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Chase Freedom 2016 Bonus Categories Announced

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Chase Freedom 2016 Bonus Categories Announced

This article may be out of date

See our Chase Freedom review for the current bonus categories.

The Chase Freedom® is one of our favorite credit cards, and for good reason. The card offers 5% cash back on certain everyday spending categories that rotate every three months, up to $1,500 in spending.

Today, Chase announced on its website what the new bonus categories would be for the coming year:

Chase Freedom® bonus categories, 2016

The 2016 categories are similar to 2015’s, albeit with a few minor changes.

Chase Freedom® bonus rewards categories for 2017 and early 2018
Q1 2017 (Jan. 1 - March 31)Gas stations and local commuter transportation (not including parking, tolls or Amtrak)
Q2 2017 (April 1 - June 30)Grocery stores and drugstores
Q3 2017 (July 1 – Sept. 30)Restaurants and movie theaters
Q4 2017 (Oct. 1 – Dec. 31)Walmart and department stores
Q1 2018 (Jan. 1 - March 31)• Gas stations
• Internet, cable and phone service
• Purchases via Chase Pay, Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay

With the announcement, the Chase Freedom® has once again solidified itself as a top choice for everyday spending. While you’ll earn only 1% cash back on non-bonus category spending and bonus category spending above $1,500 in a quarter, you likely won’t have to stretch your budget beyond your normal spending to earn extra cash.

Keep in mind that the card’s bonus rewards don’t come automatically. Chase requires you to opt-in through your online account each quarter. You typically have until the 14th of the third month of the quarter to activate your bonus, after which Chase applies it to the quarter’s spending retroactively. You can sign up for calendar reminders here to make sure you don’t miss out.

Other reasons to consider the Chase Freedom®

When it comes to rewards, the Chase Freedom®’s bonus cash back isn’t the only thing that makes it worth your while. The card also comes with a decent sign-up bonus: Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

For more cash back, you can use your card on Chase’s Ultimate Rewards site, which includes a bonus mall where you can earn up to 10% cash back on eligible online purchases.

Unlike many cards with such a high rewards rate, the Chase Freedom® charges a $0 annual fee. It also offers an introductory APR in case you need extra time to pay off a big purchase: 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 16.24% - 24.99% Variable APR.

All in all, unless your spending doesn’t include any of the Chase Freedom®’s bonus categories, it’s a solid card to keep at the front of your wallet.

›› MORE: Chase Freedom Review: 5% Cash Back is King

Ben Luthi is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: Twitter: @benluthi.

Image via iStock.