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Chase Freedom® cashback rewards calendar 2019

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Find out the 5% Chase Freedom® cashback categories.

Chase Freedom® is a great credit card for earning accelerated rewards with your purchases. With quarterly rotating categories, you can earn cash or points to use for or travel. But the catch is you need to 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’ll still earn unlimited 1% cash back, though.

Here’s a layout of what you can expect:

QuartersJanuary–March 2019April–June 2019July–September 2018October–December 2018
Primary 5% categoryGas stationsGrocery stores — Walmart and Target not includedGas stationsDepartment stores
5% sub categoryTolls and drugstoresHome improvement storesLyft and WalgreensWholesale clubs and Chase Pay

Chase Freedom®

  • 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 17.24-25.99%. 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
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What’s new

Grocery stores remain unchanged as a 5% cashback category in the April to June 2019 quarter. The main difference between this quarter in 2019 and 2018 is the subcategory.

Last year, you could earn 5% cash back on PayPal and Chase Pay purchases. In 2019, Chase removed this subcategory and added home improvement stores instead.

This category includes stores that sell a variety of home improvement supplies and hardware. But some larger stores — such as warehouse clubs, discount stores and stores that sell home furnishings, garden and landscaping supplies — may not be included.

Steps to activate your Chase Freedom® cashback categories

Getting 5% cash back on your purchases is a great deal. But you have to 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 that for the January through March quarter you can activate the 5% category by March 14 and still get the cash back retroactively on all qualifying purchases.

How to activate?

There are a few 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 per quarter purchased in the accelerated categories earn 5% cash back. After that, and for everything else you buy, you’ll 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 where you earn cash as a statement credit or a deposit, with the Chase Freedom® you earn points. This gives you redemption flexibility to get cash, gift cards, to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program or to pay for your purchases.

Compare cashback credit cards

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual Fee
3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent, then unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
17.24% to 25.99% variable
Earn 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent. After that earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
5% back in rotating categories up to $1,500 combined each activated quarter, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
17.24% to 25.99% variable
0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers.
5% on up to $2,000 each activated quarter on two categories combined (1% after), 2% on one everyday category and 1% on all other purchases
16.24% to 25.74% variable
When you spend $500 on your card within the first 90 days, you’ll receive a $150 cash back bonus.
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
15.24% to 26.24% variable
Earn a $150 bonus statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
6% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%. 3% at US gas stations and select US department stores and 1% on all other purchases
15.24% to 26.24% variable
Earn $200 bonus cash back after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & Fees

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 and earn $150 bonus cash back.

  • Add an authorized user.

    This way you can quickly clear the signup bonus and reach the 5% cap on the 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® and you can get a solid, points-earning combo.

  • Transfer your points.

    If you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, transfer your points to that card and redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards for 25% higher value. Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® also let you transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio with Chase hotel and airline partners.

  • Link your card to PayPal.

    This can help you 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 and get 5% back instead of the base 1%.

Compare Chase Freedom® vs Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Compare bonus rewards categories

The Discover it® Cash Back has the following 5% cashback categories in 2019:

  • January to March
    Grocery Stores
  • April to June
    Gas stations, Uber and Lyft
  • July to September
  • October to December

Both the Chase Freedom® and the Discover it® Cash Back cards have offered gas stations, grocery stores and wholesale clubs in the previous quarters. The two categories lacking in the Chase card were restaurants and purchases.

However, when Chase Pay is listed in the 5% categories, use it on categories that aren’t listed, including restaurants that accept this payment method.

Which card is better?

It’s hard to give a universal answer since everyone’s spending needs are unique to their lifestyle. But if you’re looking to maximize your cash back, using both cards for the 5% cashback categories could prove worthwhile.

Bottom line

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.

But if you’re not sure whether this card is right for you, consider other cashback credit cards and compare your options.
The 3 types of cashback credit cards, explained

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