Changes to the Chase Freedom Program + Deadline to Activate 5x

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For the last several months I have read some reports about changes to the benefits associated with having a Chase Freedom and a Chase checking account.  I have probably even written some about the changes before.  However, this week I finally got official notification from Chase about the changes to my account, so I will share the exact details of how the changes work.  It seems they are very slowly working through the Freedom accounts, so if you haven’t yet been notified I’m sure you will be at some point.  The good news is the changes may actual make the card more valuable for some of us.

The old reward structure if you had both a Chase Freedom and Chase checking account was to earn 10% bonus points per $1 spent, plus 10 bonus points on every purchase you made with the card.  The 10% bonus points did not apply to the extra points earned via the 5x bonus categories (capped at $1,500 total per quarter) or other bonus point opportunities.

The letter I just received says that starting on or around August 1st my account would now earn a 10% annual points bonus on all points earned on purchases, including on the 5% quarterly bonus categories.  They give the example that if you earned 10,000 points on your Freedom card in 2013, then you would earn a 1,000 point bonus on the 2014 January or February statement.

I am going to miss the extra 10 points per transaction, but I am not one of those who would purposefully have tons of tiny transactions just to maximize the 10 extra points.  I may actually come out ahead getting a 10% bonus on all points earned on purchases including 5x and points earned via the Ultimate Rewards shopping portal than I did the old way.  The only points excluded from the 10% bonus are new account bonus points, previous 10% annual bonus points awarded, or points transferred into the account.  That means that this is probably the most lucrative Ultimate Rewards earning card for most Ultimate Rewards shopping portal bonuses since you are effectively getting a 10% bonus on top of whatever other points you are earning for your purchase.

Do remember that you need a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Ink Plus® Business Card, or Ink Bold® Business Card in addition to the Chase Freedom card- $200 Bonus Cash Back card if you want to be able to transfer your points to hotel and airline partners.  Alternatively, you could transfer the points earned on your Freedom to a spouse who had one of those cards.

Also remember that the deadline to activate the second quarter 5x bonus on restaurants, movie theaters, and Lowe’s home improvement stores is June 14th (Friday).  As long as you activate it by that date it will be retroactive back to the beginning of the quarter.  You will then be able to activate the third quarter 5x bonuses on gas stations, theme parks, and Kohl’s beginning on June 15th (Saturday).


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  1. I always thought it was an interesting decision to give 10% annual bonus on all spending, which is more than the Sapphire Preferred’s 7%. Regardless, I’ll take it! I made out pretty well with the small transactions, especially when everyone wanted a penny for Google Wallet 2 weeks ago.

  2. The distinction as to whether you’re better off under the new or old method is 240 transactions in a year which would earn you 2400 points. That is assuming you maximize the 5% categories which gives an extra 6000 points each quarter or 24000 each year. 10% of that is 2400 points. I’ve never had the Exclusives program but unless I was going out of my way to make lots of little transactions I don’t think I’d have had more than 240 transactions given the number of other cards I have. People like the user happyzzz on FT who racked up hundreds of thousands of points by doing penny transactions are what screwed this up for everyone else.

  3. This is great for the people who could maximize the bonus categories but I was disappointed about this. My Freedom card has been my go to card. I’m a college student so most of my purchases are small and the 10 pts per transaction was very lucrative for me. I guess that’s how the points game goes.

  4. Between me and my husband, we can easily do 2-3 small charges daily – coffee, kolaches, etc. so this will probably be a little worse for us. That being said, my husband never quite understood that < $10 trumped all other cards so he gets confused and uses the wrong card. I have to write the categories on his cards with a Sharpie and he can only manage 3 at a time. The new way will be much easier for him :).

  5. If you are not grandfathered but have Chase checking, can you get the new deal? Do ur mall bonus points like Staples 2x get the ten percent?

  6. Sad to see this disappear. The parking meters in my town take credit cards; minimum charge is a quarter. So a stop for coffee costs 25 cents — but I get 10 points back. Stop at the post office — 10 points. Stop at the dry cleaners — 10 points. For $1 worth of parking I get 41 points. Plus the points for the coffee, stamps and cleaned clothes. I easily racked up 400-500 charges a month without going out of my way to do it. In my case, the 10% bonus won’t make up for the 10 points per transaction. Oh well, on to the next thing.

  7. “I may actually come out ahead getting a 10% bonus on all points earned on purchases including 5x and points earned via the Ultimate Rewards shopping portal than I did the old way”

    Are they going to give the 10% on shopping portal purchases or just straight purchases & the 5% quarterly amounts?

  8. I was looking for something else and found this posting. I’m curious how you were notified by Chase.

    I had the odd situation of getting my Freedom card just at the time they were changing the rules. The first couple of statements were by the new rules, and then they “grandfathered” me in as I had slipped under the wire according to their records. I just checked my August statement and confirmed that I’m still getting 10% bonus monthly (but not on the 5x categories, just the base reward rate) plus 10 points per transaction.

    I think I’ll go through the last half dozen statements and see which will turn out best and perhaps encourage Chase to un-Grandfather me 🙂

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