See the latest bonus categories from the Chase Freedom card and get tips on how to maximize your cash back.
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Chase has announced its 5 percent cash back category for the second quarter of 2019. From April 1 through June 30, 2019, Chase Freedom® cardholders can earn 5 percent cash back at grocery stores and home improvement stores on up to $1,500 in combined purchases. All other purchases will earn 1 percent cash back.
With spring on the horizon, the grocery store category offers a great opportunity to earn a bonus on food and supplies for graduation parties, Father’s Day cookouts, Memorial Day celebrations and more. The home improvement category is ideal if you’re planning a home remodeling project, spring cleaning or lawn maintenance.
Cardholders can activate the second quarter bonus category starting March 15, 2019, here.
In the meantime, you can continue to earn 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 per quarter at gas stations, drugstores and tolls through March 31, 2019.
Here’s what you need to know at a glance:
- You must activate the first quarter bonus category prior to March 14, 2019, to receive 5 percent back.
- From Jan. 1 through March 31, 2019, Chase Freedom cardholders earn 5 percent cash back at gas stations, drugstores and tolls.
- The 5 percent cash back bonus is capped at $1,500 in combined purchases per quarter.
- All other purchases earn 1 percent cash back.
Chase 5 percent cash back calendar 2019
January – March
|April – June|
(Activate starting March 15, 2019)
|July – September|
(Activate starting June 15, 2019)
|October – December|
(Activate starting Sept. 15, 2019)
What is included/excluded in the “gas stations” category?
According to Chase’s website, the “gas stations” category includes merchants who sell automotive gasoline that can either be paid for at the pump or inside of a gas station. Merchants that do not specialize in selling automotive gasoline, such as truck stops, boat marinas, oil and propane distributors and home heating companies, are not included in this category.
What is included/excluded in the “drugstores” category?
The “drugstores” category includes merchants that specialize in selling prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines, supplements and other health-related items. The merchants may also sell cosmetics, toiletries, greeting cards and household items, including cleaning supplies and packaged food and drinks.
Merchants that sell a wide variety of goods and contain an onsite pharmacy, such as warehouse clubs, discount stores and grocery stores, are not included in this category.
What is included/excluded in the “tolls” category?
The “tolls” category includes merchants that collect fees related to toll roads, highways and bridges. Purchases made to replenish your electronic toll collection account during the first quarter of 2019 will also qualify for the bonus.
Tips for maximizing your 5 percent cash back
- Use your Chase Freedom card to purchase gas for each car in your household.
- Purchase medication, toiletries, cleaning supplies and other household items from drugstores – such as Duane Reade, Walgreens and CVS – instead of grocery stores and wholesale clubs.
- Use your Freedom card to purchase gift cards for restaurants, department stores and more from drugstores.
- If you use tolls, replenish your electronic collection account during the first quarter of 2019.
- Earn up to 7 percent cash back when you stack your bonus with cash back from a variety of retailers through Chase’s shopping portal, including:
Comparing Chase and Discover bonus categories
Chase isn’t the only card issuer that offers a 5 percent cash back bonus. Upon enrollment, Discover also allows cardholders to earn 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in combined spending in categories that rotate quarterly.
Chase vs. Discover cash back categories 2019
Discover it® Cash Back
|January – March||Gas stations, drugstores and tolls||Grocery stores|
|April – June||Grocery stores and home improvement stores||Gas stations, Uber and Lyft|
|July – September||Coming soon||Restaurants|
|October – December||Coming soon||Amazon.com|
Which card offers the best deal?
That depends on how you plan to spend your money during the first quarter of 2019. For example, if you have a long commute to work each day, or if there’s a road trip in your near future, the Chase Freedom card offers the better deal. But if you spend a large amount on food each month, you could benefit more from Discover’s grocery stores category.
That said, keep in mind that Chase will offer a bonus at gas stations and Discover will offer a bonus at grocery stores during the second quarter of 2019.
Beyond the second quarter, though, we can’t tell you which card offers the better deal. Based on the past year, we can speculate that Chase may offer the bonus rate on restaurant, department store and Chase Pay purchases sometime during 2019. But because they don’t release their full calendar in advance, it’s impossible to tell which card will best suit your spending habits throughout the year.
See related: Discover cash back calendar 2019 – Activate the Q2 bonus category now, Chase Pay: How to use it and rack up cash back rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards guide: The best ways to earn and use Ultimate Rewards points