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Chase Freedom® 5% Quarterly Categories for Q1 2019

Chase Freedom® 5% Quarterly Categories for Q1 2019

The Chase Freedom® has long been considered one of the most popular cash-back credit cards on the market — and for good reason. This cash-back credit card lets you earn 5% back on up to $1,500 in spending in categories that rotate each quarter (then 1%), plus 1% back on all your other purchases. You can also earn a $150 signup bonus after you sign up and use your card for $500 in spending within three months of account opening. The best part is, the Chase Freedom® doesn’t charge an annual fee, meaning you can earn these rewards for free.

Another reason the Chase Freedom® is a wallet mainstay for consumers is the many, many ways you can redeem your rewards. Like all Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards, the Chase Freedom® lets you cash in your points for statement credits and gift cards. You also have the option to redeem points for merchandise ordered through Amazon.com or for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

Also note that carrying the Chase Freedom® can pay off even more if you also carry a premier Chase travel credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Since Chase lets you combine points in one account, having the Chase Freedom® lets you maximize points on the earning side then transfer them to a Chase travel card for premier travel redemption's and transfers to airlines and hotels.

Chase Freedom® 2019 Categories

While the benefits we’ve listed are important, there’s another reason to pick up the Chase Freedom® this year if you don’t have it already. Chase has already announced the first bonus category for 2019 – gas stations, tolls, and drugstores.

Since you earn 5% back on your first $1,500 spent in this category from January through March (then 1%), this card can be especially fruitful if you spend a ton of money on transportation or use toll roads frequently. This category is also a winner for people who shop at drugstores like CVS and Walgreens often enough to max it out.

Chase hasn’t released its categories for the remainder of the year quite yet, but they are usually common ones most people use. In the past, for example, Chase Freedom® bonus categories have included grocery stores, dining out, movie theaters, and wholesale clubs.

If you’re considering the Chase Freedom® for your rewards game in 2019, the chart below explains which categories offer 5x points. We’ll update the chart as more 5% bonus categories are added throughout the year.

Chase Freedom® 5% Cash-Back Category
January – March Gas Stations, Tolls, and Drugstores
April – June Coming Soon
July – September Coming Soon
October – December Coming Soon

Another 5% Cash-Back Credit Card to Consider

If you love the idea of earning 5% back in categories that rotate each quarter, you may also want to check out the Discover it® Cash Back. This cash-back credit card is also free of annual fees and it offers the same 5% back on up to $1,500 in spending in categories that rotate each quarter (then 1%). You’ll also get 1% back on all other purchases.

While the Discover it® Cash Back doesn’t offer a signup bonus, they do offer one perk that works similarly. For a limited time, consumers who sign up for the Discover it® Cash Back will have all the cash back they earn during the first year doubled. This means that, after twelve months as a cardholder, you’ll receive a stash of points equal to your earnings for the entire year.

One huge benefit of signing up for the Discover it® Cash Back is that, unlike the Chase Freedom®, the Discover it® Cash Back has already announced its bonus categories for 2019. This makes it extremely easy to make plans to maximize your rewards for the entire year.

The chart below explains exactly which categories offer 5% back on up to $1,500 in spending for each quarter of 2019.

Chase Freedom® 5% Cash-Back Category
January – March Grocery Stores
April – June Gas Stations, Uber, and Lyft
July – September Restaurants
October – December Amazon.com

It’s easy to see how you could use each of these categories to your advantage, and don’t forget that you’ll have all your rewards doubled after the first twelve months. That will bring the 5% back you earn in each category up to 10% back in the end, which is pretty impressive when you think about it. And since the Discover it® Cash Back doesn’t charge an annual fee, you can rack up these rewards for free.

Consider This Rewards Strategy to Rack Up More Cash-Back

While both the Chase Freedom® and the Discover it® Cash Back offer 5% back in up to $1,500 spent in categories that rotate each quarter (then 1%) as well as 1% back on all other purchases, you don’t have to pick between these cards. You can get both! Doing so can help you earn more rewards if you leverage each card’s 5% category for maximum benefit.

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Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Editor’s Rating: 4.7
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For the first quarter of 2019, for example, one card is offering 5% back on groceries while the other doles out 5% on gas station, toll, and drugstore spending. You could strategize your spending to make the most of each card’s categories, thus racking up more cash-back over time.

Another strategy is picking up a card that offers a flat rate of rewards on everything you buy. That way, you’re never in a position where you’re earning only 1% back on regular purchases. One solid example is the Chase Freedom Unlimited® since it offers 1.5% back on everything you buy with no exceptions and no limits. This card also comes without an annual fee and offers the same redemption options as the Chase Freedom®. With is card, you can also earn 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent.

The Bottom Line

If you’re in the market for a new cash-back credit card, cards that offer 5% back in rotating bonus categories are a solid choice. However, there are plenty of other cash-back credit cards to consider, including flat-rate rewards cards and cards that offer up to 4% back in specific categories all year long.

Make sure to compare cash-back credit cards and their details before you pull the trigger. The right rewards card for you is out there, but it’s up to you to find it.

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