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How to Optimize Chase Freedom, Discover it for Q1 2020

Chase Freedom brings back some familiar categories including gas, but Discover's categories may be easier to max out.
Jan. 3, 2020
Cash Back Credit Cards, Credit Cards
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It’s a new quarter, a new year and a new decade. That means it’s also time for new 5% bonus categories for the Chase Freedom® and select Discover cards including the Discover it® Cash Back and Discover it® Student Cash Back.

From Jan. 1 through March 31, 2020, you’ll 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 everything else):

Chase Freedom®

  • Gas stations.
  • Internet, cable and phone services.
  • Select streaming services.

Discover it® Cash Back other eligible Discover cards

  • Grocery stores.
  • Walgreens.
  • CVS.

While the Chase Freedom® brings back the streaming services category (previously featured in Q3 of 2019) and combines it with the old standby of gas stations, Discover shines this quarter with categories that are easier to max out. Still, both cards offer ways to earn more on everyday spending.

» MORE: Chase Freedom vs. Discover it: See how they stack up

Chase Freedom®

Effortlessly earn more on recurring charges

Internet, cable, streaming services and cell phone plans are all household favorites, and costs can really add up. That’s especially the case if you subscribe to multiple streaming services or gifted your preteens a smartphone over the holidays. If you use autopay, take a few minutes to switch the credit card on your account to the Chase Freedom®.

By the way, Disney+ is included as a select streaming service. Permission to plop your kids in front of the TV on a snow day so you can get some work done? Granted.

Keep your gas tank full this winter

Weekend ski trips aren’t the only reason to top off your tank. The potential for snowstorms in much of the country makes it necessary to prepare for heavy traffic and long lines at gas stations. And that’s before you fill up a gas-powered generator in case the power goes out. Stay safe by buying other winter driving essentials like windshield wiper fluid while you’re at the gas station. (Typically, purchases made inside the attached convenience store qualify for the bonus.) Make sure there’s enough air in your tires, too.

Don’t forget to stock up on snacks for the car while you’re filling up — an après-ski bite to eat, or something to munch on while sitting in traffic, is always a good thing to have in the glove compartment.

The Chase Freedom® offers this sign-up bonus: Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Chase Freedom® bonus rewards categories for 2020
Q1 (Jan. 1 - March 31)• Gas stations.
• Select streaming services.
• Internet, cable and phone services.
Q2 (April 1 - June 30)TBD
(In 2019: Home improvement and grocery stores.)
Q3 (July 1 – Sept. 30)TBD
(In 2019: Gas stations and select streaming services.)
Q4 (Oct. 1 – Dec. 31)TBD
(In 2019: Department stores, PayPal and Chase Pay.)

Discover

Save money on a night in

If you’re taking a long, hard look at your budget after the holidays, cutting back on restaurant spending can be a place to start. Get into the habit of cooking at home this quarter and earn 5% cash back whenever you refill your fridge. If anything, it’s an excuse to test out that new Instant Pot you got for Christmas.

And just because the wave of holiday parties has passed doesn’t mean you need to hibernate until the spring. Hosting dinners is a great way to get through the coldest months in good company — plus, if the party’s at your house, you won’t need to be the one to bundle up and warm up the car.

Stock up on essentials

Also, grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS make it easy to fill your kitchen pantry and bathroom cabinets with staples that will last you the rest of the year. Those bulk purchases of items like canned or frozen foods, paper towels and shampoo mean you’ll run fewer errands later in the year, and potentially spend less when you do.

And if you pick up a winter cold or other illness? Make sure to use your eligible Discover card at a qualifying pharmacy.

In addition to earning extra cash back in the above categories, new cardholders are eligible for this sign-up bonus: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.

Discover bonus rewards categories for 2020
Q1 (Jan. 1 – March 31)• Grocery stores.
• CVS.
• Walgreens.
Q2 (April 1 – June 30)• Gas stations.
• Uber and Lyft.
• Wholesale clubs.
Q3 (July 1 – Sept. 30)• Restaurants.
• PayPal.
Q4 (Oct. 1 – Dec. 31)• Amazon.com.
• Target.com.
• Walmart.com.

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