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It’s that time again to review the new bonus categories for our rotating bonus credit cards, specifically the Chase Freedom, Discover It, and Citi Dividend card. I’ll go through each one and share the new 2018 Q1 bonus categories.
Before we go through each card, I wanted to let you know that we put together a wallet-sized cheat sheet that you can download for free from our website. If you’re like me and can’t remember the categories, this should be helpful.
For the Chase Freedom card, we are ending the fourth quarter bonus categories of Walmart and Department Stores. Starting January 1st until the end of March 2018, you’ll earn 5% on purchases from gas stations, internet, cable and phone providers, and on purchases made by mobile payments, such as Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay, and Chase Pay.
I was a bit disappointed by Chase’s bonus category last month, especially since they have offered Amazon purchases in the past during the fourth quarter. However, this quarter’s bonus categories are solid. For example, most of us drive, use a mobile phone, and have an internet connection at home, so this is an easy way to maximize your earnings with your daily spend.
For gas stations, keep in mind that the bonus only applies to standalone gas stations. Fuel purchases from other stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, or Walmart do not count toward the 5% bonus. The fine print specifies that truck stops, boat marinas, oil and propane distributors, and home heating companies are excluded.
Also, for the internet, cable, and phone expenses, keep in mind that the bonus only applies to the service. Any equipment expenses or payments made in the store won’t count toward the bonus. For example, if you were to buy a phone at the wireless provider’s store, it will not count toward the bonus.
I’m excited about mobile payments being included as a bonus category. I’ve been using Apple Pay on my phone at more places, and I find it to be easier and faster than using my traditional cards. More retailers are accepting mobile payments too, so this should be an easy way to earn extra points or cash back.
For the Discover card, we are ending the 2017 fourth quarter bonus category of Amazon.com and Target purchases. We are now entering the first quarter with a 5% bonus category on gas station purchases and wholesale clubs. Like the Chase Freedom, there are some restrictions. The fine print says that gas stations affiliated with superstores or supermarkets may not be eligible. Purchases made with tap-and-pay systems or virtual wallets may not count as well. If you use an app or a fob to pay for gas, the charge may not be coded correctly to get the bonus.
Citi Dividend users are ending the 2017 fourth quarter bonus category of Best Buy and Department Store purchases. For quarter one 2018, they will be earning 5% at gas stations and for car rentals. Keep in mind that Citi states in the fine print that non-standalone gas stations may not qualify. Also, any car rentals that are not booked directly with the rental company may not qualify either.
Make sure you log-in and activate the bonus for these cards. You can wait until March 14, 2018, to activate your Chase Freedom bonus category since Chase will award the points retroactively. However, you’re better off doing it now before you forget. Unfortunately, Discover and Citi won’t award you a bonus until you activate it.
Check out our credit card offers page if you’re interested in applying for these cards. As of January 2018, the Chase Freedom is offering a $150 bonus opening and Discover is offering a $50 cashback bonus, with a cashback match for an entire year. Also, in case you’re wondering about the Citi Dividend card, it’s no longer available for new applicants.