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Updated December 18, 2014 10:22 AM PT

Chase Freedom $100 Bonus Cash Back Review

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With its sign-up bonus, rotating 5% cash back categories, and 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, the card is one of the most popular no-annual-fee rewards cards. Read this Chase Freedom review to see if this cashback credit card fits your lifestyle.

Chase Freedom
Apply for Chase Freedom
At Chase's Secure Site
  • Earn a $100 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn a $25 Bonus after you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within this same 3-month period
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period, a variable APR of 13.99-22.99%
  • 5% Cash Back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases between 1/1/15-3/31/15 at grocery stores (not including Walmart® and Target® purchases), movie theaters, and Starbucks® stores
  • You'll enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like restaurants, gas stations, and Amazon.com. It's free and easy to activate your bonus each quarter!
  • Unlimited 1% Cash Back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee and rewards never expire as long as your account is open
  • Go to issuer's official application, terms, and details
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
13.99% - 22.99% (Variable)
$0

Overall Score

4.3

Rewards

4.5

Interest Rates

3.5

Fees

5.0

Benefits

4.0
5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • $100 bonus after you make $500 in purchases in your first 3 months
  • 5% bonus rotating categories
  • Full 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months
  • No annual fee
  • 3% foreign transaction fee

Bottom Line

Excellent cash back credit card for cardholders who pay in full

Rewards: Cash Back Program

The Freedom card helps you earn cash back on virtually everything you buy.

You earn bonus cash back on rotating categories throughout the year (free activation required each quarter). You earn 5% cash back in select bonus categories on up to $1,500 worth of quarterly purchases. If you spend over this limit, you go back to regular 1% rate. You earn an unlimited 1% cash back rate on all other purchases.

In addition, you can earn extra cash back by shopping online through Ultimate Rewards Mall, Chase's online shopping portal.

You can redeem rewards for cash back ($20 or more) in your choice as a statement credit, direct deposit or a paper check. You can also redeem through Chase Ultimate rewards for gift cards.

2013 Categories: Rewards Calendar

The bonus categories for 2013 are:

  • gas stations, drugstores and Starbucks® stores for January 2013 to March 2013
  • restaurants, movie theaters, and Lowe's® for April 2013 to June 2013
  • gas stations, theme parks, and Kohl's® for July 2013 to September 2013
  • Amazon.com and select department stores for October 2013 to December 2013

2014 Categories: Rewards Calendar

The bonus categories for 2014 are:

  • Q1 (January 1 – March 31, 2014): Gas stations, movie theaters and Starbucks® stores
  • Q2 (April 1 – June 30, 2014): Restaurants and Lowe’s® home improvement stores
  • Q3 (July 1 – September 30, 2014): Gas stations and Kohl’s®
  • Q4 (October 1 – December 31, 2014): Amazon.com, Zappos.com and select department stores

The card is offering 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases at gas stations, movie theaters and Starbucks® stores throughout the first quarter 2014.

Then for the second quarter 2014, just in time for the unofficial home improvement season, spring cleaning and warmer weather, the card will offer 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases at Lowe’s® home improvement stores and restaurants.

To kick off summer in the third quarter 2014, the card will offer a second opportunity to earn 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases at gas stations for those planning a road trip with family or friends. Kohl’s® also returns in the third quarter 2014 so cardholders can earn cash back while stocking up on summer travel supplies or preparing for the school year with back-to-school shopping.

In the fourth quarter 2014, Chase Freedom has cardholders covered when it comes to holiday shopping, with 5% cash back on combined purchases made at Amazon.com, Zappos.com and select department stores.

Remember, you need to activate the 5% cash back categories. You can activate the 5% cash back categories online, by text messages, via email, by calling customer service, or in-person at a Chase bank.

2015 Categories: Reward Calendar

The bonus categories for 2015 are:

  • Q1 (January 1 – March 31, 2015): Grocery stores (not including Walmart® and Target® purchases), movie theaters and Starbucks® stores
  • Q2 (April 1 – June 30, 2015): Restaurants and more
  • Q3 (July 1 – September 30, 2015): Gas stations and more
  • Q4 (October 1 – December 31, 2015): Amazon.com and more

(Additional categories or merchants will be announced before the start of each quarter.)

The first quarter of 2015 will see Chase Freedom welcome back the Grocery Store 5 percent cash back category (not including Walmart® and Target® purchases; cardholders will continue to earn unlimited 1 percent cash back on these purchases). As the cold sets in, Chase is also offering 5 percent cash back at Starbucks® stores during the first quarter. And cardholders can take in award nominated films and other new movies, as the card will offer 5 percent cash back at movie theaters throughout the quarter. That is in addition to the unlimited 1 percent cash back on all other purchases from the first dollar spent with no tiers, no caps and no annual fee.

Cardholders can welcome spring and the return of outdoor dining while earning 5% cash back on restaurant purchases in the second quarter 2015.

To kick off summer in the third quarter 2015, the card will offer the opportunity to earn 5 percent cash back at gas stations for those hitting the road with family and friends.

To get the most out of holiday shopping in the fourth quarter 2015, the card will again offer cardholders 5% cash back on purchases made at Amazon.com.

Promotion Deal

For new cardholders, check out this deal. If you make $500 worth of purchases on your card within the first 3 months of your account, you earn a $100 bonus. This bonus is in addition to your regular cash back rewards.

Since this card has no annual fee, the introductory deal gives you an easy and cost-effective way to earn some extra cash back.

Related: 23 Ways to Help Meet $500 Minimum Spending Requirement

0% Introductory APR: Balance Transfer

This card also has a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After that, the APR will be a variable rate, currently 13.99% - 22.99% depending on your creditworthiness. Keep in mind, you will be charged 3% of the amount transferred, with a minimum fee of $5.00. Most likely, the amount you will save on interest in those 15 months will more than make up for this fee. Make sure to read our guide on balance transfers.

Related: How to Save Money on Credit Card Debt

Foreign Transaction Fee

If you plan to frequently travel internationally, you might want to consider a credit card with no foreign transaction fee instead. The Freedom has a 3% foreign transaction fee which can quickly add up.

Pros

  • Earn a $100 bonus after your first $500 of purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earns up to 5% bonus cash back (on up to $1,500 in purchases) in new rotating bonus categories throughout the year
  • Earns 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee

Cons

  • 3% foreign transaction fee

Bottom Line:

If you think bonus categories that change every quarter is a hassle, this card may not be for you. Also, consider your travel schedule. If you do a lot of international travel, you may want to opt for a card with no foreign transaction fee: the Freedom charges a 3% foreign transaction fee.

For everyone else, especially those who prefer getting cash back rather than airline miles, the Freedom card is a first-rate way to earn cash back for those with excellent/good credit. And since the Chase Freedom has no annual fee, it's a very cost effective to earn those rewards (assuming you pay off the balance every month).

Next Step: View the issuer's official application, terms, and details

Follow @CreditDonkey or write to David R at davidr@creditdonkey.com
David R is a contributing writer at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and financial education website. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped consumers make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions. (read more)

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Chase. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Chase. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Disclaimer: This content was first published on March 14, 2012. This content may have been updated on December 18, 2014. Information including APR, terms and benefits may vary, be out of date, or not applicable to you. Information is provided without warranty. Please check Chase website for updated information.

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Chase Freedom
Apply for Chase Freedom
At Chase's Secure Site
  • Earn a $100 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn a $25 Bonus after you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within this same 3-month period
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period, a variable APR of 13.99-22.99%
  • 5% Cash Back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases between 1/1/15-3/31/15 at grocery stores (not including Walmart® and Target® purchases), movie theaters, and Starbucks® stores
  • You'll enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like restaurants, gas stations, and Amazon.com. It's free and easy to activate your bonus each quarter!
  • Unlimited 1% Cash Back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee and rewards never expire as long as your account is open
  • Go to issuer's official application, terms, and details
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
13.99% - 22.99% (Variable)
$0

Compare Chase Freedom to:

Discover it

Discover it®

Intro APR (Purchases)Intro APR (Balance Transfer)Regular APR
0% for 6 months
0% for 18 months
10.99% - 22.99% Variable*
Cash Back RewardsBonus Cash BackNo Limits on RewardsExtended Warranty
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months - then a variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% - 22.99%. A 3% fee applies to each transferred balance.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months. Then the variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% - 22.99%.
  • Over 5,000 cardmembers rated 4.8 out of 5 stars* and now Discover "Ranked Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Credit Card Companies in a Tie" by J.D. Power*.
  • 5% cashback in categories that change each quarter up to the quarterly maximum after you sign up for 5%. 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Free FICO® Credit Score on monthly statements, online and in our mobile app.*
  • No annual fee, no late fee for your first late payment - APR won't go up for paying late, no overlimit fee and no foreign transaction fee*.
  • Each Discover purchase is monitored. If it's unusual, you're alerted by e-mail, phone or text-and never responsible for unauthorized Discover card purchases.
  • *See rates, rewards, free FICO® Credit Score terms,balance transfer terms and other info by clicking "Apply."
Apply for Discover it
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Intro APR (Purchases)Intro APR (Balance Transfer)Regular APR
N/AN/A
15.99% (Variable)
  • Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $500 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards(SM).
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees, plus Chip and Signature enabled for international travel.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value - that means 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points.
  • 24/7 direct access to dedicated customer service specialists
  • Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Apply for Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Chase Slate

Chase Slate®

Intro APR (Purchases)Intro APR (Balance Transfer)Regular APR
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
12.99%, 17.99%, or 22.99% (V)
  • $0 introductory balance transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days. After that, the fee for future balance transfers is 3% of the amount transferred with a minimum of $5.
  • Pay less interest. Save on balances and new purchases.
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After the introductory period ends, a variable APR of 12.99%, 17.99%, or 22.99%.
  • $0 Annual Fee.
  • This offer is for people with a good to excellent credit history which means, among other things, that your credit history is clear of bankruptcy and seriously delinquent accounts.
Apply for Chase Slate

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Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers a very generous point bonus and extra travel rewards to those with excellent credit. Keep in mind, the card does have a $95 annual fee. Read on to see if the Sapphire Preferred is worth it.
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About CreditDonkey®
CreditDonkey is a credit card comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy financial decisions.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

†Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which CreditDonkey receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CreditDonkey does not include all companies or all offers that may be available in the marketplace.

*See the card issuer's online application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However, all information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button you can review the terms and conditions on the card issuer's website.

CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.