Published in: Credit Cards | Dec. 11, 2018

Chase Cash Back Calendar for 2019

By:  Eric Volkman

We are committed to full transparency as part of our mission to make the world smarter, happier, & richer. You should know that offers on The Ascent may be from our partners - it's how we make money. That transparency to you is core to our editorial integrity, which isn’t influenced by compensation.

Savvy holders of the Chase Freedom® credit card can earn 5% cash back in certain categories by keeping an eye on the Chase cash back calendar.Calendar on desk

Image source: Getty Images.

Chase Freedom® is considered one of the best cash-back credit cards, not least because certain purchases earn at premium rates. The cards 5% cash back categories rotate every quarter (capped at $1,500 quarterly and must also be activated) and are wide enough to provide cardholders plenty of opportunity to earn that high bonus. But there are a few things to bear in mind about the Chase cash back calendar.

Chase's cash back calendar for 2019

Chase Freedom credit card holders can earn up to 5% cash back on the following purchases, depending on the quarter:

  • January - March: Gas Stations, tolls, and drugstores
  • April - June: Groceries and home improvement stores
  • July - September: Gas stations and select streaming services

Each quarter, a different group of categories takes its turn in the spotlight. Chase, however, tends to keep its cardholders in suspense, only announcing at the start of the relevant quarter what the categories will be. For 2018, Chase's cash back calendar ended up like so:

  • January - March: Gas Stations, Internet, Cable and Phone Services, plus Chase Pay, Android Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.
  • April - June: Grocery Stores, PayPal and Chase Pay.
  • July - September: Lyft, Walgreens, and Gas Stations.
  • October to December: Department Stores, Wholesale Clubs, Chase Pay.

Activation is required

You don’t get something for nothing, but in the case of Chase Freedom®’s 5% bonus, that something doesn’t take much. As in previous years a cardholder is required to activate 5% cash back categories each quarter. Thankfully, Chase Freedom® holders have plenty of time to activate.

How to activate bonus cash back

There are numerous ways for Chase Freedom® cardholders to activate their quarterly kicker. They can do it online through a pair of dedicated Chase sites, they can click a link in an email reminder from Chase (as long as they’ve opted in to receiving such messages), and they can go 20th century retro by either phoning a number on the back of their card or visiting a Chase branch in person. Finally, they are also able to activate through an option on an ATM when using their Chase Freedom® to make a cash withdrawal.

Our #1 cash back pick has a surprise bonus

This may be the perfect cash back card! That's because it packs in $1,148 of value. Cardholders can earn up to 5% cash back, double rewards in the first year, and avoid interest well into 2020. With such a deep bench of perks you'll wonder how this card packs in a $0 annual fee. Best yet, you can apply and get a decision in two minutes. Learn more with our in-depth review.

Find the right card for you

Cash Back & Rewards