It’s now possible to activate/enroll all 5% category credit cards for the fourth quarter of 2019, 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: October 1st – December 31st, 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 – Paypal, Chase Pay, Dept. Stores
- 2 Discover – Amazon, Target, Walmart.com
- 3 Citi Dividend – Best Buy, Department Stores
- 4 US Bank Cash+ – Select your Categories
- 5 Bank of America Cash Rewards
- 6 Other Cards with 5% Category
Chase Freedom – Paypal, Chase Pay, Dept. Stores
Earn 5% back on Paypal, Chase Pay, and department stores this quarter, up to $1,500 maximum.
- “Includes transactions made using your Chase Freedom card with PayPal for purchases or sending money. Purchases made using PayPal at merchants in the current 5% quarterly categories will be awarded a total of 5% Cash Back rewards on up to $1,500 in combined purchases. When you send money to Friends & Family via PayPal using your Chase Freedom card, standard transaction fees apply. See PayPal’s fees. Payments made through the Xoom transfer service are not eligible for 5%. Must have/open a PayPal account to send and receive money.”
- The Paypal category is my personal favorite as I find myself using Paypal to pay online quite often; if I make my Freedom the default payment option in Paypal on October 1st, it should get maxed out in no time. Keep an eye out for Paypal at checkout at retailers like walmart.com, target.com, and thousands of others. Many charities and insurances accept Paypal as well.
- You can even send money to friends, incurring the 2.9% fee, and it’ll be worthwhile for the 5x points earned.
- Chase Pay
- “Includes purchases made using your Freedom card with your Chase Pay digital wallet during check out. Eligible purchases only qualify for a total of 5% Cash Back rewards; purchases using Chase Pay at other current 5% quarterly categories will be awarded a total of 5% Cash Back rewards on up to $1500 in combined purchases.”
- This is really a terrific category given that it’s possible to use Chase Pay via Samsung Pay which can be used at almost any physical store who accepts credit cards (ht r/churning). There are also, of course, various retailers who accept Chase Pay directly, like Starbucks, Best Buy, and Shell.
- Department Stores
- “Purchases made on a merchants website are included. The Department Store category does not include supercenters, discount stores, or specialty stores (i.e. stores that sell primarily one line of products such as shoe stores, pet stores, electronics stores, clothing stores) except for purchases made with these merchants using Chase Pay (a 5% category). If a merchant is not on the list, you will not earn bonus rewards. Department Store gift card purchases outside of the specific Department Store are excluded and will not earn bonus rewards.”
- Full list of department stores can be found here; includes places like Kohl’s, Sears, Saks and dozens more. Specific exclusions mentioned: Walmart, Target, and Kmart.
Tip: Click this link (login required) to check how far you are along the $1,500.
Discover – Amazon, Target, Walmart.com
- “Activate to earn 5% Cashback Bonus at Amazon.com, Target, and Walmart.com from 10/1/19 (or the date on which you activate 5%, whichever is later) through 12/31/19 on up to $1,500 in purchases. Amazon.com purchases include those made through the Amazon.com checkout, including digital downloads, Amazon.com gift cards, Amazon Fresh orders, Amazon Local Deals and Amazon Prime subscriptions and items sold by third party merchants through Amazon.com’s marketplace. Target purchases include any purchase made online at Target.com, through the Target app, or in-store at Target. Individual merchants and stand-alone stores within physical Target locations or on Target.com may not be eligible in this category. Walmart.com purchases include those made at Walmart.com and when shopping through the Walmart app (including Grocery Pick Up and Instore Pick Up). Purchases made in store at Walmart Stores, Walmart Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Walmart Pay are excluded from this promotion. Individual merchants and stand-alone stores within physical Walmart locations may not be eligible in this category. 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.”
- Personally, I have the Target REDcard and I have the Amazon store card, so I always get 5% at both of those retailers. Walmart.com would be the only place I’d gain from the Discover category.
- Also, buying Target gift cards at Target and Target.com does not earn rewards with the REDcard, but will earn 5% with this Discover promo. I expect Target to run their annual holiday 10% off Target gift cards sale, and the Discover card will be useful for me to bring the total savings up to 15%.
- Purchases made with mobile wallets like Apple, Samsung, and Google Pay will indeed qualify, I believe, despite Discover’s caution on this front. (See this post.)
Citi Dividend – Best Buy, Department Stores
Earn 5% back at Best Buy and department stores 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. A lot of people have already maxed out their Dividend cards earlier this year on the drugstore category.
- Best Buy includes in store purchases and bestbuy.com purchases.
- “Department stores are larger merchants that sell a general line of apparel, home furnishings, furniture, electronics, cosmetics, housewares and major appliances. They have several departments that usually have separate checkout counters.”
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 – Automotive
Earn 5% this quarter in the Automotive category on up to $1,500.
- Earn 5x points on qualifying automotive parts, service and repair purchases. Offer activation required.
Nusenda FCU – Gas & Education Expenses
- This quarter, earn 5% back on restaurants, hotels, and airfare, 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