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Activate Chase Freedom bonus categories for Q3 2023

With certain Chase cards, you can earn 5 percent cash back on a rotating roster of categories Chase changes every quarter


See the latest bonus categories from the Chase Freedom cards and get tips on how to maximize your cash back.

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Chase has announced the 5 percent cash back categories on the Chase Freedom Flex℠* and the retired Chase Freedom®* for the third quarter of 2023.

From July through September 2023, Freedom and Freedom Flex cardholders can earn 5 percent cash back at gas stations, on electric vehicle charging and on select live entertainment purchases (up to $1,500 in combined purchases, then 1 percent) after activation. You must activate the categories by Sept. 14, 2023, to begin earning bonus cash back.

Besides the quarterly categories, the Freedom Flex offers 5 percent cash back on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, 5 percent back on Lyft rides through March 2025 and 3 percent back on dining and drugstore purchases. All other purchases earn 1 percent cash back.

At a glance

Here’s what you need to know about taking advantage of Chase’s cash back calendar:

  • Activation for third-quarter categories opens on June 15, 2023 and will close on Sept. 14, 2023.
  • Cardholders who activate third-quarter categories can earn 5 percent cash back on gas station, EV charging and select live entertainment purchases.
  • The 5 percent cash back bonus (which requires activation) is capped at $1,500 in combined purchases per quarter, after which you’ll earn 1 percent.

Chase 5% cash back calendar 2023

January-March(Activation window closed)April-June(Activation closed)July-September(Activation between June 15, 2023 and Sept. 14, 2023)October-December (Activate open Sept. 15, 2023)
  • Grocery stores (excluding Walmart)
  • Target
  • Fitness clubs and gym memberships
  • Lowe’s
  • Gas stations
  • EV charging
  • Select live entertainment

Chase 5% cash back calendar 2022

For reference, here’s a quick look at the categories Chase offered in 2022:

  • Grocery stores
  • eBay
  • Select streaming services
  • Gas stations
  • Car rental agencies
  • Movie theaters
  • Select live entertainment
  • Walmart purchases
  • PayPal purchases

What is included in the gas stations category?

Whenever you get gas for your car you can earn 5 percent cash back, whether you pay at the pump or inside the station. Depending on the merchant category code of the station or store, any snack, drink or other good you purchase there may also qualify for the bonus cash back.

What is included in the EV charging category?

Any EV charging station that is open to the public would qualify. If you charge your EV at a gas station, parking structure, grocery store or the like, the purchase may not qualify unless that merchant considers the charge an EV charging service. You will not earn 5 percent cash back if you buy or rent EV charging equipment.

What is included in the select live entertainment category?

This category mainly refers to live entertainment, such as sporting events, zoos, aquariums, concerts, theatrical performances, museums, tourist attractions, amusement parks, bands and some ticket agencies. Examples of excluded purchases are movie theaters, bowling alleys, casinos and dance halls.

Tips for maximizing your 5% cash back in Q3 2023

  • Use your Chase Freedom Flex or Freedom card every time you get gas or charge your EV, until the end of September. You may be surprised how many rewards you can rack up in only a quarter.
  • When you paint the town — seeing your favorite music artist or visiting Disneyland or taking your children to the zoo — swipe with your Chase card. Unfortunately movie theaters don’t apply, but plenty of other summertime activities do.
  • As a reminder, transactions must be posted to your credit card statement before the end of the third quarter in order to qualify. Plus, if you forget to activate your quarterly categories until midway through the quarter, say on August 15, you can always activate your bonus categories and still earn 5 percent cash back retroactively on all qualifying purchases.

Comparing Chase and Discover bonus categories

Chase isn’t the only card issuer that offers a 5 percent cash back bonus. Discover also allows cardholders to earn 5 percent cash back in activated rotating categories each quarter (on up to $1,500 in spending, then 1 percent) with the Discover it® Cash Back. Here’s a look at Discover bonus categories for 2023 compared to that offered by Chase.

Chase vs. Discover cash back categories 2023

Chase Freedom FlexDiscover it Cash Back
January-MarchTarget, grocery stores (excluding Walmart) and fitness clubs and gym membershipsGrocery stores, drug stores and select streaming services
April-JuneLowe’s and Amazon.comRestaurants and wholesale clubs
July-SeptemberGas stations, EV charging and select live entertainmentGas stations and digital wallets

Which card offers the better deal?

In the third quarter of 2023, which category provides more value really depends on the cardholder.

Though both cash back calendars earn bonus cash back at gas stations, the difference will come down whether you regularly use your mobile wallet or enjoy live entertainment.

If you haven’t yet applied for either of these cards, Discover’s Cashback Match feature may be enough to push you toward applying for the Discover it Cash Back. The issuer matches all the cash back you earn after your first year with the card (meaning if you earn $300 in cash back, Discover will give you an additional $300 in cash back as a welcome bonus).

Before you make your selection, consider reading through our list of the best cash back credit cards. There may be another option that catches your eye or makes more sense for your spending style.

*Information about the Chase Freedom and the Chase Freedom Flex has been collected independently by The issuer did not provide the content, nor is it responsible for its accuracy.

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The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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