It’s crazy to think that we are halfway through the year. With the new quarter comes the time to review the rotating bonus categories for our credit cards. This includes the Chase Freedom, Discover It, US Bank Cash+, and Citi Dividend card. I’ll go through each one and share the new card bonus categories for quarter three
Before we jump into the new bonus categories, I wanted to let you know that we’ve put together a wallet-sized cheat sheet that you can download for free from our website. I know that it takes me a while before the new categories become habits in my brain. If you’re like me, then you probably need a little reminder. I’m hoping the cheat sheet comes in handy.
For the Chase Freedom card, we are ending the second quarter bonus categories of grocery stores and Chase Pay. Starting in July, you’ll earn 5% on Lyft, Walgreens, and gas stations. The 5% bonus applies for up to $1,500 of qualified spending.
From what I’ve seen online, a lot of people are unhappy with these bonus categories. I completely understand, especially since we expected Chase to match Discover’s third quarter bonus category of restaurants. I fill up my gas tank about every week or so, and use Lyft once or twice a month, so I’ll earn some bonus points. I’ll probably buy a few gift cards at Walgreens too. But otherwise, it does seem like a lackluster set of bonus categories.
For the Discover It card, we are ending the second quarter bonus category of grocery stores. Starting in July, you’ll earn 5% cash back on restaurants. This is definitely a lucrative and easy bonus category to maximize. Like the Chase Freedom card, the bonus is valid for up to $1500 of qualified spending.
US Bank Cash+
For the US Bank Cash Plus card, we’re not seeing anything new this quarter. In the past, I’ve haven’t covered this card since it has a bit of different structure in that you get to choose your rotating bonus categories. Though a few folks wanted me to add it to the list of cards that I cover. 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 cash back. They even let you earn the 5% bonus on up to $2000 of spend per quarter on the combined selected bonus categories. This makes it potentially more lucrative than the Chase Freedom card. I don’t personally have this card, but I’m considering it the next time I apply for new credit cards.
Lastly, Citi Dividend users are ending the second quarter bonus category on purchase from Home Depot and home furnishing stores. For the third quarter of 2018, the card will earn 5% on airlines and movie theaters. Keep in mind that the Citi Dividend card has a yearly award bonus cap of $300 per calendar year. This 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.
To be honest, I’m most excited about Discover’s restaurant bonus category. I know that Discover sometimes gets a bad rap for not being as widely accepted as Visa and MasterCard. Though I’ve only encountered a few places that won’t accept it. Also, having gas stations included on the Chase Freedom works for me since I live in LA and drive a lot, even though I drive a hybrid car.
I know some of you are hardcore when it comes to only earning points for travel and not interested in cash back. Though I honestly think that having cash back cards is a legitimate strategy for many folks. In fact, check out our interview with Dustin from Waller’s Wallet for more info on his strategy. His currency of choice is cash back, and he uses his credit cards to fuel his traveling style. I feel like his approach has broadened my perspective on whether it makes sense to focus on points or diversifying with more cash back.
Don’t forget to activate the categories!
As a reminder, make sure you log-in and activate the bonus for these cards. While you can wait until September 14th to activate your Chase Freedom bonus category since Chase will award the points retroactively, you’re better off doing it now before you forget. Unfortunately, Discover, US Bank, and Citi won’t award you a bonus until you activate it. Do it now so you don’t miss out!
Interested in applying?
I’ve included referral links to some of these cards in case you’re interested in applying. As of June 2018, the Chase Freedom is offering a $150 bonus opening and Discover is offering a cash back match for an entire year. Also, in case you’re wondering about the Citi Dividend card, it’s no longer available for new applicants.
What do you think of the new quarterly bonus categories? Are you excited or disappointed by them? Let us know in the comment section below.