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Chase Freedom Credit Card 5% Cash Back Categories For 2013

Friday, November 30, 2012 - 4:51 AM
Chase Freedom cards offer 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent each quarter. All other purchases earn 1% cash back. You have to remember to activate your card before you can start earning 5% cash back.

Here are the rotating categories for 2013. Unfortunately, grocery stores aren't included in any of the quarters.

January - March
Gas stations
Starbucks stores

April - June
Movie theaters

July - September
Gas stations
Theme Parks

October - December
Select department stores

More details are available at

Credit for this find goes to FW member kn9ght
Ken TuminKen Tumin5,471 posts since
Nov 29, 2009
Rep Points: 125,634
1. Friday, November 30, 2012 - 7:08 AM
Rotating CB is a gimmick that silly banks like Chase copied from Discover card.  It does not serve me any good.  I, for one, do not have the energy/attention to go through the various categories as I go through my busy daily life.

Added: To each her/his own.
51hh51hh1,476 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 6,427
2. Friday, November 30, 2012 - 8:10 AM

I have to disagree with you. It really isn't that hard to use credit cards with rewards programs strategically. For example, these categories that Chase has announced for 2013 -- for six months of the year gas stations are in the 5% category. Is it really that hard to remember to use your Chase Freedom card for gas purchases made in the 1st and 3rd quarters? I use my Chase Freedom and Discover cards strategically, according to the 5% categories, and my Amazon card for purchases at Amazon and drugstores, and my Bankamericard for gas and groceries, and my Capital One card for "everything else" and foreign transactions. So there are some people who do have the attention (and I don't think it really takes that much "energy," just a reasonably good memory) to go through the various categories, so it at least serves them well enough. Certainly it takes less energy than what you seem to expend with all your rewards checking accounts. You have all those accounts because the higher rate earned by your deposits is worth your effort. The same is true for some of us when it comes to 5% rewards categories.
WilWil242 posts since
Feb 26, 2010
Rep Points: 1,285
3. Friday, November 30, 2012 - 9:05 AM
My memory is reasonably good, but just in case, each month, I prepare an index card which goes in my wallet as a reminder of which cards to use for best returns, depending on what rotating categories are active.  

Meeting spending requirements for generous card bonuses always takes top priority.  If one of the rotating categories (ex Chase Freedom gas stations Jan-Mar) matches a normal benefit (ex.: PenFed 5%) then I go with the one which is closest to a redemption threshhold. Discover is used only when there is a bonus of interest to me, otherwise it stays in my sock drawer because I am fortunate to have better cashback options.  Groceries go on PenFed 3%, "all else" is my 1.5% cashback card. 

It's not rocket science and it's not time consuming - maybe 10 minutes a month.  The key is to make a decision in advance, not at the time of purchase when one is pressed for time. 

pearlbrownpearlbrown1,474 posts since
Nov 2, 2010
Rep Points: 6,407
4. Friday, November 30, 2012 - 11:11 AM

Thanks much for your reply.

First, I am a registered Chase hater, so my opinion thereof is "somewhat" biased:-).  Second, I always have better choices than rotational cashback (CB) as far as credit card cashback offers go.  Examples: (1) HSBC Platinum Cash 5% CB on everyday (G/G/D) purchases, (2) Citi Forward 5% CB on restaurants, among others, (3) Citi TYP card on 5% CB for everything (for six months only but hehehe:-)), (4) Amex BCP card 6% on everyday purchases.  (5) Citizens Bank card on 10% CB for everyday purchases.  For those very rare situations that I do not have 5% CB, I can always purchase GCs from supermarket to use them for all purchases.  In sum, the rotational CB (from Chase, BofA, etc.) means very little to me since I get 5% for everything with no effort spent for planning and watching.  My old age and dis-organized nature (you/PB may be younger and is much more organized than I am:-)) are additional factors for me to stay away from rotational CBs. 

Further, there are always limits in CB amount ($75 CB for each quarter in this case) for those rotational CB offers.  The rotational CB program might force cardholders to over-spend on selected categories unnecessarily as well.

 I realize that most of these CB offers are grandfathered for my benefits only.  To be fair, I added the clause (to each her/his own) to my original post.


51hh51hh1,476 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 6,427
5. Friday, November 30, 2012 - 2:32 PM
I just have one credit card I use for everything and I get nothing back.  Does anyone know of any card which gives back 3 -5% for any and "all" purchases so we won't have to have more than one card to keep control of?  Thanks!
paoli2paoli21,401 posts since
Aug 10, 2011
Rep Points: 6,135
6. Friday, November 30, 2012 - 3:59 PM
I just have one credit card I use for everything and I get nothing back.  Does anyone know of any card which gives back 3 -5% for any and "all" purchases so we won't have to have more than one card to keep control of?  Thanks!

I still like the American Express Blue Cash Preferred (BCP), even with an annual fee of $75 and grocery store limit of $6,000 (set only recently; used to be unlimited).  If you spend $6K a year on grocery; it is a 5% card after the deduction of $75 annually.

Blue Cash Preferred Credit Card - American Express

Other 3-2-1 cards are not that impressive to me.

51hh51hh1,476 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 6,427