Published on January 2nd, 2017 | by Chuck32
What Counts as Gas & Transportation for 5x with Freedom and Discover?
The Chase Freedom card and the Discover IT card are both offering 5x rewards on gas and transportation purchases from January 1, 2017 through March 31, 2017. After activating the benefit, we can earn 5x rewards on up to $1,500 in combined spend for a maximum of $75 cashback or 7,500 points.
The Freedom’s 5x is more valuable for those who have a premium Chase card as it can be then transferred to travel partners. The Discover has an edge for those who are enrolled in the Double Cashback offer which will turn the 5% into 10%.
Both cards receive 5x rewards on the following two categories:
Discover has a third category which also earns 5%:
- Wholesale Clubs
Earning 5x on Gas
The gas part of the deal should be the same on Freedom and Discover. Both include most regular gas station pumps, and both mention that gas purchased at grocery stores or superstores may not be eligible. These gas retailers sometimes have the gas purchases coded like other store purchases, not as gas.
Gas stations affiliated with Wholesale Clubs should work with Discover (since both Gas and Wholesale Clubs are part of the 5% categories), but might not work with Freedom if it isn’t coded as gas. Readers report in the comments that both Costco gas and Sam’s gas work to trigger 5x with Freedom since it’s coded as gas.
There may be some creative ways of maximizing the gas category on both the Freedom and Discover cards: some convenience stores and gas stations sell gift cards and these are occasionally considered the same as a gas purchase to trigger the 5% rewards. It used to work with 7-Eleven and Wawa, for example, though both of these have gotten increasingly difficult.
Earning 5x on Transportation
With regards to the Transportation category, there is quite a difference between the Freedom offer and the Discover offer.
Chase advertises the benefit as ‘Local Commuter Transportation’ while Discover calls it ‘Ground Transportation.’ The wording, in this case, isn’t just verbiage.
Freedom only earns 5x on local transportation like taxis and subways, not on any long-distance transport like Amtrak or car rentals. Discover, on the other hand, earns 5% on all ground transportation, even things like car rentals.
Examples of things that are included on the Freedom:
- Subways and local commuter trains
- Uber and Lyft (even UberEATS)
Examples of things that are excluded:
- Transportation outside the US
- Toll and bridges
- Bike sharing services
- Car rentals
- Tourist/tour buses, trains and trolleys
Discover includes just about everything:
- Rental Cars
In previous years, they explicitly included the following:
- Bike Share Programs
- Charter & Tour Bus Lines
- Local & Suburban Public Transportation – Buses, Trains
- Taxis, Limos
- Uber and Lyft
Even things like car rentals, bike share, and tour buses which are excluded by Freedom counted for Discover. I’m fairly certain these will work this year too.
The only Discover exclusion is “ground transportation purchases made through travel agencies or travel aggregator sites,” since these purchases won’t necessarily come up as ground transportation at all. Booking a rental car on Priceline won’t be eligible, for example.
Certain things are still unknown with Discover:
- Tolls and bridges (one data point indicates that EZ-Pass in NY did work last year)
- Parking lots or garages
- Cruise lines
Discover’s Wholesale Clubs category will work both in-store and should work online as well.
The following wholesale clubs accept Discover cards:
- Costco.com (not Costco clubs)
- BJ’s and bjs.com
- Sam’s Club and samsclub.com
It’s also possible to maximize the Wholesale category purchasing gift cards. We wrote about the various options in a previous post.