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This article was last updated Apr 10, 2019, but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.
Chase Freedom® cardholders can now activate their bonus 5% cashback categories for the first quarter of 2019 — gas stations, tolls, and drug stores. Activation is available until March 14 to benefit from the higher rewards rate: Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
We’ll review the first quarter bonus cashback categories for the Chase Freedom®, what you need to know to earn 5% cash back, and how the Chase Freedom® calendar compares to Discover’s 5% cashback calendar.
Chase Freedom® cashback calendar 2019
|January – March||April – June||July – September
(activate starting June 15)
|October – December
(activate starting September 15)
|Gas stations, tolls, drugstores||Grocery stores* and home improvement stores||Select streaming services (including Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, and more) and gas stations||TBA|
* Not including Target and Walmart.
Here’s what you need to know:
- You need to activate the bonus categories to earn 5% cash back. Chase allows you to add reminders to your calendar. Easily activate via ultimaterewards.com or chase.com/freedom or by calling the number on the back of your card.
- Each quarter, cardholders can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in that quarter’s bonus categories. After you hit the maximum spend of $1,500 in that category, you’ll earn 1% cash back.
- All purchases outside the bonus categories automatically earn unlimited 1% cash back.
How the 2019 calendar compares to 2018
While the full 2019 cashback calendar isn’t available — Chase only releases bonus categories every quarter — you can get a good idea of what bonus categories Chase may include this year by looking at the 2018 cashback calendar.
Here are the bonus categories from 2018:
|Chase Freedom® cashback calendar 2018|
|January – March||April – June||July – September||October – December|
|Gas stations, internet/cable/phone services, Chase Pay®, Google Pay, Apple Pay®, Samsung Pay||Grocery stores, Paypal, Chase Pay®||Gas stations, Lyft, Walgreens||Department stores, wholesale clubs, Chase Pay®|
New additions for the first quarter of 2019 include tolls and drugstores, but mobile phone payment apps were removed. Last year, tolls weren’t a bonus category at all and drugstores were limited to purchases only made at Walgreens in the third quarter. However, Chase Pay®, Google Pay, Apple Pay®, Samsung Pay may reappear as bonus categories later in the year.
And, hopefully, Chase will bring back restaurants as a bonus category, since it hasn’t appeared since 2017.
Earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months
17.24% - 25.99% Variable
- 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
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 17.24-25.99%.
- 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5.
- No annual fee
- 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 JourneySM
See additional details for Chase Freedom®
Chase cashback calendar vs. Discover cashback calendar
Chase currently only revealed the first three bonus categories of 2019, while Discover has released its full cashback calendar for the year. The ability to see all of the bonus categories for the year gives Discover a leg up on Chase, since cardholders are able to plan spending months in advance. While Chase’s bonus categories for the fourth quarter is unknown, you most likely can expect to see wholesale clubs and department stores, since both have been on the 2017 and 2018 calendars.
Here’s what we know so far:
|Chase Freedom®||Discover it® Cash Back|
|January – March||Gas stations, tolls, drugstores||Grocery stores|
|April – June||Grocery stores (not including Target and Walmart) and home improvement stores||Gas stations, Uber and Lyft|
|July – September||Select streaming services (including Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, and more) and gas stations||Restaurants and PayPal|
|October – December||TBA||Amazon.com, Target, and Walmart.com|
Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically*
Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter up to the quarterly maximum, when you activate*
Any amount, any time. Cash back rewards never expire*
- INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
- Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate.
- Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
- Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
- Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
- Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
- No annual fee.
- See Rates & Fees
See additional details for Discover it® Cash Back
Alternative to quarterly bonus category cards
An alternative to Discover and Chase’s quarterly rotating bonus categories is the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card - $200 Cash Rewards Offer which will provide cardholders a flexible rewards program beginning January 14.
If you’re an existing or new Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card - $200 Cash Rewards Offer holder, you’ll be able to earn 3% cash back in one of six categories: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement and furnishings; 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs; and unlimited 1% on all other purchases. Unlike other rotating bonus category cards that preselect bonus categories every quarter, cardholders can choose which one of the six categories they want to earn 3% cash back in every month.
In addition to a cashback program, the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card - $200 Cash Rewards Offer offers a 0% introductory apr on purchases for 12 billing cycles (after, 16.24% - 26.24% Variable APR APR). This allows you to finance new purchases over a year without incurring interest charges. Just know that the Chase Freedom® offers a longer 0% intro apr on purchases for 15 months (after, 17.24% - 25.99% Variable APR), which provides more interest-free financing.
0% Introductory APR on purchases for 12 billing cycles
0% Intro APR for 12 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days
16.24% - 26.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
- No annual fee
- $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
- Earn 3% cash back on gas or your choice of one of five other popular categories, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and unlimited 1% on all other purchases (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases)
- 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the intro APR offer ends, 16.24% - 26.24% Variable APR will apply. A 3% fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers
- No expiration on rewards
- If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% - 75% more cash back on every purchase
See additional details for Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card - $200 Cash Rewards Offer