Chase Freedom Flex

How to Optimize Chase Freedom Flex, Discover it Cash Back for Q2 2024


For many people, the bonus categories for select Chase and Discover credit cards will sync up nicely with their spring plans for travel and home improvements.

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Discover it® Cash Back and select Discover cards

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  • Gas stations/EV charging stations.

Both cards earn 1% back on all other non-bonus-category spending. Cardholders must activate the 5% categories to be eligible for bonus rewards.

Chase cardholders can activate bonus categories online or in the Chase app by June 14, 2024, and bonus rewards may be earned retroactively. For eligible Discover cards, bonus rewards are earned starting from the date cash-back categories are activated online.

Here are some tips to maximize this quarter’s bonus categories.

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Restaurants

Restaurants are a fixed rewards category for the Chase Freedom Flex℠, so dining purchases — which include takeout and eligible delivery services — earn 3% cash back year-round. The quarterly bonus category rate stacks on top of the 3%, so throughout the second quarter of 2024, restaurant spending with the Chase Freedom Flex℠ will earn a whopping 7%. Consider buying restaurant gift cards for yourself or as gifts for others to lock in that excellent rate during the second quarter and beyond.

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Why 7% and 9%? When Chase awards 5% cash back in its quarterly categories, it does so using this logic: Purchases that normally get 1% cash back are now earning an additional 4% cash back — so the quarterly bonus is 4% on top of the usual rewards. So for the second quarter of 2024, restaurant spending that usually earns 3% with Chase Freedom Flex℠ earns 4% on top of that, for a total of 7%. Hotels booked through Chase usually earn 5%, so adding 4% to that gets you to 9% cash back.

Travel

The second quarter of 2024 might be the right time to book a summer vacation. After stacking the quarterly bonus rate on top of the standard 5%, Chase Freedom Flex℠ cardholders can get a stellar 9% cash back on travel booked through Chase’s travel portal.

Say you book a week’s hotel stay in Destin, Florida, in August for $2,000 through Chase Travel. Thanks to the 9% rate, you’d get a healthy $180 in cash back.

Note, though, that the Chase Freedom Flex℠ charges a 3% foreign transaction fee for international travel, which might cut into the rewards you expect to earn from a booking. If you’re planning a trip abroad, do some quick math to see if the rewards outweigh the foreign transaction fee.

Chase Freedom® and Chase Freedom Flex℠ bonus rewards categories for 2024

  • Fitness clubs and gym memberships.

  • Self-care and spa services.

  • TBD (In 2023: gas stations and electric vehicle charging; select live entertainment).

  • TBD (In 2023: PayPal; wholesale clubs; select charities).

*Includes bookings made directly with the hotel and prepaid bookings through Chase’s travel portal.

Discover it® Cash Back and select Discover cards

Gas and EV charging stations

People taking Memorial Day or early summer road trips may want to pack the Discover it® Cash Back or another Discover eligible card. By paying with your Discover card, you’ll get 5% back on every fill-up or charge until the combined $1,500 quarterly cap. (Activation required.) Note that gas and EV stations at grocery stores and wholesale clubs may not qualify for the 5% rate.

The second quarter of 2024 marks just the second time that Discover has listed EV charging stations as a bonus category. It’s rare to find a 5% rate on EV charging even among the cards with EV stations as a standard rewards category.

Purchases made inside gas and EV stations may also get 5% back, making those pit stops for coffee and snacks even more satisfying. Remember, too, that many gas stations sell gift cards. A $50 gift card to Target would essentially cost $47.50 if purchased while gas stations are a 5% bonus category. (Activation required.)

Home improvement stores

Don’t forget that home improvement stores carry many household staples like paper towels and laundry soap. For the second quarter of 2024, it may be worth picking up some grocery items at retailers like Lowe’s or Menards rather than at the supermarket. A 5% cash-back rate is higher than what you’d find on some cards that are designed to reward grocery shopping.

Public transit

Public transit is a new bonus category for Discover. According to the issuer, public transit includes local commuter passenger bus, rail and ferry services but not taxis; ridesharing; or long-range land, rail, and water transportation services.

Given the 5% bonus rate, buying tickets in advance — a monthly bus pass, for example — may be more cost-effective than purchasing multiple day passes.

Discover bonus rewards categories for 2024

  • Gas stations/EV charging stations.

  • TBD (In 2023: Gas stations; digital wallets).

  • TBD (In 2023: Amazon, Target).



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