Updated December, 2017: See this post for the Chase Freedom Calendar 2018 5% Bonus Categories.
Chase has released the 2017 5% bonus categories for the Chase Freedom card are there are a few good ones useful for manufactured spending as well as everyday spending.
Chase Freedom Calendar 2017 5% Bonus Categories
The Chase Freedom 5% bonus categories for 2017 are as follows:
1st quarter (January 1, 2017- March 31, 2017) – Gas Stations and Local Commuter Transportation. Some gas stations will allow you to purchase gift cards using a credit card.
2nd quarter (April 1, 2017- June 30, 2017) – Grocery stores (not including Walmart and Target) and drugstores. For most people, this is the easiest quarter to meet the $1,500 spending on as pretty much everyone shops for groceries. Another option to maximize the bonus is to buy gift cards from grocery stores and drugstores and use them for future purchases or buy Visa gift cards and liquidate them with Amex Bluebird or Amex Serve.
3rd quarter (July 1, 2017- September 30, 2017) – Restaurants and Movie Theaters.
4th quarter (October 1, 2017- December 31, 2017) – Walmart and Department stores.
Chase has not yet released the full 2018 5% bonus categories except for the 1st quarter (January 1, 2018- March 31, 2018) which is Gas Stations, internet/cable/phone services and Chase Pay, Android Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay.
The 5% only applies to the first $1,500 spent on combined purchases each quarter. Here is the link to the Chase Freedom 5% calendar on chase.com.
Don’t Forget to Activate
Please note, that in order to earn the 5% you must activate the offer each quarter (by text, email or other methods). If you have a Chase Freedom and have signed up for email reminders you should have already received an email asking you to activate this quarter’s categories. If you have not yet activated the 5% for this quarter, you can register now or any time during the registration period and earn the full 5% for the entire quarter retroactively. Registration for the fourth quarter ended on December 14, 2017.
Overview of the Chase Freedom Credit Card
For anyone not familiar with this card, the Chase Freedom is a great no annual fee credit card card that earns you points that can be indirectly transferred to frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs. Chase Freedom is technically a cash back card only and points earned using the Chase Freedom cannot be directly transferred to airlines and hotel programs. However, if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Ink Business Preferred or Ink Plus card you can transfer your points from your Chase Freedom account to one of those cards and then from there to the various Ultimate Rewards travel partners. See related post How To Combine or Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Between Accounts.
While the Chase Freedom® normally offers 1% cash back on all purchases, every quarter there are certain bonus categories for which you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in bonus categories each quarter. This means if you spend the full $1,500 each quarter in those 5 percent categories you can earn a total of 30,000 points a year (6,000 points + extra 24,000 bonus points).
The 5 cash back categories vary each year. You have to register each quarter for the bonus and then you can earn the 5% on up to $1,500 on purchases for that quarter.
The Chase Freedom® card is currently offering a higher than usual signup bonus of 15,000 bonus points (which can be redeemed for $150 cash back) after you spend $500 in your first 3 months from account opening and 2,500 bonus points (which can be redeemed for $25 cash back) when you add your first authorized user and make your first purchase within this same 3-month period.
If you already have the Chase Freedom you are currently able to earn $50 for referring the Chase Freedom to friends/family using Chase refer-a-friend.
If you do not have the Chase Freedom, this would be a great time to apply since the sign up bonus is higher than normal. The only downside is that the bonus has been higher in the past (I have seen the sign up bonus at 20,000 bonus points a couple of times in the last 2 years so you might want to wait for a higher sign up bonus if you do not plan to spend a lot in these categories in the next quarter). If you spend a lot on these categories it might be best not to wait for a higher bonus in order to maximize the 5%.
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