Maximize with 2nd Quarter 5X Bonus Categories
Ah, it is now April. Here in Vegas that means it will begin to get HOT! It also means that it is the start of quarter two. What does that mean in the credit card world? New bonus categories on some cards like the Chase Freedom, Discover It and even the Citi Dividend. Some quarters are better than others category wise and it turns out that Quarter 2 is awesome!
Grocery Stores with Chase Freedom
The Chase Freedom card is paying back 5%/5X at grocery stores and wholesale clubs this quarter! Grocery stores are by far my favorite bonus category since it is so easy to rack up spend. Of course most of us have fairly significant grocery bills and most grocery stores sell a variety of gift cards as well. You can earn 5% back on up to $1,500 in purchases per Freedom card. If you have more than one then you get to have even more fun.
I know some of you are considering a switch to Freedom Unlimited to earn 1.5X everywhere. As I have mentioned before, if you plan to convert a Freedom to Freedom Unlimited then it is probably a good idea to max out your grocery purchases first and then switch. Remember at the most basic level grocery stores sell their own gift cards if you want a simple way to hit the $1,500. As long as you regularly shop there, then purchasing store gift cards works well.
Restaurants with Discover It
The 5% categories for the 2nd quarter with Discover are restaurants and movies. Sure, you can save more than 5% by purchasing gift cards for many chain restaurants and movie theaters, but there are always other dining experiences where earning 5% is your best bet. Even Citi Forward customers who now earn 5X on dining will want their Discover It in their wallet, since that card will begin earning 2X on dining on June 4.
For me the strategy here is simple. If I don’t have a gift card for a restaurant then I will use my Discover It card to get 5% back. If you frequent a local restaurant or other establishment often, it may pay to purchase some of their gift cards during the 2nd quarter to lock in that 5% savings for the future. Also, those with Double Cashback will actually earn 10% once everything is doubled. What a great deal!
Drug Stores with Citi Dividend (Honorable Mention)
Yes I know the title says “two cards”, but I think the Dividend card deserves an honorable mention if you have one. While the Dividend is no longer available for new applications and there are rumors it will go away soon, many people still have the card. This quarter the bonus categories are fitness clubs and drug stores. Drug stores have the potential to be huge.
Sure the days of us needing to buy $10,000 worth of Vanilla medication every single day are in the past, but there are still some opportunities at drug stores for big purchases. Also, Dividend allows you to earn the maximum of $300 per year in any quarter. This means you could max out your entire year’s worth of cashback at drug stores for about a 1% cost. Not bad.
My first Chase Freedom (which will be converted soon) and Discover It cards are now sitting in my wallet and the Dividend card is waiting for its visit to my local CVS. This quarter is very good bonus category wise with restaurants, grocery stores and drug stores all getting some love. Sure we have taken a beating this year from various credit card and loyalty programs, but every time I earn 5%/5X it feels like a small win.
Don’t forget you must activate these offers on each of your cards! If you don’t have a Chase Freedom or Discover It, you can find application links here.