Memorize These New 5x Bonus Categories

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We already a few days into the second quarter of 2018, so before we get any further into April, I want to make sure you have mentally adjusted for which cards to use to maximize purchases over the next few months. If you have the no annual fee Chase Freedom that gives 5x on select categories each quarter, you have a new line-up of 5x bonus categories to memorize (or write on the card using masking tape). Remember that if you also have a premium Ultimate Rewards card such as the Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve, then the points you earn on the Freedom can transfer 1:1 to hotel and airline partners such as Southwest, United, Hyatt, and more.


2018 Chase Freedom Second Quarter Bonus Categories:

The Chase Freedom 2018 second quarter 5x bonus categories are:

  • PayPal, which can be used online, on mobile or in-app across more than 18 million large, mid-sized and small businesses around the world to make purchases or send money
  • Chase Pay using the app, online or in-store, at new merchants such as Shoprite and PriceRite, and online at Wal-Mart
  • Grocery stores, including traditional brick-and-mortar grocers, retailers that sell food and online delivery services such as Peapod, Blue Apron, Whole Foods, Fresh Direct and many more

For families, the grocery store category alone is often enough to max out the $1,500 quarterly 5x limit, but you can sprinkle in some PayPal and Chase Pay transactions to round it out. Having the Chase Pay category means you can get 5x points at Starbucks, Best Buy, PotBelly, and a few other participating locations. Honestly, I’ll likely primarily use Chase Pay in the Starbucks app, but that is better than nothing.

Learn more about No Annual Fee Credit Cards.

I’m also going to make my Freedom the default card in my PayPal and Blue Apron accounts for at least the next three months to be sure I’m earning 5x points on those transactions, up to the quarterly limit.

Discover 5% Cash Back Categories:

If you are a Discover cardholder, their second quarter 5% cash back bonus category is also grocery stores, so you should be well covered when heading to the grocery store for the next few months.

How does your family plan to maximize these 5x bonus categories over the next few months?

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. can cahse paypal transaction be be combined with shop through chase ultimate rewards store?

    example: Go to pottery barn through chase ultimate store for 2% cash back, and use paypal as payment method and with freedom card giving total of 7% cash back?

      • That’s interesting and I hope you’re right because I always understood that in order to use Chase’s portal (CF, CFU, CSP, CSR, etc) you had to use one of their cards to complete the transaction.

        • No, but the caveat is that if something doesn’t post properly they aren’t going to help you if you didn’t use their card.

  2. Last quarter I really got used to using apple pay which I never thought I would use. I only successfully used Chase pay in store one time at Starbucks. I just tried to use it at Shell gas station and it didn’t work at the pump so I went inside and the cashier has no idea about it. Even with the little chase pay sticker there. I had him try to scan the qr code several times but he wasn’t really trying to get it to work and well, it didn’t work. I’m going to try another Shell and if it doesn’t work I guess I can buy Shell gift cards at the grocery store.

  3. When you have a moment:

    A recent Chase Freedom email stated, “Earn unlimited 1% cash back on recurring expenses like utilities, cable and more.” I have a Chase sapphire preferred card. Is it accurate to view 1% cash back as 1 chase ultimate reward point / dollar when transferred to the sapphire preferred card? I am trying to collect as many UR points as possible.

    Thanks very much!!

  4. I really wasn’t too excited about this quarter’s bonus categories. I’m not going to come close to spending $1500 in groceries, and I think I have used PayPal once outside of Ebay in the past. Also, as Julie has stated, Chase Pay just doesn’t seem to be very practical. I used that once the other week to get the promo 300 stars at Starbucks, but it took 6 times for the cashier to figure it out. She insisted that I place my phone on the payment pad like Apple Pay, but she finally agreed to try to scan the QR code. However, it kept rejecting. Finally, on the 6th time, she noticed a little flashing button on her screen that said “Chase Pay”, and she tapped that and it worked! I got my stars a few days later.

    The reason that I feel like there is hope is because I am noticing PayPal as a payment option more and more when I shop online. Just the other day, I took advantage of the $20 off a $100+ purchase at Dick’s Sporting Goods to buy a new pair of running shoes that I had my eye on. I went through the MileagePlus Shopping portal to get 1 mile/$… not great, but better than nothing, and when I got to the payment screen I noticed that I could use PayPal. Of course I did, so I will get 5 Ultimate Points per dollar, but my only minor concern is that because the checkout process for PayPal takes you away from the store and then back in, I wonder if my purchase will still be tracked by the MileagePlus Shopping portal. A similar experience yesterday when I prepaid for 3 months of DIRECTV NOW to get a free Apple TV 4K. I went through the TopCashBack portal to get $22 back, but then I saw that I could pay with PayPal, so I did. I did get an email from TopCashBack recognizing my transaction, so there is hope.

    • Yes, PayPal very useful. Also remember grocery stores sell tons of gift cards to other stores. Chase Pay you can also use within the Starbucks app, so no need to muck with it in-store. Well done with spotting places to use PayPal!

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