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Activate Chase Freedom cash back categories for Q2 2021 now

Cardholders can earn 5% cash back at gas stations and home improvement stores


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 launched the 5% cash back categories on the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the retired Freedom card for the second quarter of 2021.

From April 1 through June 30, Freedom and Freedom Flex cardholders can earn 5% cash back at gas stations and home improvement stores (up to $1,500 in combined purchases) after activation.

Activation for second-quarter categories on both the Freedom and Freedom Flex launched on March 15 and will be open until June 14, 2021.

Besides that, the new Flex card offers 5% cash back on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases and 1% on everything else. All other purchases earn 1% cash back.

See related: Chase to launch new Freedom Flex card, add new categories to Freedom Unlimited

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

  • Activation for second-quarter categories opened on March 15 and closes on June 14.
  • Cardholders who activate second-quarter categories can earn 5% cash back at gas stations and home improvement stores.
  • The 5% cash back bonus is capped at $1,500 in combined purchases per quarter.
  • As of Jan. 12, 2020, Chase Freedom cardholders earn 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2022.

Chase 5% cash back calendar 2021

January – March

(Activation closed)

April – June

(Activation closes on June 14)

July – September

(Activation closed)

October – December

(Activation closed)

  • Select streaming services
  • Phone, cable and internet services
  • Wholesale clubs
  • Home improvement stores
  • Gas stations



Chase only releases its quarterly bonus categories one quarter at a time, so we can’t yet predict what will be offered in the rest of the quarters in 2021. Here’s a quick look at some of the categories Chase has offered in the last year.

Chase 5% cash back calendar 2020

January – MarchApril – JuneJuly – SeptemberOctober – December
  • Select streaming services
  • Gas stations
  • Phone, cable and internet services
  • Gym memberships
  • Fitness clubs
  • Grocery stores
  • Select streaming services
  • Amazon
  • Whole Foods Market
  • Walmart
  • PayPal

What is included and excluded in the ‘gas stations’ category?

This category includes gas stations that sell automotive gasoline where you can pay either at the pump or inside the station. If the station doesn’t specialize in automotive gasoline – for instance, it’s a truck stop or a propane distributor – it won’t qualify for 5% cash back.

What is included and excluded in the ‘home improvement stores’ category?

Stores in this category specialize in home improvement supplies and can include larger home improvement stores or smaller hardware stores. Stores that sell general goods that may include home improvement supplies, such as grocery stores or warehouse clubs, don’t qualify in this category, as well as furniture stores and merchants that specialize in landscaping and garden supplies.

Tips for maximizing your 5% cash back

  • If you’re shopping at a home improvement store, make sure to use your Freedom card.
  • Buy gift cards at home improvement stores for purchases throughout the year – this will help you meet the spend cap.
  • Stock up on items from home improvement stores that you can use throughout the year, such as cleaning supplies.
  • Make sure to use your Freedom card every time you’re at a gas station, whether you’re filling up your car or buying a snack.

Comparing Chase and Discover bonus categories

Chase isn’t the only card issuer that offers a 5% cash back bonus. Discover also allows cardholders to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined spending in rotating categories each quarter, upon enrollment, then 1%.

Chase vs. Discover cash back categories 2021

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Discover it® Cash Back

January – MarchSelect streaming services, phone, cable and internet services, wholesale clubsGrocery stores, Walgreens and CVS
April – JuneGas stations, home improvement storesGas stations, select streaming services and wholesale clubs
July – SeptemberTBARestaurants and PayPal
October –, and

Which card offers the best deal?

The best card for you depends on where you plan to spend your money in the second quarter of 2021.

Discover it® Cash Back offers bonus cash back at wholesale clubs in the second quarter of the year. If you’re a wholesale club member and shop at them for regular expenses such as groceries, this category can be pretty lucrative. Further, the Discover it Cash Back will offer 5% back on select streaming services, but it’s hard to get a lot of value of this category, even if you have multiple streaming subscriptions.

See related:Best credit cards for streaming services

On the other hand, if you’re planning a home renovation project or an appliance or furniture purchase, you may easily meet the spending cap on the Chase Freedom or Freedom Flex.

Both cards also offer bonus cash back at gas stations this quarter. If you’re looking for a card that would reward you for filling up your gas tank, either option could be a great choice in the upcoming quarter.

For the rest of 2021, we can’t predict which card will be best for you. While Discover has announced its categories for the next year, Chase only releases bonus categories one quarter at a time. Visit our page for more information on Chase credit cards.

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.

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