Dig my zombie points blog talking about new Chase card changes

Hey everyone! Are you digging your global pandemic life? Me neither. And I don’t really want COVID-19, so I’m not getting on a plane for leisure. I realize your risk calculus may be different. But I also have kinda relocated to Cali, and I am gonna need a fuckton of points and miles at some point in the future for the back and forthing to NYC if and when we’re on the other side of this shit.

So, I have not been paying attention to credit cards much as of late, but I recently have gotten back on the horse. Here’s what I got for ya:

Chase Freedom/Freedom Flex/Freedom Unlimited:

Chase certainly upped their game with their no-fee personal Ultimate Rewards cards. On September 13, Freedom, which offers 5x in quarterly rotating categories up to $1,500 per quarter, and 1x otherwise, is getting replaced by Freedom Flex. It’s the same thing, except that they’re adding 3x drugstores, 3x dining, and 5x on travel booked via Chase. Pretty sweet! And, weirdly, it’s a MasterCard, not a Visa. Freedom Flex is a new card, so if you already have a Freedom, you could apply for a Freedom Flex and get its signup bonus (20,000 UR points, plus 5x at supermarkets up to $12,000 in the first year of having the card), and and effectively raise your quarterly category limit to $3,000. If you’re not eligible to apply for it because you’ve opened five personal credit cards with anyone in the last two years, or you’re just a fucking deadbeat, you could convert your Freedom to the Freedom Flex to get the new categories.

The Freedom Unlimited, which offers 1.5x on everything, is also automatically getting the new categories, on September 15: 3x drugstores, 3x dining, and 5x on travel booked via Chase, and if you’re applying new, it has the same signup bonus (20,000 UR points, plus 5x at supermarkets up to $12,000 in the first year of having the card). Since taxis and subways are not going to be a part of my life in the foreseeable future, I don’t see myself using my Sapphire Reserve for much of anything if I can get 3x dining with this girl.

I myself just applied for and grabbed a Freedom (original) this week, while I still can, primarily for the signup bonus (effectively worth 80,000 UR if I can max out the supermarket benefit) — and then nothing stops me from getting the Freedom Flex for another bonus. I don’t really plan on doing much spending on either of these cards because personally I find the rotating quarterly categories to be a pain in the dick, though your mileage may vary. Although when they’re for something I do all the time like Amazon, it’s a no-brainer, or if I have a big purchase when the category is a big box store, then it also makes sense. If you wanna grab a Freedom while you still can, I have no referral link for you, but you can get it here.

A couple tips from the blogs I’ve been reading: Chase won’t let you apply for a card you already hold, but you can usually get more than one of the same card by product changing from another card that earns the same kind of points. But maybe not here: Chase says they’re not going to allow people to hold more than one Freedom Flex, period. So you might not be able to increase the quarterly 5x limit by having more than one. If you’re worried about it, either immediately apply for a Freedom, or immediately product change one of your existing UR-earning Chase cards to a Freedom, or both, before it becomes unavailable in a week or so. Then, you can go ahead and apply for a Freedom Flex later.

One other tip: if you want to re-apply for a card you already use, like a Freedom Unlimited, so that you can get that sweet 5x grocery stores in first year up to $12,000 offer (so, 60,000 points), you could always product change the one you have to the little-known Sapphire no-fee — a worthless card to hold, but it clears your decks for applying for another Freedom Unlimited. You can then always change the Sapphire no-fee back to something else.

Don’t bother applying for a new Chase card if you’ve opened five or more personal cards with anybody in the last two years. It’ll be a very hard no. Instead, change to what you want from cards you already have. You can usually change to another card in the same points-earning family — e.g. Sapphires can become Freedoms, Inks can become other Inks, and United cards can become other United cards (but you can’t cross the personal/business card fence).

The banks are also being stingier as they perceive higher risk — I can’t imagine why, with people dying and losing their jobs and everything during a global pandemic — so if you get shot down on an application, what you want to do is call the reconsideration line and offer to move credit from another card (rather than have them extend you more credit). I’ll have more on that in another post.

If you’re gonna apply for a Freedom Unlimited (not regular Freedom), please use my referral link, bitches.

2 thoughts on “Dig my zombie points blog talking about new Chase card changes

  1. Alpa

    good to have you back!

    i have the Chase sapph reserve, and am thinking of downgrading it to Sapph no-fee. not a useful card for points accumulation (my amex gold gets 4x for dining, and my citi premier gets 3x for travel), as you said, but it would b a placeholder until travel starts up again, and i want to upgrade to reserve again.

    but maybe i want to switch csr to freedom flex? free, 1.5x for “all other”, and 5x for travel thru chase. and pts are UR, right?

    has travel thru chase gotten better? in the 4 years i’ve had csr, i used it exactly once.

    and if i switch to freedom flex, can i upgrade to sapph reserve?

    or maybe it’s better to downgrade csr to sapph no-fee (and eventually upgrade it back to csr), AND get and keep the freedom flex?

    Reply
    1. Ivan X Post author

      Good to have youback! I think downgrading Sapphire Reserve to no-fee until you’re traveling again is a pretty sound move unless you’re using its Pay Yourself Back feature that may not even stick around. Plus it’s probably been four years since you got it, so you could churn it if you’re not over 5/24 when the time comes.

      I think it makes more sense to downgrade to Freedom Flex than Sapphire no-fee (which is useless), but what you’re describing is Freedom Unlimited (1.5x for all other, vs 5x rotating categories for Freedom Flex). They both also have 3x dining and 3x drugstores. The only reason not to do that would be if you’re under 5/24 and want the signup bonus (20,000 points + 5x at grocers in your first year up to $12,000 so 60,000 points). Or if you wanted to also hold a Freedom original, while you’re in the 3-day window while you can still get one, you could downgrade to that.

      Travel through Chase is now operated by Expedia, rather than Connexions Loyalty. I don’t know if it’s “better” or not, but it seems fine. You have to stay on your toes, though, random bookings (not a majority, but some) for air and hotel can be overpriced, so always comparison shop.

      Yes you can upgrade to Sapphire Reserve from any Freedom family card, as long as it’s not your first year of holding the account.

      I think the killer combo remains Sapphire Reserve and Freedom Unlimited so you’re always earning minimum 1.5x, plus now 3x dining, 3x drugstore, 5x Chase Travel (and 5x groceries in your first year if it’s a new application rather than a conversion/downgrade). Freedom Flex (or original Freedom, for the three days it remains available, or both original and Flex to double the limits) is an optional add on for 5x rotating categories, and that’s all it’s really useful for.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Reply

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