Published on July 1st, 2019 | by Chuck53
Q3 2019 5% Quarterly Categories: Activate, Offers & Suggestions (Freedom, Discover, Dividend, Cash+)
It’s now possible to activate/enroll all 5% category credit cards for the third quarter of 2019, including the 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: July 1st – September 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.
- 1 Chase Freedom – Gas Stations & Streaming Services
- 2 Discover – Paypal & Restaurants
- 3 Citi Dividend – Airlines & Car Rentals
- 4 US Bank Cash+ – Select your Categories
- 5 Bank of America Cash Rewards
- 6 Other Cards with 5% Category
Chase Freedom – Gas Stations & Streaming Services
Earn 5% back at gas stations and select streaming services during the months of July, August, and September, 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. Please note that some 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.”
- Long list of sample gas stations can be found here. Includes all the big ones like Exxon, Shell, BP, etc.
- Some people are able to buy gift cards at their local gas station or convenience store and have it code as gas. Do a small test purchase to ensure the locations counts in the gas category.
- Select Streaming Services – “Merchants in the Select Streaming Services category specialize in delivering music and video content over the internet. Only subscriptions paid for or purchases made with the following select merchants will qualify for this offer: Netflix, Hulu, Sling, Vudu, FuboTV, Apple Music, SiriusXM, Pandora, Spotify.”
- Some people won’t find this option interesting as the Chase Ink Cash/Plus earns 5x at many of these service providers, and the Blue Cash Preferred offers 6% there too.
Tip: Click this link (login required) to check how far you are along the $1,500.
Discover – Paypal & Restaurants
- “Activate to earn 5% Cashback Bonus at Restaurants and PayPal from 7/1/19 (or the date on which you activate 5%, whichever is later) through 9/30/19 on up to $1,500 in purchases. Restaurant purchases are those made at merchants classified as full-service restaurants, cafes, cafeterias and fast food locations. PayPal qualifying purchases are those made through the PayPal wallet online, when you send money to Friends and Family via PayPal using your Discover Card, and point-of-sale transactions using PayPal Here. Payments made through the Xoom transfer service are not eligible for 5%. Any restaurant purchase made using PayPal will only be awarded a total of 5% Cashback Bonus. Certain other 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, restaurant purchases made with mobile wallets like Apple, Samsung, and Google Pay will qualify, I believe, despite Discover’s caution on this front. (See this post.)
- Maxing this out with Paypal purchases sounds like the easiest way; tons of merchants accept Paypal, and you can even buy a gift card to the merchant to use at a future date. Sending money to friends also gets you the 5% back (though there is a 2.9% fee for doing so). Or pay your taxes with Paypal.
- Restaurants is a popular category as well.
Citi Dividend – Airlines & Car Rentals
Earn 5% back on airlines and car rentals during the months of July, August, and September. 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.
“Airlines are defined as transactions from airlines or air carriers. Car rental agencies are classified as merchants that provide the short-term or long-term rentals of cars, trucks, or vans. Car rentals made through travel agencies or travel aggregators may not qualify.”
This quarterly category is all within the travel category which is frequently bonuses on various credit cards. A lot of people already maxed out their Dividend cards last quarter at the drugstore on gift card purchases.
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.
- 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 – Travel
Q3 2019 the 5% category is for Travel.
- Earn 5x points on qualifying airline, cruise, car rental, hotel, and travel agency purchases, up to $1,500. Offer activation required.
Nusenda FCU – Gas & Education Expenses
- Earn 5% back on gas and education expenses during July, August, and September, up to $1,500 in purchases.
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
Let us know if we’re missing any others.