The Chase Freedom and the recently launched Chase Freedom Flex credit cards are among the best cash back credit cards on the market, primarily because their rotating 5% cash back categories can help you maximize your rewards on everyday purchases. Now, cardholders with the recently introduced Chase Freedom Flex or the retiring Chase Freedom card can activate their bonus categories for the fourth quarter, which include Walmart and PayPal, to get the most from their holiday spending.

Key Takeaways

  • Chase has announced its fourth-quarter bonus categories for the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Flex cards.
  • Cardholders can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent between October and December 2020 at Walmart and via PayPal.
  • Activate by Dec. 14, 2020 to ensure you get the extra cash back on your eligible purchases.

How the Chase Freedom Categories Stack Up

Every quarter, the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Flex cards offer 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in select categories, and fourth-quarter categories are often focused on holiday shopping. 

This year, you can earn bonus rewards at Walmart and on purchases made with PayPal, making it possible to rack up rewards on in-store and online shopping. With the Walmart category, that includes:

  • All Walmart stores
  • Walmart.com
  • Walmart-branded gas stations operated by Walmart
  • Any other Walmart-branded retail stores operated by Walmart
  • Purchases made with Walmart Pay

The Discover it Cash Back also offers rotating bonus categories, so it’s a good idea to compare the two if you have both cards and want to maximize your rewards. Here is the full list of categories for 2020 for each card:

5% Bonus Categories for Chase Freedom and Discover it Cash Back
  Chase Freedom / Chase Freedom Flex Discover it Cash Back
January – March Gas stations, select streaming services, and internet, cable, and phone services Grocery stores, Walgreens, and CVS
April – June Grocery stores, select streaming services, gym memberships, and fitness clubs Gas stations, Uber, Lyft, wholesale clubs, and Home Depot (June only)
July – September Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market Restaurants and PayPal
October – December Walmart and PayPal Amazon.com, Target.com, and Walmart.com

How to Activate Your Chase 5% Cash Back Categories

There are five ways you can activate your bonus categories each quarter with the Chase Freedom cards. Options include:

  • Online at ultimaterewards.com or chase.com/freedom
  • Via email when you sign up for notifications
  • Over the phone with the number on the back of your card
  • At a local Chase bank branch
  • If you’re also a Chase checking customer, at a Chase ATM

Keep in mind that you have until Dec. 14, 2020, to activate your bonus, and regardless of when you activate before that deadline, you’ll receive the bonus rewards on all of the eligible purchases you made during the quarter.

You have until Dec. 14 to activate your 5% cash back bonus, and it will be retroactive for the entire quarter.

Upgrade to the Chase Freedom Flex for More Rewards

On Sept. 15 of this year, Chase retired the Chase Freedom card and introduced the Chase Freedom Flex, which offers the same rewards as the old card plus 5% back on travel booked through Chase and 3% back at drugstores and on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services.

The card is also a World Elite Mastercard, which comes with a suite of benefits. If you currently have the Chase Freedom, you can upgrade your card anytime and enjoy the new perks.