Posted by Chuck on October 2, 2016
Credit Cards

Published on October 2nd, 2016 | by Chuck

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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

Signup Here

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.]

screen-shot-2016-09-15-at-2-04-14-pm

Drugstores

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.

Wholesale Clubs

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.

Department Stores

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

Signup Here

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.]

screen-shot-2016-09-15-at-2-05-15-pm

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

Signup Here

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

Signup Here

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
  • Gyms/Fitness
  • Bookstores
  • Fastfood
  • Charity
  • Sports goods
  • Department Stores
  • Furniture Stores
  • Movie theaters

Fast foods might be interesting for some, as will movies and charity. Many useful categories here.

Wrap Up

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+.



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Kathy (Will Run For Miles)

I now always give my doormen and building employees Amazon Gift Cards for Christmas. Amazon makes it so easy – each GC is in a holiday card with an envelope.

Wasn’t Amazon a 4th Q spend on Freedom in past years too?

William Charles

It was in past years, I think they are trying to differentiate their categories from Discover due to the double cash back bonus.

Jay
Jay

Not sure if you saw it on reddit already, but there is a strong rumor that it will happen again this year, with a likely reset of the 1.5k bonus limit when it happens.

Chase Bankers Know All
Chase Bankers Know All

How exactly do you define a *strong* rumor? My Chase Banker told me “Blue Horseshoe loves Anacott Steel.”

Adam D
Adam D

Amazon was 5 % on freedom last year and was raised to 10% cash back a few weeks around x-mas.

Justin
Justin

The webpage at https://www.chasebonus.com/MicrositeFrame.aspx might be temporarily down or it may have moved permanently to a new web address.

Justin
Justin

I was able to activelo ahora en español

Brad
Brad

Once Again, Schiti Bank with the loser categories. No surprise there, the only use it got this entire year from me was the drugstores.

Mortimer & Randolph
Mortimer & Randolph

Knowing their history of categories, why wouldn’t you have maxed out in drugstores last quarter? If you didn’t, it’s your mistake, not Citi’s!

Gerald
Gerald

The drug store category can be useful when Rite Aid has deals on merchant gift cards where you get bonus Plenti points with their purchase.

Jason
Jason

Rite Aid is cash only for any gift card since July, if my memory serves me correctly

Judy
Judy

I just got the USBank Cash+, and noted an exception in the Department Store category that could affect holiday shopping: “Keep In Mind…Most online purchases from these merchants also qualify. However, there are exceptions. For example, Sears.com purchases do not qualify.” I suspect it is somehow related to the Sears-Kmart connection.

Bob
Bob

Is Kroger store under 5% bonus under chase freedom?

Ti28d
Ti28d

@Bob – What makes you think Kroger would be listed as a drugstore, department store, or wholesale club? No, it categorizes as a grocery store, which is not covered this quarter.

NinjaX
NinjaX

hahaha… like your response… @Bob, curious if you are 2/24 (2 being CSR/Freedom)

SJ0
SJ0

yes

dan
dan

citi no longer offer the dividend CC, correct?

JP
JP

Tons of points and cash coming this quarter. Yay

Bob Unferth
Bob Unferth

The US Bank 5% bonus for movies sounded great last quarter, and again this quarter. But the actual rewards looked kind of peeked – less than half what they should be. So I checked the rewards history: 1% on about $300 worth of movies and 4% on a car rental.

WTF

So I called this morning. “Due to exceptionally heavy call volume your wait time will be in excess of 30 minutes.”

Best to keep this card in the drawer.

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