This morning, I got an email detailing changes coming to Ultimate Rewards for people with Chase Checking and Chase Freedom accounts. I have both: the Chase Freedom was my second rewards credit card ever, and I got a Chase checking account last year to get a sign-up bonus.
Essentially, there will no longer be a benefit to having a Chase checking account in addition to a Chase Freedom. No more extra 10% per $1 spent, and no more 10 bonus points for every purchase.
I’m not sure how decreasing points earning meets my evolving needs as a customer, particularly as my need for points increases over time, but at least they’re giving a very lengthy advanced notice of the changes.
This doesn’t materially change much for me, except for the fact that I’ll now definitely be canceling my Chase checking account since I currently have to keep a $1500 minimum balance to avoid monthly fees (seriously, who pays checking fees nowadays?). The 10% bonus was nice but not that meaningful, although it did mean that the Chase Freedom was a better card for earning on unbonused spend than the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
The extra 10 points per transaction, however, was/is awesome and potentially very lucrative, although there are reports of people getting shut down for abusing it. But as an example, you can buy an Amazon gift card for a minimum value of 50 cents. At a conservative valuation of 1.25 cents per point, that’s like getting 25% back on Amazon transactions. Or if you prefer cash back and don’t spend much on Amazon (like me), you can pay 3 cents to charge $1 through a certain mobile reader and earn roughly 9 cents per swipe. Not that I’m necessarily recommending either of these avenues.