Trip Astute has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Trip Astute and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
Rotating bonus category cards are an easy way to earn points or cashback, even despite requiring some effort since you have to remember new categories every quarter. However, for those that love earning points and cashback, it’s worth moving your spending onto these cards to maximize the bonus categories. Below, I’ll review the new Chase Freedom bonus categories for quarter 2, as well as updates for the US Bank Cash+ and Citi Dividend card.
Chase Freedom Card
For the Chase Freedom card, we’re ending the first quarter bonus categories of gas stations, internet, cable, phone services, and streaming services. Starting this quarter, you’ll earn 5% on gym memberships, fitness clubs, and grocery stores.
Gym memberships and fitness clubs
Given that a lot of you are practicing social distancing, you may not find much value in the gym membership and fitness club reward categories. Though if you’re still taking workout classes or even going to the gym during this time, this could be an easy way to earn some additional points. Also, I didn’t see Peloton or other at-home fitness services on the list. This may affect those of you that workout from home. These services may or may not earn the bonus. It’s worth reviewing your card statements to see how those charges are coded. I also checked on AwardWallet’s Merchant Category Lookup Tool, and it seems to be coded as “Sporting Goods.”
Grocery stores is always a useful bonus category. I would argue that it’s probably even more useful now that a lot of us are working from home and not traveling. Plus, you can often get other items at the grocery store like stamps or gift cards which can help you maximize the category.
With the grocery store bonus category, you’ll want to be careful with the type of stores that qualify. Standalone grocery stores are generally included, but convenience stores, gas stations, warehouse clubs, discount stores, and supercenters are not eligible. Since these places are not standalone grocery stores, the charges are encoded differently. This often means that you won’t earn a bonus. Also, some delivery service merchants might not code properly.
Thoughts on the Chase Freedom
The Chase Freedom remains one of my favorite cards. I’ve had this card since 2012, and I consider it a workhorse in my wallet. It might look like any other 5% rotating bonus card, but if you value Chase Ultimate Reward points at more than one cent, you’ll be earning a lot of value with this card. In fact, I would argue that I earn an adjusted rate of 7.5% with this card since I value Chase UR points at 1.5 cents.
US Bank Cash+ Card
For the US Bank Cash+ card, there are no new categories or changes this quarter.
Unique and selectable bonus categories
If you’re not familiar with the card, US Bank allows you to pick your rotating 5% categories every quarter and also has 2% categories where you can earn unlimited cashback. They even let you earn the 5% bonus on up to $2,000 of your spending per quarter on the combined selected bonus categories, which is even better than the Chase Freedom. The card also includes some unique and rare bonus categories like home utilities.
Thoughts on the US Bank Cash+ card
I got this card in 2018, and I’ve used it as a backup for spending categories that aren’t covered by my other credit cards. I typically select gyms and home utilities as my two 5% categories every quarter. For this quarter, I’ll probably select home utilities and furniture. We have a little one on its way, so I suspect that I’ll be making several more trips to Ikea in the next few months.
In my opinion, the Cash+ is an underrated credit card. It’s a card can help you capture more bonuses with your everyday spend. Since I try to capture a bonus category on as much of my spending as possible, this card helps me to get closer to that goal.
Citi Dividend card
Lastly, Citi Dividend users are ending the first quarter bonus category of fitness clubs and supermarkets. For the second quarter of 2020, cardmembers will earn 5% at drugstores and Amazon.com.
Keep in mind that the Citi Dividend has a yearly award bonus cap of $300 per calendar year, which means that you’re not as restricted by a specific quarter’s bonus. You just need to track how much bonus you earn over the entire calendar year. It is possible to earn all $300 in one quarter if you like.
Extremely useful categories for the outbreak
I doubt Citi anticipated the outbreak, but these bonus categories should be useful this quarter. I especially like the Amazon.com category, which usually makes an appearance on other cards during the fourth quarter. Having it earlier in the year is very convenient.
Can you still get a Citi Dividend card?
The Citi Dividend card is not available for new applicants. It used to be available through a product change from another Citi card. However, that no longer seems to be the case since late 2019. That may change in the future, but for now, there is no way to get the card.
Tools to help you remember the new bonus categories
I know that it takes me a while before the new categories sink into my brain. If you’re like me, then you might need a reminder. We’ve put together some free tools that you can download to help you remember these categories. We have our popular wallet-sized cheat sheet and our smartphone lock screens. There are a few variations of the lock screen in case you only want information for only one of the cards and not the others. Also, if you have any ideas for things that might be helpful for you to remember, please let us know. We’re always looking for ways to provide extra value.
As a reminder, make sure you log-in and activate the bonus for these cards. You can wait until June 14th to activate your Chase Freedom bonus categories since Chase will award points retroactively. However, you’re better off doing it now before you forget. Unfortunately, US Bank and Citi won’t award you a bonus until you activate it.
Apply for a Chase Freedom or US Bank Cash+
If you’re interested in applying for any of these cards, we encourage you to compare credit card offers. We do get a commission if you use our link. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but it helps us to continue building content for our site and channel.
As of March 2020, the Chase Freedom and US Bank Cash+ are offering a welcome offer for new applications. The Chase Freedom also had some new benefits recently added to the card, including a three-month complimentary membership to DashPass, which is DoorDash’s subscription service. The card also earns 5% on Lyft rides.
What do you all think of the new quarterly bonus categories? Are you excited or disappointed by them? Let me know in the comment section below.