How to Optimize Chase Freedom, Discover in Q3 2020

Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined spending in select categories through Sept. 30, 2020.

Sara RathnerJuly 2, 2020
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How to Optimize Chase Freedom, Discover in Q3 2020

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As the shelter-in-place era continues, the Chase Freedom® and select Discover cards like the Discover it® Cash Back are offering 5% bonus categories this quarter that focus on two big spending areas: food and online purchases.

From July 1 to Sept. 30, 2020, these cards earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in the following categories:

  • Chase Freedom®: Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market.

  • Select Discover cards: Restaurants and PayPal.

Any spending over the $1,500 cap, and all purchases outside the bonus categories, earn 1% cash back. You must activate the bonus categories for both Chase and Discover.

These categories change each quarter, so here's how to squeeze the most out of them over the next three months.

Chase Freedom®

Buy literally anything at the click of a button

Though brick-and-mortar stores have been reopening in many states, you may still prefer to stay home and shop online whenever possible. Earning 5% back on Amazon.com purchases gives you a lot of options, especially considering that this bonus category also includes Amazon Fresh orders, Prime subscriptions and digital downloads. Not ready to spend enough before the end of the quarter to max out the bonus? Stock up on Amazon gift cards to use later on, and earn that extra cash back now.

Save money on specialty foods you can’t get anywhere else

You'll earn 5% back on in-store purchases at Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market, as well as on online orders through wholefoodsmarket.com. Amazon Prime members can get free two-hour delivery and free one-hour pickup in select U.S. cities when they shop at Whole Foods Market on Amazon.com. Note that online grocery orders through third-party sites like Instacart and Shipt don’t qualify for 5% cash back.

Transfer points to redeem for greater value

If your rewards card collection also includes one of Chase’s Sapphire cards, you can transfer the points from your Chase Freedom® to that card and redeem them at a higher value than the usual 1 cent per point. Under normal circumstances, you’d qualify for a better redemption rate only if you redeemed points for travel booked through Chase. But Chase has expanded your options for a limited time:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Through Sept. 30, 2020, you can redeem points at a value of 1.25 cents each for a statement credit to cover purchases from grocery stores, restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery) and home improvement stores. You can apply points to purchases made within the past 90 days.

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Through Sept. 30, 2020, you can redeem points at a value of 1.5 cents each for a statement credit to cover purchases from grocery stores, restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery) and home improvement stores. You can apply points to purchases made within the past 90 days.

Discover

Take a break from reheated casseroles

After so long stuck at home, leave the cooking to someone else and earn bonus cash back at restaurants, including cafes and fast food establishments. Getting your meal to go is a great way to play it safe, reconnect with your favorite restaurants and support local businesses.

Turn one bonus category into many

PayPal lets you turn many shopping categories into one big way to earn cash back. Add your Discover card as your payment method on PayPal to earn bonus cash back at places that accept PayPal, including:

  • Retailers like Walmart, Walgreens, Target, Etsy and Best Buy.

  • Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.

  • Gas stations like Chevron when you use the Chevron app.

How PayPal can be used varies by merchant. You may need to download the merchant's app, or you may only be able to use PayPal for online purchases. While the earning potential can be high, this option comes with some homework.

Information related to the Chase Freedom® has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

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