Chase has carefully tailored its positioning so that its various rewards credit cards are best suited to different types of consumers.
With that said, all of the cards' rewards come in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards®, so the points are interchangeable and you could very well benefit from holding a couple of Chase cards that you use strategically to maximize your points. (We'll explain more below).
While the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card resonates with jet-setters who love luxury experiences, Chase Freedom®'s brand aligns with frugal Americans who love to uncover extra cash in their daily activities. Plus, with Chase's current Chase Freedom® deal, you have the opportunity to earn a $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months of account opening
In addition new cardholders are offered a 0 percent introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months from account opening, so Chase Freedom® stands to benefit cardholders who have a large purchase on the horizon or need to consolidate some existing credit card debt as they work to pay it off.
Chase Freedom® is a rotating categories cash-back card. Here's what that means.
If you're strategic with your spending, you could stand to earn a substantial amount of cash back -- and you can do it without paying any annual fee.
The Chase Freedom® signup deal kicks off your account with $150 bonus after you spend $500 on eligible purchases in your first three months from account opening. As with Discover it® Cashback MatchTM, Chase also enables cardholders to sign up for quarterly bonus offers. Those opt-in deals offer 5 percent total cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in the rotating feature categories each quarter. Take a look at the 2016 categories:
On paper, other cash back cards offer slightly bigger rebates than Chase Freedom®; however, those cards often come with annual fees in the high double digits, and it's no fun to see your rebate evaporate at renewal time. With no annual fee, Chase seems willing to bank on your long term loyalty with Chase Freedom®. If the lack of annual fee and chance to rack up rewards aren't enough, remember that new cardmembers enjoy a zero percent APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months after account opening.
Chase Freedom®, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Freedom UnlimitedSMcredit cards appeal to different kinds of consumers, but they all run on the same engine: Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Remember how we said that you could possibly benefit from having Chase Freedom®, Chase Freedom UnlimitedSM and Chase Sapphire Preferred® in your wallet? Here's the deal:
There's great potential to earn points for cash back, travel and more with Chase Freedom®, but you'll only maximize those rewards if you keep up with the quarterly categories and spend accordingly. Remember, too, that you have to sign up each quarter to reap the 5 percent rewards. If you don't want to give you credit card usage that much thought, a flat-rate or tiered rewards credit card might be a better bet for you.
Additionally, Chase Freedom® doesn't have an annual fee, but you will pay a 3 percent fee on each transaction your make while traveling outside the United States.
And when it comes to balance transfers, the zero-percent intro period is a great feature, but you will pay a 5 percent fee to complete that transfer. If you're primarily looking for a card to use for a balance transfer, take a look at our "Best Balance Transfer Cards" for some options that might be a better fit.
These cards are both rotating categories cash-back cards and neither charges an annual fee. The rotating categories for the two cards differ, so it would make sense to check out each card's offerings before deciding which is right for you.
Furthermore, the 0-percent balance transfer intro period is shorter for Discover it® Cashback MatchTM – 12 months as compared to 15 months with Chase Freedom®, but the balance transfer fee with Discover it® Cashback Match™ is 3 percent as compared to the 5 percent charged by Chase Freedom®. If you don't need a full 15 months to pay off your balance, you could save with that lower balance transfer fee.
Lastly, if you want to use your card abroad, Discover it® Cashback Match™ doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee.
The BankAmericard Cash RewardsTM Credit Card is a tiered-rewards credit card meaning you won't need to keep up with rotating categories in order to earn bonus cash, so it could be a better option if you aren't willing to strategize with your credit card spending. Keep in mind, however, what those categories are: 3 percent on gas, 2 percent at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1 percent on your other purchases. If you don't do a lot of spending in those categories, you won't realize the maximum rewards.
Both Chase Freedom® and BankAmericard Cash RewardsTM are annual-fee-free and have 0-percent intro offers, though you'll only have 12 months of 0-percent interest with BankAmericard Cash RewardsTM Credit Card, so you'll be better off with Chase Freedom® if you need extra time to pay off your balances. Furthermore, you stand to earn more rewards with Chase Freedom® if you are diligent about the rotating categories.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (American Express is a CardRatings advertiser) offers cardholders the opportunity to earn a flat 1.5 percent cashback on all their purchases. Once again, this card is designed for people who don't want to keep track of rotating categoires or even tiered rewards.
Chase Freedom® cardholders could certainly stand to earn more rewards by spending in the 5 percent reward bonus categories, but the 1 percent cash back offered in Chase Freedom® non-bonus categories is topped by the 1.5 percent cash back of Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.
And, again, the 15-month intro period for purchases and balance transfers with Chase Freedom® is better than the 12 months offered by Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.
Chase Freedom® is an excellent no-annual-fee card for you if you're wanting to maximize your rewards and are organized enough with your spending and credit card use to sign up for the quarterly bonus categories. As always, you'll want to pay off your balance each month (after that 15-month intro period) so interest fees don't eat into your rewards.