Chase Freedom Flex Categories for 2022: Get the Most Out of Your Rewards

Woman is doing online purchases stock photo
Choreograph / iStock.com

While cardholders might be missing quarter one’s 5% cash-back bonus on groceries, some categories absent from 2021 are on the calendar for quarter three 2022. Through September 30, cardholders earn 5% cash back on car rental agencies, movie theaters and select live entertainment. Plus, quarter four’s bonus categories have now been revealed.

Credit card cash-back rewards are an easy way for Chase Freedom Flex cardholders to save money. Each quarter, new cash-back bonus categories are added to the calendar to notify cardholders that it is time to activate the latest offers. Here’s what you can look forward to during these last few months of the year.

Chase Freedom Flex Categories Bonus Calendar for 2022

While categories vary year to year, quarter four bonus categories this year are the same as last year.

  2022 2021
Quarter One Bonus Categories
January-March
– eBay
– Grocery stores, excluding Target and Walmart
– Internet, cable and phone services
– Wholesale clubs
– Select streaming services
Quarter Two Bonus Categories
April-June
– Amazon purchases
– Streaming services, including Apple Music, Disney+, ESPN+, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, Spotify, YouTube Premium and more
– Gas stations
– Home improvement stores
Quarter Three Bonus Categories
July-September
Gas stations
– Car rental agencies
– Movie theaters
– Select live entertainment
– Grocery stores, excluding Walmart and Target
– Select streaming services
Quarter Four Bonus Categories
October-December
– Walmart
PayPal purchases
– Walmart
– PayPal purchases
Get Credit Card Perks

To maximize quarter three’s bonus cash-back offers, cardholders might want to put their Chase Freedom Flex card at the front of their wallet so they won’t forget to use it at the gas pump. Additionally, cardholders who plan to rent a car or buy tickets to a movie or a live entertainment event might also want to earmark this card for those purchases.

For quarter four bonus categories, it’s important to note that even if you pay for your Walmart purchase with your PayPal card, you’ll still only earn 5% cash back — not double rewards.

Other Freedom Flex Cash-Back Rewards

In addition to cash-back bonuses for Chase Freedom Flex categories, cardholders also benefit from the following year-round Chase Freedom Flex card rewards:

Cash-Back Amount Category
5% Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel purchases
3% Dining, whether eating out or ordering in
3% Drugstore purchases
1% All other purchases

How Freedom Flex Bonus Cash-Back Offers Work

Cardholders earn 5% on the cash-back bonus category on up to $1,500 in bonus category purchases. Any additional spending on bonus category purchases over $1,500 continue to earn 1% through the remainder of the quarter.

Get Credit Card Perks

The maximum cash-back bonus that can be earned during the quarter is $75 — 5% of $1,500 — plus 1% of any bonus category purchases over the $1,500 limit. This, of course, is in addition to cash back earned on non-bonus category purchases.

Chase Freedom cash-back bonuses must be activated each quarter. Otherwise, cardholders will only earn the standard 1% for category purchases.

How To Activate Cash-Back Bonus Categories

To get the 5% cash-back rather than the usual 1% to 3%, cardholders must activate bonus offers via the Chase Mobile app, online, by email or over the phone. Cardholders can also go through the Chase Freedom card activation process at any Chase location or ATM.

Cardholders with more than one Freedom Flex card must activate each card.

Cardholders can activate new bonus offers beginning the 15th of the month prior to the new quarter. They have until the 14th of the last month of the new quarter to activate. So for quarter four 2022 cash-back categories, you can activate as early as September 15 but no later than December 14.

Activation is retroactive for the quarter as long as the activation deadline is met. Cardholders who activate by December 14 will earn the 5% cash-back bonus on all applicable purchases made from October 1 through December 31, not just those made after December 14.

Get Credit Card Perks

Cardholders can sign up for quarter four bonuses beginning September 15.

While it may seem tedious to activate new bonus offers each quarter, Chase does this to ensure cardholders stay up-to-date on the bonus category changes. 

How To Redeem Cash-Back Rewards

Total cash-back bonus points are included in the Rewards Summary section of the Freedom Flex statement and are broken out by category.

Every Freedom Flex cash-back dollar earns 100 Chase Ultimate Points. Chase Ultimate Points can be redeemed for cash back as a direct deposit or a statement credit. Cardholders receive one cent per point. Chase Ultimate Points also can be used for:

Cash-Back Card Comparison: Chase Freedom Flex® vs. Discover it® Card

The Discover it® card is another cash-back card that works much like the Chase Freedom Flex card and offers similar bonus categories. It also caps bonus spending at $1,500 per quarter.

One thing Discover it cardholders prefer over the Freedom Flex card is the fact that Discover releases its bonus categories yearly rather than quarterly. However, the Discover it card must be activated quarterly, just like the Freedom Flex card.

Chase Freedom rotating categories change quarterly, just like Discover. Here’s a comparison of the 2022 Discover cash-back calendar and the Freedom Flex calendar.

  Discover it Card Bonus Categories 2022 Chase Freedom Flex Card Bonus Categories 2022
Quarter One Bonus Categories
January-March
– Grocery stores, excluding Target and Walmart
– Fitness club and gym memberships
– eBay
– Grocery stores, excluding Target and Walmart
Quarter Two Bonus Categories
April-June
– Gas stations
– Target
– Amazon purchases
– Streaming services
Quarter Three Bonus Categories
July-September
– Restaurants
– PayPal
– Gas stations
– Car rental agencies
– Movie theaters
– Select live entertainment
Quarter Four Bonus Categories
October-December
– Amazon purchases 
– Digital wallets, including Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay and Garmin Pay
– Walmart
– PayPal purchases

Notice that restaurants are a bonus category for the Discover it card in quarter three. Freedom Flex cardholders get 3% all the time on restaurant purchases.

Discover is offering a cash-back bonus for Amazon purchases from October through December, making it a perfect time to earn cash back on holiday shopping. Chase, on the other hand, announced Walmart and PayPal cash-back categories for quarter four, so if you can do your holiday shopping at Walmart or with your PayPal card, you can rack up the rewards.

Either way, these cash-back cards both offer bonus categories that can help those looking to save as much as possible on everyday expenses.

Good To Know

Unlike the Freedom Flex card, Discover card cash-back offers are not retroactive for the quarter upon activation. For example, if a Discover it cardholder activates bonus categories on October 15th, they do not get the bonus for any category purchases made October 1-14. With Freedom Flex, they do.

Overall Comparison

There is little overlap in bonus categories between the two cards during any given quarter. Does it make sense to have both cards to really take advantage of those 5% cash-back bonuses?

Here is a quick comparison of the Freedom Flex card and the Discover it card:

Chase Freedom Flex Card Discover it Card
Reward type Cash-back Cash-back
Cash-back rate – 3% on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services
– 3% on drugstore purchases
– 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
– 1% on all other purchases
– 5% for select categories every quarter
– 1% on all purchases
– 5% for select categories every quarter
Cash-back bonus activation Required quarterly — retroactive for all category purchases for the quarter Required quarterly — purchases made prior to activation do not earn the bonus
Points expiration Do not expire Do not expire
Bonus cash-back maximum purchase amount $1,500 $1,500
Credit required Good to excellent Good to excellent
Annual fee None None
APR

New Discover it card cardholders get a 100% cash-back match on first-year purchases with no minimum spending requirements and no limit to rewards.

A perk to carrying the Freedom Flex card is that it is a World Elite Mastercard with its own exclusive features, such as discounts at certain retailers, cell phone protection up to $800 per claim and $1,000 per year — with a $50 deductible — if the card is used to pay the phone bill, and a complimentary ShopRunner membership.

Final Take

From October through December 2022, the Chase Freedom Flex card rewards users with 5% cash back at Walmart and for PayPal purchases. Cardholders have until December 14 to activate bonus categories to get cash back on applicable purchases for the quarter.

Cynthia Measom contributed to the reporting for this article.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by any entity covered in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any entity named in this article.

The information related to the Chase Freedom Flex card was collected by GOBankingRates and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card. Product details may vary. Please see the issuer’s website for current information. GOBankingRates does not receive commission for this product.

Rates, offers and requirements are subject to change.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Chase. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Chase.

Share This Article:

Get Credit Card Perks

About the Author

Andrea Norris has been in the web publishing business for the past 15 years both as a content contributor and a copy editor specializing in personal finance, frugal living, home and auto topics. She writes both short and long-form content and is well-practiced in SEO keyword research and writing.
Learn More