One of the best credit cards on the market right now for bonus spend is the Chase Freedom card. Specifically, the Chase Freedom offers 5x the points per dollar spent in rotating quarterly categories — up to $1,500. Depending on how much you value Chase Freedom points, and where you decide to use them, these 6,000 (!!) extra points can be worth some serious cash — granted you are able to hit the max.
With either the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Preferred, these points can be transferred to the Ultimate Rewards portal and transferred to one of the Chase travel partners or redeemed directly for 1.5x the value.
No matter how you slice it, these bonus points can be incredibly lucrative. So first let’s look at what the points are this quarter (April, May and June).
First, before anything — make sure that you activate the quarterly bonus categories through your Chase account. I have never tried to understand why you basically have to activate earning on your credit card, but I’m sure Chase saves some money on this trick.
Breaking these down further
As a relative newbie to the credit card game, and an extreme newbie to the Chase Freedom game, the main bonus category this quarter doesn’t seem to shock anyone.
Grocery stores is a category that is usually included in one of the quarters every year, and for the most part it seems like they always separate Target and Wal-Mart. Which makes a ton of sense — considering the popularity of the two “mega” retailers.
I’d say that grocery stores can be a huge opportunity for some people depending on your lifestyle — similar to the gas stations category in the previous quarter, some people will be able to put a massive amount of spend on this category. While I won’t necessarily be able to get a huge benefit from this category, I know for a fact someone like my mom (when she had 3 kids in the house) will definitely knock out a large amount of that $1,500 threshold.
And then we have Chase Pay. While a new-er addition, considering it’s a relatively new technology, this category was included in the Q1 bonus, so it’s not all that exciting. Nevertheless, there is still definitely the opportunity to cash in big on this category, especially with the increasing number of retailers accepting Chase Pay now.
But the one category that I wanted to touch on in this post was PayPal. As someone who does quite a bit of buying and selling on eBay, I can say that PayPal has made some serious enhancements in the last year or so. Without diving into too much detail, there is one specific area I have found for PayPal to be super beneficial (at least in the terms we are talking here)
The trick to max out your Q2 bonus spending
With the emergence of so many other similar technologies, a lot of people anticipated for PayPal to accept it’s fate as the kind of “Founding Father.” A groundbreaking technology, but not necessarily a progressive, new product. But I think they have answered their critics.
PayPal serves a wide purpose, but first and foremost it is a “middle-man” of sorts, handling transactions between merchants and customers. And while you can build a balance within PayPal itself, then pay directly from that balance, you can also pay from a connected bank account or credit card — which is where the Chase Freedom comes in.
I will go over this exact process in a separate post, but ultimately you just need to specify PayPal as your payment option. From there it will have you clarify how within PayPal you wish to pay, where you will select your Chase Freedom card (given that it is connected).
One interesting features that I have noticed is that you can now transfer money to other people through PayPal. This is obviously to compete with the likes of Venmo and Apple Pay — all for the fight towards a “cash-less” world. So this got me thinking, can I transfer money using my credit card?
Seems plausible, as both features exist on PayPal, but let’s take a look…
One of the options after you’ve logged into the main page of PayPal is to “Send or request money” — which is precisely what we are looking for here.
Select “Send money.”
I have already transferred money to someone, so you will see those contacts saved if you have previously done business with them.
As a point of reference, I entered $100 to be transferred. You’ll see that I have my bank checking account, as well as two credit cards already set up in the system — notice that there is a 3.2% service fee for Visa credit card transactions (this varies on the type of card).
You can either choose an existing card or add a new card as your form of payment.
What I am really trying to highlight here is the fact that you can transfer a large sum of money to someone in lieu of writing a check or making a bank transfer. A lot of other money transfer services don’t allow for this, which makes the PayPal category for Chase Freedom all the more enticing.
So what did I do…
At this point I hope that you’ve put two and two together, but this is an absolute no-brainer. Every month I pay rent and bills with a roommate, and we usually split the costs. And instead of writing checks to each other and having to cash them, why not use this method through PayPal.
Of course there is a lot more to consider, like, do I need to pay this service fee on the transaction? Is there something else that will be able to get me to the $1,500 maximum?
As mentioned above this totally depends on each particular person, and their specific spending habits. PayPal itself can be used through a ton of other online merchants (which wouldn’t charge a credit card fee), but there is also the possibility of using one of the other categories to maximize your spend.
My recommendation would be to use this if you find yourself short on the $1,500 bonus category spend. It probably wouldn’t be worth it to transfer $1,500 through PayPal, as that would cost you an extra $48 in fees, but if you are short a few hundred dollars on the quarter this is a great opportunity to max out spend.
Like anything else in this game, this will take some careful calculations to determine where the value is for you, but I wanted to point it out as something I believe a lot of people may overlook.