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Chase Freedom® cashback rewards calendar 2019
Discover 5% cashback categories and updates you'll want to know.
Our pick for rotating cashback
Chase Freedom®Read more
|Quarters||January–March 2019||April–June 2019||July–September 2019||October–December 2019|
|Primary 5% category||Gas stations||Grocery stores — excludes Walmart and Target||Gas stations||Department stores|
|5% sub category||Tolls and drugstores||Home improvement stores||Select streaming services||PayPal and Chase Pay|
Grocery stores remain unchanged as a 5% cashback category in the April to June 2019 quarter, gas stations remain unchanged in July to September and Department stores and Chase Pay remain unchanged in October to December.
The main difference appears to lie with subcategories. Last year, you could earn 5% cash back on PayPal and Chase Pay purchases in the second quarter and on Lyft and Walgreens in the third. In 2019, Chase removed these subcategories and added home improvement stores and select streaming services instead. But now Chase added PayPal back in the last quarter of 2019.
Steps to activate your Chase Freedom® 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® cashback categories two weeks before the quarter starts until the 14th day of the final month of the quarter.
This means for the October through December quarter, you can activate the 5% category by Saturday, December 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® 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®, 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®. 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.
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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.
- 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® 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%.
The Chase Freedom® 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.
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