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Why Didn’t I Earn Bonus Rewards from Chase?

Written by Nickel - 10 Comments

Why Didn't I Earn Bonus Rewards from Chase?As I noted this morning, I happened upon our Chase Freedom statement in the mail last night. In addition to the new “Minimum Payment Warning” box, I noticed that I had earned $0 in bonus travel rewards.

For those that missed it, Chase has moved to rotating reward categories, and they’re offering 5% back on new categories every 3 months like gas stations, restaurants and Amazon.com. You need to activate your bonus category each quarter.

A few days after signing up for the bonus program (you have to opt in each quarter) I bought a plane ticket for a little over $600. Yes, it was rather pricey, but it’s work related, so I’ll be reimbursed.

Anyway… That should work out to a bonus of around $25 (4% extra on top of the 1% you normally get), but I got nothing. On top of that, I paid for gas a few times and also charged a hotel room on my card. I was thus expecting to see some bonus cash in my account.

Confused as to why my purchases didn’t qualify, I called Chase to ask. According to the rep that I spoke to, everything is okay. While you accrue bonus rewards throughout the quarter, they don’t actually post to your account until eight weeks after the promo ends.

In other words, I shouldn’t expect to see a bonus until the end of November since the current bonus runs through September 30th. I’ve since confirmed on the Chase website that this is the way that it works. Lesson learned… I need to do a better job of reading the fine print.

Regardless, it seems a bit strange to me that they would print a line on my statement for “Ultimate Rewards Travel” along with a $0 value when they know full well that the bonus won’t post until the end of November.

Whatever. The point here is that if your statement is showing $0 in bonus rewards, don’t worry. They’re not actually supposed to be there until later this fall.

Important Note! The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit card prior to applying.

Published on August 13th, 2010
Modified on December 5th, 2013 - 10 Comments
Filed under: Credit Cards

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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10 Responses to “Why Didn’t I Earn Bonus Rewards from Chase?”

  1. 1
    smartcredit Says:

    I noticed the same on my Chase Sapphire card. I pulled out the CC information and read the fine print, which indicates that bonus points will post in 6 to 8 weeks.

    I prefer not to call CC companies because it is such a drain of my time and energy. Whenever I have a question, I go directly to the fine print. If that does not help, I email Customer Service. If that does not work, then I call the CC company.

  2. 2
    arvin Says:

    Good to know! I’ve usually been paying for gas by cash because it was a few cents cheaper but 5% is unbeatable. I also just bought a hotel for an anniversary so hopefully there won’t be a problem with that (it won’t get charged until the latter half of September anyway).

    Personally I’m always more concerned that the merchant I buy from isn’t designated the correct category… you know if I bought gas from a gas station/grocery store, it would get categorized as groceries or something.

  3. 3
    Nickel Says:

    arvin: It works both ways, though. Super Walmart tends to report as a grocery store (at least around here), so you get the juicy grocery rewards on anything you buy at Walmart. Also, many cards that offers bonuses on gas tend to do the same for groceries so it’s less of a risk.

  4. 4
    Josh Says:

    Haha, Yeah. I had the same question and asked the rep and got the same answer. They better keep my bonus points and credit me lump-sum. I fully expect to receive 5% on all my travel related costs as I have few on my own.

  5. 5
    mbhunter Says:

    That, and credit card companies enjoy moving your cheese.

  6. 6
    c herie Says:

    LOL I did the same thing the first time they had those categories – down to the phone call ;)

    No one can stay on top of EVERYTHING all the time!

  7. 7
    smartcredit Says:

    You can buy gift cards at gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores, etc., get 5% rebate, and use the gift cards when the rotating categories change.

    My Chase Sapphire offers 5% on gas, groceries, restaurants, utilities, hair salons, etc. until 31 Dec. This was a promo specific to certain customers; I don’t think you can call in to get it. I plan to prepay some utilities and buy some gift cards for use after 31 Dec.

  8. 8
    Seth @ Boy Meets Food Says:

    I’m just about finished with the Chase Freedom card. I have now had the card for a couple of years, and they have changed the way I earn rewards multiple times during that period. Now that the rewards won’t even be posted until the end of the quarter, I don’t know if I am willing to keep dealing with them. I think I am going to cash out as soon as I get enough rewards for another gift card, and close my Chase accounts. Unfortunately, there aren’t many good options for credit cards right now, but I do have one or two others that are just as good, and have far better customer service.

  9. 9
    fairydust Says:

    Thanks for this clarification. I just bought a plane ticket and made sure to use my Freedom cc because of the 5% on travel-related items. So when I don’t see that extra 4% on the next statement, maybe I’ll remember this post before I call and demand to know why :)

  10. 10
    Matt Says:

    In my experience, the bonus rewards post on the statement following the end of the bonus period. For example, my bonus reward for the Q2 promotion (home, lawn & garden, etc.) showed up on my statement dated 7/26.

    Also, the “Ultimate Rewards Travel” line on the statement is only for the extra 1% (2%?) bonus you receive for booking travel through the Ultimate Rewards travel site. The quarterly promotion bonus will show up as a separate line item under your Ultimate Rewards summary on the statement it is credited to your account.

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