Chase Freedom Review – 5% Cash Back On Rotating Categories



  • APR: 153.99% to 24.74% depending on your credit worthiness
  • Introductory APR: 0% intro APR for the first 15 billing cycles
  • Cash advance APR: 23.99%
  • Penalty APRs: 29.99%
    • Applies if you make a late payment
    • Exceed your credit limit
    • Make a payment that is returned
  • Grace period: 21 days
  • Minimum interest charge: None

Note all APRs may vary based on the prime market rate.


  • Annual fee: None
  • Balance transfer fee: $5 or 3% whichever is greater
  • Cash advance fee: $10 or 3% whichever is greater
  • Foreign transaction fee: 3% in U.S dollars
  • Late payment fee: Up to $15 if the balance is less than $100, up to $25 if the balance is $100 and less than $250 and up to $35 if it is above $250
  • Over the credit line: None

Card Benefits

Card Negatives

Application Information

We looked at different data points from the credit boards credit pull application. We only looked at records from 2012 onwards.

What Credit Score Is Required

Credit BoardsCredit Karma
Lowest approved score638637
Average approved score704706



Common Reasons For Denial:

Here are some of the most common reasons people have been denied for. Just because you fall under one of these categories doesn’t mean you’ll be denied though.

  • Too many new accounts in the past 24 months. This is also known as the ‘5/24 rule’. This is discussed in more depth here.
  • Derogatory items on credit report (e.g Bankruptcy or tax lien). Chase will usually deny you if you have any major derogatory items on your credit report, that said if they have some age on them you still might be approved if you call their reconsideration number.
  • Insufficient credit history. Chase Freedom is a starter card but they like you to have a banking relationship with them or one year of credit card history with another card issuer. Find out how you can earn a cash sign up bonus by signing up for a checking/savings account with Chase.
  • Credit utilization too high. If you’re current credit utilization is sky high (e.g 50%+) you may have trouble being approved for this card even with a high FICO score.
  • Too many recent accounts. A few people have been denied for too many recent account openings, or the period between these openings being too small.

As always, if you’re denied make sure you call the reconsideration line to plead your case. Chase is usually very good about approving people for this card as it’s their most basic card. If you’ve never called reconsideration before, read these tips so you know what to expect from the call. If you have existing cards with Chase it often helps to offer to move some of your existing credit lines onto the new card.

What Credit Bureau Does Chase Pull For The Freedom?

Chase pulls different credit bureaus based on where you’re located. We’ve compiled this information to make it easy for you to see which credit bureau they are likely to pull. Click here to view this information.

What Credit Limit Will I Receive?

Minimum Credit LimitHighest Reported Credit LimitAverage Credit Limit

Keep in mind requesting a credit limit increase with Chase results in a hard pull.

Rewards Program

This card earns Chase UR points, it’s important to note that you must have a card that has the ability to transfer to hotel or airline partners to be able to make use of this feature.

Earning Rewards

This card earns at a rate of 1 point per $1 spend. It earns at an additional rate of 5 points per $1 spent on rotating categories. You must enroll your card quarterly to receive this increased rate on those categories, click here to enroll. There is a limit of $1,500 in spend ($75/7,500 points) that can be earned per quarter. We post creative tips on how to increase your spend in these bonus categories on the main blog, so make sure you’re subscribed to our mailing list or receive updates by e-mail or rss.

5% Categories

2017Gas Stations, Local Commuter TransportationGrocery Stores & DrugstoresRestaurants & Movie TheatersWalmart & Department Stores
2016Gas and local commuter transportationGrocery Stores & Wholesale ClubsRestaurants & Wholesale ClubsDrugstores, Department Stores & Wholesale Clubs
2015Grocery Stores, Movie Theatres And Starbucks storesRestaurants,, H&M, Bed Bath & BeyondGas stations, Kohl',,,
2014Gas stations, Movie Theaters, Starbucks StoresRestaurants, Lowe’s home improvement storesGas stations, Kohl’sAmazon, Zappos & select department stores
2013Restaurants & MoviesHome improvement storesGas stationsOnline shopping
2012Gas stations,Amazon.comGrocery Stores, Movie TheatersGas Stations, RestaurantsHotels, Airlines, Best Buy, Kohls
2011Grocery Stores, Drug StoresHome Improvement, Lawn & Garden, Home FurnishingsGas, Hotels, AirlinesDining, Department Stores, Movies, Charity

Current Sign Up Bonus

Sign Up Bonus History

This card has had a highest sign up bonus of $350. This hasn’t been offered offered since 2012 and it looks like that was a mistake on the Chase website. The basic bonus has been $150 for some time with a targeted bonus of $300 being occasionally offered.

  • November 15th, 2015 – ??: $200 (20,000 points) when you spend $500 within 3 months of account opening. Additional $25 bonus (2,500 points) for adding an authorized user when they make their first purchase
  • June 1st, 2015 – ??: $200
  • July 16th, 2014 – November 15th: $150 (15,000 points) when you spend $500 within 3 months of account opening. Additional $25 bonus (2,500 points) for adding an authorized user when they make their first purchase
  • July 1st, 2014 – ??: $100 (10,000 points) when you spend $500 within 3 months of account opening. Additional $25 bonus (2,500 points) for adding an authorized user when they make their first purchase
  • May 29th, 2014 – July 1st: $200 (20,000 points) when you spend $500 within 3 months of account opening. Additional $25 bonus (2,500 points) for adding an authorized user when they make their first purchase
  • April 2nd – May 29th, 2014: $100 when you spend $500 within 3 months of account opening. Additional $25 bonus for adding an authorized user when they make their first purchase.
  • January 1st, 2014 – April 2nd: $100 when you spend $500 within 3 months of account opening
  • November 25th, 2013 – January 1st, 2014: $200 bonus (20,000 points) when you spend $500 within three months
  • April 5th – November 25th, 2013: $100 after you spend $500 or more within three months
  • April 4th – 5th, 2012: $350 bonus after $500 in spend three months
  • January 24th – March 26th, 2012: $350 bonus after $500 in spend within three months
  • January 5th – 12th, 2012 : $200  when you spend $500 in three months
  • December 19th – : $200 bonus (20,000 points) with $500 in spend in 3 months
  • October 24th – December 19th, 2011: $300 bonus (30,000 points) when you spend $500 within three months
  • September 1st – October 10th, 2011: $250 bonus when you spend $500 within three months
  • May 19th – May 28th, 2011: $150 bonus with $500+ in spend within three months
  • April 12 – 20th, 2011: $100 bonus when you spend $500 or more during the first three months, an additional $100 bonus when you spend an additional $1,000 or more within the first six months
  • November 10th – 19th, 2010:  $200 bonus when you spend $800 or more within three months
  • July 7th, 2010: $100 bonus when you spend $799 or more within the first three months

Redeeming Your Rewards

Points can be transferred to Chase travel partners if you have a premium Chase card. The following cards allow you to do this:

Chase has the following transfer partners:

Chase Travel Partners (All Transfer 1:1)  
British Airways Executive ClubSingapore Airlines KrisFlyerVirgin Atlantic Flying Club
Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLMSouthwest Airlines Rapid RewardsAer Lingus
United MileagePlusIberia PlusEmirates
Air Canada Aeroplan
Hyatt Gold PassportMarriott Rewards
IHG Rewards Club

Otherwise you can redeem these points for statement credit/cash at a rate of 1 point = 1¢


Our Verdict

The Chase Freedom has one of the higher cash sign up bonuses on the market and it’s rotating 5% categories make it attractive for use for those categories. That said, I’d never recommend somebody use this for their everyday spend due to it’s low earning rate. You’d be better off with a card that earns at a high rate on all purchases. Because of the Chase 5/24 rule a lot of people won’t be eligible for this card. It might also make sense to get a bigger sign up bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve and then downgrade to this card at a later stage.

This card is best used for the sign up bonus and then for purchases that are currently earning 5%. It’s also best paired with a card that allows transfers to a hotel or airline partner so you can get the most value out of the points.

We Recommend This Card For:

  • Those with limited credit history
  • Those looking for cash back
  • People who value cash sign up bonuses

We Don’t Recommend This Card For:

  • People who are planning on using it as their only credit card
  • People who aren’t eligible due to the 5/24 rule

Card Alternatives

F.A.Q’s & Tips

Any questions you have regarding Chase will most likely be answered in this linked post. If they aren’t, please ask them in the comments and we will answer them.

Card History/Changes

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Just got 12 months of credit history with only one Discover It card. FICO score based on Experian is 750 (utilization rate < 10%). How risky is it to try applying to Chase Freedom?


Just to point this out, Chase no longer has a min redemption. It used to be $20 or $25. Makes it as useful as Discover with better acceptance, though Discover still offers a better cashback portal and increased payout for gift card redemption.


looks like chase for a new design for the freedom card

Jeff H
Jeff H

Chase Freedom 5% rewards 2017 Calendar is up including the activation link.


Please also add the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card which is a separate card to the existing Chase Freedom card. I’ve verified that I have earned the start-up bonus on the Unlimited Card even though I already have the “regular” Freedom card. Please also add that Chase offers Ultimate Rewards (which requires a login to view) to earn points. For example, I visited Apple Store directly from Shop through Chase, where I purchased two iPhones at $849 each. I checked out using the Freedom Unlimited Card and T&C says maximum 2 iPhones for every 30 days then an extra of 2% will be posted. The card gives 1.5% so total bonus adds to 3.5% for 2 phones, that’s $59.43.

Aaron Lemmon
Aaron Lemmon

You’re missing the Chase AARP card as well. Same $100 back after $500 in spend