Executive Summary -
Perhaps one of the best all round rewards credit card in the market today. This card will appeal to those looking to earn either cash back or rewards from their credit card. There is also a Visa version but this review will focus on the MasterCard.
I personally have the Chase Freedom Visa for a number of years and I love the card. What many folks do not know is that they also have a MasterCard version and in this review, I will be looking at it and discuss how it differs slightly from the Visa version. Let us now begin by highlighting it's key features.
I will start by saying that this card is both a cash back and rewards card. Unlike other cash back cards where you simply earn cash back, this card allows you to earn "points". These points can be redeemed for either cash back, travel or merchandise and gift cards from the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. I have used my points for cash back, travel, gift cards and also for an XBox 360!
How to Earn Points - Firstly, let's start with the base rate. For every dollar that you spend on the card, you earn one point. You can earn unlimited points and they do not expire.
The main feature of the card is that every quarter, there are certain expense categories which I can earn 5% cash back. These categories change and you will have to register to earn the 5%. You will get email alerts (if you sign up for them) and there will also be alerts when you log into your account.
Another way in which you can earn more points is through the Ultimate Rewards Shopping Mall. The online mall has hundreds of merchant partners. They include folks like Best Buy, GAP (household retailers and some niche ones). When you go to their website via the UR shopping mall, your expenditure will be tracked and you will earn more than one point per dollar depending on the merchant. During the holiday season, this is one surefire way to rack up the points.
How To Redeem Points - There are various ways for you to redeem your points. The first is obviously to redeem them for cash back. You can request a check or a statement credit. For example, if you have have accumulated 10,000 points, you can redeem them for $100 in cash back.
Aside for cash back, you can also redeem points for travel. And this is where this card shines. There are various ways to do so. For example, you can use their travel portal, search for your flights, hotels etc and book them with either all points, or by cash or pay with a combination of both points and cash. Alternatively, you can choose to book your travel with another online site or with the airlines and hotels directly and then use the points to claim a statement credit. You can also use your points to redeem for gift cards and merchandise.
Brief Summary - Many folks call this card a rotating category card because you can earn 5% cash on on various expenses that change every three months. The features of this card is also very similar to the Visa version of the card. Hence the main differences comes from the benefits that MasterCard provides. In the following sections of this review, we will be exploring the 5% cash back categories and the MasterCard benefits in greater detail.
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