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Credit Cards

Here's the Chase Freedom 5% cash-back calendar so you can plan your spending

Here are the bonus 5% cash-back categories for the Chase Freedom credit cards.

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The Chase Freedom® is not currently available to new cardholders. Please visit our list of the best cash-back cards for alternative options.

Chase Freedom® (no longer accepting new applicants) and Chase Freedom Flex℠ credit cardholders can activate bonus 5% cash-back categories each quarter.

Below, Select shares the cash-back calendar so far for 2022, plus how you can use a 5% cash-back card to your advantage.

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Chase Freedom cash-back calendar 2022

Chase has so far announced the bonus 5% cash-back categories for the first, second and third quarter of 2022. The final 2022 categories will be released later this year.

  • January to March (closed): Grocery stores (excludes Walmart and Target purchases)*
  • April to June (closed): Amazon.com and select streaming services
  • July to September (activate now): Gas stations, car rentals, movie theaters and select live entertainment

*The Chase Freedom Flex is a Mastercard, which is only accepted online at Costco.com, not in-warehouse. Learn more about what credit cards Costco accepts.

How 5% cash-back credit cards work

In order to benefit from 5% cash back, you're required to activate bonus categories each quarter. Once you activate bonus categories, you can start earning 5% cash back. Chase allows you to save activation reminders to your calendar and set up email alerts. You can also activate the bonus categories by clicking here and entering your last name, the last four digits of your card number and your zip code.

There are limits to how much spending qualifies for 5% cash back each quarter. After you spend a combined $1,500 in the bonus categories, the cash-back rate drops to 1%. This maximum spending requirement resets every quarter.

All other purchases made outside the bonus categories automatically earn 1% cash back. If you're looking to optimize how many points you can earn, we suggest using an alternative cash-back or rewards credit card for spending outside the bonus categories, so you earn more than 1% cash back.

If you want to participate in the rotating 5% categories that Chase offers, you'll need to apply for the Chase Freedom Flex℠, as the Chase Freedom is no longer available for new applications. The Freedom Flex ranks as one of the best cash-back cards with no annual fee and earns cardholders 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery services) and drugstores and 1% on all other purchases.

Chase Freedom Flex℠

On Chase's secure site
  • Rewards

    5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate (then 1%), 5% cash back on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on drugstore purchases and on dining (including takeout and eligible delivery services), 1% cash back on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    $200 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    16.49% - 25.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    Intro fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater, on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that, either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

Terms apply.

The Citi® Double Cash Card also makes the list and earns cardholders an effective 2% cash back: 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay for purchases.

Citi also recently launched its own 5% cash-back card, the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card, which is a competing option to other 5% cards because you don't need to activate each quarter.

Cardholders of the Custom Cash Card can get 5% cash back on purchases in their top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent (then 1%). The card also offers a welcome bonus with a pretty low spending threshold: Earn $200 cash back after spending $750 on purchases in the first three months of account opening (fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back).

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

On Citi's secure site
  • Rewards

    5% cash back on purchases in top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent (then 1%); unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn $200 cash back after spending $750 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. The bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for first 15 months

  • Regular APR

    16.24% - 26.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    5% of each balance transfer ($5 minimum)

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent, Good

Terms apply.

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Information about the Chase Freedom® has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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