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The Chase Freedom 5% Opt-In Actually Works Retroactively

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The Chase Freedom® offers 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories each quarter. But to take advantage of this stellar rewards rate, you have to opt-in on a quarterly basis. Thankfully, you likely won’t miss out on the rewards if you don’t remember to opt-in by the start of the quarter.

Earn retroactive rewards on your bonus category purchases

You don’t have to opt-in by day one of the quarter to take advantage of 5% rewards. As long as you opt-in by the 14th day of the third month of the quarter, you’ll receive rewards on your bonus category purchases (up to $1,500 spent per quarter). So these were the opt-in deadlines for 2016:

  • Q1 (January – March): March 14, 2016
  • Q2 (April – June): June 14, 2016
  • Q3 (July – September): Sept. 14, 2016
  • Q4 (October – December): Dec. 14, 2016

If you forget to opt-in by those dates, you won’t receive 5% rewards for your bonus category purchases that quarter. That said, you can opt-in for the next quarter the next day (i.e. June 15, 2016).

Interested? Check out the Chase Freedom®

The Chase Freedom® offers 5% cash back on the following bonus categories:

Chase Freedom® bonus rewards categories for 2017
Q1 (Jan. 1 - March 31)Gas stations and local commuter transportation (not including parking, tolls or Amtrak)
Q2 (April 1 - June 30)Grocery stores and drugstores
Q3 (July 1 – Sept. 30)Restaurants and movie theaters
Q4 (Oct. 1 – Dec. 31)"Holiday" (details TBA)

For all bonus category spending above $1,500 per quarter, and for all other spending, you’ll earn 1% rewards. There’s also a sweet signup bonus: Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

The Chase Freedom® has an annual fee of $0 and a 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 15.99% - 24.74% Variable APR. It’s a good option for those whose spending corresponds with the 5% bonus categories.

Nerd note: Use the email or text reminders to avoid missing the bonus opt-in dates. Sign up here and Chase will let you know when you it’s time to opt-in each quarter.

Erin El Issa is a staff writer covering personal finance for NerdWallet. Follow her on Twitter @Erin_Lindsay17 and on Google+.