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.
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%!
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.
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:
- It doesn’t have an annual fee
- Credit score required for approval is reasonable (based on experiences w/ friends and family members)
- The spending requirement ($500) for the signup bonus is low
- The $150 cash back signup bonus is the best it’s been recently
- 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
- The rotating 5% cash back categories are valuable (even separate from this warehouse club promo)
- 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.
As always, feel free to use The Honeymoon Guy’s Credit Card Tracking Spreadsheet to keep track of your credit card applications.
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Are you excited about this Costco-Freedom combo? Share your thoughts in the comments below!