Chase Freedom® credit card holders can activate bonus 5% cash-back categories for the last quarter of the year now through December 14. Cardholders earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in spending across purchases made at department stores and via PayPal and Chase Pay (then 1%).
Chase reveals new bonus categories each quarter, unlike Discover, which releases its full 5% cash-back calendar about two months before the start of a new year.
Here are the bonus categories for 2019:
5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate, 1% cash back on all other purchases
$150 bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
0% for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
16.74% to 25.49%
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.
Chase and Discover are the two most popular card issuers offering 5% cash-back cards. Here's a side-by-side comparison of the two cash-back calendars for 2019.
Looking at the last quarter of the year, both issuers geared bonus categories toward holiday shopping, but Chase opted for department stores and select digital wallets while Discover chose Amazon.com, Target and Walmart.com.
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.
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 at least 2% or 2 points per dollar spent.
Information about the Chase Freedom® has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.