An Alternative Way to Maximize the Chase Freedom’s 2nd Quarter 5x Categories

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maximize chase freedom 2q categories

Maximize Chase Freedom 2Q Categories

The Chase Freedom (my review) is one of my favorite cards. Not only does it come with no annual fee, but it offers a chance to earn up to 7,500 Ultimate Rewards points each quarter with its 5x bonus categories.

While I love the opportunity to earn 5x, it isn’t always easy. Some quarters have really tough bonus categories and others are really easy to maximize. (For example, grocery stores in Q1 were super simple!)

Restaurants & More!

maximize chase freedom 2q categories

The Chase Freedom’s second quarter categories aren’t bad either. During April, May & June you can earn 5x at restaurants, Bed Bath & Beyond, and H&M. I’m sure most people look straight at the restaurants category and overlook the other stores.

For some people spending $1,500 in restaurants isn’t difficult, while for others it may be. In our family we have 3 Freedom cards and we simply don’t spend $1,500 per month at restaurants, so it is difficult to maximize.

Earning 5x with Gift Cards

Fortunately Trevor over at Tagging Miles may have found a workaround. Apparently some Bed Bath & Beyond stores sell $200 pin-enabled Visa gift cards for a $6.95 fee! While the fee is high, it still makes sense to me given the value of the points earned.

My Experience

I read his article a few days ago and made a point in the back of my mind to stop in at a Bed Bath & Beyond when I had a chance. Today was that day.

Unfortunately I quickly found out that my store doesn’t carry anything but iTunes and Bed Bath & Beyond gift cards. This makes me sad.

Give it a Try & Strategy

Since you aren’t guaranteed to be able to purchase Visa gift cards, I would recommend making a mental note to stop in a Bed Bath & Beyond when you find yourself nearby. You should already have your Freedom card in your wallet, since it is the best restaurant earning card around right now.

I think the optimal strategy would be to wait until close to the end of June to see how much you spent at restaurants so you can purchase just that amount of gift cards. Of course, things can always change before now and then so you may want to do this sooner as well.


So I hoped to be able to share better news and photos from my adventure today, but that didn’t happen. I still think it is worth taking a peak inside to see if you can find any of these magical cards!

Shawn Coomer
Since 2007 Shawn Coomer has been circling the globe with his family for pennies on the dollar. He uses that first-hand knowledge and experience to teach others how to achieve their travel dreams for the least amount of money possible.

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  1. Where I live there are six BB&Bs within a 25 mile radius. I found it interesting that one BB&B carries ONLY their own gift cards while a another BB&B FOUR miles down the road carries an assortment of third party gift cards (including $200 Visa and MasterCard gift cards). I did not check on the other four stores. I am maxing out two Freedoms by buying the $200 Visa gift cards and using the other Freedom for a combo of $200 VGCs and restaurants. The register at BB&B allows a maximum purchase of 3 $200 Visa gift cards per transaction. But you can just do a separate transaction if you are buying more than three at a time.
    @Sam The net effect is the same for Ink at office store and Freedom at BB&B, however, there are bonus points added to your account in February 2016 if you have a Chase checking account (this is the last year for this benefit).

  2. For someone who has InkPlus and Freedom, isn’t it redundant to search for VGCs in BB&B when you can do the same in an office store using Inkplus? The card fee is same in both cases.

  3. Hi Shawn – been reading you awhile and this is my first comment so let me start by complimenting you and your blog. Really cutting edge content and Greg was a smart man to bring you on board 😉 As far as BBB goes this would only be useful for someone who doesn’t have a current INK card for the most part.

    • Yes you can purchase gift cards at office supply stores for the same price with Ink, but some people max out their Ink cards and some people don’t have a convenient store.

      While the math works out the same, it is just another avenue to maximize. For some people it will work and for others it won’t matter.

      Thanks for the kinds words Smay!

  4. Curious how you’d unload these? The Target here checks the card and my ID and I’ve never attempted a gift card there. I’ll be closing our last Serve account this week after a payment posts so that option is gone.

    Assuming points are worth 1c this is a $23.78 mm (7x$200 gc) on the surface. From what I’ve read it also looks like it’s YMMV with how many you can buy at once (report of $1,000 max).

    Assuming you use a 2% cb card, the opportunity cost of loading $1,400 using RB is $28. Therefore I can’t see this being a viable means of liquidating these gcs for anyone who caps the RB $5k monthly limit. In this instance you’re actually paying more than $4 if you do BBB > RB route.

    I know points are worth more than 1c each, depending on how you use them. Still, this seems like an awful amount of YMMV legwork and time suck to benefit from this deal.

    If you have an easier means of liquidating the gcs this could change the numbers, but even then it’s a lot of effort. Thoughts?

    • A lot of people like me still have a Bluebird or Serve in the family, so it would be easiest to liquidate via that method. That certainly is how I would have done it considering the Walmart is right next door to BB&B. Of course there are other methods as well.

      Personally I wouldn’t use my REDbird with these cards, but I have other bandwidth to liquidate. Like I said the best strategy would be to see what your restaurant spend is near the end of the 2Q and use a tactic like this simply to max out the 5x.


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