Posted by Chuck on April 1, 2019
Credit Cards

Published on April 1st, 2019 | by Chuck

47

Q2 2019 5% Quarterly Categories: Activate, Offers & Suggestions (Freedom, Discover, Dividend, Cash+)

It’s now possible to activate/enroll your 5% credit cards for the second quarter of 2019 on Chase Freedom, Discover IT, Citi Dividend, and US Bank Cash+. 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: April 1st – June 30th, 2019. 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 – Grocery and Home Improvement Stores

Activation Link / FAQ / Sample Stores & ExclusionsOur original post

Earn 5% back at grocery stores and home improvement stores during the months of April, May, and June, up to $1,500 maximum.

  • Grocery Stores – “Merchants in the Chase Freedom Grocery stores category…includes supermarkets as well as smaller grocery stores. Please note that some merchants that sell grocery items are not included in this category; for example, larger stores that sell a wide variety of goods, such as Target®, Walmart®, discount stores, warehouse clubs, and some smaller merchants such as drugstores and merchants that specialize in only a few grocery items. In addition, please note that purchases made at gas stations operated by merchants who also operate grocery stores are not included in this category.”
    • Long list of sample grocery stores can be found here. Includes all the big ones like the Kroger family stores, Shoprite, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Winn Dixie, Safeway, Pathmark, Hy Vee, Giant and many more.
    • The Grocery Store category does not include purchases made at Target® or Walmart®.
    •  Grocery Stores is an easy one to maximize for most people. If you don’t complete the entire $1,500, you can always buy a gift card to local grocery or else stock up on third party gift cards for places like Amazon, eBay, or Airbnb. Many large grocery chains even sell Visa/MC/Amex gift cards too.
  • Home Improvement Stores – “Merchants in the home improvement stores category specialize in selling a variety of home improvement supplies, from larger home improvement stores to smaller hardware stores. Please note that some larger merchants that sell a wide variety of general goods which may include home improvement supplies, for example, warehouse clubs, discount stores, or grocery stores, are not included in this category. Also, merchants that specialize in home furnishings, garden and landscaping supplies are not included.”
    • Specific examples mentioned by Chase as eligible: Home Depot, Lowe’s, Menards, Ace Hardware, Sherwin Williams; see more examples here.
    • Many home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s sell third party gift cards to places like Amazon and Starbucks. That’s another way to max out this category.

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

 

Discover – Gas, Uber, Lyft

Activation Link / Our original post

Earn 5% back at gas stations, Uber, and Lyft during the months of April, May, and June, up to $1,500 maximum.
  • “Activate to earn 5% Cashback Bonus at Gas Stations (stand-alone), Uber and Lyft from 4/1/19 (or the date on which you activate 5%, whichever is later) through 6/30/19, on up to $1,500 in purchases. Purchases made at Gas Stations affiliated with supermarkets and supercenters may not be eligible. Purchases made through Uber Eats will not qualify. Purchases of Uber and Lyft gift cards may not be eligible…Certain digital wallet transactions qualify for 5%, for more information see Discover.com/digitalwallets. Purchases made using tap-and-pay, mobile or wireless card readers, virtual wallets or similar technology will not be eligible if the technology does not provide sufficient transaction details for rewards qualification. Rewards are added to your Cashback Bonus account within two billing periods.”
    • In practice, I believe mobile wallets like Apple, Samsung, and Google Pay do qualify, despite Discover’s caution on this front.
    • Check our Payments Workshop for some data points on whether gas stations attached to superstores/groceries count as gas.
    • Some people are able to buy gift cards at the convenience store attached to a gas station and get 5x on that. YMMV, do small test first.
    • It’s likely that reloading your Uber Cash will work for 5%, though Discover’s terms are ambivalent on that.
    • I’m suprised about the UberEATS exclusion, I wonder if that’ll work in practice as well, despite the terms.
Tip: Login, then click this link to see you how far along the $1,500 you are.

Citi Dividend – Drugstores, Fitness

Landing Page | Our Original Post

Earn 5% back at drugstores and fitness stores during the months of April, May, and June. Citi is different than 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.

“Drugstores are classified as merchants that sell prescription and proprietary drugs and non-prescription (over-the-counter) medicines. Fitness clubs are classified as merchants that operate sports and recreation facilities requiring membership.”

  • Drugstores – a lot of people will max out their entire 2019 year’s $300 cashback limit with this quarter by purchasing gift cards at the drugstores. Stores like CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreen’s, etc, all sell a wide variety of gift cards, and these would trigger the 5% cashback reward.
  • Fitness Clubs – Places like Anytime Fitness, Planet Fitness, etc, should all work for this 5% category.

US Bank Cash+ – Select your Categories

Activation link | Our Original Post

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 has been replaced with TV, Internet, and Streaming Services beginning this coming quarter.

Here are the current options:

  • TV, Internet, and Streaming Services
  • Home utilities
  • Select clothing stores
  • Cell phone providers
  • Electronic Stores
  • Gyms/Fitness
  • 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

Our Original Post

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 quarter you can change it if you’d like.

  • Gas (default)
  • Online Shopping
  • Dining
  • Travel
  • 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 – Home Stores, Warehouse, Wholesale Clubs

Registration Link | Our Original Post

  • Earn 5x points on qualifying home improvement, home supply, warehouse and wholesale club purchases during April, May, and June, up to $1,500 in purchases.
    • Stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s sell third party gift cards to places like Amazon, that can help you max this out.
    • Warehouse may include places like Walmart and Target.
    • Wholesale clubs is always a popular category as well.

Nusenda FCU – Restaurants, Movies, Home Improvement

Landing Page | Our Original Post

  • Earn 5% back at restaurants, movies, and home improvement stores during April, May, and June, up to $1,500 in purchases.

Vantage West [AZ] – Select your Category

Landing Page | Our Original Post

Get 5x points on the category of your choice, up to $1,500 per quarter. Eligible categories:

  • Travel
  • Restaurants
  • 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
  • Amazon.com

Let us know if we’re missing any others.



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John K
John K

“It’s now possible to activate/enroll your 5% credit cards for the SECOND quarter of 2019” 😉

Mike
Mike

There are some datapoints on Reddit that Walmart Neighborhood stores may code as grocerry stores.

Staradmiral
Staradmiral

I am confirm that Walmart grocery delivery counts as grocery. It did on my card.

Lrdx
Lrdx

My local non-Neighbourhood Walmarts (all in a 100 mile radius AFAICT) are coding as grocery on Visa, getting bonus on BofA CR, but Chase explicitly excluded Walmart from the 5% last year. Shopping at the exact same store through Walmart Grocery however did work…

Mimi
Mimi

IME, WMNM is considered supermarket/grocery store by AXP, but not by Discover. Last year, I used Chase for grocery cat bonus and got only 1% so I’ll do a test purchase and see if I get add’l 4 pts aside from 1 base pts. I’d really like to use my F cards at NM since the GC fees are a dollar less than grocery stores.

Alex
Alex

Anybody know what happens if you don’t set your US Bank Cash Plus category? Does it default to the previous quarter, or do you get nothing or some default category?

Mike
Mike

Get base 1% on everything if you don’t choose categories. It does not default to the previous quarter.

Burton
Burton

Correct – I missed this one of the quarters last year and tried twice to get them to apply the elections from the previous quarter and was promptly shot down both times. IIRC they let me make the election mid quarter and it applied to purchases going forward.

PS – I keep getting an error when I try to log in to elect April-June quarters, will need to set a reminder so I don’t forget again.

Alex
Alex

Thanks, Mike and Burton.

arizonapv
arizonapv

My US Bank Cash Plus said I could keep my previous categories, but then I had to click to accept.

sloebrake
sloebrake

Does BoA Cash rewards 3% need a position on this page?

Burton
Burton

BOA doesn’t require quarterly elections, you can set it and forget it. I imagine most choose online shopping considering the other categories are mostly covered by other cards. I had home improvement because i had to purchase a new fridge earlier this year but with it being a freedom category i switched to online shopping and probably will leave it that way.

John
John

Am I the only one who can not activate the Citi Dividend category? I couldn’t get it to activate for Q1, though I wasn’t going to use it anyway. Planning on maxing out drug stores next quarter, but I am having the same issue where it just redirects me back to the home page when I activate…

icemule1
icemule1

I can’t seem to activate, but I am getting a different error. When I try to click the green “Sign up for this quarter’s offer” button, it prompts me to login, and after entering my credentials it displays the error below. I’ve been trying for 4 days now without success:

The Server Has Timed Out (504)

Sorry, due to a server error we can’t load this page right now. We recommend going back to the Citi homepage and trying again.

EastsideBK
EastsideBK

I am still not able to activate my Citi Dividend 5% bonus. Over the past few days, I’ve been getting a We Can’t Find This Page (404) message.

Has anyone been able to activate this quarter’s drugstore bonus?

Thanks in advance.

PlugNPray
PlugNPray

I had the same issue. Sounds Citi will abandon Dividend card.

Ann
Ann

Call Citi, another reply says they can activate it over the phone.

Jeff
Jeff

Same problem for me, but phone rep was able to activate it.

Jay
Jay

My Sams Club gas purchases are showing as 5% bonus earn with the chase freedom..

P
P

Yeah…because Sam’s isn’t excluded from gas purchases (Q1).

Burton
Burton

You buy gas at Sams Club but don’t use their 5% gas card?

Electroman
Electroman

5 UR >> 5 cents cash back IMO, and I’ll bet it’s that way for Jay, too. I have a Sam’s Club card, but buy gas with my Freedom when it’s 5 UR per dollar.

Jeff
Jeff

Don’t see anything about online purchases for home improvement stores. Does homedepot.com count?

arizonapv
arizonapv

I’ve always had online purchases count.

potatoslayer
potatoslayer

Beyond organic spend, there’s a boost on the cash app at Kroger. 10% up to $7.50. You can buy a prepaid visa and split the payment between boost and CHase Freedom and more than wipe out the fee.

Pauline the Bean
Pauline the Bean

How do you split a payment?

potatoslayer
potatoslayer

With a regular cashier just tell them you want to split the payment between two cards. At self checkout, just flag down the attendant and they will enter the information and allow you to do it.

Jason Smith
Jason Smith

“Includes all the big ones like the Kroger family stores, Shoprite, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Winn Dixie, Safeway, Pathmark, Hy Vee, Giant and many more.”

Pathmark was owned by A & P and went bankrupt in late 2015.

Electroman
Electroman

And went bankrupt in 2001, and before that in 2000; like most corporate bankruptcies these didn’t involve liquidation. The real point, though, is that they are out of business now. Yeah, I know that *you* know that, Jason, but others might not.

akjohnny
akjohnny

ordering groceries from walmart grocery.com for their pickup DOES count towards the grocery category.

TJ
TJ

BBVA ClearPoints Visa has categories for 3 and 2x you choose. I did medical and maintenance but they have very broad categories, should be on this quarterly list

akjohnny
akjohnny

besides 7-11 which does not always take credit for gift cards… which gas stations sell gift cards and take credit cards?

Electroman
Electroman

YMMV, but where I live (southeast WI) most Shell stations do, and *no* 7-11 does. The 7-11s around here don’t even sell 7-11 gift cards nor BP gift cards, which seems to be the gas they all sell here.

Mark Williams
Mark Williams

As long as I can get 10% discount on my Cash App with Kroger, these credit cards are not going to get many transactions from me for points.

Stephen Dedalus
Stephen Dedalus

Until recently I was able to easily liquidate Vanilla VGCs purchased from gas stations/drugstores, but about a month ago they stopped working across the board to buy MOs. Always had difficulty using Vanilla VGCs at Walmart, but they seemed to work everywhere else, until recently. This unfortunate development really negates the value of these second quarter bonus categories for me.

Ann
Ann

Anyone know for sure if Chase counts Tractor Supply as ‘home improvement’? I found a couple DPs on Reddit* that it does count that way for Discover; the Chase category merchant list doesn’t mention it one way or the other.

* https://old.reddit.com/r/churning/comments/628weu/psa_activate_your_rotating_5_cards_now_for_q2/dfqawt0/?context=1
and
old.reddit.com/r/personalfinance/comments/66qzqh/how_smallscalenofeenorisk_credit_card_churning/dgkvhh4/

Ann
Ann

Visa MCC supplier locator has Tractor Supply in the 5999 – General Merchandise code, so it’s probably not going to work. Not fair since the very similar store Rural King gets counted as Home Improvement. If anyone knows otherwise, please do let me know.

Burton
Burton

Quickest way to find out for sure is to spend $5 there then watch for it to post to your account.

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