Should You Jump on the Chase Freedom 10X on Hotel and Rental Car Promotion?

Chase is running a new promotion where you can earn a total of 10% Cash Back on up to $2,500 in combined hotel and car rental purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards. That amounts to 25,000 Ultimate Rewards. If you value Chase Ultimate Rewards at 2 cents per point, that’s $500. 

The catch to the promotion? The bookings have to be made on your Chase Freedom or Chase Freedom Unlimited card and the purchases must be made from March 1, 2017 to March 31, 2017 through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

Every now and again Chase offers these special 10X promotions for the Freedom card (now cards). For example, in 2015, they allowed you to earn 10X on purchases during the holidays, which was a pretty tremendous promotion that ran concurrent with the quarterly 5X offer at the time.
This time, the promotion is for rental cars and hotels. Normally, the Freedom card would earn you 1X on all non-rotating 5X categories (hotels and rental do not fall in those). The Freedom Unlimited on the other hand would earn you 1.5X on all purchases.
So 10X seems like a monster leap that’s worth jumping on but you may want to curtail your excitement. That’s because this promotion may not be ideal for your booking situations.
And here are two major reasons why:

Loss of elite benefits

Generally, when you book through the Chase portal you are not given your elite benefits. That’s because the hotel views your booking the same as it would from any other online travel agency (OTA), such as Expedia or So if you were due complimentary breakfasts or were eligible for a room upgrade from say, Hilton Honors Gold Status, you would likely not receive those benefits and  you’d lose out on point earning potential, too.
Now, if you’re headed to a destination where elite status benefits would not come into the equation then this is probably a moot point, but it’s still something worth considering. Also, if you have a credit card like the Sapphire Reserve, you can still earn 3X on your hotel purchase so it’s not a complete loss.

 Primary rental car insurance

I think every rental car I’ve booked in the previous two years has been booked with my Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve. And that’s because both of those cards come with primary rental car insurance (versus the Freedom cards which come with secondary).
This means that if you were to get into an auto accident, you shouldn’t have to file a claim with your insurance company, which means that you don’t risk a premium increase or having to take care of other deductible expenses.
In many ways, the primary insurance benefit may be worth paying the annual fee on a card like the Sapphire Preferred by itself!

Final word 

So with those two things in mind, I don’t think that I would personally take advantage of this promotion. But that’s not to say it’s worthless. Again, you might be in situations where hotel status is a non-issue and where it makes sense to earn some Ultimate Rewards. And since 10X on hotel purchases can add up very quickly, this could be a worthwhile option.

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