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Chase Freedom Flex℠ cashback rewards calendar 2021

Discover 5% cashback categories and updates you'll want to know.

Cashback calendar: Chase Freedom Flex℠

Up to 5%

Cash back

  • 5% back in rotating categories on up to $1,500 quarterly, then 1%
  • New rewards on travel, dining and drugstores
  • No annual fee
See offer
Chase Freedom Flex℠ is a strong credit card for earning 5% cash back on multiple categories. The catch: You must activate the 5% cashback categories every three months, and you’re capped at $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter. For all other purchases, you earn unlimited 1% cash back.

What is the cashback category for January to March 2021?

Gas stations and home improvement stores are the new 5% cashback category in the April through June 2021 quarter. The gas category last appeared in January 2020, while home improvements appeared in April 2019.

Chase Freedom Flex℠ 2021 cashback calendar

QuartersJanuary–March 2021April–June 2021July–September 2021October–December 2020
Primary 5% categoryWholesale clubsGasGrocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart)Walmart
5% sub categorySelect streaming services, Internet, cable and phone servicesHome improvementsSelect streaming servicesPayPal

What were the card’s previous quarterly categories?

One of the exciting things about Chase Freedom Flex℠ is that its bonus categories aren’t set in stone. The categories change every quarter, which is a three-month period. If you’d like to read the tea leaves and try to predict what’s coming next, check out this chart to see previous bonus categories.

YearQuarter5% categories
2020January-March
  • Gas stations
  • Internet, cable and phone services
  • Qualifying streaming services
April-June
  • Grocery stores
  • Gym memberships/fitness clubs
  • Qualifying streaming services
July-September
  • Amazon.com
  • Whole Foods Market
October-December
  • Walmart
  • PayPal
2019January-March
  • Gas stations
  • Drug stores
  • Tolls
April-June
  • Grocery stores
  • Home improvement
July-September
  • Gas stations
  • Streaming services
October-December
  • Chase Pay
  • PayPal
  • Department stores
2018January-March
  • Mobile wallets
  • Gas stations
  • Internet, cable and phone service providers
April-June
  • Groceries
  • PayPal
  • Chase Pay
July-September
  • Lyft
  • Walgreens
  • Gas stations
October-December
  • Wholesale clubs
  • Department stores
  • Chase Pay
2017January-March
  • Gas stations
  • Local commuter transportation
April-June
  • Grocery stores
  • Drug stores
July-September
  • Restaurants
  • Movie theaters
October-December
  • Walmart
  • Department stores
2016January-March
  • Gas stations
  • Local commuter transportation
April-June
  • Grocery stores
  • Wholesale clubs
July-September
  • Restaurants
  • Wholesale clubs
October-December
  • Wholesale clubs
  • Drug stores
  • Department stores
2015January-March
  • Grocery stores
  • Movie theaters
  • Starbucks
April-June
  • Restaurants
  • Bed, Bath & Beyond
  • H&M
  • Overstock.com
July-September
  • Gas stations
  • Kohl’s
October-December
  • Amazon.com
  • Zappos.com
  • Audible.com
  • Diapers.com
2014January-March
  • Gas stations
  • Movie theaters
  • Starbucks
April-June
  • Restaurants
  • Lowe’s
July-September
  • Gas stations
  • Kohl’s
October-December
  • Amazon.com
  • Zappos.com
  • Department stores

Steps to activate your Chase Freedom Flex℠ cashback categories

Getting 5% cash back on your purchases is a solid deal. But you must activate each category to get your rewards.

When to activate

You can activate your Chase Freedom Flex℠ cashback categories two weeks before the quarter starts until the 14th day of the final month of the quarter.
This means for the April through June quarter, you can activate the 5% category now or by Monday, June 14, and get cash back retroactively on all qualifying purchases.

How to activate

Choose among four ways to activate your categories:

  • Visit the Chase Freedom Flex℠ or Chase Ultimate Rewards website. Provide your email and get notifications when it’s time to activate
  • Call the number on the back of your card
  • Visit a Chase bank branch
  • Use an ATM while making a cash withdrawal if you’re a Chase checking customer

What counts as a 5% cashback category purchase?

Up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter in the accelerated categories earn 5% cash back. After that, and for everything else you buy, you earn 1% cash back. If you maximize your categories, you can earn $300 annually on these categories alone.

With the Chase Freedom Flex℠, you actually earn points

Unlike other cashback credit cards that earn you cash as a statement credit or a deposit, you earn points with the Chase Freedom Flex℠. This gives you redemption flexibility to get cash or gift cards, book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program or pay for your Amazon purchases.

Compare cashback credit cards

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
6% on select US streaming services, 3% on transit and US gas stations, 6% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 annually, then 1% after that and on all other purchases (redeem as statement credit)
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn up to $350. In your first 6 months, you can earn a $150 statement credit when you spend $3,000, and earn 20% back on Amazon purchases made with your card, up to $200 total. Having 6 months to earn a welcome offer is a rare benefit as most cards give you only 3. Terms apply, see rates & fees
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
3% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year (then 1%), 2% at US gas stations and select US department stores and 1% on all other purchases (redeem as statement credit)
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
$0
Earn up to $250. You'll get 20% back on Amazon.com purchases in the first six months for up to $150 back, and $100 after you spend $2,000 in the first six months. This is a higher-than-average welcome offer for a card with no annual fee. Terms apply, see rates & fees
Citi Custom Cash℠ Card
5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle on up to the first $500 spent, then 1% cash back thereafter and on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
$0
A new cashback card that automatically awards 5% to your highest eligible spending category each billing cycle, on up to $500 (then 1%).
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Compare up to 4 providers

Tips to maximize your Chase rewards

  • Clear the signup bonus.
    Spend $500 on purchases within your first 3 months of card membership to earn bonus cash back. Plus earn 5% cash back at grocery stores on up to $12,000 in the first year.
  • Add an authorized user.
    Another cardmember on your account can help you quickly clear the signup bonus and reach the 5% cap on quarterly categories.
  • Pair your card.
    The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is an excellent credit card by itself. But pair it with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve® for a solid points-earning combo.
  • Transfer your points.
    If you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, transfer your points to that card for redemption through Chase Ultimate Rewards at 25% higher value. Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® let you transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio with Chase hotel and airline partners.
  • Link your card to PayPal.
    Quickly reach the cap when PayPal is listed in the 5% categories.
  • Use a digital wallet.
    When Chase Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or a similar service is listed in the quarterly categories, use them to pay for purchases that otherwise don’t fall into the category for 5% back, instead of the base 1%.

Bottom line

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ can be a solid choice if you’re looking to get the highest cash back on multiple categories that rotate throughout the year. It can be an even better choice if you pair it with either the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve® to maximize your rewards.

If you use a digital wallet — especially Chase Pay — you can earn 5% cash back on categories that aren’t listed in the quarters. Similar cashback cards don’t have this option.

Not sure if this card is right for you? Consider other cashback credit cards to find the strongest you’re eligible for.
The 3 types of cashback credit cards explained

Frequently asked questions

  • What can I redeem my points for?

    Redeem your points for:

    • Cash as a statement credit or direct deposit into most US checking and savings accounts
    • Amazon.com purchases after you’ve linked your card to your Amazon account
    • Gift cards
    • Travel bookings
  • Do I need to activate the 5% categories if I have multiple Chase Freedom Flex cards?
    Yes, you must activate the categories on all cards to earn accelerated cash back.
  • Which digital wallet purchases get 5% cash back?
    Every purchase you make with your Chase Freedom Flex℠ card through Chase Pay, Google Pay, Apple Pay or Samsung Pay at checkout will earn 5% back if you’re enrolled in the quarterly category.

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