Activate 5% Cash Back Earnings on Your Chase Freedom Now

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Note: This post was updated on April 2, 2020 to reflect Chase's addition of select streaming services as a Q2 category.

Activation of the Chase Freedom® Q2 5% bonus categories is now open. From April 1 through June 30, 2020, Freedom Card cardholders can earn 5% cash back on the first $1,500 of purchases at grocery stores, fitness clubs, gym memberships, and select streaming services.

The fitness clubs and gyms category isn't going to be very useful this quarter due to the coronavirus situation. However, grocery stores and streaming services are a welcome inclusion.

Key Terms

  • You need to activate your card by June 14, 2020.
  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $1,500 in purchases at qualifying merchants, earn 1% after that.
  • This quarter the bonus categories are grocery stores, fitness clubs, gym memberships, and select streaming services.
  • Purchases that post to your account between April 1 and June 30, 2020, are eligible for the bonus.

It is worth remembering that—as long as you activate your bonus by June 14, 2020—you will earn cash back for the whole promotion period. That includes purchases made before the date of activation.

Hit-and-Miss Categories this Quarter

Chase’s selection of bonus categories this quarter is a bit strange. In a quarter likely to be dominated by the coronavirus and a worldwide lockdown—with restrictions on movement already in place in many states—most cardmembers aren't going to be using fitness clubs and gyms. While people need to stay healthy, most cardholders should be working out in a more private setting to keep their social distance.

However, the inclusion of grocery stores and streaming services is very timely and means it should be easy to maximize your earnings this quarter from your Freedom Card. Before you go shopping, make sure to check the huge list of participating merchants.

Note that Walmart and Target aren't included on the list of grocery stores. Also, grocery delivery service merchants aren't going to count “unless the merchant has set up such purchases to be classified in the grocery stores category.” You can see how specific merchants code using AwardWallet's Merchant Category Code Lookup tool. For example, grocery delivery service Shipt codes as a grocery store:

Screenshot showing AwardWallet's Merchant Category Lookup Tool for grocery delivery service Shipt.

As you can see in the screenshot above, there are other credit cards that earn a bonus on grocery store purchases. Check out our dedicated post for a roundup of the best credit cards for grocery stores and supermarkets.

While the inclusion of grocery stores certainly is timely, it's become an informal tradition to include grocery stores in the Q2 bonus categories. 2020 will mark the 5th straight year that the grocery category has been included in Q2.

Maximize Your Value with a Premium Card

The best way to leverage the points earned from your Freedom Card is by combining it with a premium Ultimate Rewards-earning card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card.

The way this works is straightforward. If you only hold the Freedom Card, you can only redeem your earnings at a value of 1 cent per point.

However, if you hold a premium card, you can transfer your Freedom Card points to the premium card. Then, you can redeem these points through the Chase Travel Portal at either 1.25 and 1.5 cents apiece, which is already a substantial improvement. Moving points to a premium card also opens up the option of transferring these points to a Chase travel partner where you can get even more value for your points.

You can maximize the earning potential on the Freedom Card by just spending $500 per month. If you do, you'll earn $450 cash back—or 45,000 Ultimate Rewards points—each year.

Our Take

If you hold the Freedom Card, then activating your bonus is a must-do. The 5% rotating bonus is the main feature of the card and where it delivers excellent value. Considering the overall global situation, spending $1,500 on groceries and streaming services in 3 months should be a breeze for many cardholders. So, take a couple of seconds and register for your bonus now! And then set your Freedom Card out for use at the grocery store and select streaming services starting April 1, 2020.

Chase Freedom®
Chase Freedom®
Annual Fee$0
Welcome Bonus Earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
This no-annual-fee card earns 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined bonus category purchases each quarter, with the bonus categories rotating 4X per year. Plus, you can get up to $150 cash back after meeting the minimum spend.
  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter.
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  • Pair this with a CSR and you’ll be earning URs in no time

  • Hmm, strange indeed that they did not swap out the gym category for something more useful during the present situation (e.g., pharmacies, hardware stores, etc.) I guess they plan these promotions far in advance and it’s difficult to change them on short notice.

  • 5% cash back bonus on gym memberships is pretty pointless. Most, if not all, gyms are currently closed due to the COVID-19 situation.

    • They should swap the pointless category out with a “useful” one.

      • Karl, I enjoyed your, perhaps unintentional, pun… “pointless.” Although, I guess it’s technically a cashless category here. Yes, the inclusion of gyms makes it look as if an unaware, preprogrammed computer was choosing categories this quarter. Would have thought they’d catch this. They use these categories as incentives to spend and no incentives will work on gym spending right now. That’s certainly why they added streaming services with the update. Glad they adjusted a bit.

  • Talchinsky says:

    A great time to earn points on groceries since that’s about the only thing we should be spending on in this time of Coronavirus.

  • I’ve already activated. It’s nice that they’ve made it so easy to do so on the app. It used to be difficult to find but it’s much improved. I wish they’d get rid of the need to activate the categories altogether but that’s probably too much to ask.

  • 5% at grocery stores it is. No gyms for the rest of the year.

  • I wish they would just automatically register everyone for these 5% bonus categories. Why do people have to activate? It is just a way to make sure some people would not qualify for it.

    • I agree that would be nice, but I think they want to force people to think about their Freedom card at least 1x per quarter. If the goal was to have fewer transactions qualify, they wouldn’t make the earning retroactive for transactions made before registration.

    • Making people register is a way for marketing to advertise this as true and get people to sign up but have hope that a certain percentage won’t maximize their rewards and capitalize.

  • The gym bonus is unfortunately a joke nowadays.

  • The grocery store bonus is very nice during this time.
    The gym…not so much.

  • Why wouldnt the switch the gym/fitness center out? That makes no sense.

  • It would be great to see grocery stores include Walmart and Target. In my experience, groceries there are substantially cheaper than chain supermarkets and I won’t pay more for everyday purchases just to earn points.

    • I’m pretty sure that I’ve had a grocery-only WalMart code as groceries. They say this just to set expectations though. It’s the store that sets its merchant code, not Chase. Stores like this will never code as groceries so Chase is just being proactive in notifying people that it won’t count.

  • I’ll admit I was peeved at first when I activated and saw that Walmart purchases won’t be eligible. There’s a Walmart local to me and it’s where I do my grocery shopping because the prices are the best compared to some of the other local area chain markets. My guess is that they want the focus to be points earned from actual markets and not from a trip to a mass merchandiser like Walmart or Target because you needed non-grocery items.

  • I do miss my gym, that is for sure. I will tkae the bonus on groceries though!

  • Dhangfun Karnasuta says:

    At this time with the Covid-19 pandemic, I don’t think anyone will dare go to the gym or fitness.

  • The Arts Traveler says:

    Well, this quarter should be maxed out in a week. In all that is going on it’s easy to forget the usual things you have to do to maximize points and so on.

  • Chase didn’t get the memo on gyms and fitness clubs?

  • I always love it when they have groceries. I always max out the bonus. I will have to look at the fitness more closely. I wonder if it includes anything online. I know my gym offers online classes since the gym is closed. So it might still be an option.

  • Slimcustomer says:

    Getting a CSP is not worth it after the signup bonus. Even if you managed to max out all 5% categories on the freedom and got $300 for the year, you would only get $75 additional for having the CSP, and the annual fee is $95. Already get >2.5% on dining and travel with other no fee cards. We buy grocery gift cards to max out the 5% grocery quarters for Discover and Chase, as we would never come close to maxing them out otherwise. Gets us 5% off groceries all year long.

  • lenin1991 says:

    Note that they added “Streaming Services” as an additional category this quarter!

  • Grocery stores is useful… Gyms during lock down is a NO !!

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