Chase Freedom Flex Top Spending Category Bonus: Earn 5% Cash Back

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The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is already a great choice for maximizing rewards earning because of its rotating quarterly 5% cash-back categories. Cardholders can earn 5% cash back (5x Ultimate Rewards points) on up to $1,500 in combined spending in categories that change every quarter when they activate the bonus (then 1% back).

For Q4 (October through December), the Chase Freedom 5x categories are Walmart and PayPal, so it’s easy to make the most of the bonus as holiday shopping gets into full swing. But now there’s another reason to use the card for your expenses this quarter.

Read more: The Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom 5% bonus categories for Q4 2021 are Walmart and PayPal

Through December 31, 2021, Chase Freedom Flex℠ cardholders can also earn 5% back (5x points) in the eligible rewards category — from a list of nine — where they spend the most if they’ve activated the Q4 bonus. Like the rotating 5x categories, you can earn 5% back in your top category on up to $1,500 in purchases (then 1% back) through the end of December.

What’s more, this promotion stacks with the current 5x PayPal category bonus — so if you use PayPal and your Chase Freedom Flex℠ in your top spending category, you can earn 9% cash back (9x points) through December 31, up to spending limits.

Chase Freedom Flex top spending category bonus

Regular APR

14.99% – 23.74% Variable

Featured Reward

$200 after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening

Intro APR

0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months

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  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • No annual fee
    • Generous bonus cash-back categories
    • Great welcome bonus
    • Booking through Ultimate Rewards portal can restrict outside earning potential
    • Varying percentages and rotating calendar categories require extra attention
    • 3% foreign transaction fees
    • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
    • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
    • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
    • Earn 5% on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
    • No annual fee.
    • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 – 23.74%.
    • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.

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    As long as you’ve activated your Chase Freedom Flex℠ fourth quarter rotating category bonus, you’ll can earn 5% cash back (5x points) in the eligible category where you spend the most through December 31, 2021.

    Between shopping for holiday gifts, entertaining, and traveling, it should be easy for most cardholders to earn significant rewards in whichever category they end up spending the most. 

    The $1,500 cap for this promotion is separate from that of the rotating bonus categories, so if you maximize both, you should be able to earn 5x points (or more) on up to $3,000 in total spending through the end of the year.

    It’s even more lucrative if you choose categories where you can stack your earnings. For instance, you can combine the rotating PayPal bonus category with your top eligible category from the list. Chase will allow cardholders to stack these offers and earn 9% back on these purchases (4% from the PayPal rotating category bonus, 4% from the top-spend category bonus, and 1% that you’d normally earn with the card). 

    Read more: Chase Freedom Flex credit card review

    For example, if you use your Chase Freedom Flex℠ to purchase $1,500 at home improvement stores using PayPal, you’d earn a total of 13,500 Ultimate Rewards points (worth $135 in cash back, gift cards, or travel booked through Chase). That’s an excellent rate of return for a purchase you’re making anyway.

    There’s another lucrative stacking opportunity here if you’ve recently opened (or plan to open) the Chase Freedom Flex℠. In addition to earning a welcome bonus of $200 after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening, new cardholders can earn 5% cash back (5x points) at grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart) on up to $12,000 in spending during the first year of account opening (then 1x).

    If you plan your spending so that grocery stores are your top category from the eligible list through December, you could end up earning a total of 9% cash back (9x points) by stacking the two promotions. Similar to the PayPal stack, you’d earn 4% from the new cardholder grocery bonus, 4% from the top-spend category bonus, and 1% from the regular earning rate.

    Again, if you spend up to the $1,500 limit, you could earn a total of 13,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for spending at grocery stores between these two bonuses. But even at 5% back (5x points), $1,500 in spending becomes 7,500 points, worth $75 — still a nice haul!

    Another option would be to use your card on dining or drugstores, because those categories already earn 3% back (3x points) with the Chase Freedom Flex℠. You’d earn an additional 4% back (4x points) on those purchases if either was your top spending category, for a total of 7% back (7x points) — 3% from the regular bonus rate and 4% from the top-spend category bonus.

    The same strategy applies to travel (if you book through Chase) because the Chase Freedom Flex℠ already earns 5% back (5x points) on these purchases — so you could stack for a total of 9% back (9x points) in this case as well.

    Keep in mind you can make the deal even sweeter if you pair your Freedom card with a Chase travel rewards credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve®, or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card. With these cards, you can get more value from all of your Ultimate Rewards points when you combine your rewards and redeem for travel through the Chase portal or with Pay Yourself Back. 

    These cards also unlock the ability to transfer points to Chase’s airline and hotel partners, which can offer an even higher rate of return when you book award flights or hotel stays. You can find out more in our guide to earning, redeeming, and maximizing Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

    Featured credit cards from our partners

    Featured Reward

    125,000 bonus points and 1 free night award (value up to 50,000 points) after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

    Featured Reward

    $200 after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening

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