How to Track Your Category Spending on the Freedom Card

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Last week I posted about my new favorite way to rack up 5x Ultimate Reward points including getting discounts on gas by using the Chase Freedom® to buy gift cards at Kroger grocery stores where they were giving away 4x fuel points on gift card purchases.  In that post, a comment was made about how to easily track how much you have spent this quarter in the grocery and movie bonus categories.  I had just been doing it by looking at the statements since I wanted to see the exact dates of the purchases, but one of the comments reminded me that there is an alternative way to track this that would be easier for some folks. In case you aren’t familiar with the Freedom card and its bonuses, you can earn 5x points, up to $1,500 each quarter, for the rotating bonus categories.  Of course, many of us want to make sure we aren’t accidentally going over that $1,500 and putting spending on a card that will then just be giving us 1x for the additional grocery and movie theater purchases.

The website doesn’t have a tracker for you that will easily tell you how much of the bonus category you have spent – though that would be super handy.  One solution is to manually go back to your transactions starting on April 1st and add up all the grocery store purchases.  That is how I historically did the math.  However, if you want to do it without quite as much manual tracking, you can utilize the BluePrint feature that Chase offers.  BluePrint allows you to track types of purchases, and even decide how you want to pay a specific purchase over time.  I can’t really speak to that feature since I have never used it, but it is a handy way to look at category spending.

  • To utilize BluePrint, first log into your Chase account.

  • Then select “BluePrint”.  You will see all the different BluePrint features, but for our purposes select the feature that allows you to track your expenses.

  • You will see how much you spent in various categories on this statement, the previous statement, etc.  This is where the BluePrint isn’t perfect for our purposes – it lines up with statement dates, not the calendar months.  Unless of course your statement starts on the first, which isn’t a bad plan for the purposes of this ongoing promo.  Regardless, it was actually pretty simple for me to track, as the only grocery expenses I put on this card were during the promotion period, so all of the April statement grocery transactions were after the April 1st start date for this quarter.

 

If you had other grocery transactions on your April statement before the April 1st start date then you could just do that month manually by looking at your statement.  The same will hold true for the last month.  To see how many dollars you ended up spending in the bonus categories, just manually do the last month if you continued to put grocery purchases on the card after the June 30th end of the quarter.

I am personally finding $1,500 every quarter to be the perfect amount for the bonus categories for my family.  It is a nice amount that adds up to 7,500 Ultimate Reward points per quarter – or 30,000 points per year.  However, it is low enough to keep me from going overboard doing anything too crazy in the bonus categories.  Just so you can start planning, the bonus categories for the third quarter that starts on July 1st will be gas stations and restaurants.  That will be super simple for my family to maximize since we do have a tendency to drive and eat out.  😉  As Deals We Like reminded us, you do need to activate the bonus category for this quarter by June 14th.  Presumably you will be able to activate the 3rd quarter bonus starting on June 15th.

The Chase Freedom is great as it has these 5x categories and has no annual fee, but it is only truly awesome when you also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Ink Bold.  When you also have those cards, you can transfer your Ultimate Reward points to hotel and airline partners and really maximize their value!  From doing my math today, I have about $300 dollars more to spend at grocery stores this month, which is about what I would naturally spend anyway.  How are the bonus categories working out for you?

 

Disclosure:  I do receive a commission if you are approved for a credit card using one of my affiliate links.  As always, thanks for your support!

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Comments

  1. If you look at the previous statements, it’ll say the points gained via the 5% bonus. Add up the total of those on your statements and divide by 4 to get the $ amount you spent so far. That gives a more accurate view of what’s actually been credited.

  2. @AK, that is helpful, but it is a little hard to track in the middle of the quarter as some toward the end of the statement don’t actually credit the bonus points until the next statement. I’ve called in about this before as I thought I was being shorted points, but they did indeed show on the next statement. I have yet to find a perfect way to track, but all of these combined give you a fairly decent idea.

    @Mark the Shark, glad to hear it helped you out!

  3. You talked me into applying for this card. I used your link above. I am addicted to the 5x thing. Some of the quarterly bonuses are strong, some of them don’t affect our family as much. I didn’t get instantly approved, probably because I have the sapphire, united, and ink. I will wait a day or so and maybe call in. I don’t think it will be a problem.

  4. Thanks for following up on that comment MP. I pull data from Mint since I’m in there several times a week anyway. It’s also imperfect, but the data can be exported, filtered and summed pretty easily for this purpose.
    .
    We buy a good amount of our groceries as Sam’s (which does not accept Visa) so sadly it appears that we’re still just under $1000. I may have to buy some more 4x gift cards and allow Smith’s to sell me gas for $2.50/gallon. 🙂

  5. @Kathy, congrats on deciding to go for a great card and thanks for using my link. Good luck with the recon call – usually isn’t too painful of a call. 😉
    @Iowan, you are most welcome.
    @Mikes, absolutely. They have to twist your arm to get you to accept money off your gas purchases. 😉 It’s a hard life we live. If it helps, there is a Mastercard version of the Freedom, but it still wouldn’t award 5x on groceries at Sam’s Club.

  6. I have been buying groceries at Walmart, and have been getting the 5x.Also at Walmart you can buy Sam’s GC. Then you will get the 5x.

  7. Grocery Stores
    Spending for
    Cycle ending 5/4/2012
    Transaction Date Description Amount
    5/3/2012
    WM SUPERCENTER#5876
    $30.98
    5/3/2012
    PUBLIX #1341
    $12.55
    5/2/2012
    GFS MKTPLC #0755
    $34.23
    5/2/2012
    GFS MKTPLC #0755
    $153.33
    4/30/2012
    WM SUPERCENTER#5876
    $30.98
    4/27/2012
    WM SUPERCENTER#5876
    $7.79
    4/27/2012
    WM SUPERCENTER#5876
    $2.78
    4/27/2012
    WM SUPERCENTER#5876
    $2.38
    4/27/2012
    FRESH MKT-030 CLTR
    $14.09
    4/27/2012
    GFS MKTPLC #0755
    $71.34
    4/26/2012
    WM SUPERCENTER#5876
    $37.54
    4/26/2012
    SWEETBAY #1859
    $3.68
    4/26/2012
    SWEETBAY #1859
    $4.38
    4/26/2012
    WM SUPERCENTER#5876
    $33.66
    4/25/2012
    PUBLIX #353
    $4.04
    4/25/2012
    PUBLIX #353
    $5.31
    4/24/2012
    PUBLIX #353
    $24.00
    4/24/2012
    PUBLIX #353
    $12.84
    4/21/2012
    PUBLIX #353
    $14.05
    4/20/2012
    WM SUPERCENTER#5876
    $4.58
    4/20/2012
    WM SUPERCENTER#5876
    $3.61
    4/16/2012
    PUBLIX #353
    $69.93
    4/14/2012
    PUBLIX #353
    $25.00
    4/14/2012
    PUBLIX #353
    $141.69
    4/14/2012
    WM SUPERCENTER#5876
    $37.16
    4/14/2012
    WM SUPERCENTER#5876
    $14.98
    4/14/2012
    ALBERTSONS #4301
    $9.62
    4/14/2012
    GFS MKTPLC #0755
    $72.70
    4/12/2012
    PUBLIX #353
    $129.38
    Includes: Grocery stores, Supermarkets, Butchers, Specialty Food Markets, Bakeries, and Candy Stores (NOTE: Grocery purchases at Discount/Superstores may appear in the Wholesale Clubs and Discount Stores category)

    follow up

  8. Followup on my application– Approved after a call to the reconsideration department. Was a l bit of a grilling phone call because I have gotten the Ink, Sapphire and United card all in the last 7 months or so (thanks to this website). They didn’t make me move any credit though just asked me lots of questions. I am excited. I hope I get it super quick.

  9. Thank you for this post! Yesterday, I was on Chase online and couldn’t figure out whether I had met the $1500 cutoff yet or not. This article helped! I’m going to miss the grocery category – what card would you suggest for grocery spend for the rest of the year?

  10. I’m going to miss this category as well. $500 a month for groceries is easy.

    Great information, unfortunately my bonus is off. i spent $670 on groceries this month and only received 2,099 bonus points. Although this is an easy way to earn extra miles, making sure you get the miles is a pain.

  11. Patty,you will get the miles you are short next month. This happens because of your statement cut off date.The same thing happened to me and I called Chase and they said “don’t worry you will see them next month”.I did not believe them, however they were correct and the miles did post.

  12. I also don’t think I received all of the bonus miles from first quarter. Where is Amazon on blueprint? I made a lot of purchase there Jan-Mar.

  13. I would like to inform you that, the 5% bonus points are
    added to the rewards balance six to eight weeks after the
    purchase posts to the account. As a result, the bonus
    points for purchases that were made towards the end of the
    billing cycle, which was 05/04/2012, have not yet posted
    to the account. Hence, there is a difference in the
    points earned in the bonus categories. Please be rest
    assured that, the remaining points will be added when the
    next statement closes on 06/04/2012.

  14. I would like to add, this is the kind of stuff we need to be talking about.Getting these credit cards is great,but we all need to know how the system works.

  15. This is awsome! I didnt realize that they count Walmart as Grocery, I wouldnt have used my giftcard there last monthy if I knew that. I had no idea how much more room I could spend this month.

  16. Also worth noting, I made two purchases at different liquor stores and they both came in as dining.(YMMV)You can test this out yourself and if so then you should use your Sapphire card for 2x.

  17. Thanks Jim. Ok, I understand but what about the first quarter? Shouldn’t all the points for the first quarter post by now? when i checked my purchases for the first quarter on blue print, I couldn’t find any of my amazon purchases….??? What category would they be listed under? When I add up my purchases on my statements I spent $1457 on gas and amazon. I received 6000 points. I guess I will wait for another statement and then see if it posts.

    Is everyone checking their points carefully? I don’t think I would be doing this if I worked full time. How do you have time to do this?

  18. Patty says ” I spent $1457 on gas and amazon. I received 6000 points. I guess I will wait for another statement and then see if it posts” It’s very had to track, read the the last sentence of comment 15. That is what Chase told me when I sent them an secure message.(basically just trust us we will give you your points)They said that because they could not give me a break down!

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