Published on October 2nd, 2016 | by Chuck20
Roundup of Q4 2016 Quarterly Categories on Freedom, Discover, Dividend, U.S. Bank
Originally posted on 9/15/16. Reposting on 10/2/16 since these new categories are now live until the end of the year.
Q4 2016 Quarterly Categories
All major credit cards which have rotating 5x categories are now live for signup, including Chase Freedom, Discover IT, Citi Dividend, and U.S. Bank Cash+.
All categories run from October 1 until December 31, 2016, including the busy shopping season.
You should get an email from each card issuer to signup with one click from the email. We’ll include signup links in this post, though personally I usually wait for the email.
Freedom – Drugstores, Department Stores, Wholesale Clubs
The Chase Freedom will offer 5x Ultimate Rewards points on drugstores, wholesale clubs, and department stores on a max of $1,500 in combined spend.
[Click ‘See Details’ in your Chase Freedom login to see how far along the $1,500 you are.]
We haven’t seen drugstores before on Freedom, and it’s quite a welcome addition. Eligible drugstores include: Walgreen’s, CVS, Rite Aid, Duane Read, Discount Drug Mart, Long’s Drugs, Bartell Drugs, among others.
“Please note that some merchants that sell a wide variety of goods including these items, and which may contain an on-site pharmacy, for example, warehouse clubs, discount stores, or grocery stores, are not included in this category.”
If you don’t max out the Freedom $1500 organically, consider buying up gift cards from your local drugstore to max out the category.
Chase lists four clubs as being eligible for the 5% category: Costco, Sam’s Club, BJ’s, Texas Jasmine. It includes both online purchases and in-store purchases, even purchases made at the member services desk (e.g. buying membership).
The terms indicate that there may be other wholesale clubs that work as well.
The category does not include gas and fuel or other specialty services such as travel, insurance, cell phone and home improvement. Tip: Buy store gift cards at the regular checkout and use those to buy gas, travel, etc. (if allowed), and expand the category that way.
See also Maximize the 5x Freedom Category on Gift Cards at Wholesale Clubs for ways to maximize this category.
Chase lists the following stores as being eligible: JCPenney, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, Sears, Bloomingdales, Saks, Off Fifth, Neiman Marcus, Last Call, Dillard’s, Lord & Taylor, Loehmann’s. Longer list here. Works in-store and online.
Lots of excellent options here. Sears is something resellers might like. And based on past experience, Sears e-gift cards or reloads should work to trigger the category bonus, but not Sears physical cards since these are processed by Kmart.
Discover – Amazon, Department Stores, Sam’s
Discover IT will earn 5% back on Amazon, Department Stores, and Sam’s Club on a max of $1,500 in combined spend.
[Click this link to see you how far along the $1,500 you are.]
Amazon is always a good option, especially during the busy end-of-year shopping season. Being that Freedom isn’t offering 5x Amazon this year, many will turn to their Discover card for Amazon shopping.
Discover doesn’t give us an exact list of which department stores count, just: “retailers selling a wide variety of merchandise, with separate checkout counters in each department.” Most likely, the retailers listed by Chase will work with Discover too.
In the past, Sears qualified as a department store with Discover, and based on past experience, Sears e-gift cards or reloads should work to trigger the category bonus, but not Sears physical cards since these are processed by Kmart.
New Discover cardholders will also get that 5% cashback doubled at year’s end for a total of 10% back.
Dividend – Best Buy & Department Stores
The Citi Dividend will earn 5% cash back on Best Buy and Department Stores. Lots of people probably already maxed out their yearly $300 Dividend allowance on the Q2 drugstore category, though.
Be aware that all December spend which will show on the bill generated in January will count toward your $300 allotment for 2017. Max out the $300 allotment for 2016 before your December bill generates. You can also max out your 2017 allotment using these categories if you choose to do so.
Cash+ – Select your Categories
U.S. Bank Cash+ offers 5% cash back in two categories, up to $2,000 combined total per quarter. Here are the current options:
- Select clothing stores
- Cell phones
- Electronic Stores
- Car rental
- Sports goods
- Department Stores
- Furniture Stores
- Movie theaters
Fast foods might be interesting for some, as will movies and charity. Many useful categories here.
Interestingly, all four cards are offering 5x on department stores which makes sense due to the holiday season.
Amazon on Discover is always nice, and drugstores with Freedom is a winner.
I’ll probably use my Discover for Amazon and Sam’s. If I don’t have $1500 in purchases, I might buy some Amazon gift cards for the future. Freedom I’ll use for Sam’s and department stores. If any bandwidth remains on Freedom, I’ll buy gift cards at the local drugstore. My Dividend is already maxed out for the year. And I don’t yet have Cash+.