Chase Freedom rotating quarterly categories: How to activate and full offer history – The Points Guy

To round out 2023 as a year of great bonus-earning opportunities, Chase Freedom (no longer available to new applicants) and Chase Freedom Flex℠ cardholders have another set of excellent bonus categories for Q4: PayPal, select charities and wholesale clubs.

Those of us who have maxed out our bonus earnings with PayPal in past holiday seasons are thrilled to see its return, and the addition of select charities and wholesale clubs provides even more chances to earn bonus rewards this quarter.

You can now activate these bonus categories and earn 5% back (or 5 points per dollar) on up to $1,500 of spending in these categories — and 1% (or 1 point per dollar) after that — between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31.

Here’s how it all works.

Chase Freedom and Freedom Flex Q4 2023 categories

Between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Flex cardmembers can earn 5% cash back (or 5 points per dollar) on spending in the following categories:

  • PayPal
  • Select charities
  • Wholesale clubs

As noted above, you must activate your card to unlock the bonus-earning potential in these categories.


It’s simple to complete this process online through your Chase account — with your last name, the last four digits of your card and your ZIP code. Registration is now open.

Analyzing the Q4 bonus categories

The holiday season is quickly approaching, and many of us are already getting ready for the shopping, gathering and giving that will come with it. Whether your shopping list requires buying paper plates in bulk or having your digital wallet ready to snag the killer deals that are coming, these bonuses have you covered. And they say it’s better to give than to receive, but with the added category of select charities, you can do both in the final quarter of this year.

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Here are the bonus details:

  • PayPal: The fan-favorite Q4 category is back for another year. Select your Freedom or Freedom Flex as your preferred payment method in your PayPal account to earn bonus rewards whenever you pay with PayPal this quarter. Note that payments between you and friends or family through your PayPal account may not be eligible.
  • Select charities: The end of the year is the biggest time for giving, and you’ll get more than just a feeling of goodwill when you use your Freedom or Freedom Flex to donate this quarter. You’ll earn bonus rewards when you donate to any of these charities:
  • American Red Cross
  • Equal Justice Initiatives
  • Feeding America
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • International Medical Corps
  • International Rescue Committee
  • Leadership Conference Education Fund
  • NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund
  • National Urban League
  • Out and Equal
  • Sage
  • Thurgood Marshall College Fund
  • United Negro College Fund
  • United Way
  • World Central Kitchen
  • Wholesale clubs: If you’re gearing up to host a big group or get a great deal on some big electronics at your favorite wholesale club, use your Freedom or Freedom Flex to earn even more than usual. However, fuel and additional services like travel, insurance and home improvement are not part of this category. Costco members are likely already aware that their Freedom Flex Mastercard is not accepted at instore Costco locations due to its exclusive acceptance of Visa cards; online and app purchases can be made with Mastercards, though.

Remember that Chase limits the 5% back (or 5 points per dollar) to the first $1,500 spent in combined bonus categories each quarter you activate the bonus. After you reach the maximum, you’ll earn 1% back on these purchases.

Frequently asked questions about Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Flex bonus categories

How do rotating categories work?

Each quarter, Chase announces a group of bonus categories that will earn 5% cash back (or 5 points per dollar) throughout the upcoming three-month period. Generally, these categories are announced halfway through the month before the new quarter starts to give card members time to activate new categories beforehand. However, you can activate your categories up until midway through the last month of the quarter.

The categories tend to repeat periodically — for instance, grocery stores, restaurants and gas stations are all common categories you’ll notice frequently pop up on the cash-back calendar. So, depending on the categories and whether you can maximize them, these two cards can offer quite a nice chunk of cash back or bonus points over the course of a year.

Related: Check out our full Chase Freedom Flex card review

How much cash back can I earn each quarter?

Chase limits the 5% back (or 5 points per dollar) to the first $1,500 spent in combined bonus categories each quarter you activate the bonus.

While that may not sound like a lot, that cash back adds up over time. Maximizing the cash-back categories each quarter, you’ll earn $75 in cash back quarterly and up to $300 per year. For a no-annual-fee credit card, that’s a lot of value.

Alternatively, since the cash back you earn comes in the form of Ultimate Rewards points, you’re looking at a potential of up to 30,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards earned each year. Suppose you also have a premium product like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. In that case, you can combine the Ultimate Rewards points you earn with your Chase Freedom or Freedom Flex card with those you earn from your more premium Ultimate Rewards-earning card, and they become fully transferable.

In that case, TPG values Chase points at 2.05 cents apiece, so the 30,000 you can earn in a year would be worth more like $615.

How do I activate my 5% categories each quarter?

You can head over to Chase’s site to activate your 5% cash back (or 5 points per dollar) for this quarter. You can also register through your Chase mobile app, making one less credit card website you’ll need to visit regularly this year.

Here’s how to register:

  1. Head to the Chase bonus activation page or log in to your Chase account.
  2. Enter your last name, the last four digits of your card number and your billing ZIP code. If you don’t have your card on hand, log in to your Chase account to retrieve these digits.
  3. Click “Activate your 5%” to register.
  4. If you have multiple Chase Freedom cards, make sure to register each one.
  5. Save a screenshot of your activation in case of any issues later — though you should also receive a “You’re Activated!” confirmation email.

Can I have both the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Flex to double my earning potential?

Yes, you can have both cards. So if you already have the Chase Freedom and want to add the Chase Freedom Flex to your wallet, you’re free to do so. Remember that the original Freedom card is no longer open to new applicants.

But if you’d rather only have one, the Freedom Flex is available as a product change.

And of course, you’ll also want to ensure you’re eligible for a new Chase card.

How do I maximize my Freedom and Freedom Flex cards?

The most important thing is to make sure you activate your card to earn the 5% cash back (or 5 points per dollar) each quarter in the specific categories, then use your card for purchases in those categories.

You can set up a recurring reminder in your calendar or sign up for the TPG newsletter (we send out a reminder when it’s time to activate every quarter — plus tips and tricks for maximizing your card strategy and scoring some excellent award redemptions).

Better yet, paired with a Chase credit card that earns fully transferable Ultimate Rewards points like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, the Chase Freedom Flex’s 5% cash back effectively becomes 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar, as you can learn all about in our guide detailing the “Chase Trifecta.”

In that case, you’ll be able to transfer the points earned with the Freedom Flex to Ultimate Rewards points and to travel partners like Southwest, Hyatt and United.

What are common bonus categories for the Freedom and Freedom Flex?

Of course, you’ll also want to make sure that you’ll potentially be able to maximize other bonus categories throughout the year. For reference, here are the previous Chase Freedom quarterly categories all the way back to 2012 so you can decide if common categories make sense for your spending patterns:

Year/QuarterBonus Categories
2023 – Q4PayPal, select charities, wholesale clubs
2023 – Q3Gas stations, EV charging and select live entertainment
2023 – Q2Amazon and Lowe’s
2023 – Q1Grocery stores, gym memberships and fitness clubs, Target
2022 – Q4PayPal and Walmart
2022 – Q3Gas stations, rental cars, movie theaters and select live entertainment
2022 – and select streaming services
2022 – Q1eBay and grocery stores
2021 – Q4PayPal and Walmart
2021 – Q3Grocery stores and select streaming services
2021 – Q2Gas stations and home improvement stores
2021 – Q1Wholesale clubs, select streaming services and internet, cable and phone services
2020 – Q4PayPal and Walmart
2020 – and Whole Foods Market
2020 – Q2Grocery stores, gym memberships and fitness clubs, and select streaming services
2020 – Q1Gas stations; internet, cable and phone services; and select streaming services
2019 – Q4Chase Pay, PayPal and department stores
2019 – Q3Gas stations and streaming services
2019 – Q2Grocery stores and home improvement
2019 – Q1Gas stations, drugstores and tolls
2018 – Q4Wholesale clubs, department stores and Chase Pay
2018 – Q3Lyft, Walgreens and gas stations
2018 – Q2Groceries, PayPal and Chase Pay
2018 – Q1Mobile wallets, gas stations and internet, cable and phone service merchants
2017 – Q4Walmart and department stores
2017 – Q3Restaurants and movie theaters
2017 – Q2Grocery stores and drug stores
2017 – Q1Gas stations and local commuter transportation
2016 – Q4Wholesale clubs, drugstores and department stores
2016 – Q3Restaurants and wholesale clubs
2016 – Q2Grocery stores and wholesale clubs
2016 – Q1Gas stations and local commuter transportation
2015 –,, and
2015 – Q3Gas stations and Kohl’s
2015 – Q2Restaurants, Bed Bath & Beyond, H&M and
2015 – Q1Grocery stores, movie theaters and Starbucks
2014 –, and department stores
2014 – Q3Gas stations and Kohl’s
2014 – Q2Restaurants and Lowe’s
2014 – Q1Gas stations, movie theaters and Starbucks
2013 – Q4Department stores and
2012 – Q3Gas stations, theme parks and Kohl’s
2012 – Q2Restaurants and movie theaters
2012 – Q1Gas stations, drugstores and Starbucks

Bottom line

Chase Freedom and Freedom Flex cardholders can now activate to earn 5% back (or 5 points per dollar) on PayPal, select charities and wholesale club purchases between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31.

In addition to the rotating 5% cash back bonus categories, the Freedom Flex accrues 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% cash back on drugstores, 3% cash back on dining (including eligible delivery services) and 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases.

Official application link: Chase Freedom Flex with a sign-up bonus of $200 cash back after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.