Chase Freedom and Flex 5% Categories for Q4 2021: PayPal, Walmart

Gregory KarpSep 15, 2021

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Just in time for holiday shopping, PayPal and Walmart will be the fourth-quarter 2021 rotating bonus categories for the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the older Chase Freedom®.

Chase Freedom Flex
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It’s the second year in a row those spending categories have been featured in the fourth quarter for these popular cards issued by Chase. The quarter runs from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2021.

Cardholders must activate the categories online to receive the 5% cash back. Activation must be done by the 14th of December.

Details: Chase Freedom Flex℠

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ earns 5% cash back in rotating bonus categories on up to $1,500 in combined spending each quarter (activation required). Besides quarterly bonus categories, it also has fixed bonus categories, earning:

  • 5% back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

  • 3% back on dining, including takeout and delivery services.

  • 3% back on drugstore purchases.

  • For all cardholders, through March 31, 2022, 5% back on qualifying Lyft services purchased through the Lyft app.

  • 1% on all other purchases.

The card has an annual fee of $0 and comes with a sign-up bonus: Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

The Chase Freedom® is closed to new applicants, but existing cardholders can continue to use it and earn rewards as before.

Chase Freedom® and Chase Freedom Flex℠ bonus rewards categories for 2021

Q1 (Jan. 1-March 31)

• Wholesale clubs. • Select streaming services. • Internet, cable and phone services.

Q2 (April 1-June 30)

• Gas stations. • Home improvement stores.

Q3 (July 1–Sept. 30)

• Grocery stores. • Select streaming services.

Q4 (Oct. 1–Dec. 31)

• Walmart. • PayPal.

PayPal and Walmart categories

Both PayPal and Walmart have been featured quarterly categories in the past, including during the same quarter of 2020.

Given most people's holiday spending patterns, maxing out the 5% categories could be easier than some other categories during the year. You can spend up to $1,500 at PayPal and Walmart during the quarter and earn 5% back, or $75. (After that, you earn 1% back, which is not competitive among cash-back cards.) Purchases made using PayPal at Walmart will only earn a total of 5%.

  • Walmart. Walmart’s large footprint makes it a go-to retailer for many people for everything from clothing to groceries. Notably, the third-quarter 2021 bonus categories for these cards included groceries but specifically excluded Walmart.

  • PayPal. Some consumers incorporate PayPal payments into their routine transactions. That’s made easier by using PayPal’s ubiquitous button at online checkouts and, if available to you, its virtual credit card called PayPal Key, which uses the Mastercard network. To get 5% back, you must fund your PayPal payment with your Chase Freedom Flex℠ or Chase Freedom®.

Information related to the Chase Freedom® has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

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