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The Chase Freedom card can easily be one of the more rewarding credit cards in your purse or wallet, thanks to its rotating 5% bonus categories. Depending on the quarter, the categories can range from grocery stores to gas stations, mobile payments and more, allowing cardholders to maximize their rewards on a number of purchases. Plus, when coupled with an Ultimate Rewards-earning card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you can instantly convert your cash back to Ultimate Rewards points that can be transferred to the program’s hotel and airline partners.
Through September 30, 2018, you’ll continue to earn 5% back (or 5x points) on the third quarter categories: Lyft, Walgreens and gas stations. However, beginning October 1, the new group of quarterly categories will be:
- Wholesale clubs
- Department stores
- Chase Pay
In order to start earning the 5%/5x bonus in these categories, you’ll need to activate them on the Chase website between September 15 and December 14 (but do it now so you won’t forget). The Q4 bonus categories will run all the way through the rest of the year until December 31, when the 2019 first quarter categories will kick in starting on January 1. Remember that you can only earn the bonus on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in these categories each quarter.
These fourth quarter categories are quite appealing, especially considering their timing for the holiday season. With Chase Pay included as a bonus category, you can essentially earn 5% back (or 5x points) on any purchase, as long as the retailer accepts Chase Pay as a form of payment. Examples of retailers that accept Chase Pay include Starbucks, Walmart, Best Buy, Shell, ShopRite and more. Department stores is also a broad category that can easily be maximized when making your holiday purchases.
If you don’t yet have a Chase Freedom, there’s still time to sign up in order to take advantage of the upcoming Q4 bonus categories. The card, which has no annual fee, currently comes with a sign-up bonus of $150 (or 15,000 points if you have one of the Chase Sapphire cards) after you spend $500 in the first three months of account opening. The card is a great one to have in your wallet in order to fine tune your Ultimate Reward-earning strategy — check out our full review of the card here.
Featured photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy.
It's a stellar cash back card on its own, but when paired with the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred, the Freedom's 5x Category Bonuses let you rack up Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, transferrable to partners or redeemable via the portal.
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.99-25.74%. Balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
- Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
- Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
- Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
- Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
- Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
- Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
- No annual fee