The Discover It Cash Back card and The Chase Freedom card both have rotating categories where you can earn 5% back every three months. We’re into the last month of the third quarter but it’s not too late to maximize your benefits. There’s not many opportunities to earn a 5% return on purchases so you need to make them count when you can.
What’s really great is that both of these cards charge no annual fee so you’re getting 5% cash back with no out of pocket costs.
The Discover It’s 5% Cashback Bonus category this quarter is restaurants. Discover’s description is pretty broad covering everything from fancy, sit-down restaurants to fast food locations.
Restaurant purchases are those made at merchants classified as full-service restaurants, cafes, cafeterias and fast food locations.
You’re able to earn cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases, which would equal a maximum of $75 back. There are several ways to redeem your Discover card cash back balance:
- Gift cards with $5 free added to each card
- Pay with rewards at Amazon.com checkout
- Make a charitable donation
- Deposit any amount into your bank account or apply to your Discover bill
You need to register for the cash back category each quarter so there are still about three weeks to take advantage of Discover’s restaurant category. Only purchases made after you register are eligible for the 5% cash back.
If you want to prepay for some dining expenses, you can buy gift cards at your favorite restaurants with your Discover It card during September and they should be eligible for 5% cash back.
If you haven’t looked yet, here’s the main page for the Discover 5% Cash Back categories.
The Chase Freedom card is offering 5% cash back on gas stations, Walgreens and Lyft. The Freedom card registration rules for 5% back are different from Discover’s and you only have until September 14th to register for this quarter. However, any charges in eligible categories going back to the start of the quarter will earn 5% regardless of when you register.
To activate the bonus categories for this quarter, go to the Chase Freedom activation page.
If you want to max out the categories this quarter, you should be able to buy gift cards at Walgreens. Just be aware there’s a limit on how much you can buy in gift cards on a single day. You should also be able to buy gasoline gift cards at the gas station of your choice and prepay for your fuel at a 5% discount.
You earn 5% back on the first $1,500 of purchases in the eligible categories. That’s equivalent to $75 in cash back. You’re also able to use your Freedom points for gift cards and for travel and experiences when booking through the Chase Travel Mall.
One of the most valuable ways to use the 5% earned is unlocked if you also have a premium Chase card like the Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve. If you do, you can transfer your points from the Freedom card to your other account. Then you’re able to transfer the points to Chase’s Ultimate Rewards travel partners like United, Hyatt and Southwest.
There are rumors that the ability to transfer points from the Freedom card to the Sapphire cards will be going away so if you are planning to do this, it might be smart to transfer points between accounts on a regular basis.
The rotating 5% categories offered by the Discover and Chase Freedom cards are easy money savers. The only thing you need to do is remember to register each quarter. Chase is much more forgiving if you forget, as they’ll retroactively credit all eligible spending, while Discover only counts spend after you register.
I see that I have a bit more to spend on my Discover to max out the $1,500 this quarter so I have work to do in the next couple of weeks before the end of September.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary