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Chase Freedom Offers 5% Bonus Category Calendar 2021

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Chase launched its bonus 5% cashback categories for the first quarter of 2021 — wholesale clubs, internet, cable and phone services and select streaming services.

We’ll review the bonus cashback categories for the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card, what you need to know to earn 5% cash back and how the Chase 5% cashback calendar compares to Discover’s 5% cashback calendar.

Note, the Chase Freedom® card is no longer open to new applicants as of Sept. 14, 2020.

Chase 5% cashback calendar 2021
Jan – March April – June July – Sept Oct – Dec
Wholesale clubs, select streaming services*, internet, cable and phone services To be announced To be announced To be announced

* Eligible streaming services are Pandora, Netflix, Hulu, Sling, Vudu, FuboTV, SiriusXM, Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music and ESPN+.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • You need to activate the bonus categories to earn 5% cash back. Chase allows you to add reminders to your calendar. Easily activate via ultimaterewards.com or chase.com/freedom or by calling the number on the back of your card.
  • You can activate the Q1 bonus categories starting Dec. 15, 2020.
  • To take advantage of the Q1 bonus categories, you must activate the categories by March 14, 2021
  • All purchases outside the bonus categories automatically earn unlimited 1% cash back.

How the 2021 calendar compares to 2020

See how Chase’s 2020 cashback calendar compares to the previous year:

Chase 5% cashback calendar 2020
Jan – March April – June July – Sept Oct – Dec
Gas stations, select streaming services, internet, cable and phone services Gym memberships and fitness clubs, grocery stores**, select streaming services Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market Walmart and PayPal

* *Not including Target and Walmart

New additions for 2020 included gym memberships and fitness clubs, as well as Amazon.com, Whole Foods and Walmart. Unfortunately, Chase has not yet brought back restaurants as a bonus category, which hasn’t appeared since 2017.

Chase cashback calendar vs. Discover cashback calendar

While Chase reveals its bonus categories quarterly, Discover releases its full cashback calendar for the year. The ability to see all of the bonus categories gives Discover a leg up on Chase, since cardholders are able to plan spending months in advance. With the Discover it® Cash Back, you earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter up to the quarterly maximum, when you activate.

Here’s how they compare for 2021:

Chase vs. Discover 2021 cashback calendar
Chase Discover
Jan – March Gas stations, select streaming services, internet, cable and phone services Grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS
April – June To be announced Gas stations, wholesale clubs and select streaming services
July – Sept To be announced Restaurants and PayPal
Oct – Dec To be announced Amazon.com, Target.com, and Walmart.com

Alternative to quarterly bonus category cards

An alternative to Discover and Chase’s quarterly rotating bonus categories is the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card, which provides cardholders a flexible rewards program.

If you’re an existing or new Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card holder, you’ll be able to earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs for the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases, 1% cash back on every purchase.

The 3% cash back categories are gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement and furnishings. Unlike other rotating bonus category cards that preselect bonus categories every quarter, cardholders can choose which one of the six categories they want to earn 3% cash back in every month.

In addition to a cashback program, the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card offers a 0% Introductory APR on purchases for 15 billing cycles (after that, a 15.49% - 25.49% Variable APR on purchases applies). This allows you to finance new purchases over a year without incurring interest charges.

Just know that the Chase Freedom Flex℠ also offers a 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months (after that, a 14.99% - 23.74% Variable APR applies), which provides more interest-free financing.

The information related to the Chase Freedom® has been independently collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.