Be Careful of Chase Freedom's 5% Cash Back Promos

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dbc47
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Be Careful of Chase Freedom's 5% Cash Back Promos

Post by dbc47 » Sun Oct 17, 2010 7:01 pm

This month's current 5% cash back promo is for grocery stores, department stores and movies. Grocery stores and movies should be self explanatory but department stores, not so much........It all depends on how the particular business has registered with the credit card company. Just for fun I inquired with Chase to see if WalMart is a department store or a discount store. By their definition I would expect Walmart to be a department store. Here is the answer I got from Chase

Upon review, I see that the transaction made on your
account towards Walmart is listed as discount Stores.

Further, I would like to regretfully inform you that, we
do not have a list of participating merchants. Please
note that when a merchant is set up to accept VISA or
MasterCard as a form of payment, they select a category,
which identifies their business type. We have recently
discovered that not all merchants are billing under the
specific category types. In addition, if a merchant is
not a specialty store and provides a variety of products,
they may not bill under a specific category.

Regrettably, we have no control over the merchant type in
which transactions are billed. When the transactions are
presented to us, our system automatically determines the
category code matches the list above used to calculate the
rewards. Please review your billing statements and if you
find any transactions that you feel should have qualified
to earn additional rewards, please provide that
information to us and we can research this matter further.
I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience that this may
cause.


So I guess the moral of the story is, if you think you are buying something from what you would consider to be a department store and are counting on getting the 5%, you may in fact be getting just the normal 1% because of the way they are registered with the card companies. Guess the only way to find out for sure is to find out a head of time from somebody at the store how they have their Visa transactions coded. Good luck with that......

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Re: Be Careful of Chase Freedom's 5% Cash Back Promos

Post by tfb » Sun Oct 17, 2010 7:27 pm

dbc47 wrote:By their definition I would expect Walmart to be a department store.
I don't see Walmart as a department store. Merchant category based rebates always work like this. It depends on how the merchant codes the transaction. Not really Chase's fault.
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dbc47
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Post by dbc47 » Sun Oct 17, 2010 7:51 pm

I'm not losing sleep over this by a long shot, just thought it interesting. I took the below from Chase's site and this is their definition of a department store:

Department Stores
Includes merchants that sell a general line of apparel, home furnishings, furniture, electronics, cosmetics, housewares, and major household appliances. These stores have departments that usually have their own separate checkout counters.


Kinda sounds like WalMart to me except for the major household appliances part.

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Post by edge » Sun Oct 17, 2010 8:02 pm

Walmart is a discount retailer. It has been since its inception.

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dbc47
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Post by dbc47 » Sun Oct 17, 2010 8:12 pm

edge wrote:Walmart is a discount retailer. It has been since its inception.
I realize that! I used them as an example! geeeeezzz

Sorry I brought it up.

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Opponent Process
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Post by Opponent Process » Sun Oct 17, 2010 8:18 pm

it happens with grocery stores, too. I think some Trader Joes and Whole Foods are not registered as grocery stores. it even varies by location.
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Houston101
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Post by Houston101 » Sun Oct 17, 2010 8:39 pm

It is my fault for not doing the research but I abondened the 2% Fidelity credit card for Chase this month just to take advantage of 5% reward at walmart. I always assumed it was a 'grocery store'.

No one to blame but me. :x

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Re: Be Careful of Chase Freedom's 5% Cash Back Promos

Post by grabiner » Sun Oct 17, 2010 8:46 pm

dbc47 wrote:This month's current 5% cash back promo is for grocery stores, department stores and movies. Grocery stores and movies should be self explanatory but department stores, not so much........It all depends on how the particular business has registered with the credit card company.
This isn't restricted to Chase. I have a Shell Mastercard, and I found that one gas station wasn't registered with the bank as a Shell station, so I got only 1% (would now be 0.5%) rather than 5% cash back.

A phone call fixed this one quickly; the bank agreed that a business named "(owner's name) Shell" was a Shell station.
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Post by daytona084 » Sun Oct 17, 2010 10:16 pm

dbc47 wrote:I'm not losing sleep over this by a long shot, just thought it interesting. I took the below from Chase's site and this is their definition of a department store:

Department Stores
Includes merchants that sell a general line of apparel, home furnishings, furniture, electronics, cosmetics, housewares, and major household appliances. These stores have departments that usually have their own separate checkout counters.


Kinda sounds like WalMart to me except for the major household appliances part.
WalMart has a line of checkouts at the front of the store. There are a couple checkouts in departments but not the general rule. Combine that with the fact that WalMart also does not sell major household appliances, and it's quite clear that it's not a "department store".

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Post by edge » Sun Oct 17, 2010 10:21 pm

I really don't like the '5% on dif categories every quarter' scheme anyway. It is just confusing and complicated. I will stick w/ my AMEX blue cash as my main card.

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Post by Grasshopper » Mon Oct 18, 2010 8:11 am

I asked the same question when I noticed a lot of "OTHER" categories.

Thank you for contacting Chase about the 5% Cash Back
offer on your account ending in XXXX.

All qualified bonus rewards earned for each month will
post to your account within 6-8 weeks after the end of the
promotion.

Each individual merchant is assigned a specific code by
their bank. It is possible that multi-service merchants
may not be included in the promotion. Example: A merchant,
who has an assigned service code listed as a grocery
store, may also rent movies but may not be qualified for
double rewards on your movie rental if the promotion does
not include movie rentals.
We regret we have no control over the business code that
is assigned to the merchant by their depositing bank and
are unable to tell you the exact purchases that qualified.


All purchases are electronically confirmed at the time
they are posted to the account and will automatically be
issued any applicable bonus rewards.

I am glad I was able to provide you with this information.
If you have additional questions, please contact us at the
toll-free number noted below or via the secured message
center. For your convenience we are available 24 hours a
day to assist you

Thank you,

Manleen Anand
E-mail Customer Service Representative

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Post by Chuck » Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:49 am

I thought it was nice that my local walmart (supercenter) is registered as a "grocery store." That way, I get 2% year-round with my penfed card on furniture, electronics, tires, motor oil, and whatever other "groceries" I happen to buy there. That beats 5% for a few months.

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Post by ladders11 » Tue Oct 19, 2010 9:46 am

I used to love Chase Freedom but not anymore. I liked that you got 3% from your top categories, and 1% off everything else. I liked that you didn't need to go to a separate website to deal with the rewards. I liked that you didn't need to sign up for the program every quarter. I liked that you didn't need to think about what category your stores fell into and didn't need to worry about getting credit where due. I liked that your rewards were stated in dollar amounts, and not converted to "points". I liked that you could get a check for $25. I liked that you could earn $200 and get a $50 bonus.

It is not worth it anymore. You get 1%, but that's all the other banks do. It used to be the most simple and easy program of all, but now it is not.

Also, they don't break down the bonus rewards, so you can't tell what you've gotten 5% credit for without a ton of math.

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Post by Chuck » Tue Oct 19, 2010 9:49 am

Penfed gives you a statement credit every month for the exact value, no waiting for $50 tiers and stuff. It's slowly becoming my only card.

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Post by MWCA » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:05 am

Chuck wrote:Penfed gives you a statement credit every month for the exact value, no waiting for $50 tiers and stuff. It's slowly becoming my only card.
It is our main card. The other ones seem like they have too many "gotchas". I lack the will to keep track of the tricks.
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Post by chaz » Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:26 pm

I do see Walmart as a department store that discounts its prices.
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Post by kirent » Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:33 pm

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Post by jeffyscott » Tue Oct 19, 2010 1:05 pm

dbc47 wrote:I took the below from Chase's site and this is their definition of a department store:

Department Stores
Includes merchants that sell a general line of apparel, home furnishings, furniture, electronics, cosmetics, housewares, and major household appliances. These stores have departments that usually have their own separate checkout counters.


Kinda sounds like WalMart to me except for the major household appliances part.
Yeah, I don't trust the dept store category. Not that I thought of this before reading the definition and comments here, but I think the key is maybe separate checkout counters in each dept. JC Penny is a dept store (I assume) and no longer sells appliances.

Luckily most of our spending that might otherwise be at stores that might be in that category, is done at Kohl's and using their store card is much more lucrative than any of these rebate schemes.

We are just using the Freedom card at the grocery stores for the fall, I'll take the sure 2% from FIA elsewhere (we don't go to movies). The nice thing is Chase at least has a high limit, unlike Discover.

I just got the conversion notice last week or so, I was at about $180 and planning on getting $250 when it got to $200. I asked Chase about that and they took care of that issue, doing far more than I expected...sent me $250 in exchange for the current reward balance. :thumbsup
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Post by VennData » Tue Oct 19, 2010 7:16 pm

I'm going to find it difficult to increase my quarterly spending in a recognized category to capture the 5%. It's a lot like indexing, I just stay the course, it I go over - it'll be luck - it'll be some consumption rebalanced from something else.

I would like to see the numbers on how this worked. If they do it again, I guess it did.

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Post by beoba » Wed Oct 20, 2010 1:03 am

MWCA wrote:It is our main card. The other ones seem like they have too many "gotchas". I lack the will to keep track of the tricks.
I have both the penfed cashback and chase freedom cards. The penfed card is what I use for all of my non-cash purchases. I'm giving serious thought to just cancelling the chase card, since I don't use it and am not really interested in playing games with them. On top of all that, I generally like penfed a lot more than typical credit card companies.
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Post by sparklecoogs » Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:48 am

I appreciate the OP clarifying the "department store" issue, because I didn't know that it depended on how stores categorize themselves. My assumption was that Walmart would not be a department store, but it's nice to know for sure. I think of Kohl's as the classic example of a department store.

As for the Chase Freedom card, I actually enjoy managing the changing categories. I also have a Discover and an Amazon Visa. Maybe I'm weird, but keeping track of everything in my head so that I always get the biggest rebate is kind of fun for me. And it seems to be working. My wife and I have combined for over $1,300 in cash back and gift cards just over the past year. We save the gift cards for a holiday shopping trip, and our stack of cards is about 1.5 inches thick. Yes, all these rebates and offers can make your head spin, but if you stick with it, you can really come out golden.

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Post by Houston101 » Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:12 am

After calling Chase I found out that Walmart actually qualifies under multiple categories. So your automotive purchase might not but you regular meat and milk purchases will qualify for the 5% rebate.

Walmart submits transactions based on what you have purchase from them.

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Post by NateW » Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:28 am

We are in the same boat with our HSBC Mastercard. We get a 5% cash back on groceries (permenant, no promo :) ) and my wife likes to use Giant Food's Peapod delivery service where you buy your groceries on-line. Guess what, the category for this is not "grocery" but "computer services", so we get the default 1% cash back! HSBC has the same disclaimer stating they have no control over how the merchant classifies services. I think I'll call HSBC and see if anything can be done about this. Clearly, we are buying groceries.

--Nate

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Post by NateW » Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:34 am

beoba wrote:
MWCA wrote:It is our main card. The other ones seem like they have too many "gotchas". I lack the will to keep track of the tricks.
I have both the penfed cashback and chase freedom cards. The penfed card is what I use for all of my non-cash purchases. I'm giving serious thought to just cancelling the chase card, since I don't use it and am not really interested in playing games with them. On top of all that, I generally like penfed a lot more than typical credit card companies.
Don't cancel a credit card. It lowers your credit score because you will have less available credit. Especially do not do this if it is a "no fee" card.

--Nate

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Post by beoba » Thu Oct 28, 2010 10:00 am

NateW wrote:Don't cancel a credit card. It lowers your credit score because you will have less available credit. Especially do not do this if it is a "no fee" card.
Yeah, I may end up just sitting on it until they someday cancel it themselves due to inactivity.

However, I have a total of 4 cards, and the Chase card isn't the oldest line of credit. Also, I'm not planning on taking out any loans for a few years, so the small ding on my credit score wouldn't affect me.

Additionally, I've noticed that Chase has started sending me a new privacy notification every 5-6 months, presumably in hopes that I won't be bothered to call them and opt out of selling my information every time they send one. That gets old after a while.
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Post by Houston101 » Thu Oct 28, 2010 10:38 am

NateW wrote:We get a 5% cash back on groceries (permenant, no promo :) )
What I kind of card is that? Do you have a link where we can check it out?

Permanent sounds good!

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Post by NateW » Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:12 am

Houston101 wrote:
NateW wrote:We get a 5% cash back on groceries (permenant, no promo :) )
What I kind of card is that? Do you have a link where we can check it out?

Permanent sounds good!
This is HSBC Master Card and we have had these cards (2 seperate accounts, 2 cards) for several years and I can not find this offered by HSBC. I doubt you could get a deal like this now. We have been waiting with baited breath for HSBC to change our Terms and Conditions and to no longer offer anything near 5%, but it has not happened yet!

We get 5% on fuel and drug store purchases too. The cash back limit is $500 per year and we both easily hit that (for a total of $1000 back). I use this card ONLY for food, fuel, and drug store purchases. Our two other cash back cards round out other categories, but the highest is 3% on select items.

I would like to add that HSBC has the poorest customer service that I have ever seen and is always trying to sell you various insurance and other crap. calls us all the time, sales pitch every time you call, and you MUST call to get your cash back. My wife says the 5% is not worth this, but we keep on with them.

--Nate

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