10'000 Hours/Getty Images

Activate Chase Freedom bonus categories for Q1 2023

Earn 5 percent cash back on grocery store, Target and fitness club and gym membership purchases


See the latest bonus categories from the Chase Freedom cards and get tips on how to maximize your cash back.

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of our partner offers may have expired. Please review our list of best credit cards, or use our CardMatch™ tool to find cards matched to your needs.

Chase has announced the 5 percent cash back categories on the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the retired Chase Freedom®* for the first quarter of 2023.

From January through March 2023, Freedom and Freedom Flex cardholders can earn 5 percent cash back on Target, grocery stores (excluding Walmart) and fitness clubs and gym membership purchases (up to $1,500 in combined purchases, then 1 percent) after activation. You must activate the categories by March 14, 2023, to begin earning bonus cash back.

Besides the quarterly categories, the Freedom Flex offers 5 percent cash back on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, 5 percent back on Lyft rides through March 2025 and 3 percent back on dining and drugstore purchases. All other purchases earn 1 percent cash back.

At a glance

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Activation for first-quarter categories opened on Dec. 15, 2022, and will close on March 14, 2023.
  • Cardholders who activate first-quarter categories can earn 5 percent cash back on Target, grocery stores (excluding Walmart) and fitness club and gym membership purchases (both in-store and online).
  • The 5 percent cash back bonus (which requires activation) is capped at $1,500 in combined purchases per quarter, after which you’ll earn 1 percent.

Chase 5% cash back calendar 2023


(Activation between Dec. 15, 2022 and March 14, 2023)


(Activation open March 15, 2023)


(Activation open June 15, 2023)


(Activate open Sept. 15, 2023)

  • Grocery stores (excluding Walmart)
  • Target
  • Fitness clubs and gym memberships

Chase 5% cash back calendar 2022

For reference, here’s a quick look at the categories Chase offered in 2022:

  • Grocery stores
  • eBay
  • Amazon.com
  • Select streaming services
  • Gas stations
  • Car rental agencies
  • Movie theaters
  • Select live entertainment
  • Walmart purchases
  • PayPal purchases

What is included in the grocery store category?

Pretty much any purchase made at supermarkets, which Chase defines as “merchants that offer a full service grocery line of merchandise including a deli and bakery” and smaller grocery stores will count toward the heightened cash back rate. If a delivery service qualifies as a grocery store merchant, depending on its merchant category code, it will also earn you 5 percent cash back.

Some exclusions from the category are: warehouse clubs, discount stores, drugstores and merchants that sell only a few grocery items.

What is included in the Target category?

Any purchases made online at Target.com and at a brick-and-mortar Target store will qualify in the Target category.

What is included in the fitness club and gym membership category?

Chase outlines such merchants as, “fitness clubs, fitness centers, fitness studios, gyms, aerobics, cardio fitness and other services such as yoga and cross fit training.”

However, any businesses that specialize in weight management counseling, personal training, athletic apparel, health food and others do not qualify.

Tips for maximizing your 5% cash back in Q1 2023

  • Do a majority of your household spending at Target. Since the superstore sells a variety of goods — from clothing to shampoo to games to cleaning supplies to snacks — it’ll be easy to maximize your purchases there.
  • When buying groceries and canned goods and baking soda, you can purchase them at the grocery store. You may also buy gift cards at your local grocery store, and they should qualify for the bonus cash back.
  • As for fitness clubs and gym memberships, if you go to any gym: Whether it’s a larger gym chain or a local one or your favorite yoga studio, you should switch the card you have on file to your Chase Freedom Flex card until the end of March. If you’ve been waiting for the perfect chance to get fit, make sure to capitalize on this bonus category before the quarter ends.
  • As a reminder, transactions must post to your credit card statement before the end of the first quarter in order to qualify. Plus, if you forget to activate your quarterly categories until midway through the quarter, say on February 15, you can always activate your bonus categories and still earn 5 percent cash back retroactively on all qualifying purchases you made throughout the entire quarter.

Comparing Chase and Discover bonus categories

Chase isn’t the only card issuer that offers a 5 percent cash back bonus. Discover also allows cardholders to earn 5 percent cash back in activated rotating categories each quarter (on up to $1,500 in spending, then 1 percent) with the Discover it® Cash Back. Here’s a look at Discover bonus categories for 2023 compared to that offered by Chase.

Chase vs. Discover cash back categories 2023

Chase Freedom Flex

Discover it Cash Back

January-MarchTarget, grocery stores (excluding Walmart) and fitness clubs and gym membershipsGrocery stores, drug stores and select streaming services

Which card offers the better deal?

In the first quarter of 2023, which category provides more value really depends on the cardholder. For example, do you tend to visit and do a majority of your household shopping at Target or at drugstores? Is most of your monthly budget dedicated toward your gym membership or your streaming subscriptions?

If you haven’t yet applied for either of these cards, Discover’s Cashback Match feature may be enough to push you toward applying for the Discover it Cash Back. The issuer matches all the cash back you earn after your first year with the card (meaning if you earn $300 in cash back, Discover will gift you an additional $300 in cash back as a welcome bonus).

Before you make your selection, consider reading through our list of the best cash back credit cards. There may be another option that catches your eye or makes more sense for your spending style.

*Information about the Chase Freedom® has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The issuer did not provide the content, nor is it responsible for its accuracy.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

Credit Card Rate Report
Cash Back

Questions or comments?

Contact us

Editorial corrections policies

Learn more