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How to Optimize Chase Freedom, Discover it for Q4 2019

As the holiday shopping season ramps up, avoid the crowds and hone in on ways to pay online.
Oct. 2, 2019
Cash Back Credit Cards, Credit Cards
How to Optimize Chase Freedom, Discover it for Q4 2019
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As your end-of-year spending ramps up, carefully choosing the right combination of credit cards and retailers can bring you extra holiday cheer.

With the Chase Freedom® and select Discover cards like the Discover it® Cash Back, you’ll earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined spending upon activation of the following categories during the fourth quarter of 2019 (and 1% after that):

Chase Freedom®

  • Department stores.
  • PayPal.
  • Chase Pay.

Discover it® Cash Back

  • Amazon.com.
  • Target (in-store and on Target.com).
  • Walmart.com (online purchases only).

So stock up on Halloween candy, Black Friday deals and gifts for everyone on your list — and apply the extra cash back toward a little something for yourself. Here’s how to maximize this quarter’s bonus categories.

» MORE: Current and past bonus categories for Discover, Chase Freedom

Discover

With three big retailers to choose from, Discover’s 5% bonus categories give shoppers ultimate flexibility. Between Halloween candy and holiday decorating and hosting, you’re bound to earn a high cash-back rate on much of your seasonal spending.

Shop from your sofa

There’s no need to brave crowded parking lots and long checkout lines. Cross items off your shopping list with a click of the mouse or a tap of the finger by using your Discover card on Amazon.com, Target.com or the Target app, and Walmart.com or the Walmart app. Keep in mind that Walmart.com and Target.com only offer free two-day shipping on purchases of $35 or more.

Of course, if you prefer to shop the old-fashioned way, take your Discover card to Target. That’s the only physical retailer that will earn you 5% back on in-store purchases this quarter.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best credit cards for online shopping

Transform your card into a grocery getter

Groceries can eat up a sizable portion of the monthly budget, and the time it takes to procure those groceries isn’t insignificant. But this quarter, if you think beyond the traditional food-shopping experience, your Discover card can double as a grocery card.

Walmart.com purchases include Grocery Pick-Up. Simply create a Walmart.com account if you haven’t yet, select a Walmart store location and choose a pick-up time. From there, you can fill a virtual cart and swing by at your convenience to grab your groceries. Click here to find out if the service is available in your area.

You can also earn 5% cash back on AmazonFresh orders, which offers grocery delivery if you live in one of the select cities where AmazonFresh is available.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best credit cards for groceries

Discover bonus rewards categories for 2019
Q1 (Jan. 1 – March 31)• Grocery stores
Q2 (April 1 – June 30)• Gas stations.
• Uber and Lyft.
Q3 (July 1 – Sept. 30)• Restaurants.
• PayPal.
Q4 (Oct. 1 – Dec. 31)• Amazon.com.
• Target (in store and online).
• Walmart.com.

Chase Freedom®

Department stores, Chase Pay and PayPal are tough to maximize compared with Discover’s extremely accommodating combination of bonus categories, but you can still get creative.

Tap into your inner clotheshorse — and set it free online

Millennials may be killing department stores, but perhaps it’s the season to rediscover the holiday shopping habits of our ancestors. Seasonal sales are a great time to load up on stocking stuffers like hats and scarves. And don’t forget gift cards, the present that always fits.

Those gift cards must be purchased in-store to qualify for 5% back, but otherwise, online department store purchases earn 5% cash back, too. So don’t feel as if you have to stroll around a mall as you did in your teens.

Anyone in search of a good deal should note that discount stores like T.J. Maxx are not included on the list of eligible department stores, but Nordstrom Rack and Saks Off Fifth are included.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best credit cards for department stores

Expand bonus category possibilities

Knowing where Chase Pay and PayPal are accepted helps give you the chance to earn 5% cash back at a wide variety of retailers. When linked with Chase Pay and PayPal, your Chase Freedom® can become your dedicated fourth-quarter card for travel, gas, electronics and more.

Chase Pay

  • Pair Chase Pay with Samsung Pay, allowing you to piggyback on Samsung Pay’s wide acceptance.
  • Book holiday travel. United Airlines accepts payment through Chase Pay. Thanksgiving flights for a family of four may hit that $1,500 spending threshold in just one purchase.
  • Extend your bonus earnings at gas stations: Gas stations were among the Chase Freedom®’s 5% bonus categories in Q3 2019. This quarter, if you’re able to pair Chase Pay with apps for eligible gas stations (including Shell, 76, Conoco and Phillips 66), you can still earn that rate for your holiday road trips.

Haven’t used Chase Pay before? Download the app and sign in with your online credentials, and your eligible Chase cards will automatically connect to your account. Choose your Chase Freedom® for all purchases. Note that the Chase Pay app is shutting down in early 2020. Once that happens, you can no longer use it through Samsung Pay and won’t be able to use the app in-store at retailers. But you’ll still be able to use Chase Pay online through merchants that include it as a payment option at checkout.

PayPal

  • Score Black Friday deals. Shop for all the electronic devices your heart desires on BestBuy.com. Getting 5% back on a major purchase like a new TV definitely softens the blow of the cost.
  • Book even more holiday travel. If Southwest or JetBlue are your airlines of choice, use PayPal to book flights.
  • Find unique gifts. Ebay and Etsy accept PayPal, making it easy to find the perfect gift for even the most discerning relative.
  • Extend your bonus earnings on streaming. Among the Chase Freedom®’s 5% bonus categories in Q3 2019 were select streaming services, which included Netflix. So set PayPal as your Netflix payment method for Q4 2019 and continue earning that rate.

If you haven’t already, make sure to add your Chase Freedom® to your PayPal account and make it your default payment method.

Chase Freedom® bonus rewards categories for 2019
Q1 (Jan. 1 - March 31)• Gas stations.
• Tolls.
• Drugstores.
Q2 (April 1 - June 30)• Home improvement stores.
• Grocery stores.
Q3 (July 1 – Sept. 30)• Gas stations.
• Select streaming services.
Q4 (Oct. 1 – Dec. 31)• Department stores.
• PayPal.
• Chase Pay.

Don’t forget

You must activate these 5% cash back bonus categories for both the Chase Freedom® and eligible Discover cards.

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

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.

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