Chase Freedom categories 2017 and Q1 of 2018

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Earn 5 percent back at Walmart in Q4 and with mobile wallets in Q1

Chase Freedom cash back categories

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The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date. Please see the bank’s website for the most current version of card offers.

Chase has announced the 5 percent cash back category for the
fourth quarter of 2017and first quarter of 2018.

From October through December 2017, Chase cardholders
can earn 5 percent back at Walmart and department stores. In the first quarter of 2018, Chase Freedom cardholders can earn 5 percent on on purchases made at gas stations, with mobile wallets and for Internet, cable TV and phone service.

“We want Chase Freedom cardmembers to try – and enjoy – the convenience of mobile wallets,” BJ Mahoney, general manager of Chase Freedom, said in a news release. “They can maximize their rewards not only by paying for necessities, but also by splurging, like for their favorite coffee, when using a mobile wallet.”

As 2017 draws to a close, cardholders hoping for a bonus on Amazon purchases or on
wholesale club purchases – the fourth quarter bonus categories in the two
previous years – may be disappointed . However, we see a lot of
potential value in the bonus for customers embarking on a season of holiday
purchases, due to Walmart’s free shipping benefits, as well as the discount
retailer’s already low prices.

To activate the fourth quarter bonus category, click here. For the first quarter 2018 bonus category, Chase Freedom cardholders have until March 14 to activate the bonus.

Here’s what you need
to know at a glance:

  • The Chase bonus category for the fourth quarter
    can be activated as of Sept. 15, 2017.
  • You had until Dec. 14, 2017, to activate the bonus category to receive 5 percent back.
  • From Oct. 1, 2017 through Dec. 31, 2017, Chase
    Freedom
    cardholders earn 5 percent cash back at Walmart and department stores,
    including JCPenney, Macy’s, Kohl’s and Bloomingdale’s.
  • The 5 percent cash back bonus is capped at
    $1,500 per quarter.
  • All other purchases earn 1 percent cash back.




CHASE 5 PERCENT CASH BACK CALENDAR 2017
January – March

Gas stations and local commuter transportation (not including parking, tolls and Amtrak purchases)
April – June

Grocery stores and drug stores (not including Walmart and Target purchases)
July – September

Restaurants and movie theaters
October – December

Walmart and department stores (activate as of Sept. 15, 2017)

What is included/excluded
in the “Walmart” category?

According to Chase’s website,
the category covers purchases at Walmart Discount Stores, Walmart SuperCenters,
Walmart Neighborhood Markets, www.walmart.com, Walmart branded gas stations operated by
Walmart and any other Walmart branded retail stores operated by Walmart.

Note that your lunch stop at
the McDonald’s inside your local Walmart won’t score you any bonus points. The
bonus excludes merchants operating within or on Walmart premises such as
merchants that sell fast food, beauty services, and gas stations that are not
Walmart branded. Walmart affiliate businesses such as Sam’s Club are also not
included.

What is included/excluded in the “department
stores” category?

Purchases made in-store and on
a qualified merchant’s website are included. The category does not include
supercenters, discount stores, or specialty stores (i.e., stores that sell
primarily one line of products such as shoe stores, pet stores, electronics
stores and clothing stores). If a merchant is not on the list, you will not
earn bonus rewards.

Rewards maximizers hoping to
earn bonus points buying vendor gift cards should note that this tactic won’t
work with the department store category. Gift card purchases outside of cards
for the specific department store will not earn bonus rewards.

The list of qualified department
stores
covers many major
retailers, including:

  • JCPenney
  • Kohl’s
  • Macy’s
  • Nordstrom and
    Nordstrom Rack

Tips for maximizing your 5 percent cash back

  • Do your grocery shopping at Walmart and get the
    benefit of low prices on grocery items.
  • Buy your gas from Walmart for a 5 percent bonus,
    which beats the rate on most gas cards, including the Costco card.
  • Do your holiday shopping at Walmart and get free
    shipping on orders greater than $35, including free two-day shipping. (Note that
    Amazon.com charges for two-day
    shipping for anyone who isn’t a Prime member.)
  • Buy Walmart gift cards and use them at Sam’s
    Club to get a 5 percent discount on your shopping there.
  • If Walmart merchandise doesn’t appeal to you,
    you may be able to buy vendor gift cards from Walmart, including Walmart
    online. Walmart carries a large array of gift cards, including for Southwest
    and Uber.
  • Earn up to 11 percent cash back when you stack
    your 5 percent bonus with bonus cash back for the following retailers through Chase’s shopping portal:

    • 6 percent extra cash back at Macys.com
    • 5 percent extra cash back at Saks.com
    • 5 percent extra cash back at Lord & Taylor
    • 4 percent extra cash back at Kohl’s
    • 4 percent extra cash back at JCPenney
    • 4 percent extra cash back at Bloomingdale’s
    • 3 percent extra cash back at Neiman Marcus
    • 2 percent extra cash back at Sears
    • 2 percent extra cash back at Barneys New York

Comparing Chase and
Discover bonus categories

Chase isn’t the only card issuer that offers a 5 percent
cash back bonus. Discover also allows cardholders to earn 5 percent cash back
in categories that rotate quarterly. From Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2017,
Discover it and Discover More cardholders can earn 5 percent cash back on up to
$1,500 at Amazon and Target.

Discover also has released its bonus categories for all of 2018, and Discover It and Discover Miles cardholders can earn 5 percent cash back at gas stations and wholesale clubs during the first quarter. 







CHASE VERSUS DISCOVER CASH BACK CATEGORIES 2017
  Chase Freedom
Chase Freedom
Discover it
Discover it
January – March Gas stations and local commuter transportation (not including parking, tolls and Amtrak purchases) Gas stations, ground transportation and wholesale clubs
April – June Grocery stores and drugstores (including Walmart and Target purchases) Home improvement stores and wholesale clubs
July – September Restaurants and movie theaters Restaurants
October – December Walmart and department stores Amazon.com and Target

So which card offers the best deal? Ultimately, we believe
it boils down to your shopping preferences.

If you prefer shopping Walmart or department stores, Chase offers the
better deal. 
Many people who shop at Walmart do so because of the prices
and convenience. In addition to providing a wide range of low-priced items all
in one place, Walmart offers free two-day shipping on purchases of $35 or more
as well as free instore pickup on select items. Customers can also order
groceries online, and get free, same-day pickup.

Freedom cardholders can also earn
the 5 percent bonus at a variety of department stores, giving them the
opportunity to earn the higher cash back rate on big ticket items, such as
kitchen appliances from Sears or designer clothes from Neiman Marcus.
Additionally, cardholders can earn more back at eligible department stores with
Shop through Chase.

If you prefer Target or Amazon over Walmart, then Discover offers the
better deal.
Along with the 5-percent cash back bonus for Discover it and
More cardholders, Target shoppers enjoy free shipping on orders of $35 or more,
plus free returns. Amazon shoppers also receive 5 percent back on Amazon.com
purchases, including digital downloads, Amazon.com gift cards, Amazon Fresh
orders, Amazon Local Deals and Prime memberships.

Other options for 5
percent cash back at Target and Amazon

If you’re interested in getting 5 percent back year-round –
and aren’t concerned about missing out on the other perks offered by Discover –
the Target REDcard offers 5 percent back on all Target purchases, along with
free shipping and a 10-percent off coupon each year on your REDcard
anniversary.

Amazon also offers the opportunity to earn 5 percent cash
back at Amazon.com year-round with the Amazon
Prime Rewards Visa
, which gives new card members a $70 Amazon.com gift card
with sign up, and the Amazon.com Store card, which offers a $20 Amazon.com gift
card. But keep in mind that you must be an Amazon Prime member to apply for
either of these cards. 

Whichever card you choose, the ability to earn 5 percent
back during the holiday shopping season – whether at Walmart and department
stores or Target and Amazon – is a great opportunity. 

See related: Chase
Freedom vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited: Which is best for you?
, Which
is the best card to use on Amazon.com purchases?

The editorial content
below is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not
driven by advertising dollars. However, we do receive compensation when you
click on links to products from our partners. Learn
more about our advertising policy




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