In general, I like rotating credit card point bonuses – credit cards offer increased points for a given month or quarter on certain types of spend, like grocery stores, restaurants, movie theaters, etc. The Chase Freedom Card is the only card I have that offers regular rotating category bonuses. This card offers 5 points per dollar spent in these rotating categories versus the standard 1 point. This category bonuses cap out at $1,500 in spend or 7,500 points each quarter.
For Q4/2014 the category bonus included Amazon.com – it was easy to max out last quarter. I purchased Amazon Prime, bought a dozen or so books for Christmas gifts and even purchased a bunch of non-perishable household items like light bulbs. I find it usually pretty easy to max out on these bonuses considering the limit and the relative diversity of the categories.
For Q1/2015 the category bonus includes grocery stores. Unfortunately, I thought the category was restaurants (restaurants are actually in Q2). I used this card almost exclusively at restaurants over the past two months. I then realized I was wrong. I had a lot of catching up to do. How do I spend $1,500 in just 3 weeks at grocery stores? Gift cards, obviously. I know I’ll be spending money at grocery stores over the next several months, I might as well pre-pay for grocery store gift cards and max out on Ultimate Reward Points.
So, what’s the moral of the story? Even if you are positive of the category bonus double check it, if I didn’t I could have left 7,500 points on the table this quarter. For anyone in the points/miles game this would be a cardinal sin.