As the second quarter of 2021 winds down, a new quarterly set of Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom bonus categories are on the way. That’s where you can earn a 5% cashback (or 5x Chase Ultimate Rewards Points) on up to $1,500 of spending in select merchant categories.
Chase just announced the new 5% bonus categories for the third quarter of 2021 (July through September): grocery stores (excluding Walmart and Target) and select streaming services. These categories should be fairly easy to maximize, helping you earn a maximum of $75 cash back – or 7,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points over the summer.
Keep reading for more information on these categories, 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 Q3 Bonus Categories
The start of the new quarter in July will bring brand new categories for your Chase Freedom Flex and Freedom card.
For the third quarter of 2021, those bonus categories are grocery stores (excluding Walmart and Target) and select streaming services like Netflix or Spotify.
Once you spend $1,500 combined across all those bonus categories, you’ll start earning just 1% back (or 1x Ultimate Rewards point) until October 2021. That’s when a new set of bonus categories go live.
To take advantage of the latest 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 September 14, 2021. Registration for the new categories opens tomorrow, June 15.
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 on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal as well as 3% back on several other categories like drugstores and on dining purchases.
The card launched in September 2020 as a replacement to the original Chase Freedom Card, which is no longer open for applications. But these bonus categories are also available to anyone who still holds the original Freedom card.
If you’re after more Chase Ultimate Rewards points instead of cashback, you’re in luck. 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: It’s what makes the Chase Freedom Flex card the perfect complement to the Sapphire credit cards, as you’ll earn more on these bonus categories (and others) than you would by simply swiping your Sapphire card.
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 categories for Q3 of 2021 are grocery stores (excluding Walmart and Target) and select streaming services. These will start on July 1.
- 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.
Click Here to learn more about the Chase Freedom Flex Card
How to Activate 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.
You’ll need to enter your last name, your billing zip code, and the last four digits of your credit card number. Then just click “Activate Now” to register. It’s that easy.
Cardholders can also register using the Chase mobile app.
How Much Cash Back Can You Earn Each Quarter?
Chase limits the amount of cashback you can earn each quarter. And it’s a 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 cashback. 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 throughout the year. And generally speaking, they are categories that should fit well into your everyday spending patterns.
|Quarter||5x Bonus Categories|
|Q2 2021||Gas stations and home improvement stores|
|Q1 2021||Wholesale Clubs, Streaming Services, Internet, Cable & Phone Service|
|Q4 2020||Walmart & PayPal|
|Q3 2020||Amazon, Whole Foods Market|
|Q2 2020||Grocery stores, gym memberships, streaming services|
|Q1 2020||Gas stations, internet, cable, & streaming services|
|Q4 2019||Department stores, PayPal & Chase Pay Purchases|
|Q3 2019||Gas stations, streaming services|
|Q2 2019||Grocery stores, home improvement stores|
|Q1 2019||Gas stations, drug stores, tolls|
|Q4 2018||Wholesale clubs, department stores, Chase Pay
|Q3 2018||Walgreens, gas stations, and Lyft
|Q2 2018||Groceries, PayPal, Chase Pay|
|Q1 2018||Mobile wallets, gas stations, internet, cable and phone service payments
The Chase Freedom Flex card (along with the old Chase Freedom) is an excellent no-annual fee cashback credit card that gets even better if you hold one of the Chase Sapphire cards. Even if you can’t take advantage of these 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 an extra $75 cashback (or 7,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points).
The Q3 categories are grocery stores (excluding Walmart and Target) and streaming services through September 2021. Make sure to activate the offer at this link on Chase’s website to take advantage.