Chase Cash Back Calendar 2021: Q3 Categories Include Grocery Stores and Streaming Services

Chase Cash Back Calendar 2021: Q3 Categories Include Grocery Stores and Streaming Services

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Chase has announced its cashback categories for Q3 2021. From July 1 through Sept. 30, Chase Freedom Flex℠ cardholders can earn 5% cash back on grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart) and select streaming services, up to $1,500, once they activate the categories. If you're Chase Freedom Flex℠ holder, you'll want to make sure to activate your categories and have your card on hand in the checkout line, as this is a very lucrative category.

Cardholders must activate Q3 categories by Sept. 14.

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 2021 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 Q2 features a diverse number of merchants. We kept the 2020 calendar up so that you can know which merchants to expect for the upcoming quarters in 2021.

2021 Cash Back Calendar

January - March
April - June
July - September
October - December
Wholesale clubs, Internet, cable, phone services and select streaming servicesGas stations and home improvement storesGrocery Stores (excluding Walmart and Target) and select streaming servicesTBD

2020 Cash Back Calendar

January - March
April - June
July - September
October - December
Gas stations, Internet, cable, phone services and select streaming servicesGrocery stores, gym memberships, fitness clubs and select streaming servicesAmazon.com and Whole FoodsWalmart 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 until Sept. 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.

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.

2019
2020
January - MarchGas stations, tolls and drugstoresGas stations, internet, cable, phone services and select streaming services
April - JuneHome improvement stores and grocery storesGrocery stores, gym memberships, fitness clubs, select streaming services
July - SeptemberGas stations and select streaming servicesAmazon.com and Whole Foods
October - DecemberDepartment stores, PayPal and Chase PayWalmart 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 everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.

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.

Here's a comparison of the two cards' categories for 2021:

Chase Freedom Flex℠
Discover it® Cash Back
Wholesale clubs, Internet, cable, phone services and select streaming servicesGrocery stores, Walgreens and CVS
Gas stations and home improvement storesGas Stations, wholesale clubs and select streaming services
Grocery Stores (excluding Walmart and Target) and select streaming serviceRestaurants and PayPal
TBDAmazon.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.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).