5% Cash Back or 5x United Miles at Gas Stations


Chase Freedom is offering 5% cash back at gas stations and on local public transportation from January 1 – March 31, 2016. You must activate those category bonuses to earn the 5x, and you can do so starting December 15, 2015.

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The Freedom markets itself as a cash back card, but it actually earns Ultimate Rewards that do NOT transfer to airline or hotel partners like United and Hyatt.

You can, however, transfer the Freedom’s Ultimate Rewards to your Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus account or your spouse’s. From there, you can transfer the Ultimate Rewards to a dozen incredible airline and hotel partners like United and Hyatt.

That means that if you play this right, you can earn 5x United miles per dollar at gas stations for the first quarter of the year.

  • How can you register for the Freedom 5x categories?
  • How can you indirectly transfer the Freedom’s Ultimate Rewards to airline miles and hotel points?
  • Why is transferring the points more valuable than cash back?
  • Who are the Ultimate Rewards partners?
  • What department stores will earn 5x? Which are excluded?


Each quarter, you can earn 5x Ultimate Rewards per dollar on your first $1,500 in the bonus categories as long you register your Freedom card. Max out the $1,500 each quarter, and you’ll earn 30,000 non-transferable Ultimate Rewards in a year.

That’s on top of the current sign up bonus of 10,000 Ultimate Rewards after spending $500 in three months on the card.

That’s an excellent possible haul for a card that has no annual fee ever. The full value of the Freedom is only maximized, though, if you also have a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus.

Activating 5x

Chase Freedom is offering 5% cash back at gas stations and local transportation from January 1 to March 31, 2015. You must activate those category bonuses starting December 15. At that time, I’m sure we will get an exact definition of local public transportation, but I am sure it will include buses and subways.

By the way, Chase Freedom is offering 10% cash back at amazon.com and three smaller sites Amazon owns from now until December 31, 2015. You can still activate that bonus.

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Redeeming Ultimate Rewards

Freedom earns non-transferable (to airlines or hotels) Ultimate Rewards that can be redeemed for 1% cash back, so 5x Ultimate Rewards is 5% cash back. If you planned to redeem your Ultimate Rewards that way, I am so glad you are reading this post.

Do not redeem your Ultimate Rewards for cash back!

Instead transfer your Freedom’s Ultimate Rewards to your Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus account inside your chase.com account.

1. Sign into chase.com and click on the Ultimate Rewards balance on the right side of your screen.

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I’m at zero because I already transferred!

2. Click Manage Ultimate Rewards and Combine Points.

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3. Enter your other card’s credit card number, and how many points you want to transfer.

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4. From your Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus account, you can transfer to United, Hyatt, Southwest, and many more airlines and hotels.

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Transferring points should allow you to get far more than 1 cent per point of value.

Bottom Line

Freedom’s 5x rotating categories are some of the best category bonuses on the market, and I always try to max out my $1,500 in spending per quarter.

Sure I’d rather put non-bonused spending on a Starwood Preferred Guest Credit card, but you cannot beat 30,000 Ultimate Rewards per year from 5x category bonuses on a no annual fee card.

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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  1. Keep in mind that many 7-11’s are coded as a gas station!

    On the same note, can some one explain to me how to liquidate VGC’s?


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