Chase Freedom Bonus Categories: 2021 Calendar

With 2021 underway, there’s a new set of rotating bonus categories available for the Chase Freedom Flex℠ card.

If you have this top credit card, you can now activate your bonus categories for this quarter. You’ll then earn 5% back on up to $1,500 of spending in those activated categories. Of course, to maximize your bonus category spending, you need to know where you can earn extra rewards.

Chase Freedom Flex℠ cash-back calendar for 2021

Chase offers the following rotating bonus categories for the Chase Freedom Flex℠ card:

January through March (activation closed):

  • Wholesale clubs
  • Internet, cable, and phone services
  • Select streaming services

April through June (activation closed):

  • Gas stations
  • Home improvement stores

July through September (activate by Sept. 14):

  • Grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart)
  • Select streaming services

October through December (activation begins Sept. 15): TBA

If you’re wondering what purchases qualify for the bonus rate, check the Chase Freedom FAQs. In the “Earning Your 5% Cash Back” section, Chase answers what type of purchases are included in each bonus category. It also has a full list of eligible streaming services. It’s not a lengthy list, but the major providers are there, including Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and Spotify.

You can activate bonus categories with Chase on the Chase Bonus page. Make sure to enter:

  • Your last name
  • The last four digits of your credit card number
  • Your zip code
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Note that if you have multiple Chase Freedom cards with rotating bonus categories, you must go through the activation process with each of them.

How to make the most of Chase’s rotating bonus categories

Since 5% is a very high rewards rate, you should try to spend as much as is reasonable for you in Chase’s rotating bonus categories. If you spend $500 per month, you’ll reach the $1,500 spending cap for the quarter and max out your bonus rewards. That earns you $75 cash back (which you can also turn into 7,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points if you have a Chase travel card).

You shouldn’t, however, overspend just because you’re earning 5% back. The best approach is to fit as much of your regular expenses as possible into those bonus categories. Here are a few pointers that can help:

  • Shop for essentials at wholesale clubs: It’s possible to get most of your food, toiletries, and similar items at wholesale clubs. Since groceries in particular are a big expense for most consumers, this is a good way to spend more in your card’s bonus categories. Keep in mind that many wholesale clubs offer online ordering, which can help if the locations aren’t nearby.
  • See if you can pay for services in advance: Some streaming providers offer annual and monthly packages. By paying for a year of service in advance, you spend more in a bonus category — and you may also get a better deal. Cable, internet, and phone service providers often accept advance payments as well.
  • Update your payment method for streaming services and utilities: Set up your Chase Freedom Flex℠ card as the default payment method for any streaming services you use, as well as your internet, cable, and phone services.
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See related: Best credit cards for streaming services

Other Chase Freedom Flex℠ bonus categories

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers rotating bonus categories. But both the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the Chase Freedom Unlimited® earn the following:

  • 5% back at grocery stores for the first year, up to a spending cap of $12,000
  • 5% back on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program
  • 5% back on rides with Lyft through March 2022
  • 3% back on restaurant purchases
  • 3% back at drugstores

While the Chase Freedom Unlimited® doesn’t earn in quarterly rotating categories like the Chase Freedom Flex℠, it offers 1.5% back on all non-bonus purchases. That’s more than the 1% back on non-bonus purchases offered by the Chase Freedom Flex℠.

To learn about more offers, check out our list of Chase credit cards.

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