Chase has released the 2018 5% bonus categories for the first quarter and second quarter for the Chase Freedom card.
Chase Freedom Calendar 2018 5% Bonus Categories
The Chase Freedom 5% bonus categories for 2018 are as follows:
1st quarter (January 1, 2018- March 31, 2018) – Gas Stations, internet/cable/phone services, Chase Pay, Android Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay.
2nd quarter (April 1, 2018- June 30, 2018) – Grocery stores (not including Walmart and Target), PayPal and Chase Pay.
3rd quarter (July 1, 2018- September 30, 2018) – Coming Soon (will most likely be similar to 2017 see below)
4th quarter (October 1, 2018- December 31, 2018) – Coming Soon (will most likely be similar to 2017 see below)
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 for 2018 on chase.com.
As you can see Chase has not yet released the full 2018 5% bonus categories but they will likely be similar to the Chase Freedom 5% bonus categories for 2017 which were as follows:
1st quarter 2017 – Gas Stations and Local Commuter Transportation.
2nd quarter 2017 – Grocery stores (not including Walmart and Target) and drugstores.
3rd quarter 2017 – Restaurants and Movie Theaters.
4th quarter 2017 – Walmart and Department stores.
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 second quarter ends on June 14, 2018.
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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