See the latest bonus categories from the Chase Freedom card and get tips on how to maximize your cash back.
From Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, Freedom and Freedom Flex cardholders can earn 5% cash back on Walmart and PayPal purchases (up to $1,500 in combined purchases) after activation.
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.
Here’s what you need to know at a glance:
- Activation of fourth-quarter bonus categories began on Sept. 15 for both the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Flex.
- Cardholders must activate by Dec. 14 to earn the bonus rate.
- From Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, Freedom and Freedom Flex cardholders can earn 5% cash back on eligible Walmart and PayPal purchases.
- 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 2020
|January – March|
|April – June|
|July – September|
|October – December|
(Activate starting Sept. 15, 2020)
Chase only releases its quarterly bonus categories one quarter at a time, so we can’t yet predict what will be offered in 2021. Here’s a quick look at some of the categories Chase has offered in the last year.
Chase 5% cash back calendar 2019
|January – March||April – June||July – September||October – December|
What is included and excluded in the ‘Walmart’ category?
In this category, you can earn 5% cash back at Walmart Discount Stores, Walmart SuperCenters and Walmart Neighborhood Markets, as well as Walmart-branded gas stations operated by Walmart. Purchases made on Walmart.com or using Walmart Pay will qualify as well. Non-Walmart merchants operating within or on Walmart premises, such as sell fast food restaurants and beauty services, are not included.
What is included and excluded in the ‘PayPal’ category?
Transactions made using your Chase Freedom or Freedom Flex card with PayPal for purchases will be eligible for 5% cash back. Xoom transfer payments are not included, and you may not be able to use your card for friends and family or person-to-person transactions.
Tips for maximizing your 5% cash back
- If you’re planning any big purchases for the holidays, see if you can make those at Walmart with your Freedom or Freedom Flex.
- Stock up on Walmart gift cards for purchases throughout the year, to help meet the spend cap.
- Stock up on items from Walmart that you can use throughout the year, such as cleaning supplies or canned goods.
- Whenever you’re shopping online, if there’s an option to check out through PayPal, use it and pay with your Freedom or Freedom Flex card.
- Check if you’re eligible for PayPal Key to be able to shop through PayPal anywhere Mastercard is accepted and maximize your rewards.
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 2020
|January – March||Gas stations, select streaming services and phone, cable and internet services||Grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS|
|April – June||Grocery stores, select streaming services and gym memberships and fitness club purchases||Gas stations, Uber, Lyft and wholesale clubs|
|July – September||Amazon and Whole Foods Market||Restaurants and PayPal|
|October – December||Walmart and PayPal||Amazon.com, Target.com and Walmart.com|
Which card offers the best deal?
The best card for you depends on how you plan to spend your money in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Discover it® Cash Back offers a lot of flexibility with its categories, since almost anything can be purchased on Amazon. Target.com and Walmart.com are also great options for online shopping, and with the holiday season and sales events approaching, it can be easy to meet the spending cap. Plus, if you prefer to shop online, which many people do during the pandemic, the Discover it Cash Back has great earning potential for you in the fourth quarter.
At the same time, many online stores offer checkout through PayPal. Additionally, if you’re eligible, you can use PayPal to shop at any online retailer that accepts Mastercard with PayPal Key and earn extra rewards on your Chase Freedom or Freedom Flex. Chase also allows you to get 5% back at Walmart when using the card in-store – rather than only on the website.
For the next year, we can’t predict which card will be best for you, as while Discover has announced its 2021 categories, Chase only releases bonus categories one quarter at a time.