Chase launches its cash back category for Q2 2018

Earn 5 percent back on grocery, PayPal and Chase Pay purchases

Chase Freedom cash back categories

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Chase has launched the 5 percent cash back category for the second quarter of 2018. From April 1 through June 30, 2018, Chase Freedom cardholders can earn 5 percent back on groceries, PayPal purchases and Chase Pay purchases, upon enrollment. Since the PayPal and Chase Pay categories include any purchase you make using the mobile wallets, there is virtually no limit to what you can earn the bonus on. Additionally, the ability to earn 5 percent back on an essential item like groceries is a great added perk.

To activate the second quarter bonus category for 2018, click here.

Here’s what you need to know at a glance:

  • The Chase bonus category for the second quarter can be activated as of March 15, 2018.
  • You must activate the second quarter bonus category prior to June 14, 2018 to receive 5 percent back for that quarter.
  • The second quarter category is active from April  1, 2018 through June 30, 2018.
  • The 5 percent cash back bonus is capped at $1,500 per quarter.
  • All other purchases earn 1 percent cash back.

Chase 5 percent cash back calendar 2018

Winter Spring Summer Holiday
January – March
April – June
(Activate by June 14, 2018)
July – September
(Activate starting June 15, 2018)
October – December
(Activate starting Sept. 15, 2018)
  • Gas stations
  • Internet, cable and phone services
  • Chase Pay, Android Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay
  • Groceries
  • PayPal
  • Chase Pay
Coming soon Coming soon

The editorial content below is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. However, we do receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners. Learn more about our advertising policy

What is included/excluded in the “groceries” category?

According to Chase’s website, the “groceries” category includes purchases made at supermarkets and smaller grocery stores. It excludes items purchased at Walmart and Target, as well as items purchased at discount and warehouse stores.

What is included/excluded in the “PayPal” category?

The “PayPal” category includes transactions made using your Chase Freedom card with PayPal for purchases or sending money. Note, when you send money to friends and family through PayPal using your Chase Freedom card, standard transaction fees apply. In order to send and receive money, you must have or open a PayPal account.

What is included/excluded in the “Chase Pay” category?

If you pay for items using your Chase Freedom card through your Chase Pay mobile wallet during checkout, the purchase will qualify for this category. Purchases already earning 5 percent in a current category will not receive an additional bonus.

Tips for maximizing your 5 percent cash back

  • Use your Chase Freedom card to purchase groceries at supermarkets.
  • Sign up for a PayPal account and add your Chase Freedom card. Then, pay for items and send money through PayPal.
  • Download Chase Pay, and add your Chase Freedom card to your mobile wallet. Then, pay for everyday purchases, such as groceries, apparel and dining, using your mobile wallet.
  • Earn up to 8 percent cash back at the following wholesale clubs when you stack your 5 percent digital wallet bonus with bonus cash back through Chase’s shopping portal:
    • 3 percent extra cash back at Sam’s Club
    • 1 percent extra cash back at BJ’s Wholesale Club

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.

Like Chase, Discover includes groceries as part of its bonus category for the second quarter of 2018. However, unlike Chase, Discover has already announced their full 2018 calendar in advance, instead of on a quarter-by-quarter basis. 

Chase vs. Discover cash back categories 2018

  Chase Freedom
Chase Freedom
Discover
Discover it
January – March Gas stations; internet, cable and phone services;
Chase Pay, Android Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay
Gas stations and wholesale clubs
April – June Groceries, PayPal and Chase Pay Grocery stores
July – September Summer – coming soon Restaurants
October – December Holiday – coming soon Amazon.com and wholesale clubs

Which card offers the best deal?

For the second quarter of 2018, we think the Chase Freedom card offers the better deal. In addition to offering 5 percent cash back on groceries, Freedom cardholders can earn the bonus rate anywhere Chase Pay and PayPal accepted. You can potentially earn the bonus rate at department stores, grocery stores, restaurants and more.

Beyond the second quarter, though, we can’t tell you which card offers the better deal. Based on past years, we can guess that Chase may offer the bonus rate at restaurants and department stores some time during 2018. 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.

A look at Chase's 2017 cash back calendar may give some insight into what we can expect for 2018.

Chase 5 percent cash back calendar 2017

Winter Spring Summer Holiday
January – March April – June July – September October – December
  • Gas stations
  • Local commuter transportation (not including parking, tolls and Amtrak purchases)
  • Grocery stores
  • Drug stores (not including Walmart and Target purchases
  • Restaurants
  • Movie theaters
  • Walmart
  • Department stores

Whichever card you choose, the ability to earn 5 percent cash back is a great opportunity.   

See related: Discover cash back calendar 2018 - Earn 5 percent back on groceries in Q2, Chase Pay: How to use it and rack up cash back rewardsChase Ultimate Rewards guide: The best ways to earn and use Ultimate Rewards points

Tip

Tip: Chase Freedom, Freedom Unlimited cardholders can save more at Shell
Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited cardholders can save at least 5 cents a gallon through all of 2018 by enrolling in Shell's Fuel Rewards program. Freedom and Freedom Unlimited cardholders automatically get gold status in Fuel Rewards.



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Updated: 04-24-2018