Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.
After a strong start to the year with its Q1 and Q2 categories, Chase Freedom (no longer available to new applicants) and Chase Freedom Flex℠ cardholders have another chance to easily earn bonus points in this year’s Q3 categories: gas stations, electric vehicle (EV) charging and select live entertainment.
You can earn in these bonus categories now through Sept. 30. After activation, cardmembers can earn 5% back (or 5 points per dollar spent) on up to $1,500 of spending in these categories during Q3 — and 1% (or 1 point per dollar spent) after that.
But you’ll need to hurry if you haven’t activated yet — you must activate by Sept. 14 in order to take advantage of these Q3 bonus categories.
Here’s how it all works.
Chase Freedom and Freedom Flex Q3 2023 categories
- Gas stations.
- EV charging.
- Select live entertainment.
As noted above, you must activate your card to unlock the bonus-earning potential in these categories.
It’s simple to complete this process online through your Chase account — with your last name, last four digits of your card and ZIP code. Registration is now open.
Analyzing the Q3 bonus categories
Summer is the season of fun, and these categories allow cardholders to earn bonus points wherever the season takes them. Whether you’re hitting the road to go to the beach or snagging this season’s event tickets, you’ll feel even more summer magic as you earn bonus points along the way.
Here are the bonus details:
- Gas stations: When you’re getting ready to take off on your next road trip or just your daily commute, you’ll earn bonus points every time you fill up your gas tank. However, note that truck stops, marinas and oil distribution are excluded from this bonus.
- EV charging: For the first time, those with electric vehicles can get in on the road trip bonus earning. If you’re charging instead of buying gas to hit the road, you’ll still earn bonus points when you use your Freedom or Freedom Flex card.
- Select live events: Earn even more when you buy tickets to see your favorite artist perform or your favorite team play. Note that bowling alleys, movie theaters, gambling facilities and third-party vendor purchases are excluded from this bonus.
Remember that Chase limits the 5% back (or 5 points per dollar) to the first $1,500 spent in combined bonus categories each quarter you activate the bonus. After you reach the maximum, you’ll earn 1% back on these purchases.
Frequently asked questions about Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Flex bonus categories
How do rotating categories work?
Each quarter, Chase announces a group of bonus categories that will earn 5% cash back (or 5 points per dollar) throughout the upcoming three-month period. Generally, these categories are announced halfway through the month before the new quarter starts to give cardmembers time to activate new categories beforehand. However, you can activate your categories up until midway through the last month of the quarter.
The categories tend to repeat periodically — for instance, grocery stores, restaurants and gas stations are all common categories that you’ll notice frequently pop up on the cash-back calendar. So depending on the categories and whether you can maximize them, these two cards can offer quite a nice chunk of cash back or bonus points over the course of a year.
How much cash back can I earn each quarter?
Chase limits the 5% back (or 5 points per dollar) to the first $1,500 spent in combined bonus categories each quarter you activate the bonus.
While that may not sound like a lot, that cash back adds up over time. Maximizing the cash-back categories each quarter, you’ll earn $75 in cash back quarterly and up to $300 per year. For a no-annual-fee credit card, that’s a lot of value.
Alternatively, since the cash back you earn comes in the form of Ultimate Rewards points, you’re looking at a potential of up to 30,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards earned each year. Suppose you also have a premium product, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. In that case, you can combine the Ultimate Rewards points you earn with your Chase Freedom or Freedom Flex card with those you earn from your more premium Ultimate Rewards-earning card, and they become fully transferable.
In that case, TPG values Chase points at 2 cents apiece, so the 30,000 you can earn in a year would be worth more like $600.
How do I activate my 5% categories each quarter?
You can head over to Chase’s site to activate your 5% cash back (or 5 points per dollar) for this quarter. You can also register through your Chase mobile app, making one less credit card website you’ll need to visit regularly this year.
Here’s how to register:
- Head to the Chase bonus activation page or log in to your Chase account.
- Enter your last name, the last four digits of your card number and your billing ZIP code. If you don’t have your card on hand, log in to your Chase account to retrieve these digits.
- Click “Activate your 5%” to register.
- If you have multiple Chase Freedom cards, make sure to register each one.
- Save a screenshot of your activation, just in case there are any issues later — though you should also receive a “You’re Activated!” confirmation email.
Can I have both the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Flex to double my earning potential?
Yes, you can have both cards. So if you already have the Chase Freedom and want to add the Chase Freedom Flex to your wallet, you’re free to do so. Remember that the original Freedom card is no longer open to new applicants.
But if you’d rather only have one, the Freedom Flex is available as a product change.
And of course, you’ll also want to ensure you’re eligible for a new Chase card.
How do I maximize my Freedom and Freedom Flex cards?
The most important thing is to make sure you activate your card to earn the 5% cash back (or 5 points per dollar) each quarter in the specific categories, and then actually use your card for purchases in those categories.
You can set up a recurring reminder in your calendar, or you can sign up for the TPG newsletter (we send out a reminder when it’s time to activate every quarter — plus tips and tricks for maximizing your card strategy and scoring some excellent award redemptions).
Better yet, paired with a Chase credit card that earns fully transferable Ultimate Rewards points like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, the Chase Freedom Flex’s 5% cash back effectively becomes 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar, as you can learn all about in our guide detailing the “Chase Trifecta.”
What are common bonus categories for the Freedom and Freedom Flex?
Of course, you’ll also want to make sure that you’ll potentially be able to maximize other bonus categories throughout the year. For reference, here are the previous Chase Freedom quarterly categories all the way back to 2012, so you can decide if common categories make sense for your spending patterns:
Chase Freedom and Freedom Flex cardholders can now earn 5% back (or 5 points per dollar) at gas stations, EV charging and select live entertainment purchases after activation.
In addition to the rotating 5% cash back bonus categories, the Freedom Flex accrues 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% cash back on drugstores, 3% cash back on dining (including eligible delivery services) and 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases.
Activate by Sept. 14 to take advantage of these Q3 bonus categories.
Official application link: Chase Freedom Flex with a sign-up bonus of $200 cash back after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.