Chase launches its cash back category for Q4 2018

Earn 5 percent back on department store, wholesale club and Chase Pay purchases

Chase Freedom cash back categories

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Chase has launched its 5 percent cash back category for the fourth quarter of 2018. From Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2018, Chase Freedom cardholders can earn 5 percent back on departments store, wholesale club and Chase Pay purchases on up to $1,500 in combined purchases.

With Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the holiday season right around the corner, Freedom cardholders can potentially squeeze a lot of value from this year’s fourth quarter bonus. In addition to earning a bonus at department stores and wholesale clubs – which could include electronics, clothing, jewelry, tools and other gifts – shoppers can earn the bonus anywhere Chase Pay is accepted, including restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations and more.

To activate the fourth quarter bonus, click here.

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

  • The Chase bonus category for the fourth quarter can be activated as of Sept. 14, 2018.
  • You must activate the bonus category prior to Dec. 14, 2018, to receive 5 percent back.
  • From Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2018, Chase Freedom cardholders earn 5 percent cash back at department stores, wholesale clubs and Chase Pay.
  • 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 2018

Winter Spring Summer Holiday
January – March
April – June
July – September
October – December
(Activate by Dec. 14, 2018)
  • Gas stations
  • Internet, cable and phone services
  • Chase Pay, Android Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay
  • Groceries
  • PayPal
  • Chase Pay
  • Gas stations
  • Lyft
  • Walgreens
  • Department stores
  • Wholesale clubs
  • Chase Pay

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 "deparment stores" category?

According to Chase, purchases made at eligible department stores – both in-store and online – qualify for the bonus. The category does not include supercenters, discount stores, or specialty stores (i.e., stores that sell primarily one line of products such as shoe stores, pet stores, electronics stores and clothing stores). Additionally, department store gift cards purchased outside of the specific department store will not be eligible for the bonus.

You can view a full list of qualified department stores, which includes JCPenney, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, here.

What is included/excluded in the “wholesale clubs” category?

The “wholesale clubs” category includes merchants that operate warehouse-style retail stores, sell in bulk and concentrate on price appeal. These merchants, which may or may not have membership requirements, sell a full range of household goods and merchandise, groceries, furniture, electronics, appliances and auto supplies.

Specialty wholesale merchants and distributors, such as National Wholesale Liquidators and Wood Floors Plus, are not eligible for the bonus. Also, gas, fuel and wholesale specialty service purchases, like travel, insurance, cell phone and home improvement, are not included.

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

The “Chase Pay” category includes purchases made using your Freedom card with your Chase Pay mobile wallet during checkout.

Tips for maximizing your 5 percent cash back

  • Purchase gift cards from specific department stores that can be used throughout 2019.
  • Purchase groceries, toiletries and household items from wholesale clubs instead of grocery stores and drug stores.
  • Download Chase Pay and add your Chase Freedom card to your mobile wallet. Then, pay for everyday purchases, such gas and dining out, using your mobile wallet.
  • Do the majority of your holiday shopping at department stores and wholesale clubs, and use Chase Pay to purchase the remainder of your gifts.
  • Earn more cash back when you stack your bonus with cash back from a variety of retailers through Chase’s shopping portal.

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 2018

  Chase Freedom
Chase Freedom
Discover
Discover it Balance Transfer
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 Gas stations, Lyft and Walgreens Restaurants
October – December Department stores, wholesale clubs and Chase Pay Amazon.com and wholesale clubs

Which card offers the best deal?

For the fourth quarter of 2018, we think the Chase Freedom card offers the better deal. While getting 5 percent back at wholesale clubs and Amazon is a great offer – especially if you frequently purchase items from Amazon.com – the Freedom card basically offers the same deal, but with more flexibility and options. In addition to getting 5 percent back at wholesale clubs and department stores, Freedom cardholders can earn the bonus rate anywhere Chase Pay is accepted. This means you can potentially earn the bonus rate at grocery stores, restaurants, movie theaters and more.

See related: Discover cash back calendar 2018 - Activate the Q4 bonus category, 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: 11-16-2018