chase freedom categories

The Latest Chase Freedom & Freedom Flex Quarterly Bonus Categories

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A new quarter means a new quarterly set of Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom categories where you can earn a bonus 5% cash back on up to $1,500 of spending in select merchant categories through the end of the year.

And these categories should be fairly easy to maximize, helping you earn a maximum of $75 cashback over the next month and a half – or 7,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Keep reading to see what these categories are, how to put them to use, and why it might be worth sticking the Chase Freedom Flex card in your wallet.


Chase Freedom & Freedom Flex Q4 Bonus Categories

Through the end of the year (December 2020), Freedom and Freedom Flex cardholders will earn 5% cash back (5x Chase Ultimate Rewards points) on all spending at both Walmart and Paypal. Once you spend $1,500 combined across both categories, you’ll start earning just 1% back (or 1x Ultimate Rewards point) through the end of the year.

To take advantage of the current Freedom bonus categories, you’ll actually need to activate these latest additions if you haven’t already. Just head to the Chase bonus activation page – and be sure to register before Dec. 14, 2020.

chase freedom categories


How to Maximize the Current 5% Back Chase Freedom Categories

The easiest way to maximize the current Q4 bonus categories through Dec. 2020 is by using PayPal Key. It’s a free virtual credit card from PayPal that will link to your Chase Freedom Flex (or regular Freedom) card.

And once your card is linked, you can use PayPal Key to pay virtually anywhere online where credit cards are accepted. Every time you use PayPal Key, it will charge your linked Chase Freedom Flex credit card which in turn will earn you 5% cash back up to $1,500.

Head to this link on the PayPal website for more information about PayPal Key and to set it up for your Chase Freedom or Freedom Flex Card.

The Basics of the Chase Freedom Flex Card

If you aren’t familiar with the Chase Freedom Flex credit card, it’s a phenomenal cashback card with no annual fee.

That’s largely because of these rotating quarterly categories, in which you can earn 5% cashback on up to $1,500 of spending each and every quarter. What’s more, you’ll also earn 5% back at grocery stores (except for Target and Walmart) as well as 3% back on several other categories.

The card launched in September 2020 as a replacement to the original Chase Freedom Card, but these bonus categories are also available to anyone who still holds the original Freedom card.

And if you’re after more Chase Ultimate Rewards points instead of cashback, you’re in luck. That’s because, as an added bonus, if you hold a Chase Sapphire Preferred or a Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card, the cashback earned from the Freedom cards can be moved into your Ultimate Rewards points balance . Every cent of cashback you earn can get you 1 Chase point.

That means you can effectively earn 5x Ultimate Rewards per dollar spent on the bonus categories from the Freedom Flex card. That’s a great deal, and the reason the Chase Freedom Flex card is the perfect complement to the Sapphire credit cards.

Here’s what you need to know about the Chase Freedom Flex Card.

Sign up Bonus: Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 in the first three months of card membership. The $200 can be converted to 20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points if you carry either the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Earn 5% cashback on rotating quarterly categories on up to $1,500 of spending which could include: Grocery stores, gym memberships, streaming services, gas stations, etc. The currently categories for Q4 of 2020 are Walmart and PayPal.

Earn 5% cashback at grocery stores for the first year of card membership on up to $12,000 spent (this excludes Target and Walmart).

Earn 5% cashback on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

Earn 5% cashback on Lyft rides through March 2022.

Earn 3% cashback on dining, including takeout and delivery services.

Earn 3% cashback at drugstores.

Chase Freedom

Click Here to learn more about the Chase Freedom Flex Card


How Do You Activate the 5% Back Chase Freedom Categories Each Quarter?

The additional 5% back available for both Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Flex cardholders will not be automatically applied each quarter. You’ll need to register for the promotion each and every quarter by following this link to the Chase website. Any spending before you’re registered will not qualify for the 5% back.

chase freedom categories activation 

You’ll need to enter your last name, your billing zip code, and the last four digits of your credit card number. And once you do, click “Activate Now” to register.

Cardholders can also register using the Chase mobile app.


How Much Cash Back Can Be Earned Each Quarter?

Chase limits the amount of cashback you can earn each quarter. And it’s combined amount across all Chase Freedom bonus categories, meaning you’ll only be able to earn 5% cashback on up to $1,500 in total spend.

That means if you maximize the 5% back categories each quarter, you’ll earn $75 of cash back. Transfer that cashback to Chase Ultimate Rewards, and you get 7,500 points.

So if you were to maximize the bonus categories each quarter, you could earn a total of $300 cashback (or 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points) every calendar year.


Previous 5x Bonus Chase Freedom Categories

Here is a quick look at what the Chase Freedom Flex and legacy Chase Freedom bonus categories have been in previous quarters. As you can see, categories vary widely and throughout the year.

Quarter5x Bonus Categories
Q3 2020Amazon, Whole Foods Market
Q2 2020Grocery stores, gym memberships, streaming services
Q1 2020Gas stations, internet, cable, & streaming services
Q4 2019Department stores, PayPal & Chase Pay Purchases
Q3 2019Gas stations, streaming services
Q2 2019Grocery stores, home improvement stores
Q1 2019Gas stations, drug stores, tolls
Q4 2018Wholesale clubs, department stores, Chase Pay
Q3 2018Walgreens, gas stations, and Lyft
Q2 2018Groceries, PayPal, Chase Pay
Q1 2018Mobile wallets, gas stations, internet, cable and phone service payments


Bottom Line

The Chase Freedom Flex card (along with the old Chase Freedom) is an excellent no annual fee cash back credit card that gets even better if you hold one of the Chase Sapphire cards. And even if you can’t take advantage of the Chase Freedom categories, it is still a great card that offers a ton of value. If you can maximize the categories each quarter, you’ll earn $75 cash back (or 7,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points).

The current categories are Walmart and PayPal through the end of Dec. 2020. Make sure to activate the offer at this link on Chase’s website to take advantage.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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