Posted by Chuck on December 13, 2018
Credit Cards

Published on December 13th, 2018 | by Chuck

89

Chase Freedom Announces Q1 2019 5% Categories: Gas Stations, Drugstores Tolls

Chase Freedom has announced the 5% rotating categories for the Freedom card for the first quarter of 2019:

  • Gas stations
  • Drugstores
  • Tolls

Category dates are January 1, 2019 – March 31, 2019. You can activate the bonus beginning tomorrow here. Must activate no later than March 14, 2019.

These are nice categories; gas is always a favorite, drugstores sell gift cards which help maxing out the $1,500 limit if you are so inclined, and tolls is useful for commuters as well. For comparison sake, in Q1 2018 it was gas stations, communications, and mobile payments.

We already know all of Discover 2019 categories – Q1 is grocery stores.



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T
T

Gas is always nice but tolls? Really?

Jags
Jags

My EZ Pass bill is $200/mo. This is great. There are people who drive from NJ to Long Island daily. That is $27.50/day assuming you don’t need to pay parkway or turnpike tolls as well…

Lantean
Lantean

I know people who drive from PA to LI… but personally I would just move.

Staradmiral
Staradmiral

Damn, considered moving?

Rocky
Rocky

My toll bill is 120$ pm , CSR works well , for first quarter i can use both , CF & CSR.PA to NJ everyday

calwatch
calwatch

I normally pay tolls with VGC or MCGC paid for from the office stores. Drugstores will be my way of spending this down.

Matt
Matt

My tolls alone are about $13 a day driving from Queens, NY to Westchester. Works out to be around $330/month just for tolls.

I thought about moving there to decrease my commute time but it will not save me money because the property tax in Westchester is ridiculous.

Chucks
Chucks

I’m guessing a monthly toll bill is going to be something a lot of people set and forget too, to Chase’s advantage

Xander
Xander

Tolls is huge for people commuting in NYC

COBOLCODERUSEALLCAPS

Gift cards are my drugs at drug stores.

Matthew Haugen
Matthew Haugen

Gas and drug stores are both fine and dandy (though hard to optimize when you already have good gas cards/portals/etc. and a CIC for GCs), but tolls is an interesting one.

I don’t personally pay much in tolls, but even if I did, I don’t know of basically anywhere that has tolls that can be paid with CC, but aren’t done online. Usually, I think of the motivation behind 5% categories as being to get the card in someone’s wallet–if I have it for gas, I’m theoretically more likely to use it for daily spend.

The other approach is to target sign-ups, like “this card often gets 5% back on department stores,” which is fine, but I wouldn’t think tolls would be the sexiest way to accomplish that either. I know people will sign up for any card, any time, but I feel like other categories could attract more attention.

So I’m not complaining, although mobile payments would be much nicer, but this is just an interesting choice.

vince
vince

They’re hoping to get auto-payments for tolls through your chase freedom and that you don’t change the card afterwards.

Jags
Jags

They so silly.

J Ro
J Ro

+1

Novacat05
Novacat05

Fat chance from savy users on this site, but from the average consumer, yes.

And most toll transactions this day and age are via electronic methods like E-ZPass(some states it’s upwards of 80%), which means the vast majority of people pay tolls through a prepaid account that is very likely replenished with a credit card.

Abey
Abey

Good point Vince, I do auto pay with Ink preferred for 3% back on tolls as I pay $200+ a month (NYC life).

Electroman
Electroman

” I don’t know of basically anywhere that has tolls that can be paid with CC, but aren’t done online.” The only place I know of that works like that are the autopistas (Interstate-quality toll roads) in Puerto Rico. Yes, you pull up to the (completely automated) toll “booth” and use your card like at any other POS location.

Dave P
Dave P

Yup, I know from experience you can swipe your card to pay the toll at the tunnel crossing between Detroit and Windsor, ON. You can also swipe your card to pay tolls on the Indiana toll road, if you don’t have EZ-Pass. In fact, almost all of the toll booths are unmanned now, so you either have to insert cash/exact change, or pay with your card, if you don’t have a transponder. There are no longer attendants there to make change for you.

Plus, as noted above, if people switch their auto billing on EZ-Pass to their freedom card, many will forget to change it to something else at the end of the quarter.

To me, Tolls goes right along with Gas as a category, with being auto/commuting related. Obviously a bigger deal in some parts of the country (NY/NJ) than others.

Hari
Hari

Does Costco gas count towards 5%?

Cpaynter
Cpaynter

Based on past history, yes.

Trey
Trey

It codes as gas on your transactions, so yes.

Newbie
Newbie

Yes, costco gas counts. But this quarter costco shopping counts as 5% category but not for GAS.

Novacat05
Novacat05

Affirmative.

Non-gas purchases inside some convenience stores also flag as gas so you can get 5% on more than just gas. This includes Wawa(only locations that sell gas) and Sheetz, two major chains on the East coast.

Hari
Hari

Thank you all! That’s a great deal for me living next to a Costco Warehouse but I doubt I’d be able to max out this Quarterly bonus. Tolls/Drug stores aint my thing. Possibly have to do some MS at Drugstore to get max out.

John Doe
John Doe

It does code as Gas Station. Filled up at Costco a few days ago and got 5%. Costco Gas Stations, since 2018, has coded as Gas Station.

John
John

Ohio Turnpike accepts credit cards. But yeah most of the east coast states seem to only take cash or EZ Pass

Jay
Jay

These are fine categories, but was really hoping Chase Pay would be a constant

Vy
Vy

Not me. I’m un-installing Chase Pay on New Year’s Eve. Good riddance.

Jay
Jay

For those with Samsung pay it = 5x everywhere

Mike
Mike

Yep. I have been using my wife and I’s 3 Freedoms for just about everything on Samsung Pay/Chase Pay this past quarter. Was kind of hoping that was a staple

parrothead
parrothead

Do gas stations outside the U.S. count?

Denis
Denis

Don’t forget about 3% foreign transaction fee if you decide to check it.

ninja421
ninja421

You wouldn’t want to do that since you’d have to pay a foreign transaction fee on it.

Staradmiral
Staradmiral

2% is better than 0% unless you have a better card.

Staradmiral
Staradmiral

Yes, i have used it in canada last year and it worked

Novacat05
Novacat05

Those of you who use electronic toll payment/EZ-Pass on your commute, once January rolls around just do a one-time payment of as much as you can handle or it will take. Super easy and efficient way to maximize rewards on something that probably earns most people 1% cash back. Much better than robbing myself of 3% on restaurants or 4% on gas that I usually earn.

Otherwise I’d stock up on somewhere like Home Depot GCs at a drugstore, but then if you have to return things it gets to be a pain having to deal with store credit too, and some things I buy there I want to use a real CC for the extended warranty.

Jay
Jay

Anyone with a Sapphire Reserve should already be getting 3x

Abey
Abey

As well as Ink preferred.

Denis
Denis

Toll payments often fall into travel category (at least for Chase Sapphire Reserve/Ink Preferred, BofA Premium Rewards) which gives more than 1%

Jack
Jack

That’s what I did as my one time $300 use of my CSR before downgrading last year.

Hoogo
Hoogo

Has anyone actually tried using the Chase Freedom to pre-pay EZ-Pass? I checked my Sapphire account and the last time I used it for EZ-Pass, it shows the category “Transportation”. Is Chase Freedom smart enough to recognize this as a toll payment?

S Nack
S Nack

They try to get people add their Freedom cards to their toll account automatic payment so they can keep paying using Freedom after Q1.

P
P

Meh

Hodor
Hodor

MSing takes its toll on me. Can I get 5% back on that?

slewinter
slewinter

If you can do it at a drug store or gas station, yes. 🙂

Hari
Hari

Thats my gameplan. MS @ drugstore.

Lantean
Lantean

I guess we can still load our Amazon balance at CVS?

TheTaxman_Cometh
TheTaxman_Cometh

Isn’t that cash only to load at CVS? I mean you can always buy amazon gcs there though

Gerald
Gerald

Not in my experience. It might vary from store to store.

Dave
Dave

Zzzz. My Arco gas stations in L.A. don’t take c/c. No tolls here, either. I don’t think I signed up for any categories this year.

calwatch
calwatch

Buy Arco gift cards at the drugstore!

Drew
Drew

On the topic of the Freedom card, are there no longer referrals for this card?

James
James

I just got an offer from Chase to refer this card to others…

Staradmiral
Staradmiral

I need it to include chase pay for my walmart purchases

bax
bax

Too bad the local drugstores have run out of the last of $4.95 VGCs…

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