How to Optimize Chase Freedom, Discover it Cash Back for Q2 2021

It’s a good quarter to take a road trip, as both Chase and Discover offer bonus gas categories.

Funto OmojolaApr 8, 2021
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As the vaccine rollout continues across the U.S., many Americans are ready to get out on the road and put their vacation hats back on. If you’re planning a road trip this spring, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and eligible Discover cards can make it cheaper to keep your gas tank full.

From April 1 to June 30, 2021, cardholders will earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined quarterly spending in the following categories once you activate them (and 1% back on all other non-bonus categories):

Chase Freedom Flex
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Chase Freedom Flex℠

  • Gas stations.

  • Home improvement stores.

Discover it® Cash Back and select Discover cards

  • Gas stations.

  • Wholesale clubs.

  • Select streaming services.

Discover it® Cash Back
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You’ll have to activate Chase bonus categories online or in the Chase app by June 14 to be eligible for the 5% rewards, which you can earn retroactively. For your Discover card, activate your cash-back category online now to earn bonus rewards through June 30. Here’s how to get the most out of the cards this spring.

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Fill up on gas

Many Americans feel comfortable getting out on the road again, which makes the Chase Freedom Flex℠ (and the legacy Chase Freedom® card) a great pick for gas guzzlers this quarter. If you’re planning on getting away by car, maximize your rewards by using the card to top off your gas.

Purchases made at attached fuel station convenience stores generally qualify for the 5% bonus as well. So while you’re pumping, grab a few extra hand sanitizers — you can never have too many in your glove compartment these days.

Finish those lingering house projects

Spring cleaning means decluttering and getting to those home projects you’ve been avoiding. Now's the time to put up that shelf and earn bonus cash back for doing it, especially for those not comfortable traveling or visiting public places just yet.

If you pick up some nails, screws or the like from a specialized home improvement store like Home Depot or Lowe's, you’ll qualify for the 5% back. However, any home improvement spending you do at a general supply store like a warehouse or landscaping store, for example, won’t earn you the bonus.

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)

TBD (In 2020: Walmart; PayPal.)

Discover it® Cash Back and select eligible Discover cards

Fuel up  

Whether you pay at the pump or inside, eligible Discover cardholders can earn bonus cash back on gas this quarter.

If you have both the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and an eligible Discover card, you may have trouble maxing out both $1,500 spending caps on gas, even with rising gas prices and the anticipated upcoming spike in travel. In that case, the double-up on gas this quarter might not serve you as much as differing categories might.

Still, road trip season has never been more rewarding or enticing, especially after being cooped up.

Stay stocked up on the essentials

When it comes to stocking up your pantry this quarter, you’ll want to pull out your eligible Discover card. You’ll earn elevated rewards when you use your card at a wholesale club, including BJ's and Sam's Club.

For those more comfortable skipping the in-person lines, both BJ’s and Sam’s Club offer same-day delivery and curbside pickup. Note that if you order delivery through a third-party grocery delivery service, like Instacart, the underlying store has to be considered an eligible wholesale club in order to qualify for the card’s bonus rate.

While most wholesale clubs require a membership, some offer special promotions that make it possible for nonmembers to shop without paying a yearly fee. For example, BJ’s offers a one-day online access membership that allows nonmembers to shop at bjs.com.

Nerdy tip: Costco accepts only Visa cards in-store, therefore you won’t be able to use your Discover card at physical warehouse locations. You can, however, still shop online at costco.com, which accepts Discover cards.

Catch up on your favorite movies and shows

After a pandemic-induced year spent indoors and in front of the TV, Discover is offering a new bonus category this quarter: streaming. A new potential upside of being couch-bound is that you can earn elevated rewards on more than 20 streaming services, including Hulu, Netflix, Disney+ and music subscription services like Apple Music and Spotify as well.

Make sure to pay for eligible streaming services with your Discover card to earn 5% back this quarter.

Discover bonus rewards categories for 2021

Q1 (Jan. 1 – March 31)

• Grocery stores*. • CVS. • Walgreens.

*The grocery stores category includes Walmart Grocery Pickup & Delivery, but not grocery purchases inside Walmart or at other superstores such as Target or wholesale clubs.

Q2 (April 1 – June 30)

• Gas stations. • Wholesale clubs. • Select streaming services.

Q3 (July 1 – Sept. 30)

• Restaurants. • PayPal.

Q4 (Oct. 1 – Dec. 31)

• Amazon.com. • Target.com. • Walmart.com.

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