See the latest bonus categories from the Chase Freedom card and get tips on how to maximize your cash back.
Chase has launched the 5% cash back categories on the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the retired Freedom card for the third quarter of 2021.
From July 1 through Sept. 30, Freedom and Freedom Flex cardholders can get 5% cash back at grocery stores, excluding Target and Walmart, and on select streaming services (up to $1,500 in combined purchases) after activation.
Besides that, the Flex card offers 5% cash back on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and 3% on dining and drugstore purchases. All other purchases earn 1% cash back.
At a glance
Here’s what you need to know:
- Activation for third-quarter categories opened on June 15 and closes on Aug. 14.
- Cardholders who activate third-quarter categories can earn 5% cash back at grocery stores, excluding Target and Walmart, and on select streaming services.
- The 5% cash back bonus is capped at $1,500 in combined purchases per quarter.
- Chase Freedom Flex cardholders earn 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2022.
Chase 5% cash back calendar 2021
|January – March|
|April – June|
|July – September|
(Activation closes Aug. 14)
|October – December|
Chase only releases its quarterly bonus categories one quarter at a time, so we can’t yet predict what will be offered in the fourth quarter of 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 – March||April – June||July – September||October – December|
What is included and excluded in the grocery stores category?
In this category, you can get 5% back on purchases made at grocery stores. Target and Walmart are excluded.
What is included and excluded in the streaming services category?
Only eligible streaming services will qualify in this category, including Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, Netflix, Sling, Vudu, Fubo TV, Apple Music, SiriusXM, Pandora, Spotify and YouTube TV.
Tips for maximizing your 5% cash back in Q3
- Make sure you use your Freedom or Freedom Flex card for grocery shopping.
- Buy gift cards at grocery stores (if the store allows) for purchases throughout the year – this will help you meet the spend cap.
- Stock up on items from grocery stores that you can use throughout the year, such as non-perishables or cleaning supplies.
- Make sure to put your streaming subscriptions on your Freedom or Freedom Flex card (but check which of your streaming services qualify first).
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
|January – March||Select streaming services, phone, cable and internet services, wholesale clubs||Grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS|
|April – June||Gas stations, home improvement stores||Gas stations, select streaming services and wholesale clubs|
|July – September||Grocery stores and select streaming services||Restaurants and PayPal|
|October – December||TBA||Amazon.com, Target.com and Walmart.com|
Which card offers the better deal?
The right card for you depends on whether you prefer eating out or making your own food.
Discover it® Cash Back offers bonus cash back at restaurants in the third quarter of the year. If you regularly go out to eat, this category can be quite lucrative. The Chase Freedom and Freedom Flex cards, on the other hand, will be offering 5% back at grocery stores, so if you’d rather cook at home than eat out, a Freedom card may be a better option for you. Additionally, you can buy gift cards to use on your regular purchases to meet the spend cap.
Further, the Discover it Cash Back will offer bonus cash back on PayPal purchases. Many online stores provide the option to pay through PayPal, which makes meeting the spending cap easy if you frequently shop online. The Freedom cards, in turn, will offer 5% back on select streaming services, but it’s hard to get a lot of value from this category, even if you have multiple streaming subscriptions.
See related: Best credit cards for streaming services
For the rest of 2021, we can’t predict which card will be best for you. While Discover has announced its categories for the year, Chase only releases bonus categories one quarter at a time. Visit our page for more information on Chase credit cards.