2019 Guide to Chase Freedom Categories

The Chase Freedom® credit card is great for anyone who wants cash back for making day to day purchases, such as filling up at the gas station or buying groceries. To take full advantage, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the Chase Freedom categories as they change on a quarterly basis. 

The Chase Freedom® 2019 bonus category calendar

The Chase Freedom® Credit Card offers a 5 percent (up to $1,500) cash back bonus on up to $1,500 in certain categories for each quarter. You also earn unlimited 1 percent cash back on any other purchases made during the quarterly period. 

Quarter 1 (January 1st, 2019- March 31st, 2019)

Gas stations, tolls and drugstores

Quarter 2 (April 1st, 2019 – June 30th, 2019)

Grocery stores and home improvement stores

Quarter 3 (July 1st, 2019- September 30th, 2019)

Gas stations and a selection of streaming services 

Quarter 4 (October 1st, 2019 – December 31st, 2019)

Announced in September 2018

Here’s a look at the 2018 Chase Freedom calendar for quarterly categories:

Quarter 1 (January 1st, 2018 – March 31st, 2018)

Gas stations, Internet/cable/phone services, Chase Pay, Android Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay.

Quarter 2 (April 1st, 2018 – June 30th, 2018)

Grocery stores, PayPal, Chase Pay

Quarter 3 (July 1st, 2018- September 30th, 2018)

Gas stations, Walgreens, Lyft. 

Quarter 4 (October 1st, 2018- December 31st, 2018)

Department stores, Wholesale Clubs, Chase Pay

How to maximize your rewards with Chase Freedom categories

The Chase Ultimate Rewards® program is simple. Each quarter, use your Chase Freedom credit card to shop in a specified category. You’ll earn 5 percent cash back (up to $1,500) in combined purchases. The best method for maximizing rewards is to leverage the bonus categories and make as many purchases with your card as you can. 

Most importantly, plan ahead. Once the bonus categories are announced, make a list of items you can purchase in bulk. For instance, if you know that stores like Walmart or Target will be included in one of the quarters, make a list of what you need, stock up and prepare for the next time this merchant is featured. This will be especially helpful for your budget during the holiday season. 

Step-by-step guide to Chase Freedom rewards

You must activate the bonus categories each quarter to claim your credit card rewards. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Register online at Chase.com and select your Chase Freedom credit card to reach its dashboard. Click the blue Activate button to see the list of bonus categories, then click the green Activate Now button to complete the process.
  • Sign up for the quarterly email reminders. 
  • Call 1-800-524-8200 or the number on the back of your credit card to reach a customer service representative.
  • Head to your local Chase branch
  • Use an ATM to activate your bonus rewards while making a cash withdrawal (only for customers with Chase checking accounts and debit cards).

There is a quarterly deadline to activate your bonus categories. You must activate the bonus by the deadline to earn bonus points for all the eligible purchases you make during the bonus period (even prior to activation). 

If you have multiple Chase Freedom credit cards, each card must be individually activated. 

In a nutshell

With a little bit of effort, you can start earning cash back for your quarterly purchases. If you’re not already a Chase cardholder, consider the spending benefits as well as taking advantage of the sign-up bonus. 

Shiran Brodie

Personal finance writer

Shiran is currently living in Prague but missing home in Philadelphia, PA. In her spare time she enjoys reading fantasy novels, traveling the world, and watching Doctor Who.