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Activate Chase Freedom cash back categories for Q3 2021 now

Cardholders can earn 5% cash back at grocery stores and for select streaming services

Summary

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 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.

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

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.

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

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

WinterSpringSummerHoliday
January – March

(Activation closed)

April – June

(Activation closed)

July – September

(Activation closes Aug. 14)

October – December

(Activation closed)

  • Select streaming services
  • Phone, cable and internet services
  • Wholesale clubs
  • Home improvement stores
  • Gas stations
  • Grocery stores (excluding Walmart and Target)
  • Select streaming services

TBA

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

WinterSpringSummerHoliday
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 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

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 – SeptemberGrocery stores and select streaming servicesRestaurants and PayPal
October – DecemberTBAAmazon.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.

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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