How to Optimize Chase Freedom Flex, Discover it Cash Back for Q3 2023

From July 1 to Sept. 30, 2023, cardholders will earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined quarterly spending in the following bonus categories:

  • Electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.

  • Select live entertainment.

Discover it® Cash Back (and other qualifying Discover cards)

  • Gas stations (including public EV charging stations).

Both cards earn 1% back after the $1,500 spending cap is met, and on all nonbonus-category purchases. (The Chase Freedom Flex℠ also has other bonus categories that are uncapped and fixed — not rotating.)

The rotating categories must be activated each quarter to qualify for 5% back. Chase cardholders can activate bonus categories online or in the Chase app by Sept. 14, 2023, and those bonus rewards can be earned retroactively (purchases during the quarter but prior to activation will still earn bonus rewards). For eligible Discover cards, bonus rewards can be earned starting from the date cash-back categories are activated online.

Here are some tips to maximize your 5% bonus categories this quarter.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Although the original Chase Freedom® card is no longer accepting applications, existing cardholders still earn 5% cash back based on the same bonus calendar and terms for the Chase Freedom Flex℠.

Chase Freedom Flex

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Optimizing the Chase Freedom Flex℠

Pay for future fill-ups or charging sessions

It can be difficult to optimize purchases on gas and EV charging. After all, the average U.S. household spends just around $2,000 total in gas per year, per the U.S. Energy Information Administration and Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What you can do is lock in a future discount by purchasing gift cards at a gas station you frequent and using those gift cards long after the quarter ends. Many gas stations also have a third-party gift card rack, which can allow you to earn 5% cash back at a variety of retailers. For example, if you have an upcoming purchase at Amazon, see if a gas station sells Amazon gift cards and use that for your online purchase.

Another penny-pinching trick is to pair your card with a gas-saving app like GasBuddy or Upside. Just link your card to the app and you can stack rewards when you fill up.

If you’re an EV driver, you can see if your preferred charging app allows you to preload your balance. If it does, you can grab that 5% cash back today by adding money to your account with your credit card, then using your balance for future charging sessions.

Since gas stations and public EV charging stations are quarterly bonus categories on both the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the Discover it® Cash Back, these strategies can apply to both cards.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Most EV charging stations have a dedicated app you’ll need to download to charge your vehicle. Simply plug in your car and select the appropriate charging location in the app. Be sure to add your Chase Freedom Flex℠ or Discover it® Cash Back as the default payment method so you don’t miss out on bonus cash back.

Check your concert calendar

A similar strategy can be used in the select live entertainment bonus category, which is particularly broad and includes amusement parks, sporting events, ticketing agencies (such as Ticketmaster and StubHub), aquariums, carnivals, zoos and museums. Maybe you’re planning to attend an amusement park, sporting event or concert after the end of Q3. Or maybe you’ve been eyeing an annual pass to a local aquarium or zoo. By making those purchases this quarter, you can effectively knock 5% off of your total cost now.

Exclusions that won’t earn bonus rewards include movie theaters, bowling alleys, casinos, dance halls and any tickets purchased through a hotel concierge or as part of a travel package.

Chase Freedom® and Chase Freedom Flex℠ bonus rewards categories for 2023

  • Fitness clubs and gym memberships.

  • Gas stations and electric vehicle charging.

  • Select live entertainment.

TBD
(In 2022: PayPal; Walmart).

Optimizing the Discover it® Cash Back

Discover it® Cash Back

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Reach for your digital wallet

Digital wallets like Google Pay and Apple Pay can be used to make purchases online and in store with your smartphone, tablet or wearable device. Acceptance of payment by digital wallet has expanded in recent years, so be sure to ask if you can pay digitally when you check out.

Either way, plan to make your Discover card the default payment method in your digital wallet so you don’t miss out on that 5% cash back. Also, be aware that purchases made at a gas station with a digital wallet will only earn 5% cash back up to the spending cap (the bonus categories don’t stack).

Discover bonus rewards categories for 2023

  • Select streaming services.

TBD (In 2022: Amazon.com; digital wallets).

*The grocery stores category does not include grocery purchases at Walmart or Target or at other superstores or wholesale clubs.

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