Published on January 1st, 2020 | by Chuck47
Q1 2020 5% Quarterly Categories: Activate, Offers & Suggestions (Freedom, Discover, Dividend, Cash+)
It’s now possible to activate/enroll all 5% category credit cards for the first quarter of 2020, including the Chase Freedom, Discover IT, Citi Dividend, and US Bank Cash+ and a few more. In this post we’ll provide the activation link for each card and links to track your spend, along with strategies to help increase spend in these categories.
Dates: January 1st – March 31st, 2020. Store purchases can usually be done until the last minute. Online purchases should be given a buffer zone of a day or two.
- 1 Chase Freedom – Gas, Streaming, Internet & Phone
- 2 Discover – Grocery, CVS, Walgreen’s
- 3 Citi Dividend – Supermarkets, Fitness
- 4 US Bank Cash+ – Select your Categories
- 5 Bank of America Cash Rewards
- 6 Other Cards with 5% Category
Chase Freedom – Gas, Streaming, Internet & Phone
Earn 5% back at Gas Stations, Select Streaming Services, and Internet, Cable, and Phone Services this quarter, up to $1,500 maximum.
- Gas stations “Merchants in the gas stations category sell automotive gasoline that can be paid for either at the pump or inside the station, and may or may not sell other goods or services at their location. Merchants that do not specialize in selling automotive gasoline are not included in this category; for example, truck stops, boat marinas, oil and propane distributors, and home heating companies.”
- Some have had success with convenience stores like 7-11 coding as gas too, though technically it’s probably only going to include pumped gas.
- Select streaming services
- Eligible streaming services include: Netflix, Hulu, Sling, Vudu, FuboTV, Apple Music, SiriusXM, Pandora, Spotify, YouTube and ESPN+.
- Streaming services gets 6% on Blue Cash Preferred, but some will prefer 5x Ultimate Rewards instead.
- Internet, cable and phone services “Only purchases for internet, cable, satellite television and radio, cellular, wireless data, and landline services will qualify. Purchases of equipment are not included. If you purchase or pay for your internet, cable and satellite television, phone or related services in a merchant’s store that is not classified by the merchant in the applicable services category, the purchase or payment will not qualify; for example, phone bill payments in a merchant’s store that is classified as a telephone equipment store.”
- Internet and phone isn’t very interesting for those with the INK 5x card, but still could be useful for those without one of those cards.
Tip: Click this link (login required) to check how far you are along the $1,500.
Discover – Grocery, CVS, Walgreen’s
- “Activate to earn 5% Cashback Bonus at Grocery Stores (stand-alone), Walgreens (stand-alone) and CVS (stand-alone) from 1/1/20 (or the date on which you activate 5%, whichever is later) through 3/31/20, on up to $1,500 in purchases. Grocery Store purchases made at convenience stores, gas stations, warehouse clubs, discount stores, supercenters (or at grocery stores associated with supercenters or discount stores), including Walmart and Target are not eligible. Walgreens and CVS purchases include only purchases made in-store at Walgreens or CVS, online at Walgreens.com or CVS.com, or through the Walgreens or CVS app. Individual merchants and stand-alone stores within physical Walgreens or CVS locations (including health centers), or on Walgreens.com or CVS.com, may not be eligible in this category. Listed merchants are in no way sponsoring or affiliated with this program.”
Grocery Stores can be interesting for organic use. Walgreen’s and CVS would be interesting to some as they sell a wide variety of gift cards, including Visa, Mastercard, Amazon, etc.
Citi Dividend – Supermarkets, Fitness
Earn 5% back at Supermarkets and Fitness Clubs this quarter. Citi is different than the other cards in that you have a $6,000 annual cap rather than a $1,500 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. (Some people may prefer the Drug Store and Amazon options available next quarter, in April through June.)
US Bank Cash+ – Select your Categories
U.S. Bank Cash+ offers 5% cash back in two categories, up to $2,000 combined total per quarter. Keep in mind that Car Rentals was recently replaced with TV, Internet, and Streaming Services.
Here are the current options:
- TV, Internet, and Streaming Services
- Home utilities
- Select clothing stores
- Cell phone providers
- Electronic Stores
- 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.
Bank of America Cash Rewards
The Cash Rewards card from Bank of America offers 3% back on one selected category, up to $2,500 per quarter. If you don’t select anything it defaults to gas. Once you selected a category for one quarter, that remains your category in the future unless you change it. Each calendar month you can change it if you’d like, but you’re always limited to $2,500 for the entire quarter.
- Gas (default)
- Online Shopping
- Drug Stores
- Home Improvement/Furnishings
This category is especially lucrative for those who have Preferred Rewards status with Bank of America which can get you 5.25% back on one of these categories at the higher relationship level.
Lots of useful categories here. Important note: the Cash Rewards card also offers 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs up to $2,500 per quarter, and that $2,500 limit combines with the Category Selection limit. After spending $2,500, you’ll earn 1% back on everything.
Other Cards with 5% Category
ABOC – Monthly Bills
- Earn 5% this quarter in the utilities, cell, cable, Amazon Prime and streaming subscription services purchases, up to $1,500 in purchases. Offer activation required.
Nusenda FCU – Groceries, Gas
- Earn 5% this quarter on Groceries and Gas Expenses on up to $1,500 in purchases.
Affinity FCU – Restaurants
- Earn 5% this quarter on purchases at Restaurants.
The 5x is on top of regular earn for a total of 6x or 7x, depending on the card. There also does not appear to be any limit.
Vantage West [AZ] – Select your Category
Get 5x points on the category of your choice, up to $1,500 per quarter. Eligible categories:
- Utilities [water, cell, electric, etc.]
- In-Store Wholesale Purchases [Costco, Sam’s Club, etc.]
- Department Stores
- Hardware & Home Improvement Stores
- Charitable Organizations
- Pharmacies & Drug Stores