Chase announced today a new temporary bonus category for Freedom Flex cardholders: You can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in the eligible category you spend most from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31. Depending on where your top spending falls, that means you can potentially earn up to 9% cash back in certain categories this quarter.
The offer is available to both new Freedom Flex cardholders and those who already have the card in their wallets. It’s added to your account only after you activate your Q4 bonus categories, though. Eligible categories include travel (including transit), dining, home improvement stores, grocery stores (not including Target or Walmart), drug stores, gas stations, select live entertainment, select streaming services, and fitness clubs.
What really makes this a standout offer is the overlap between these eligible categories and the Freedom Flex’s ongoing bonus categories. If your top spend category happens to be one of the categories you already earn rewards on, such as travel or drug stores, you can boost your rewards and earn both bonuses.
Here’s what you need to know about the new Freedom Flex offer, and how to maximize your rewards through the end of the year:
New 5% Top Spending Category Bonus
With the new offer from Chase, you’ll earn an additional 5% cash back (4% bonus cash back on top of the standard 1% you get on all purchases) in the eligible category you spend most — up to $1,500 in total spending throughout the quarter. Your top spending category is calculated at the end of the quarter, and Chase says it may take up to eight weeks for the bonus cash back to post to your account.
You can either spend as you normally would and let your top spending category shake out based on your regular budget, or be more strategic about your category. Choosing an eligible category to focus on can help you maximize your regular spending even further, since you can double up in rewards categories the Freedom Flex already offers.
The Freedom Flex card can help you maximize your everyday spending, but even the highest rewards value won’t outpace a high-interest credit card debt balance. Make sure you keep your spending within your budget, and only charge what you can afford to pay off when your statement balance is due.
These are the eligible categories available under the new offer, and how you can maximize each based on your regular spending.
Chase Freedom Flex already earns 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards. That means if travel is your top spend category this quarter, and you book that travel through Chase, you can earn up to 9% cash back on your spending (1% on every purchase, 4% added for travel booked through Chase, and another 4% added for the top spending category).
If your top spend category is travel (including transit) not booked through Chase, you can still earn the 5% total cash back, but you won’t get the additional boost.
If you’re a new Chase Freedom Flex cardholder, you’ll earn 5% cash back on grocery store spending (up to $12,000 total) for the first year. If you’re still eligible for that new cardholder offer, and grocery stores are where you spend most this quarter, you can combine rewards for up to a total 9% cash back.
That’s a flat 1% cash back on everything, combined with the additional 4% back on groceries new cardmember offer, and the bonus 4% when groceries are your top spend category this quarter.
Just remember, Target and Walmart — as well as warehouse clubs like Costco — do not count toward grocery spending.
Dining earns a standard 3% cash back with the Chase Freedom Flex (1% on every purchase, plus an added 2% bonus). If dining is your top spending category this quarter, you can now earn up to 7% cash back: 1% back on everything, 2% bonus for the dining category, and the 4% boost for your top spend category.
Dining is broadly defined by Chase, and can include everything from restaurants and fast food to takeout and eligible delivery services.
Like dining, Chase Freedom Flex purchases at drug stores earn a standard 3% cash back. If drug store spending is your top spend category this quarter, you can earn up to 7% total cash back (1% back on everything, the 2% bonus for drug store spending, and another 4% for your top spend category).
Other eligible categories
Other categories which may qualify for your top spending category include:
- Gas stations
- Home improvement stores
- Select streaming services (includes only Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, Netflix, Sling, Vudu, Fubo TV, Apple Music, SiriusXM, Pandora, Spotify, and YouTube TV)
- Select live entertainment (includes ticket agencies and merchants that sell tickets for live events, tourist attractions, amusement parks, museums, and more)
- Fitness clubs and gym memberships
Because these categories aren’t eligible for any bonus rewards with the Freedom Flex already, the most you’ll earn is 5% if any of these are your top spending category for the quarter.
More Ways to Maximize the Chase Freedom Flex
The no annual fee Chase Freedom Flex is already one of our favorite cash back credit cards, and we think it’s one of the best cash back options available right now for your end-of-year spending. Here are a few more ways you can use it to maximize everyday spending:
5% rotating bonus categories
Beyond the standard bonus categories the Freedom Flex offers, you’ll get 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in rotating quarterly bonus categories. In 2021, these categories included:
|2021 Bonus Categories|
|Q1: January – March||Select streaming services, wholesale clubs, phone, cable, and internet services|
|Q2: April – June||Gas stations, home improvement stores|
|Q3: July – September||Grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart), select streaming services|
|Q4: October – December||PayPal, Walmart|
In addition to 5% back in your top spending category this quarter, you can also earn up to 5% back at Walmart and when you pay with PayPal (up to a combined $1,500 spent). You’ll need to activate your Q4 bonus categories by Dec. 14, 2021.
Because PayPal is a bonus category this quarter, it can also help you boost your top spend category earnings. If you use PayPal to make a purchase within your top spending category, you can earn up to 9% total cash back on the purchase (1% on everything, 4% on PayPal quarterly bonus spending, and the additional 4% for your top spending category).
If you don’t already have a Freedom Flex card, your spending this quarter can also help you qualify for the card’s welcome bonus. You’ll get $200 cash back after spending at least $500 within three months of account opening.
Plus, you’ll qualify for the boosted rewards on groceries if that’s your top spend category, since new cardholders can get 5% cash back on grocery store spending for the first year (up to $12,000 spent).
Pair with a Chase Sapphire card
The Freedom Flex earns cash back, but you can also redeem your rewards as Chase Ultimate Rewards points. And if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can transfer your cash back rewards to your Sapphire account for even more redemption options and boosted rewards value.
The Sapphire Preferred yields 1.25 cent per point value and the Sapphire Reserve can get a 1.5 cent per point redemption value when you redeem for travel through Chase. What’s more, you can transfer your points to Chase’s travel partners with a Sapphire card, which can also boost your redemption value, depending on your travel.
If you already have a Sapphire card in your wallet, adding the Freedom Flex and combining your points can help you maximize your spending even further.
Say your top spend category this quarter is groceries, you’re a new cardholder eligible for 5% back on grocery spending already, and you’re able to get the maximum 9% cash back on a total $1,500 in grocery spending through December. That’s already a whopping $135 cash back. But when you transfer those rewards to your Sapphire Preferred account and redeem for travel, you can get up to $168.75 in redemption value for your rewards.
Chase Freedom Flex℠
- Intro bonus:$200
- Annual fee:$0
- Regular APR:14.99% – 24.74% Variable
- Recommended credit:670-850 (Good to Excellent)
- Apply Now At Chase’s secure site
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Intro bonus:60,000 points
- Annual fee:$95
- Regular APR:15.99% – 22.99% Variable
- Recommended credit:670-850 (Good to Excellent)
- Apply Now At Chase’s secure site