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TravelChase Freedom Flex rotating quarterly categories: How to activate and full offer...

Chase Freedom Flex rotating quarterly categories: How to activate and full offer history


This quarter, Chase brought back two of our favorite Freedom categories — and did something we had never seen before.

Now through June 30, Chase Freedom Flex℠ and Freedom cardholders can earn bonus rewards on hotels and booked through Chase Travel℠, dining and Amazon purchases after activating. But if you haven’t activated yet, you’ll want to hurry. The deadline for Q2 activation is June 14.

Typically, Freedom (no longer available to new applicants) and Chase Freedom Flex cardholders can earn 5% cash back (or 5 points per dollar) on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in a given quarter’s bonus categories.

But this quarter, Freedom Flex cardholders can earn as much as 9% (or 9 points per dollar) on the bonus categories. There are some complexities, so make sure to read on so you know exactly what you will earn.

Here’s how it all works.

The information for the Freedom credit card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Chase Freedom and Freedom Flex Q2 2024 categories

Now through June 30, Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Flex cardholders can earn bonus cash back (or points) on hotels booked through Chase Travel, dining and Amazon purchases. However, these earning rates are different for Freedom and Freedom Flex cardholders since the Freedom Flex earns bonus rewards on Chase Travel and dining year-round.

For this quarter, each card earns an additional 4% (or 4 points per dollar) on the bonus categories:

Card Regular earning rates Q2 bonus-earning rates
Freedom Flex 5% (or 5 points per dollar) on purchases through Chase Travel

3% (or 3 points per dollar) on dining and drugstore purchases

1%  (or 1 point per dollar) on all other purchases

9% (or 9 points per dollar) on hotels booked through Chase Travel

7% (or 7 points per dollar) on dining purchases

5% (or 5 points per dollar) on Amazon purchases

Freedom (no longer available to new applicants) 1% (or 1 point per dollar) on all purchases 5% (or 5 points per dollar) on hotels booked through Chase Travel, dining and Amazon purchases

As you can see, the Freedom Flex has more lucrative rates, both regularly and this quarter.

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As noted above, you must activate these categories to unlock the bonus-earning potential on these two cards.

THE POINTS GUY

It’s simple to complete this process through your Chase account — with your last name, the last four digits of your card and your ZIP code. Registration is now open.

Analyzing the Q2 bonus categories

As noted above, Chase has never offered cardholders the chance to earn more than 5% (or 5 points per dollar) back on these bonus categories.

Plus, this is the first time Chase has offered any type of travel as a bonus category, and it’s the first time we’ve seen dining offered since 2017.

And, of course, we’re thrilled to see fan-favorite Amazon back as a bonus category. I used my Freedom Flex to maximize my bonus earnings with Amazon in 2023.

DRAGANA991/GETTY IMAGES

Here are the bonus details:

  • Hotels and experiences through Chase Travel: A first for the Freedom bonus categories, cardholders can earn 5%-9% back (or 5-9 points per dollar) on hotel bookings made through Chase Travel. This is especially perfect timing for those of us booking summer and fall travel. Just be aware that booking through a travel portal does have some drawbacks.
  • Restaurants: Freedom Flex cardholders typically enjoy a 3% return rate on dining purchases, and Chase is upping the ante this quarter by letting us earn 7% back (or 7 points per dollar) on these purchases during Q2; Freedom cardholders earn 5% back (or 5 points per dollar). This category includes both fine and casual dining but excludes bakeries, caterers and meal kit delivery services.
  • Amazon: The much-loved Amazon category is back for a third year in a row. Cardholders can earn 5% (or 5 points per dollar) on Amazon purchases, including those made at Amazon.com (even Prime subscriptions and Amazon gift cards) and Whole Foods Market. I’ve always found this to be the easiest category to maximize since I head to Amazon for new clothes, household items and everything in between.

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 the usual earning rates on your card: 5% back on hotels booked through Chase Travel, 3% back on dining, 1% back on Amazon purchases for Freedom Flex cardholders; 1% back on everything for Freedom cardholders.

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 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 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.

Related: Check out our full Chase Freedom Flex card review

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 like 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 2.05 cents apiece, so the 30,000 you can earn in a year would be worth more like $615.

How do I activate my 5% categories each quarter?

You can head 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:

  1. Head to the Chase bonus activation page or log in to your Chase account.
  2. 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.
  3. Click “Activate your 5%” to register.
  4. If you have multiple Chase Freedom cards, make sure to register each one.
  5. Save a screenshot of your activation in case of 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, then use your card for purchases in those categories.

You can set up a recurring reminder in your calendar or 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.”

In that case, you’ll be able to transfer the points earned with the Freedom Flex to Ultimate Rewards points and to travel partners like Southwest, Hyatt and United.

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:

Year/Quarter Bonus Categories
2024 — Q2 Hotels booked through Chase Travel, dining and Amazon (different earning rates depending on the card, i.e., 9%, 7% and 5%, respectively for Freedom Flex; 5% for all three categories for Freedom)
2024 — Q1 Select grocery stores, fitness club and gym memberships, self-care and spa services
2023 — Q4 PayPal, select charities and wholesale clubs
2023 — Q3 Gas stations, EV charging and select live entertainment
2023 — Q2 Amazon and Lowe’s
2023 — Q1 Grocery stores, gym memberships and fitness clubs, Target
2022 — Q4 PayPal and Walmart
2022 — Q3 Gas stations, rental cars, movie theaters and select live entertainment
2022 — Q2 Amazon.com and select streaming services
2022 — Q1 eBay and grocery stores
2021 — Q4 PayPal and Walmart
2021 — Q3 Grocery stores and select streaming services
2021 — Q2 Gas stations and home improvement stores
2021 — Q1 Wholesale clubs, select streaming services and internet, cable and phone services
2020 — Q4 PayPal and Walmart
2020 — Q3 Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market
2020 — Q2 Grocery stores, gym memberships and fitness clubs, and select streaming services
2020 — Q1 Gas stations; internet, cable and phone services; and select streaming services
2019 — Q4 Chase Pay, PayPal and department stores
2019 — Q3 Gas stations and streaming services
2019 — Q2 Grocery stores and home improvement
2019 — Q1 Gas stations, drugstores and tolls
2018 — Q4 Wholesale clubs, department stores and Chase Pay
2018 — Q3 Lyft, Walgreens and gas stations
2018 — Q2 Groceries, PayPal and Chase Pay
2018 — Q1 Mobile wallets, gas stations and internet, cable and phone service merchants
2017 — Q4 Walmart and department stores
2017 — Q3 Restaurants and movie theaters
2017 — Q2 Grocery stores and drugstores
2017 — Q1 Gas stations and local commuter transportation
2016 — Q4 Wholesale clubs, drugstores and department stores
2016 — Q3 Restaurants and wholesale clubs
2016 — Q2 Grocery stores and wholesale clubs
2016 — Q1 Gas stations and local commuter transportation
2015 — Q4 Amazon.com, Zappos.com, Audible.com and Diapers.com
2015 — Q3 Gas stations and Kohl’s
2015 — Q2 Restaurants, Bed Bath & Beyond, H&M and Overstock.com
2015 — Q1 Grocery stores, movie theaters and Starbucks
2014 — Q4 Amazon.com, Zappos.com and department stores
2014 — Q3 Gas stations and Kohl’s
2014 — Q2 Restaurants and Lowe’s
2014 — Q1 Gas stations, movie theaters and Starbucks
2013 — Q4 Department stores and Amazon.com
2012 — Q3 Gas stations, theme parks and Kohl’s
2012 — Q2 Restaurants and movie theaters
2012 — Q1 Gas stations, drugstores and Starbucks

Bottom line

If you’re a Chase Freedom or Freedom Flex cardholder, activate by June 14 to earn bonus rewards on hotels booked through Chase Travel, dining and Amazon purchases.

In addition to the rotating 5% cash back bonus categories, the Freedom Flex accrues 5% cash back on all other 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.


Apply here: 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.


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