$300 Cash Back on Chase Freedom Credit Card – 2012

One of my favorite credit cards is the Chase Freedom credit card. Actually, I have two them because a different Chase card I had was converted into the Freedom. This keeps me from getting any new customer rewards, but this won’t stop me from telling you about them.

I just saw that Chase is offering $300 cash back after you spend $500 in the first three months of opening a Chase Freedom credit card. I absolutely LOVE getting significant rewards back on credit cards with no annual fees. As long as you’re not apply for a car or home loan or anything in the very near future, there’s no real reason why not to get another credit card. Especially with such an enticing up-front reward. Last month I received $200 back from Bank of America after spending $500 on my new card there. I’m glad to see that credit card issuers are trending back toward offering good rewards.

Chase Freedom $300 Cash Back Offer 2012On top of the up-front reward, the Chase Freedom Card is a good rewards credit card. Each quarter there are categories where you’ll earn back 5%. The categories are often very useful ones too, at least for me. Right now (through March 2012) it’s Gas and Amazon.com. 5% back on gas, especially when prices continue to rise, is great.

If you’re convinced, you can apply by clicking here (Edit: Link removed because this offer expired).

If you want to check out the fine print, scroll below…

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FINE PRINT
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Rewards Currency
Rewards are earned as points, which can be redeemed for cash back. 1% cash back equals 1 point. If you choose to redeem for cash back, 1 point equals $0.01 cash back. For example, 2,000 points can be redeemed for a $20 check.

$300 Bonus Cash Back
You will receive 30,000 bonus points with this bonus offer, which can be redeemed for a $300 check. To qualify and receive your bonus, you must make purchases totaling $500 or more during the first 3 months from account opening. Purchases do not include using your account for balance transfers or cash advances, or using any checks that access your account. After qualifying, please allow 6 to 8 weeks for bonus points to post to your account. To be eligible for this bonus offer, account must be open and not in default at the time of fulfillment. This one-time bonus offer is valid only for first-time cardmembers with new accounts. Previous and existing cardmembers/accounts are not eligible for this bonus offer.

5% Quarterly Bonus
You earn 1% on all purchases and 4% more in bonus categories for a total of 5%. 4% bonus earn is subject to a quarterly maximum. You will be eligible for quarterly bonuses as long as (i) your account is not in default under, and/or you have not violated, the terms of your Cardmember Agreement and Rewards Program Rules and Regulations at the time accounts are selected for the promotional offers, and (ii) your statements are sent to a US address. Quarterly enrollment required.

1% Cash Back
You will earn 1 point for each $1 of net purchases. You will earn an additional 1 point for each $1 of eligible airfare net purchases made online through the program booking tool. You do not earn points on balance transfers, cash advances, cash-like charges such as travelers checks, foreign currency, and money orders, any checks that are used to access your account, overdraft advances, interest, unauthorized or fraudulent charges, or fees of any kind, including fees for products that protect or insure the balances of your account. There is no maximum number of points that you can accumulate in the program. Bonus/Promotional offers may have a maximum accumulation. A service fee of up to $20 per ticket may be charged for the use of our toll-free number to book or change airline itineraries. Redemptions made online do not have a service fee. See Rewards Program Rules and Regulations which will be mailed after your account is established.

No Annual Fee
Please see Pricing & Terms for complete details about rates, fees, and other costs.

What’s the Best Credit Card (for me)?

I have more credit cards than the average person. Sometimes when I whip out on that’s cool looking, like my American Express Blue Cash Everyday card, I’ll get the question: What’s the best credit card? My answer probably doesn’t satisfy most people, but the real question is: What’s the best credit card for me? There is no single, best credit card that fits the needs of everyone. You can compare a credit card to a car in the fact that they all look and function quite differently. And based on our own individual needs, certain cars will be more optimal than others. It’s the same for credit cards.

So how do you go about choosing a good credit card? You’ll need to inspect your current financial health and consider you current and future needs. Only by going through this process can you actually select the best credit car for you. Stop basing your credit card decision on the free towel they’re giving away at the pro sports game.

Your Credit Card History and Financial Health

If you’ve had a credit card in the past, or you have other credits cards, then you need to consider whether you carry a balance or not. If you always pay your credit card balance off completely each month, then you don’t need to worry about this part. However, if you regularly carry a balance on your card, then the interest rate is the simple most important characteristics of your future credit card.

Find the Best Credit Card for MeWhen you first get a credit card there will be an introductory interest rate. Most cards will have an introductory rate of zero percent, or close to it. You’ll then want to determine how long this introductory interest rate will last. Clearly a longer period is better. Look for something around a year. You will also want to consider the long-term rate of the card. If you don’t plan on having too many credit cards, but plan on carrying a balance, this is going to be very important. Don’t be suckered into getting a card based on its low introductory rate. You will usually see this displayed as some rate + prime. As of this writing, the prime rate is 3.25%, so you can calculated the interest rate from there. If you’ve been late on your credit card payment in the past, you’ll also want to consider the adjusted rate that will be used if you’re late with a payment.

Your Spending Habits

If you consistently pay off your credit card, then you’re really able to take advantage of the benefits of a credit card. This is the true difference between someone who uses their credit card as a short-term loan, and someone who takes advantage of their credit card. If you’ve been using some type of budget tracking software such as Mint.com, then review your spending habits over the past three to six months. Review your spending categories by the ones commonly used by credit card companies, such as gas, groceries, office supplies, books, restaurants, and entertainment.

You will then look for credit cards that reward you the most in the areas where you typically spend the most. For me, I typically spend quite a bit on gas and Amazon. So I have a credit card that gets me 3% back on gas, and another that gives me 5% back on Amazon (because all Amazon purchases fall into the “books” category). When spending money, I determine the card to use based on the rewards that I will accumulate. Because I always pay off my credit card, it’s the only criteria I really use to determine which card to use for a specific transaction. I don’t have to worry about how much money is on which card, or when that payment will come due.

The best way to find the credit card that fits you, once you know your history with credit cards and your spending habits, is to go directly to the major bank websites. American Express, Citibank, Chase, Bank of America, and CapitalOne are the most common. You can also check out the card providers directly: Visa, American Express, MasterCard, and Discover. In my opinion it’s best to go directly to the card companies rather than Googling because Googling will just show you the ones that people are marketing (spamming) the most. These won’t necessarily be the best cards for you.

If you usually make bad financial choices, then you probably shouldn’t apply for any credit cards. But if you’ve got your spending under control and you’re diligent, credit cards can provide a lot of benefit, and I think it’s silly when a major personal finance guru such as Dave Ramsey gives blanketed advice to people to destroy their credit cards and only pay with cash.