Chase Freedom Flex Adds a 5% ‘Top-Spend Category Bonus’ for Q4 2021

Funto Omojola
By Funto Omojola 
Edited by Erin Hurd

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The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is adding to its already impressive arsenal of bonus categories as the holiday spending season is upon us.

For Q4 2021, cardholders who activate their normal 5% quarterly bonus categories will also automatically begin earning 5% back (4% back in addition to the card’s unlimited 1% cash back) in the category where they do the most spending. You can earn on spending up to $1,500 this quarter in your highest spend category. (Note: this offer does not apply to the legacy Chase Freedom® card.)

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Eligible top-spend categories are:

  • Travel (including transit).

  • Dining.

  • Home improvement stores.

  • Grocery stores (not including Target and Walmart purchases).

  • Drugstores.

  • Gas stations.

  • Select live entertainment.

  • Select streaming services.

  • Fitness clubs.

This means that through Dec. 31, 2021, in addition to earning 5% cash back for Walmart and PayPal purchases (on up to $1,500 in combined quarterly spending), eligible cardholders will be able to earn an additional 5% back up to a separate spending cap of $1,500. All in all, if you maxed out both spending caps, you could make out with a lucrative $150 in cash back from rotating and top-spend bonus categories alone this quarter.

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Chase cardholders must activate bonus categories online or in the Chase app by Dec. 14 to be eligible for bonus cash back, which can be earned retroactively.

If your top-spend bonus category is the same as one of the card’s fixed bonus categories, you’ll earn both bonuses. For example, if your top earn category is dining, you’d be able to earn a total of 7% cash back when you make eligible dining purchases — (4% from the top-spend category + 2% back from the fixed dining category + 1% base earn, which can only be earned once per purchase).

And the same goes for purchases made through PayPal, a Q4 bonus category. You’ll earn a total of 9% cash back when you make purchases in your top spend category through the payment service.

Chase Freedom® and Chase Freedom Flex℠ bonus rewards categories for 2023

Q1 (Jan. 1-March 31)

  • Target.

  • Grocery stores.

  • Fitness clubs and gym memberships.

Q2 (April 1-June 30)


  • Lowe's.

Q3 (July 1-Sept. 30)

TBD (In 2022: Gas stations; car rentals; movie theaters; select live entertainment).

Q4 (Oct. 1-Dec. 31)

TBD (In 2022: PayPal; Walmart).

This offer adds a great deal of value to the $0-annual-fee Chase Freedom Flex℠, but it also makes the already potentially complicated card even more difficult to manage.

To get the most out of rewards this quarter, cardholders will have to keep track of their rotating bonus category spending and their top-spend category, in addition to monitoring the card’s regular fixed bonus categories.

Although this is the first time Chase has offered cardholders the ability to earn cash back in their top spending categories, there are other cards that offer a similar rewards structure. For example, the $0-annual-fee Citi Custom Cash℠ Card — which began accepting applicants in June 2021 — features similarly customizable bonus cash back from a list of eligible category options. It earns 5% cash back in cardholders’ top eligible spending category, on up to $500 each billing cycle (1% back after that).

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