How to Optimize Chase Freedom, Discover it Cash Back for Q1 2022

This quarter, you’ll be rewarded for everyday spending, and for more unique purchases as well.
Funto Omojola
By Funto Omojola 
Edited by Erin Hurd

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As the ball drops to ring in the new year, Chase and Discover are dropping new bonus categories for the first quarter of the year.

From Jan. 1, 2022, to March 31, 2022, cardholders with the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and select Discover cards like the Discover it® Cash Back will earn 5% back on up to $1,500 in combined quarterly spending in the following categories:

Chase Freedom Flex℠

  • Grocery stores.

  • eBay.

Discover it® Cash Back and select Discover cards

  • Grocery stores.

  • Fitness clubs and gym memberships.

Both cards earn 1% back on all other non-bonus category spending.

Note that you must activate your categories to be eligible for bonus rewards. Chase cardholders can activate categories online or in the Chase app by March 14, 2022, to earn 5% cash back, which can be earned retroactively. For eligible Discover cards, bonus rewards can be earned starting from the date categories are activated online.

Here’s how to maximize your rewards with these cards this quarter.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Although the older Chase Freedom® is no longer accepting applications, existing cardholders still earn 5% cash back based on the Chase bonus calendar, like the new Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers.

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Restock your fridge and pantry

After the holiday season, your food stock might be running low. The Chase Freedom Flex℠ could help you start the new year with full kitchen shelves. This quarter, when you use your card to pay for grocery store purchases, you’ll earn 5% cash back. You’ll earn this elevated rate for purchases made through third-party grocery delivery services like HelloFresh and Instacart as well.

And many grocery stores sell more than just food. Look around your local store, and you may find that new coffee maker you need, food storage containers to replace your set with the missing lids or a nice floral centerpiece for your friend's birthday brunch.

🤓Nerdy Tip

According to the issuer, purchases made at Target, Walmart or at warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club are not considered eligible grocery store purchases and therefore won’t earn the card’s 5% back.

Bid on things you’ve had your eye on

This quarter, Chase is offering a category that might be more niche for some, but that can offer significant rewards for eBay shoppers. When you use your card to pay for purchases on the e-commerce site, you’ll earn 5% bonus rewards.

Most of us are no strangers to online shopping these days. And with eBay, you can fill up your cart from the comfort of your couch — whether you’re bidding on a unique vintage find or doing some residual post-holiday shopping. If the item you're eyeing has a "buy it now" option, you can skip the bidding process altogether and purchase right away. Making an eBay account is free, which makes it easy to get started on the site.

Chase Freedom® and Chase Freedom Flex℠ bonus rewards categories for 2024

Q1 (Jan. 1-March 31)

  • Grocery stores.

  • Fitness clubs and gym memberships.

  • Self-care and spa services.

Q2 (April 1-June 30)

  • TBD (In 2023: Amazon; Lowe's).

Q3 (July 1-Sept. 30)

  • TBD (In 2023: Gas stations and electric vehicle charging; select live entertainment).

Q4 (Oct. 1-Dec. 31)

  • TBD (In 2023: PayPal; wholesale clubs; select charities).

Discover it® Cash Back and eligible Discover cards

Fill up your grocery cart in person or online

Whether you prefer to survey food aisles in person or add items to your metaphorical cart online, eligible Discover cardholders can earn big on grocery store purchases this quarter.

While purchases made through grocery delivery services are eligible to earn the card’s 5% cash back, purchases made at Target, Walmart, convenience stores and wholesale clubs are not.

Additionally, despite "grocery stores" being a popular high-spend category for most, if you have both an eligible Chase and Discover card, smaller households may find it difficult to max out both $1,500 spending caps on groceries this quarter. Another option is to check your local grocery store's gift card rack. If it fits into your budget, you could buy gift cards for your favorite restaurant or retailer at your grocery store and earn the 5% cash back.

Start your health and wellness resolutions

If any of your new year’s goals are health or wellness related, Discover can help you save money while meeting them. You’ll earn 5% cash back when you use your eligible card to pay for membership fees and purchases at national and local fitness centers, gyms and clubs.

This category also applies to virtual fitness classes, which means that you’ll be rewarded even if you’re more comfortable staying active in the comfort of your own home.

According to the issuer, however, purchases made at independent stores within fitness facilities are not eligible for bonus cash back. For example, if you buy coffee from a Starbucks in your gym to refuel after a workout, you won’t earn cash back for the purchase.

Discover bonus rewards categories for 2024

Q1 (Jan. 1–March 31)

  • Restaurants.

  • Drugstores.

Q2 (April 1–June 30)

  • Gas stations/EV charging stations.

  • Home improvement stores.

  • Public transit.

Q3 (July 1–Sept. 30)

  • TBD (In 2023: Gas stations; digital wallets).

Q4 (Oct. 1–Dec. 31)

  • TBD (In 2023: Amazon, Target).

The information related to the Chase Freedom® credit card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card. The Chase Freedom® is no longer available through NerdWallet.

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