Chase announces new 5x quarterly bonuses on Freedom, Freedom Flex: PayPal, Walmart

Sep 15, 2020

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Editor’s note: This is The Points Guy’s permanent page about Chase Freedom and Freedom Flex’s latest quarterly bonus categories. 

It’s almost hard to believe, but Q4 of 2020 is almost here.

October 1 marks the start of the final quarter of the year, which means new opportunities to earn 5% (or 5x points) with your Chase Freedom (No longer open to new applicants) and the new Chase Freedom Flex card. Starting today, you can activate for bonus rewards on PayPal and Walmart purchases — both of which can be quite lucrative, especially during the upcoming holiday season.

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The information for the Chase Freedom and Freedom Flex has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.       

Chase Freedom and Freedom Flex Q4 categories

From Oct. 1, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2020, Chase Freedom and Freedom Flex cardholders can earn 5% cash back on the following categories:

  • PayPal
  • Walmart

Don’t forget to activate your categories in order to earn 5%/5x, which you can do online through your Chase account.

New Chase Freedom Flex

For existing Freedom cardholders, the Freedom Flex is available as a product change. If you don’t have the Freedom, you can apply for the Freedom Flex as a new product. The Freedom card is no longer open to new applicants.

This new Flex also comes with 5% on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% cash back on drugstores, 3% on dining (including eligible delivery services), and 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases. Those are the bonus categories as the relaunched Chase Freedom Unlimited.

Frequently asked questions about Chase Freedom and freedom flex bonus categories

How do rotating categories work?

Each quarter, Chase announces a group of bonus categories that will earn 5% cash back throughout the upcoming three-month period. Generally, these categories are announced halfway through the month before the new quarter starts to give cardholders time to activate new categories beforehand. However, you can activate your categories up until midway through the last month of the quarter.

The categories tend to repeat — grocery stores, restaurants and gas stations are all common categories that you’ll notice frequently pop up on the cash back calendar, for example. When you maximize your rotating categories, these types of cards can offer quite a nice chunk of cash back over the year.

Related reading: Check out our full Chase Freedom card review

How much cash back can I earn each quarter?

Chase limits 5% back to the first $1,500 spent in combined bonus categories each quarter you activate. While $1,500 doesn’t sound like a lot, that cash back can rack up over time. If you maximize the cash back categories each quarter, you’ll earn $75 in cash back — $300 per year. For a no-annual-fee credit card, that’s a lot of value.

How do I activate my 5% categories each quarter?

As always, beginning today, head over to Chase’s site to activate your 5% cash back. You can also register through your Chase mobile app, making one less credit card website you’ll need to visit regularly this year.

Here’s how to register:

  1. Head to the Chase bonus activation page or log-in to your Chase account.
  2. Enter your last name, last four digits of your card number and your billing zip code. If you don’t have your card on hand, log into your Chase account to retrieve these digits.
  3. Click “Activate Now” to register.
  4. If you have multiple Chase Freedom cards, make sure to register each one.
  5. Save a screenshot of your activation, just in case there are any issues later.

How do I maximize my Chase Freedom and Freedom Flex card?

Of course, the most important thing is to make sure you’re activating your categories each quarter and then actually using your card for those categories.

You can set up a recurring reminder in your calendar, or you can sign up for the TPG newsletter (we send out a reminder when it’s time to activate every quarter — plus tips and tricks for maximizing your card strategy and scoring some awesome award redemptions).

Better yet, paired with a Chase credit card that earns Ultimate Rewards points like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, the Chase Freedom’s 5% cash back effectively becomes 5x Ultimate Rewards points, as you can learn all about in our guide detailing Chase’s “Perfect Quartet.”

Bottom line

If you’re not already a cardholder, now’s as good a time as any to sign up.

You can redeem points for cash back (100 points = $1), or transfer them to Chase Ultimate Rewards if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve and redeem the points at a higher value. From there, you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to travel partners like SouthwestHyatt and United.

Additional reporting by Chris Dong and Madison Blancaflor. 

Featured photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
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