Update: Reader K let me know that PPK with a Freedom Flex worked at Costco.com, so we may be in a YMMV situation based on merchant or, perhaps based on cardholder.

The Chase Freedom and Freedom Flex Q4 5x categories are PayPal and Walmart, though I’m almost certain all of you already knew that. (Don’t forget to activate all of your Freedom and Freedom Flex cards at this link.) I had assumed this would be about the easiest time of the year to max out the $1,500 of 5x spend on my Freedom portfolio because with the use of PayPal Key, everything that accepts a virtual debit card would count as PayPal spend when a Freedom was backing the virtual debit card.

Well that was wishful thinking. It seems that Chase blocked all PayPal Key transactions on Freedom and Freedom Flex transactions starting on the first day of Q4 (Friday) for me, and for everyone else that I’ve talked to. Who wants to bet on when they turn it back on? My guess is January 1, 2022.

How do we pivot? It’s easier than you may think, though slightly harder than if PPK worked. Options:

  • Pay with PayPal at CVS. You could buy $505.95 worth of tic-tacs and aspirin three times I guess
  • Watch for deals on gift cards for resale at PayPal Digital Gifts, Bitmo, or Slide
  • Send money to your P2 using PayPal (the fees are about 2.9% though, so use this as a last resort)

Or, you could be basic and use it for your regular spend I guess. You’ll get the same 5x, but you’ll miss-out on the smugness of knowing that you beat the system.

Side note: I believe this is the first instance of Chase actively blocking something ripe for MS in a long, long time. That’s a troubling development.

Chase trying to force choke PayPal Key users.