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Chase Freedom Flex℠ cashback rewards calendar 2020

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

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Chase Freedom Flex℠

Chase Freedom Flex℠ logo

Up to 5%

Cash back

  • Huge signup bonus for a no-annual-fee card
  • 5% back in rotating categories on up to $1,500 quarterly, then 1%
  • New rewards on travel, dining and drugstores
Apply now
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.

But as of July 2020, grocery stores are the new signup bonus category where you earn 5% back on up to $12,000 for your first year. After that, you’ll earn 1% at grocery stores when it’s not one of the earning categories. This category doesn’t rotate and you don’t have to activate.

What is the cashback category for October to December 2020?

Walmart and purchases made with PayPal are the new 5% cashback category in the October to December 2020 quarter. PayPal appeared as cashback category in the same quarter in 2019, while Walmart last appeared during the same quarter three years ago.

Keep in mind, using PayPal to pay for Walmart purchases will only earn 5% cash back and not double.

Finder tip: You can get uncapped 5% cash back on Walmart purchases during the entire year with the Walmart Rewards™ Mastercard®.

Chase Freedom Flex℠ 2020 cashback calendar

QuartersJanuary–March 2020April–June 2020July–September 2020October–December 2020
Primary 5% categoryGas stationsGrocery stores — excludes Walmart and TargetAmazon.comWalmart
5% sub categorySelect streaming services, Internet, cable and phone servicesFitness club and gym membershipWhole Foods MarketPayPal

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 October through December quarter, you can activate the 5% category now or by Monday, 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 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
Chase Freedom Flex℠
5% back in rotating categories up to $1,500 combined each activated quarter (then 1%), 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
$0
Get up to 5% cashback in rotating and newly added everyday categories. The refreshed Freedom Flex card has lots of earning potential.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
2% at US gas stations and select US department stores, 3% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
$0
Get 3% cash back on groceries on up to $6,000 annually (then 1%) with no annual fee. This is a simple and effective rewards card. Rates & fees
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
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
$95
Perfect for families: Get up to 6% on everyday purchases and a welcome offer worth $250. This heavy-hitter rewards card has uncontested value. Rates & fees
Citi® Double Cash Card
Up to 2% cash back on purchases (1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay)
13.99% to 23.99% variable
$0
Earn up to 2% on every purchase with no annual fee. This is the highest flat-rate cashback card on the market.
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, 5% on Lyft, 3% on dining and drugstores and 1.5% on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
$0
This solid 1.5% cashback card gets even better with the addition of up to 5% back in categories like travel, drug stores and dining.
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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. 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

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