I’ve been waiting for the new Chase Freedom 5x bonus categories to come out for the fourth quarter, and now they’re here!
New 5x Categories
Quarters 1 and 3 were a bust for us since we don’t use much gasoline, and our streaming services are covered by other cards. Q2 was easy since we spend a LOT at the grocery store. I needed a good reveal for Q4. And I think I got it! Beginning on October 1, you can earn 5x rewards at department stores (blech), and when using PayPal and Chase Pay. Yay!
This will be an easy category to maximize given the number of online merchants that use PayPal as a method of payment. Simply sign on to PayPal from the checkout page, select your Freedom card as the pay from card, and you’re good to go. With all of the online shopping I do, and will do more of in Q4, this is a no-brainer.
Using Chase Pay
This is an interesting choice by Chase. They are shutting down the Chase Pay app in early 2020, so why are they still promoting it? The answer is simple: They want Chase Pay to be the new PayPal. Unfortunately, I’m not sure what this holds for the future of using Chase Pay at Best Buy since you use the app in the store. An article I read said that Chase was hoping to depend on stores’ digital wallets to access Chase Pay, but I’m not sure how that would work. In the meantime, Chase Pay is available online at many merchants, just like PayPal. I use Chase Pay to reload my husband’s Starbucks app whenever there’s a Chase Offer available, so maybe this is the direction the company is going with Chase Pay. You can also use it online at some merchants. This quarter, I’ll use it at Best Buy to get my 5x plus Swagbucks bonus until they pry the app from my cold dead hands.
The only department store I shop at with any regularity is Kohl’s, and that’s even only a couple of times a year. This category will likely be a bust for me, but other people may find this category handy with holiday shopping coming up.
Developing a Chase Strategy
Chase Freedom is the first card to help you get started in developing your Chase Strategy. You don’t have to have a stellar credit rating to qualify, and it earns 5% cash back in rotating categories each quarter. However, when paired with a Chase Ultimate Rewards earning card, it will open up a whole new world of travel benefits. Ultimate Rewards can be transferred to hotel and airline partners, and you can book travel at a discount using points on the Chase Travel portal. This makes your 5% cash back more like 10% when you redeem your points for travel. See my article on Chase Ultimate Rewards for more information.
This quarter is very interesting. Most years, Q4 has warehouse stores or Amazon included, and both of those are glaringly missing. Maybe the department store coalition conspired to get you off your computer and into their brick and mortars more this holiday season. Who knows? I’ll stick to the digital payments and max out both of our Freedom cards with PayPal and Chase Pay.