JPMorgan Chase & Co. is continuing to revamp its credit card program by resurrecting a rich, and now rare, cash-back reward — with a new, seasonal twist.
The New York banking company last week said it would increase the level of cash-back rewards on its Chase Freedom credit cards to 5%. That is generous for today's market, as most issuers have reacted to heavier losses and regulatory pressures by cutting back or restructuring their rewards programs.
JPMorgan Chase, for example, last offered 5% cash-back rewards on its Cash Plus cards in 2006. In June of last year the issuer unveiled an Ultimate Rewards program that gave Freedom cardholders the choice between earning fewer rewards (on more types of transactions) or paying a $30 annual fee for an "upgraded" program, where they would earn three points for every dollar spent on gas, grocery and fast-food purchases.
JPMorgan Chase's latest rewards program goes into effect April 1 and will offer cardholders 5% cash back on certain categories of spending. But the categories will change every three months, and cardholders will have to re-enroll every quarter in order to be eligible for the new promotions. In April through June, for example, cardholders will earn 5% cash back on spending at home improvement, lawn and garden and home furnishing stores. From July through September the categories will switch to travel-oriented purchases. Freedom cardholders will also earn 1% back on all other purchases throughout the year.