The Chase Freedom card is consistently rated among the top rewards cards out there. Granted, part of its rapid rise to the top was helped by the up-to $200 sign-up bonuses Chase was offering. That being said, this card does have a lot going for it. Chase Freedom does not have an annual fee or have a high income threshold (like the more elite Chase Sapphire card). The interest rate is reasonable for rewards cards, with a variable rate between 11.99% and 22.9% APR. All transactions earn 1% cash back across the board, plus each quarter there are “bonus” categories that offer 5% cash back. From October to December of this year the bonus categories are dining, department stores, movie theaters and charitable organizations.
Even if one does not use the 5% categories, which I think most people end up using at least one of the categories, there are additional bonuses. Each dollar spent is eligible for a 10% bonus, plus each separate purchase earns 10 additional bonus points (1 dollar corresponds to 1 point). For example, if you make 20 purchases totaling $500 in one month that would correspond to: 500 points + 50 “bonus” points (10% of purchases) + 200 bonus points (10 per purchase) = 750 total points. 750/100 = $7.50 earned for your monthly spending. Once you have accrued enough points you can redeem them online for cash or a variety of other categories, including travel, gift cards, computers, movies, music and more.
By this time you are probably wondering what on earth this has to do with horror movies. Well, it so happens that there is a wide selection of horror DVDs and Blu-rays to choose from on the Ultimate Rewards home page. Simply go to the site, select ‘Merchandise’, select ‘Movies’ and then search for “horror”. If you don’t already have an account you will not be able to view this page, but I can describe it for you. Just by using the keyword “horror” the website provides results for 195 results.
I chose to redeem some points for 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams (Unrated) (1,100 points) and Wes Craven Horror Collection (1,800 points). Both purchases include free shipping. One question that needs to be asked is whether or not these DVDs are a good value. I used 2,900 points, the equivalent of $29. Would these same purchases have cost less if purchased elsewhere? Amazon.com has 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams going for $4.58 new; The Wes Craven Horror Collection is going for $15.99. If I purchased these two items from Amazon I would then need to pay shipping costs since the total is less than $25. With shipping the total would have cost $26.25.
In this one case it seems that using Ultimate Rewards compared pretty favorably with using Amazon. The purchase was a little more expensive, but there is the added convenience of one-stop shopping. Also, Amazon has an artificially low price for 2001: Field of Screams. Under normal circumstances I would not expect a new DVD to cost so little. Let’s try another experiment. Ultimate Rewards has Dexter: Season 1 going for 3,300 points ($33); Amazon is currently selling it for $25.45. And finally Ultimate Rewards has the Masters of Horror: Season Two Box Set for 5,300 points ($53); Amazon is currently selling for $52.49.
In most cases it seems like Amazon beats or matches Ultimate Rewards on price. Nonetheless, I do plan on using Ultimate Rewards to purchase horror movies in the future. All movies include shipping, with no minimum purchase required. And I can complete my purchase in just a few minutes as opposed to using my rewards points for cash and then making a separate purchase with Amazon. Film fans should note that Ultimate Rewards has a very large movie collection, not just horror movies. Another option is to redeem rewards points for a gift card to AMC Theaters (in $10 increments). Finally, if none of the rewards appeal to you, just redeem your points for cold hard cash.
For residents of north Seattle sign up for Chase banking services at the branch location at NW 85th St. and 15th Ave. NW. If you live or work downtown there are plenty of locations, for example 1401 5th Ave. For a complete list of branch and ATM locations, use the Chase locator tool. Now is also a good time to start thinking about upcoming horror conventions in the Seattle area. See the following websites for more details: ZomBCon, Maelstrom International Fantastic Film Festival, Crypticon Seattle.
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