5X+ at Lowe’s, Restaurants and Movies

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I’ve written before that the 5x bonus categories for this quarter on the Chase Freedom cards include restaurants, Lowe’s Home improvement Stores, and movie theaters, but now that the second quarter of 2013 has started I wanted to mention it again so that no one misses out! I’m going to skip over movie theaters because I think most families figured out long ago that the opportunities to actually go to a movie theater with young kids are few and far between, but if you do be sure to use your Freedom card. Instead I’ll focus on Lowe’s and restaurants as even families visit those establishments with some regularity.

A few quick pointers before I get into the real details:

  • You need a Chase Freedom card to take advantage of this deal. I turned an old nondescript Chase Rewards card into a Freedom card with an easy phone call to Chase. So, consider that type of method as a good way to get this card. Alternatively, just apply the old-fashioned way and get 10,000 bonus Ultimate Reward points after spending $500 in the first three months. This card doesn’t come with an annual fee so I recommend it being a long-term “keeper”. The sign-up bonus isn’t eye-popping, but this card provides an easy annual-fee-free way to easily get 30,000 Ultimate Rewards per year via the 5x bonuses.
  • Assuming you already have the cards, make sure you have registered your Freedom card for this quarter’s 5x bonus.
  • The 5x bonus is capped at $1,500 in bonus spending for a total of 7,500 points, so this isn’t the way to rack up a billion points, it is just the time to make sure you are getting as much as you can out of the promo.
  • These Ultimate Reward points can only be transferred to hotels and airlines like United, Hyatt, British Airways, and more if you also have a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the Ink Bold® Business Card, or the Ink Plus® Business Card.  Otherwise you can use the points from your Freedom just for cash back or things like gift cards.


  • The 5x bonus doesn’t just apply to fancy sit-down restaurants, but it applies to carry out and fast food joints like Chick-Fil-A and Chipotle. So, be sure to use it for all of your day to day “carry out” and eating out expenses.
  • Consider picking up the tab when out with a group of friends and have them pay you back (or just be generous and let them get the next meal).
  • Volunteer to be the one to pay for the catering bill for a group you are a member of and then submit for reimbursement.
  • Use this card for reimbursable business meals.
  • Be sure to register your Freedom for the Dining Reward Network so you are actually earning points or miles on top of the 5x at participating restaurants.
  • If you know you have a big restaurant bill coming up later in the year, buy the gift card from the restaurant during this quarter and use it later.

Lowe’s Home Improvement Store:

  • It’s springtime, it’s beautiful, just get some indoor and outdoor projects rolling while taking advantage of 5x. Truthfully I’m not going to get to be/have to be very creative this quarter as my husband is waist deep in projects that require regular visits to Lowe’s. In fact, we are now attempting to grow some of our own fruits and veggies in a garden he built in the backyard. So far the harvest is holding steady at two strawberries, but somehow this “small” garden is growing into a larger project, but that’s a story for another day. Adding shelves in closets, redoing the front patio, it all adds up.

  • Bonus points (literally) for those who order what they need online via an online shopping portal and pay with their Freedom card. For example, Lowe’s is currently 5x via the Ultimate Rewards portal and that does stack, so you could easily be getting 10x for purchased made via that portal and paid with a registered Freedom card.
  • If you aren’t in the market for DIY projects, then just head to Lowe’s and pick up gift cards to other retailers. They have plenty of other retail gift cards to pick from. Some stand-outs for me are Amazon and the Home Improvement gift card that can be used at a ton of others stores, but the list also includes tons of restaurants, clothing stores, travel providers and more. Here are a few photos of all the gift cards I saw available.

How do you plan to take advantage of the 5x bonus categories this quarter?



The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. Buy up some Outback gift cards that are giving you a $10 discount on $50 purchase. This brings up your spend and gives you a 5% for resturants. You can use the card at Flemings,Roys, Carraba’s,Bonfish resturants giving you a 20% discount bonus.

  2. Buy Gas Cards at Lowe’s. In my area Hess has the most competitive gas price and not all category bonus retail stores carry them. The Lowe’s near my home has those.

  3. @Pat, Can’t find that Outback promo you’re talking about. I am seeing a $10 bonus gift card when purchasing a $50 gift card.

  4. If my husband converts his sapphire to freedom to take advantafe of these caregories, can he transfer his points to my accts? (I have the ink bold.). Or would he be stuck with only the cash back or gift card option? Thanks!!!

  5. Hi MP!

    You mentioned that Lowes has a home improvement gift card that can be used at a ton of other stores; do you know what those other stores are? Is there a list?

    Thnx for a helpful post!

  6. Pat, I have been stacking some Outback coupons myself recently. (one of the better choices here in suburbia) 😉
    PhatMiles, perfect!
    Andy, that may be what Pat is talking about. Should be coded as a restaurant purchase at 5x and then you are getting 5x and a $10 bonus.
    Michelle, Chase has cracked down on transferring points, but between spouses should still be okay. Of course, I would argue it is worth getting a UR earning card for him as well – at least for the first free year if for nothing other than the sign-up bonus. Otherwise that would work find though.
    Maya, looks like slooz beat me to it. 😉 Some examples are Sears, Home Depot, Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, and many many more.
    Barry, per account.
    Slooz, thanks!

  7. I like to buy Arco gift cards because they usually only take cash or charge a huge fee for a debit transactions. So this not only allows me to use a credit card to buy my gas but will give me the 5X during these promo months. Thanks for your post!

  8. Hi.. Can someone please help.. I am brand new, so sorry for this probably stupid question..but I just got the chase freedom card and when I clicked on the mommy points link to the dining reward site.. I was not sure which I should join with the chase freedom card..can someone please help and explain.. as I go to Chick fil A and Chipolte all the time .. also Lowes.. thank you.

  9. another question.. if I purchase gift cards at Lowes are there costs to do that.. for instance.. is there an activation fee or expiration date? thank you for your help

  10. Yes, Outback usually offers a $10 bonus card (good for a limited time) with purchase of $50 in gift cards this time of year. And, in December, they usually offer a $20 bonus card (good Jan. 1 – Feb. 10) with purchase of $100 in gift cards. Last December, I ordered 4 $200 gift cards online, and got 8 bonus cards. Lots of almost free steaks :-).

  11. Hi MP, thanks for the great post about the Chase Freedom card! I just wanted to add a data point that I was able to switch a very, very old Chase card that had zero rewards earning abilities to the Chase Freedom card with a simple request through online secure messaging. Pretty awesome. 🙂

  12. JociJoma, I use the United dining program, but the best just depends on which miles/points you want to earn. United or American are often two good choices. Also, you will earn 5x at those fast food restaurants listed with the Freedom card, but those restaurants are probably not on the dining plan in your area (they are two separate promos). Hope that helps and good luck!
    Mileageupdate, ha!
    UAPhil, to go with the free bread. 😉
    Stephanie, nice!

  13. if i use the freedom card at chipolte.. do I need to register it somewhere first.. or will the points automatically show up once i use the card there? thanks

    • Jocijoma, as long as you have activated the 5x bonus (link in post) then 5x will automatically post. Enjoy your burritos and points!

  14. Are there visa/mastercard/amex GC’s available too ($500). It might be worth paying the $5.95 fee for a $500 GC which nets an extra 2000 points (basically getting 2000 UR points for $5.95) which is a good deal in my opinion.

  15. @jocljoma
    The dining rewards program and the Chase Freedom 5x bonus are two separate things. Chase Freedom has a 5x quarterly bonus that switches (each quarter). Last quarter it was drug stores, gas stations, and Starbucks (easy to hit 5x bonuses, at least for me). This quarter it is movie theaters, Lowe’s, and restaurants. You have to register your Chase Freedom Card to receive those bonuses. For purposes of restaurants, any restaurant qualifies. Basically, you go to Chik-fil-a, use your Chase Freddom card (with activated 5x bonus category of course) and you get 5x points.

    The dining rewards program is different. It allows you to accrue airline miles at only certain restaurants that are listed in the program. You start out accruing 3x miles at the restaurants and then after a certain number of qualifying dines (i.e. dining at the restaurants in the program), you start earning 5x miles. You can only earn those miles at restaurants within the dining rewards network list.

    What is nice is that you can combine the dining network pgoram with other credit card programs. For instance, if you register your Chase Freedom card as one of the credit cards in your dining program, and this quarter you eat at one of the restaurants in your chosen dining rewards network, then you will (1) get 3x or 5x miles (depending on the number of qualifying meals you have had) in the airline dining rewards network you are signed up through, and (2) 5x points through Chase Freedom. That effectively equates to 8x-10x United Miles if you are signed up through the United dining network and transfer all of those Chase points (assumign you have a Preferred or Ink Bold card) to United.

    You can register mulitiple credit cards in a dining network and use the one that will be most beneficial to you at that time. For example, I would normally use my Chase Sapphire Preferred card at every restaurant (2.14 UR points after yearly dividend). I also have that card registered to my dining rewards network. That way, I get miles through the dining network if I eat at an in-network restaurant and I get the 2.14 UR.

    However, now that Chase Freedom has 5x points at restaraunts, I will use my Chase Freedom card at restaraunts this quarter and it is registered in a dining rewards network. That way, no matter which restaurant I eat at, I will get my 5x Chase points, and if I eat at an in-network restaurant, I will get miles in that network.

  16. WOW!! Thank you. One more question. Can I register the same card for SW rapid reward dining and AA dining and get the points for the same transaction at Chipolte?

    • dg,I’ve never seen those gift cards at a Lowe’s…sadly.
      G, thanks for helping out!
      jocijoma, you cannot register the same card with more than one program (it will just default to the last program registered). You will earn 5x on the Freedom for dining this quarter at Chipotle, but it is not a restaurant that is probably on the separate dining plan.

  17. I just went to Lowe’s in LA planning to buy $300 in GC’ s and the cashier told me they only take cash or debit for those

    • AR, hmmm. They def take credit cards for gift cards. Was there a certain type of gift card you had a problem with? Possibilities are a brand new policy. A store specific policy. A miscommunication. Or an incorrect cashier. I would try a different Lowes or a different cashier.

  18. Hmmm…..just went to lowes in Houston and was told new policy……..cash or debit only for gift cards now…….Bummer

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