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5% Cash Back Bonus Categories for Chase Freedom Card

Discover Chase Freedom's 5% rotating bonus categories. Learn about cash back caps, when to sign up and find historical category calendars in the charts below.

Chase only gives you 15 days to sign up before a new set of categories begin. However, they make it easy to sign up by reminding you.

Visit their web site and sign up for email or text message reminders. Just reply to the message to activate the bonus categories.

In 2012, Chase narrowed down the 5% categories, making it harder to earn full $75 quarterly bonus. If you spend big at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants, you'll earn the maximum reward for the first three quarters. If you travel by plane and stay in hotels during the holiday season, you may max out in quarter four.

Learn to earn the entire $300 in Knowzy's "Chase Freedom Bonus Categories."

 

Contents

 

 

2012 Chase Freedom Bonus Categories in Review

Like 2011, Chase Freedom kept the $1,500 spending limit on 5% categories. However, they made it hard to reach that limit by narrowing the choices in the bonus categories.

In most quarters, Chase has one category that typical cardholders will find useful. Gas in Q1 and Q3. Grocery stores in Q2. Not everyone will spend $1,500 in the useful category and the remaining categories might not fill the gap.

For example, Q2 is grocery stores and movies. Going to the movies may be expensive but it probably doesn't account for more than a couple hundred dollars in a quarter. That maximum $75 5% bonus may elude you in Q2 unless you have large grocery bills.

Alas, Discover is following the same narrow-the-choice trend in 2012.

In 2012, individual stores play heavily in Chase's rotating bonus categories. Amazon.com, Kohl's, Best Buy make up half of the categories in two quarters.

Bad news for non-profit organizations in 2012: Chase dropped charities as a 5% bonus category.

 

Bonus Category Calendar for 2012

Your Chase Freedom 5% category calendar follows. Can you envision yourself spending $500 per month in the given categories?

 

2012 Chase Freedom 5% Bonus Categories
Time PeriodCash Back BonusCategoriesSign Up StartingLimits
Source: Chase
January -
March
5%Gas, Amazon.comDecember 15, 2011
$1,500 Spending Limit
$75 Maximum Cash Back
April -
June
5%Grocery Stores, MoviesMarch 15, 2012
$1,500 Spending Limit
$75 Maximum Cash Back
July -
September
5%Gas, RestaurantsJune 15, 2012
$1,500 Spending Limit
$75 Maximum Cash Back
October -
December
5%Hotels, Airlines, Best Buy, Kohl'sSeptember 15, 2012
$1,500 Spending Limit
$75 Maximum Cash Back

 

Categories Removed in 2012

  • Charity
  • Drug stores
  • Home Improvement Stores,
  • Home Furnishings
  • Department Stores (Q4 has Kohl's, though)

 

Categories (or stores) Added in 2012

  • Gas stations (now 6 months out of the year)
  • Amazon.com (Q1)
  • Best Buy (Q4)

 

 

2011 Chase Freedom Bonus Categories in Review

This is the year Chase upped their spending limit to $1,500 per quarter, from around $800. Discover followed suit in 2012.

All bonus categories earn 5%, with one exception: 10% cash back at Kohl's during the last quarter.

Kohl's is a bonus category in 2012. It will be interesting to see if they repeat the 10% offer.

2011 offers 5% cash back on charitable donations during the holiday season. It's a nice way to reward giving that, unfortunately, Chase didn't bring back in 2012.

 

Bonus Category Calendar for 2011

See the Chase Freedom calendar of yesteryear below.

 

2011 Chase Freedom 5% Bonus Categories
Time PeriodCash Back BonusCategoriesSign Up StartingLimits
Source: Chase
January -
March
5%Grocery Stores, Drug StoresDecember 15, 2010
$1,500 Spending Limit
$75 Maximum Cash Back
April -
June
5%Home Improvement, Lawn and Garden, Home FurnishingsMarch 15, 2011
$1,500 Spending Limit
$75 Maximum Cash Back
July -
September
5%Gas, Hotels, AirlinesJune 15, 2011
$1,500 Spending Limit
$75 Maximum Cash Back
October -
December
5%Dining, Department Stores, Movies, Charity, Kohl's (10%)September 15, 2011
$1,500 Spending Limit
$75 Maximum Cash Back

 

Disclosure

* Knowzy has a financial relationship with Chase and Knowzy may be compensated if you sign up. We appreciate your support.

 

Originally Published:  Sunday, March 18, 2012, 5:19 PM PT

Last Updated:  Wednesday, January 9, 2013, 12:07 PM PT

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