Chase Freedom Q2 2018 5x Points Bonus Categories Revealed

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The Chase Freedom® Card is one of my favorite no annual fee credit cards, as it offers 5x points in rotating quarterly categories, for up to $1,500 of spend per quarter. Most people use this as a cashback card, meaning the 5x points really translates into 5% cashback in these categories.

The best part is that in conjunction with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, points earned on this card can be converted into Ultimate Rewards points, and be transferred to the Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel partners. Since I value one Ultimate Rewards point at significantly more than one cent, that’s my preferred use of those points.

For this quarter (January 1 through March 31), Chase is offering 5x points for mobile payments (Chase Pay, Android Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay), gas stations, internet, cable, and phone services. Registration for this bonus category closes tomorrow (March 14), so if you haven’t yet registered, be sure you do so soon. You’ll continue to earn 5x points through the end of the month (assuming you haven’t maxed out the bonus category), though only if you activate the bonus by March 14.

Up until now, Chase has kept the 5x points category for the second quarter of 2018 a secret. There have been rumors about what it will be, but no official, public communication from Chase. It looks like we now officially know what that bonus category will be.

Between April 1 and June 30, 2018, the Chase Freedom will offer 5x points on the first $1,500 of combined purchases for PayPal, Chase Pay, and grocery stores. Registration for this category will open on March 15.

It’s interesting to see the Freedom Card increasingly reward mobile payments of different kind. What do I make of this bonus category?

  • The bonus on PayPal transactions is awesome, as that’s a category that generally doesn’t earn bonus points
  • While I’m happy to see the continuation of bonuses for mobile payments, the limit of just offering bonus points for Chase Pay is restrictive, given that they don’t have that many partners
  • The bonus on grocery store purchases is good and is one we’ve seen in the past, though I don’t personally value it that much, since you can earn 4.5x points on those purchases with the Amex EveryDay Preferred.

What do you make of the Chase Freedom second quarter 2018 bonus category?

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  1. These Q2 categories seem incredibly weak for most people.

    – PayPal? Really?
    – Chase Pay? Is that to promote their mobile payment system after Q1’s categories?
    – Groceries? Ok, I can see that.

    But there’s something else missing to encourage consumers to use the CF for daily/weekly purchases. These three categories are not enough for an entire quarter.

    Why not Costco or Sams Club purchases? Why not gas stations?

    Very disappointing. It’s like someone at Chase thought of these categories at the last minute.

  2. There are many online retailers that let you pay through PayPal, I assume those would be included? Many smaller online clothing / shoes / etc.-type retailers take PayPal.

  3. VX — they did gas stations this quarter. And I can’t imagine they would do Costco since Citi owns that relationship. Sam’s Club — ick.. Plus they just closed on the Sam’s Clubs anywhere near us.

    PayPal is so easy. I don’t normally use it but virtually every online retailer except amazon takes it…

  4. @VX_Flier — I think a huge piece of Chase’s strategy here is to get people to change their default cards and hope they forget to change them back. This quarter’s bonuses of cable and phone bills got me to change my auto-pay card for my cable and phone bill — and many people will not think to change it back to something else (or will not have anything better to change it to) now that those categories no longer earn a bonus. (Chase didn’t advertise it very widely but services like Netflix and Hulu were also included for this quarter’s bonuses, which would similarly be easy to forget to change back.)

    Similarly I made Freedom my default Apple Pay card this quarter, and will do the same for PayPal transactions next quarter. And if you don’t change them back, then Chase keeps getting that spend at 1% return to you.

  5. @Mark Costco isnt restricted to accepting only Citi’s credit cards. I believe their partnership is that Citi is the processor for their credit card charges, partner together for the Costco Visa card and restrict them to accepting only Visa credit cards.

    I remember when the partnership first came into effect in 2016 where Chase offered 5x on wholesale clubs for the rest of the year, including Costco.

  6. Last quarter Chase followed Discover with 5% on gas stations and, if this is right, they’re going to be following Discover again. What gives? They can’t come up with their own ideas?

  7. I really like quarterly x5 bonuses! Luckily for us, our local grocery chain started Apple Pay and Android Pay in January and I had already maxed out for $1500 spending by mid February. I am sure to max out again in 2nd quarter by using Apple Pay. For now, I am the only Freedom card holder in our household and my husband is an authorized user. If he has his own Freedom account and lists me as an authorized user, can we get total of $3000 spending limit for x5 categories? Are we allowed?

  8. Plenty of GCs to be had at grocery stores, no problem there.

    Chase Pay? I think you have a better chance of winning the lottery than finding someplace which accepts this.

    Paypal? No thank you! They function like a bank but refuse to play by banking rules. One of those faceless corporations where there’s no accountability and if something goes pear-shaped, you’re screwed.

  9. This one is a slam dunk. I’ll purchase $1,500 in gift cards at my local grocer (Kroger) and simply use them throughout the rest of the year.

  10. I was able to use Samsung Pay this last quarter at Costco to max out the 5X promo. Chase Pay is useless, however.

  11. As the tax filing deadline in the USA approaches, I am loving the paypal option. Although the provider will charge me nearly 2%, i will now actually make money on the first $1500 (i am one of those that always has to pay since withholdings are not enough). Perfect timing for me.

  12. If you go under Paypal digital gift cards there are a ton to choose from. You might want to look that over…

  13. Instead of stressing over this for 3 months, I agree with the idea of purchasing $1500 worth of gift card(s) and keep using them as needed.

  14. Correct me if I’m wrong but using your Freedom card through PayPal is going to result in fees of 2.9% plus $0.30 USD to send money sort of negating most of the 5X gain.

  15. Steve –
    The sweet spot is if you transfer the Chase points to Sapphire Preferred/Reserve, they would be worth much more than 5% in cash. Or, transfer the points to other travel partners etc.

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