The new Chase Freedom® 5% cash back categories for Q4 2018 include department stores and wholesale clubs

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In a Nutshell

The Chase Freedom® credit card includes 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter you activate in bonus categories that include purchases made at grocery stores and those made with PayPal and Chase Pay®. Just make sure you activate by June 14, 2018.

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The newest Chase Freedom® category might encourage you to skip takeout and cook more often.

For the second quarter of 2018, Chase Freedom® offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in three bonus categories when you activate:

  • Department stores
  • Wholesale clubs
  • Chase Pay®

You could earn 5% cash back not only on purchases from gas stations like ExxonMobil and Shell, but also when you use the rideshare service, Lyft.

From our partner

Chase Freedom®

From cardholders in the last year

See Details, Rates & Fees

If you’re a Chase Freedom® cardholder, you can activate the 5% categories on the card as early as September 15 to qualify for the promotion and earn the maximum cash back benefit on purchases from the bonus categories this quarter – up to $75. You’ll also earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Chase Freedom® cash back calendar 2018

Here’s a look at the 2018 categories so far, plus what to expect:

Q1: January–March 2018 Q2: April–June 2018 Q3: July-September 2018 Q4: October-December 2018
  • Gas stations
  • Internet, cable and phone service providers
  • Mobile wallets, including Chase Pay®, Google Pay, Apple Pay® and Samsung Pay®
  • PayPal
  • Chase Pay®
  • Grocery stores (both bricks-and-mortar and online delivery services)
  • Gas stations
  • Walgreens
  • Lyft
  • Department stores
  • Wholesale clubs
  • Chase Pay®

How to get the most out of your Chase Freedom® categories

Remember that Chase Freedom® offers rotating categories.

That means that while gas stations might be eligible in one quarter, grocery or restaurant purchases might be eligible in the next quarter.

Chase Freedom® often revisits these and other categories each year. To maximize your cash back, you’ll have to keep track of the categories each quarter and prioritize your spending accordingly.

It’s important to note that you will not automatically earn 5% with Chase Freedom®. You must manually activate the promotion each quarter. You can do this by email, phone or online, or at a Chase® location.

The deadline to activate your 5% cash back for Q3 is December 14, 2018. As long as you activate by the deadline, you will be eligible for 5% cash back on qualifying purchases you made dating back to the beginning of the quarter. But if you fail to activate in time, you could miss out.

Learn more tips on how to maximize your Chase Freedom® benefits.

At a glance: Credit cards to pair with Chase Freedom®

You already have Chase Freedom® in your wallet, but are there other cards to add to your repertoire that could complement your Chase Freedom® rewards? Here are a few cards that could pair well with it to help you maximize your rewards potential.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

From our partner

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

From cardholders in the last year

See Details, Rates & Fees

Get more for your points.

Transfer the 5% cash back points you earn from the Chase Freedom® card to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card to redeem the points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® for 50% more value when you redeem for travel.

Citi® Double Cash Card

From our partner

Citi® Double Cash Card

From cardholders in the last year

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Get more for all other purchases.

With the Citi® Double Cash Card, you’ll get 2% cash back (1% cash back for purchases and 1% when you pay off those purchases).

This is a great card for purchases outside of the Chase Freedom® bonus categories, as well as all purchases after you’ve exhausted your quarterly 5% cash back from Chase Freedom®.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

From our partner
See Details, Rates & Fees

Earn consistent high rewards for everyday purchases.

With this card, you earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, and then 1%) and 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores.

This is a great card to use for everyday purchases when the Chase Freedom® category is not currently supermarkets, gas or department stores.


Bottom line

As long as you activate each quarter, the rotating bonus categories offered by Chase Freedom® are a great opportunity to maximize the cash back earnings from your everyday expenses. Just make sure you check back each quarter to keep an eye on any new categories and prioritize your spending accordingly.