Chase Freedom Q4 Categories: Department Stores, PayPal, Chase Pay

The cash-back card's 5% bonus categories offer something for both online and brick-and-mortar shoppers.

Claire TsosieSep 13, 2019
NerdWallet 2018 Holiday Shopping Report
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The holiday season is coming, and the Chase Freedom® has announced quarterly bonus categories that might get some cardholders in the shopping spirit.

The Chase Freedom® bonus categories for the fourth quarter of 2019 — that is, from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31 — are:

  • Department stores.

  • PayPal.

  • Chase Pay.

This card earns 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined spending in the bonus categories during the fourth quarter; all other spending (including in the bonus categories above the $1,500 cap) earns 1% cash back. To qualify for the bonus rewards, you'll have to "activate" the categories by Dec. 14. You can do that online or by phone.

The value of the new quarter's bonus categories depends on how you approach holiday shopping — and whether you're planning to do any holiday shopping at all. In 2018, consumers said they would spend an average of about $1,007 during the holiday season, according to a study by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insight and Analytics. In the same study, 55% said they would shop online and in department stores. If you're in a similar boat, these bonus categories may be a boon. PayPal, in particular, is broadly accepted.

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)

TBD (In 2020: Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market.)

Q4 (Oct. 1 – Dec. 31)

TBD (In 2020: Walmart; PayPal.)

Bonus categories aren't always a great fit for everyone. In this case, for example, you might not get as much benefit if you do most of your shopping directly through Amazon, which doesn't accept PayPal.

The inclusion of Chase Pay as a bonus category is a bit underwhelming. Acceptance for Chase Pay is somewhat limited. Further, Chase recently announced that it would be shuttering the standalone Chase Pay app in early 2020, although you'll still be able to use the service through participating merchants' websites and apps. Still, you'll be able to use the app through the end of the year, and earn 5% with the Chase Freedom®.