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Chase has launched its cashback categories for Q4 2020. From Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, Chase Freedom Flex℠ cardholders can earn 5% cash back on Walmart and PayPal purchases, up to $1,500, once they activate the categories. As we head into the holiday season, hitting the spending maximum at either merchant should be no problem. Even if you don’t live near a Walmart, you can shop their website for many everyday essentials, while PayPal is commonly accepted across the board.
Cardholders can activate Q4 categories as of Sept.15.
In this guide, we'll go over the new earning categories in greater detail. We’ll also analyze Chase’s past categories, to see which types of merchants may show up in the future.
Chase Freedom Flex℠ categories 2020 calendar
Chase Bank maintains a cashback calendar for Chase Freedom Flex℠ cardholders to inform users when and where they can earn 5% cash back using their card in each quarter. You Earn 5% cash back on eligible purchases in rotating categories, 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
The list of merchant categories changes every quarter, and Q4 features two great merchants. As part of the introductory bonus offer, the Chase Freedom Flex card offers 5% cash back in the grocery store category in the first year, but excludes Walmart and Target. Those who shop at Walmart regularly will benefit from this quarter in particular.
On the other hand, PayPal can be used in a variety of ways. Shopping online and checking out with PayPal is the easiest way to max out this category. And for merchants that don’t offer a “Pay with PayPal” option, you can add PayPal Key to your PayPal Wallet. You’ll receive a virtual card number, expiration date and security code, allowing you to shop anywhere that accepts Mastercard.
|January - March||April - June||July - September||October - December|
|Gas stations, Internet, cable, phone services and select streaming services||Grocery stores, gym memberships, fitness clubs and select streaming services||Amazon.com and Whole Foods||Walmart and PayPal|
Other important things to know:
- You can activate Chase Freedom Flex℠ categories by visiting the Chase Freedom Flex℠ categories page and clicking the “Activate now” button.
- You don’t have to activate before the quarter starts. You can activate from Sept. 15 up until Dec. 14 — two weeks before the quarter ends.
- Don’t worry if you forgot to activate before you make a purchase. You will still earn 5% cash back as long as you activate the cash back before the deadline.
Chase Freedom Flex℠
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
- Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
- Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
- Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
- Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
- No annual fee.
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
- No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.
Previous Chase Freedom Flex℠ categories
Chase does not provide details about its bonus categories until a couple of weeks in advance of a quarter. This can make it difficult to decide on applying for the Chase Freedom Flex℠, especially if you are trying to forecast whether the categories will match your spending patterns. One way around this issue is to look at last year’s categories. Many of the merchants on the Chase Freedom Flex℠ cashback calendar tend to repeat year-to-year, with only slight variation.
|January - March||Gas stations, tolls and drugstores||Gas stations, internet, cable, phone services and select streaming services|
|April - June||Home improvement stores and grocery stores||Grocery stores, gym memberships, fitness clubs, select streaming services|
|July - September||Gas stations and select streaming services||Amazon.com and Whole Foods|
|October - December||Department stores, PayPal and Chase Pay||Walmart and PayPal|
The types of merchants included in the 5% bonus calendar change every year. However, certain groups — like restaurants and grocery stores — are included almost every year, during similar time periods. Likewise, certain themes follow specific seasons. For example, the fourth quarter categories are usually a holiday theme.
Chase Freedom Flex℠ categories vs. Discover it® Cash Back categories
Like the Chase Freedom Flex℠, The Discover it® Cash Back offers 5% cash back on rotating quarterly categories for up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter.
Discover's cashback calendar tends to cover many of the same categories as Chase — such as grocery stores, restaurants and holiday shopping in the fourth quarter. Unlike Chase, Discover releases their entire calendar at the beginning of the year, so you know ahead of time what you'll be earning through the year.
For Q4, Chase has a major advantage, as PayPal provides an immense amount of flexibility to shop online and in person at stores beyond Amazon, Walmart and Target.
Here's a comparison of the two cards' categories for 2020:
|Chase Freedom Flex℠||Discover it® Cash Back|
|Gas stations, Internet, cable, phone services and select streaming services||Grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS|
|Grocery stores, gym memberships, fitness clubs and select streaming services||Gas stations, Uber, Lyft and wholesale clubs|
|Amazon.com and Whole Foods||Restaurants and PayPal|
|Walmart and PayPal||Amazon.com, Walmart.com and Target.com|
The information related to the Discover it® Cash Back has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.