Posted by Chuck on July 2, 2017
Credit Cards

Published on July 2nd, 2017 | by Chuck


Q3 2017 5% Quarterly Categories: Activate, Offers & Suggestions (Freedom, Discover, Dividend, Cash+)

[Originally posted 6/15/17. Reposting 7/2/17 since categories are now live.]

It’s now possible to activate/enroll your 5% credit cards for the second quarter of 2017 on Chase Freedom, Discover IT, Citi Dividend, and US Bank Cash+. In this post we will provide the activation link for each card and link to track your spend, along with any strategies we suggest for helping to increase spend on that categories.

Dates: July 1, 2017 – September 30, 2017. In-store purchases can be done until the last minute. Online purchases should be given a buffer zone of a day or two.

Chase Freedom – Restaurants & Movie Theaters

Activation Link

Neither restaurants or movies are categories easy to manufacture spend, but a lot of people should have some real spend there, especially restaurants. Restaurants include both fast food and fine dining establishments. Movie Theaters include ordinary theaters and even drive-in theaters, but not streaming services like Netflix.

If you don’t max out this category organically, consider purchasing gift cards to restaurants you’d be eating at anyway. Keep in mind, however, that many restaurants can get nice discounts by purchasing gift cards on the second-hand exchanges so you’ll have to decide if it’s worth stocking up at 5x or using exchanges for bigger discounts.

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

Discover it – Restaurants [Targeted: Amazon]

Activation Link

The public Discover offer is for 5% at restaurants, same as Freedom. Discover states clearly that this includes both fast food and fine dining. If you usually use CSR for restaurants, you’ll have decide if you prefer 3x Ultimate Rewards or 5% cash back with Discover.

Discover also targeted select cardholders to get 5% back on up to $1,500 in Amazon purchases this quarter. As I understand, this $1,500 limit is counted separately from the $1,500 restaurant limit.

If you don’t make $1,500 in Amazon purchases organically, you can buy Amazon gift cards or reload your Amazon balance to lock in the 5% rate. (You can always get 5% on Amazon with some cards. See also other Amazon savings tips here.)

New Discover cardholders will also get that 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 – Airlines and Hilton

Activation Link

Citi is slightly different to the other cards in that you have a $6,000 annual cap rather than a quarterly cap. I’m sure a lot of you maxed out your $6,000 in annual Dividend spend at the drugstore during Q2 and won’t be eligible for more 5%.

If you still have room left, try using the card at airlines and Hilton or save your $6,000-spend for Q4 at department stores and Best Buy if that interests you. Keep in mind that Travel is a bonus category on a lot of cards (e.g. 3x CSR) so 5% isn’t all that amazing for airlines and Hilton.

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 rental
  • Gyms/Fitness
  • Bookstores
  • Fastfood
  • Ground Transportation
  • Sports goods
  • Department Stores
  • Furniture Stores
  • Movie theaters

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

Have to figure out which you spend the most in. Just keep in mind that Freedom and Discover already have 5x on restaurants and Freedom has 5x on movies.

30 Responses to Q3 2017 5% Quarterly Categories: Activate, Offers & Suggestions (Freedom, Discover, Dividend, Cash+)

  1. Virat Kohli says:

    Is paypal cash still working at Drug stores with credit cards ?

  2. Virat Kohli says:

    is the Paypal cash still working at drugstores with credit card ?

  3. Paul says:

    I can’t seem to sign up for the Citi Dividend offer even though it says “Sign-up Begins
    6/15/17.” Try back later I guess.

  4. Tim says:

    You mentioned in the discover paragraph on whether you want to use 3x CSR or Discover… if you have Freedom, it’s a no brainer to use that if you prefer UR points because you can transfer the points to your CSR bank to use for travel.

    • Kien says:

      I’m a little confused by why would anyone want to use their CSR to get 3X UR which is equivalent to 4.5X travel dollars when used compared to Discover giving you 5X points/cash back etc. Or are the miles you convert from UR worth more than 1.67 cents each ?

  5. frugal_juan says:

    I don’t need 7500 points or $75 bad enough to stockpile restaurant gift cards. It’s entirely reasonable to sit a quarter out.

  6. Virat says:

    Can we still do the paypal cash through the drug stores ?

  7. John says:

    Will, where do you click on “details” to see how much of the $1500 Freedom is used?

  8. Matt P says:

    “Keep in mind that many restaurants can get nice discounts by purchasing gift cards on the second-hand exchanges.” Could you clarify? I don’t understand this at all. Do you mean purchasing restaurant gift cards on 2nd hand exchanges will code as a restaurant purchase?

    • No, Chuck means that second hand gift exchanges will sell restaurant gift cards at a discount – usually bigger than the 5% you’d get by using one of these cards.

      • Matt P says:

        Thanks for clarifying. I suggest rewording to “Keep in mind that many restaurant gift cards can be had for nice discounts, often more than 5%, on the second-hand exchanges.”

  9. Sam says:

    Hey Will, and or Chuck, could you guys do a post on when spending needs to be completed by to make sure it’s considered part of each quarter for each card. In other words, sometimes it takes a day or two for the transaction to post, so would it go according to when a purchase is made, or when it posts. Same goes for yearly caps on bonus spending.

    • Vince says:

      The standard rule is for in-store purchases, the effective date is the date the purchase was made, not the date the purchase posts to the credit card. For online purchases, the effective date is the date the purchase posts to the credit card, not necessarily the date your purchase was made. Also some online businesses do not charge the actual amount of your purchase until they ship the product(s) you ordered (until then, your card may show either a $1.00 pending charge that does not post and will be replaced by the actual charge, or it may show a pending charge equal to the amount of your purchase that may not post until much later). In order to insure that an online charge posts in time, I recommend allowing at least a week prior to the end of the quarter for online purchases to post before the end of the quarter.

    • Chuck says:

      Sam, we once posted about it, I’ll add in a link to the post.

      In-store purchases should be good until the buzzer.

  10. Jeff H says:

    US Bank Cash Plus 5% rewards only covers Fast Food category. There is an option for 2% at all other restaurants. Net difference, I will probably go with my new Discover IT for that in the third calendar quarter. I do take full advantage of the US Bank Cash Plus 5% rewards Fast Food category year round otherwise.

    • Jonathan says:

      US bank Amex Gold Flexperk does have 3X for restaurant year round. The standard Amex Flexperk has a $85 annual fee, though.

      I am lucky to have a target offer that waives $85 annual fee each year if I have any US Bank products. I have both Cash Plus and Flexperk visa.

  11. Prem says:

    Can one buy movie theater gift cards for 5% CB for Freedom? AMC/Fandango? and if yes, is it a good idea? or not good similar to restaurant giftcards?

  12. Jeff says:

    Met $1500 already on Freedom. Will finish off Discover in the next few days, too. 🙂

  13. Zoey says:

    CSR 50% bonus travel thru UR is “BS”. Special thanks to their s*ty partner – United. Most of UR fares are “basic economy”.

  14. KP says:

    Restaurant quarter is the only quarter I reach maxim spend organically. I eat out, go to happy hour, and enjoy nightlife a ton during the summer months. All these places code as “restaurant/bars” on Visa Supply Locator. Q3 is the only quarter I would ever spend like this on nightlife and eating out, so it’s perfect for me.

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