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Current Credit Card Bonus Categories: Discover, Chase Freedom

Sept. 13, 2018
Cash Back Credit Cards, Credit Cards, Rewards Credit Cards
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We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

Cards with bonus categories come with some of the highest credit card rewards rates available.

Both Chase and Discover offer credit cards with 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter in bonus categories that change each quarter and 1% back on all other purchases. To get the bonus cash back, you have to opt in, or “activate,” the category each quarter.

Previous years are listed below the current categories, so you can see what’s been offered in the past … and what might be again?

Current bonus categories on Discover cards

Discover bonus categories for 2018
Q1 2018 (Jan. 1 – March 31)Gas stations and wholesale clubs
Q2 2018 (April 1 – June 30)Grocery stores
Q3 2018 (July 1 – Sept. 30)Restaurants
Q4 2018 (Oct. 1 – Dec. 31)Amazon.com and wholesale clubs

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best Discover credit cards

Current Chase Freedom® bonus categories

Chase Freedom® bonus rewards categories for 2018
Q1 2018 (Jan. 1 - March 31)• Gas stations
• Internet, cable and phone service
• Purchases via Chase Pay, Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay
Q2 2018 (April 1 - June 30)• Grocery stores
• PayPal, for online, mobile or in-app purchases
• Chase Pay, for online, mobile or in-app purchases
Q3 2018 (July 1 – Sept. 30)• Gas stations
• Lyft
• Walgreens
Q4 2018 (Oct. 1 – Dec. 31)• Chase Pay
• Wholesale clubs
• Department stores

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best Chase credit cards

Categories from previous years

2017 credit card bonus categories

Discover cards 2017 bonus categories

  • Q1: Gas stations, ground transportation, wholesale clubs
  • Q2: Home improvement stores, wholesale clubs
  • Q3: Restaurants
  • Q4: Amazon.com, Target

Chase Freedom® 2017 bonus categories

  • Q1: Gas stations, local commuter transportation
  • Q2: Grocery stores, drugstores
  • Q3: Restaurants, movie theaters
  • Q4: Walmart, department stores

2016 credit card bonus categories

Discover cards 2016 bonus categories

  • Q1: Gas, ground transportation
  • Q2: Restaurants, movies
  • Q3: Home improvement stores, Amazon.com
  • Q4: Amazon.com, department stores, Sam’s Club

Chase Freedom® 2016 bonus categories

  • Q1: Gas stations, local commuter transportation
  • Q2: Grocery stores, wholesale clubs
  • Q3: Restaurants, wholesale clubs
  • Q4: Department stores, wholesale clubs

2015 credit card bonus categories

Discover cards 2015 bonus categories

  • Q1: Gas, ground transportation
  • Q2: Restaurants, movies
  • Q3: Home improvement stores, department stores, Amazon.com
  • Q4: Amazon.com, department stores, clothing stores

Chase Freedom® 2015 bonus categories

  • Q1: Grocery stores, movie theaters, Starbucks
  • Q2: Restaurants, Bed Bath & Beyond, H&M, Overstock.com
  • Q3: Gas stations, Kohl’s
  • Q4: Amazon.com, Audible.com, Diapers.com, Zappos.com
    (Note: In a special promotion offered in 2015 only, the $1,500 quarterly limit on spending eligible for bonus rewards was reset on Nov. 23, meaning that Chase Freedom® cardholders got a “fresh” $1,500 to spend for bonus cash back. Further, from Nov. 23 to Dec. 31 of that year, Amazon.com spending earned 10% cash back, rather than 5%.) 

2014 credit card bonus categories

Discover cards 2014 bonus categories

  • Q1: Restaurants, movies
  • Q2: Home improvement stores, furniture stores, Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Q3: Gas stations
  • Q4: Online shopping, department stores

Chase Freedom® 2014 bonus categories 

  • Q1: Grocery stores, movie theaters, Starbucks
  • Q2: Restaurants, Lowe’s
  • Q3: Gas stations, Kohl’s
  • Q4: Amazon.com, Zappos.com, select department stores