two Southwest cards after receiving the bonus miles (to avoid the yearly fees)? Thanks

          2. Yes, you’re very likely to get approved for the Southwest Plus card then! Canceling before the annual fee comes due is definitely reasonable. I generally wait until the annual fee is about to hit or has hit and then call in to the retention department. I ask the retention agent if he/she can make me an offer to offset the annual fee (i.e. waive it, give me a bunch of points, etc.). It’s not very common to receive a retention offer for the Southwest cards though. If you don’t receive an appealing retention offer, canceling is no problem. My only word of caution is that you shouldn’t cancel a card mere weeks after you receive a bonus. Wait a few months or until the annual fee is nearly due.

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