Q1 2018 5% Quarterly Categories: Activate, Offers & Suggestions (Freedom, Discover, Dividend, Cash+)

It’s now possible to activate/enroll your 5% credit cards for the first quarter of 2018 on Chase Freedom, Discover IT, Citi Dividend, and US Bank Cash+. In this post we’ll provide the activation link for each card and link to track your spend, along with strategies to help increase spend on these categories.

Dates: January 1, 2018 – March 31, 2017. Store purchases can usually be done until the last minute. Online purchases should be given a buffer zone of a day or two.

Chase Freedom – Mobile Payments, Gas Stations, Communications

Activation Link / Our original post

Earn 5% back on mobile payments, gas stations, and communication purchases during January, February, and March, up to $1,500 maximum. All of these are useful categories:

  • Mobile Payments which includes Chase Pay, Android Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay. Note: you will not get 10% by using a form of mobile payments in the Gas or Communications category – max is 5% back.
  • Gas Stations. This includes the standard gas stations like ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, and many smaller providers – you can find a long list of gas stations that qualify here.
  • Internet, Cable, and Phone Service providers. You can find a long list of providers that qualify here. Interestedly, they include things like Netflix, Spotify, and Gogo, along with more basic communications providers like Comcast, Optimum, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, etc.

The mobile payments category is incredibly easy to maximize since most major retailers accept these payments, essentially making it 5x anywhere. If you can’t spend $1,500 organically, consider stocking up on gift cards for the future. Or manufacture spend with the purchase of Visa/MC gift cards at your local drugstore or grocery who accepts mobile payments.

The other categories are less lucrative for a lot of us since gas is a category which is often bonused (they also overlap with Discover and Dividend), and communications has the INK cards which earn bonus points there.

Tip: Click this link to check how far you are along the $1,500.

Discover – Gas Stations and Wholesale Clubs

Activation Link / Our original post

Earn 5% back on gas stations and wholesale clubs during January, February, and March, up to $1,500 maximum.

  • Gas Stations includes stand-along gas stations and might not include gas stations affiliated with superstores and supermarkets.
  • Wholesale Clubs should include Costco, Sam’s Club, BJ’s, and maybe a few others.

“Check with your Wholesale Club to make sure your Discover card is accepted. Certain Wholesale Club services, such as travel and cell phone purchases may not be eligible in this category. Purchases made using tap-and-pay, mobile or wireless card readers, virtual wallets or similar technology may not be eligible.”

Wholesale clubs is useful, gas is less useful since there are other cards with bonuses on that category, as mentioned above. New Discover cardholders will get the 5% cashback doubled at year’s end for a total of 10% back.

Tip: Click this link to see you how far along the $1,500 you are.

 

Citi Dividend – Gas Stations and Car Rentals

Activation Link / Our original post

Earn 5% back on gas station and car rental purchases during January, February, and March.

Citi is slightly different to the other cards in that you have a $6,000 annual cap rather than a quarterly cap. So you can get 5% back on up to $6,000 in this quarter, you can save the entire amount for a different quarter, or you can use part up each quarter.

A lot of people will save their 5% bandwidth for the Best Buy and Department Store category during Q4 2018. 

Cash+ – Select your Categories

Activation link

U.S. Bank Cash+ offers 5% cash back in two categories, up to $2,000 combined total per quarter. Here are the current options (keep in mind that Charity was replaced with Ground Transportation):

  • Select clothing stores
  • Cell phones
  • Electronic Stores
  • Car rentals
  • Gyms/Fitness
  • Bookstores
  • Fast food
  • Ground Transportation
  • Sporting goods
  • Department Stores
  • Furniture Stores
  • Movie theaters

Tip: Login here, then scroll down and click on the Red “View Your Cash+ History” button.

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Jamie
Jamie

Does anyone know if its easy to switch an existing US Bank Visa Platinum card to Cash+? I called and the CS Rep said no but it was clear that she was new, so I’m not 100% convinced.

Does buying vgc’s at a Simon mall’s CS desk count as “Department Store” since that’s the only category I can see useful. Are there other categories when I could buy vgc’s online like electronics?

Catapult
Catapult

The “how far along.. ” link for Discover doesn’t seem to work anymore!

BW
BW

Anyone know Walgreen’s vgc fees?

krish
krish

amex card — 4.95
visa card — 5.95

SK
SK

the link to see you how far along the $1,500 you are is down. Now anyone knows where to track Discover Card cashback?

Tom
Tom

I contacted Discover about this and the csr said they don’t have a tracker on the website and said I can call them and they will be able to tell me. Quite inconvenient

SK
SK

really no good!
nowhere to check and track…and now they missed the 5% on my purchases near the end of Dec 2017…need to contact them…troublesome..

SK
SK

the link to see you how far along the $1,500 you are is down. Anyone knows where to track Discover Card cashback now?

Brian K
Brian K

Does mobile payments include venmo? After the 3% fee that would be 2% profit. Could be good to do at the end of the quarter if you have cap room left.

Jeff H
Jeff H

Why should Venmo be worth anything for this purpose? IMO it dos not get the 5% benefit and should be avoided anyway. It is not a mobile wallet.

Jeff H
Jeff H

My Chase Jan 3rd monthly statement includes three January Android Pay items. (McDonalds, Subway sandwich, and Ace Hardware). All three included the 5X wallet bonus.

EastsideBK
EastsideBK

Hi Jeff H,

Did you confirm if the US Bank Cash+ card gets 5% cash back on all Amazon purchases (not just Kindle) if you chose the bookstore category?

Thanks in advance for your datapoint!

Jeff H
Jeff H

My choice of Bookstores for Cash plus took effect Jan 1.
I have made two Amazon Video Library purchases (one rental and one purchase) in January.
My January statement does not cut until the last week of the month.

Flip
Flip

Not sure how many use Nusenda cash back at 5% but its quarterly is grocery and gas. I believe this is the fourth year in a row that they have not changed the categories. The main reason why I added it last year.
I offered to write an article here about my experience getting it but never heard back. 🙁

Information Booth
Information Booth

I’m planning to use my Sam’s club AMEX offers, first, then make my purchases instore with my Discover cards. Also, check out Discover Deals as they have additional offers, as well. Love in Christ.

James B.
James B.

Hi Information Booth,

What do you plan on purchasing at instore at Sam’s club with your Discover Cards?

Mimi
Mimi

I’m planning to wait till March to use ChasePay at BBY to buy VGCs since their FAQs say that the status ends at the end of February this year. I want to build up to Elite+ again and start collecting certificates.