How to Optimize Chase Freedom, Discover it Cash Back for Q3 2021

Bonus rewards in everyday spending categories make these cards especially valuable this quarter.
Funto Omojola
By Funto Omojola 
Edited by Erica Corbin

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Summer is officially here, and rolling in with the season’s heat are new and popular bonus categories for the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and select Discover cards like the Discover it® Cash Back.

From July 1, 2021, to Sept. 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℠

  • Grocery stores.

  • Select streaming services.

Discover it® Cash Back and select Discover cards

  • Restaurants.

  • PayPal.

Discover it® Cash Back
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Note that Chase bonus categories must be activated online or in the Chase app by Sept. 14 to be eligible for the 5% rewards, which can be earned retroactively. On the other hand, you’ll earn Discover’s 5% back starting from the date on which you activate, so you'll want to do it as soon as possible. Cardholders can activate their cash-back category online.

Here’s how to get the most bang for your buck with these cards this quarter.

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Stock up on foodstuffs in-person or online

You can maximize your grocery shopping experience by using your Chase Freedom Flex℠ when you check out at the store. Plus, the card’s 5% this quarter also applies to purchases made through third-party food-delivery services classified as grocery store merchants, including Blue Apron, HelloFresh and Instacart.

Important note: Any purchases made at Target®, Walmart®, or at warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club, are not considered eligible grocery spending and would therefore not earn 5% back.

Binge your favorite movies and shows

There’s no place like home or, more specifically, your couch. Whether you’re streaming your favorite Disney+ movie or jamming out to some classics on Spotify, you can earn bonus rewards for your streaming habits with the Chase Freedom Flex℠ this quarter.

You’ll earn 5% back when you use your card to pay for eligible streaming and music subscription services including Netflix, Hulu and Apple Music.

Consider setting up autopay with your Chase Freedom Flex℠, so that your recurring bills are automatically taken care of and you earn elevated rewards on your eligible subscription spending.

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)

  • Gas stations and electric vehicle charging.

  • Select live entertainment.

Q4 (Oct. 1-Dec. 31)

  • PayPal.

  • Wholesale clubs.

  • Select charities.

Discover it® Cash Back and select eligible Discover cards

Dine out or veg out

Restaurant dining is experiencing a revival. And this quarter, you can eat out and earn 5% back when you use your eligible Discover card to pay for your restaurant meal.

If bingeing your favorite food while bingeing your favorite TV show is more your speed, though, you can still earn elevated rewards with your card. This quarter, the 5% cash back bonus applies also to restaurant delivery through food delivery services including DoorDash, Uber Eats, Grubhub and Postmates.

Get multiple bonus categories in one

Making your eligible Discover card your primary PayPal payment method will get you 5% back on all purchases this quarter. This means that you’ll be able to earn the cash back bonus when you use your card to pay through PayPal, anywhere where the payment system is accepted. This includes a variety of retailers across shopping categories including Apple, and, as well as streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.

Discover bonus rewards categories for 2023

Q1 (Jan. 1–March 31)

  • Grocery stores.*

  • Drugstores.

  • Select streaming services.

Q2 (April 1–June 30)

  • Restaurants.

  • Wholesale clubs.

Q3 (July 1–Sept. 30)

  • Gas stations.

  • Digital wallets.

Q4 (Oct. 1–Dec. 31)


  • Target, including and the Target app.

*The grocery stores category does not include grocery purchases at Walmart or Target or at other superstores or wholesale clubs.

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