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Chase Freedom Flex categories: 5% bonus cash back

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The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is a cash back credit card with no annual fee and a unique feature. Every three months, the card switches its bonus categories, offering new opportunities to earn extra cash back. Once you activate the categories, you’ll earn 5% cash back anytime you make a purchase during the quarter in any of the selected categories, up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter.

The new Chase Freedom Flex bonus categories for the fourth quarter, which runs Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2022, are now in effect. These categories are:

  • Walmart and
  • PayPal

Most Chase Freedom Flex card holders will find these categories easy to maximize, especially since you can purchase many third-party gift cards at Walmart in-store. There’s also hundreds of stores that accept PayPal as a form of payment, such as Target, Best Buy and Home Depot.

Paypal is a 5% bonus category on the Chase Freedom Flex credit card in the fourth quarter.

Remember that in order to earn 5% bonus cash back on the Chase Freedom Flex, you need to activate the categories each quarter by phone or online at You can activate these starting on September 15, but you don’t have to activate them before you’ve made a purchase — you can do it afterward and still get bonus cash back retroactively. However, the last day to activate these categories is Dec. 14, 2022.

Also, keep in mind that you’ll earn only 5% cash back in these categories on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter. For any purchases beyond that cap, you’ll earn 1% cash back, which is the same rate you’ll get on any purchases made outside the bonus categories. And these same categories are also available on the original Chase Freedom credit card, which is no longer open to new applicants but still used by many Chase customers.

In addition to earning 5% cash back on the rotating categories, the Chase Freedom Flex also comes with a trio of fixed bonus categories. You’ll earn 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% cash back on dining (including eligible delivery services) and 3% cash back at drugstores. All other purchases earn 1% cash back.

Plus, there’s a way to further increase the value of your Chase Freedom Flex rewards. When you also have one of Chase’s premium travel credit cards — the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card — you have the option to convert your Chase Freedom Flex cash back into Ultimate Rewards points at a rate of 1 cent per point.

You can then redeem those points at a higher value for travel purchases — either at 1.5 cents apiece on the Chase Sapphire Reserve or 1.25 cents each on the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred. Plus, you can use Chase’s Pay Yourself Back tool on those cards as well.

Finally, you can potentially increase the value of your Ultimate Rewards points even further by transferring them to any of Chase’s 14 airline and hotel partners. This option requires some time and research in order to understand how these partner loyalty programs work, but as airlines return to the skies, it’s possible to use these points to travel to exotic destinations in first class for very little money.

Convert your Chase Freedom Flex cash back to Ultimate Rewards points and redeem them for travel at a higher rate.

Of course, if you prefer cash to travel rewards, you can just redeem the cash back you earn on the Chase Freedom Flex for a statement credit, or a direct deposit into most US checking and savings accounts. Other options for redeeming include gift cards and Amazon’s “Shop With Points” program, though you may not get as much value for your points when using those methods.

Pair the Chase Freedom Flex and take advantage of its bonus categories

Regardless of whether you’re interested in cash back or travel rewards, the Chase Freedom Flex is a useful credit card to have in your purse or wallet. You’ll just want to make sure you have another credit card to pair it with, since that’s when it’s most valuable.

If you’re interested in travel, get a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve to go with the Chase Freedom Flex, and convert your Freedom Flex cash back to travel points, increasing their value and opening up multiple additional redemption options.

If you prefer cash back, pair the Chase Freedom Flex with another credit card that earns a higher rate on purchases outside the bonus categories. CNN Underscored’s benchmark credit card, the Citi® Double Cash Card, is one such option, as it earns 2% cash back on everything you buy — 1% when you make a purchase, and another 1% when you pay it off. Then use the Freedom Flex when you make a purchase in the bonus categories, and the Citi Double Cash on everything else.

And if you don’t already have a Chase Freedom Flex credit card, you might want to consider getting one and using it to earn extra cash back. The card even currently comes with a sign-up bonus of $200 in cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months after you open the account.

Learn more about the Chase Freedom Flex.

Learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
Learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Learn more about the Citi Double Cash Card.
Learn more about the Ink Business Preferred.

Thinking about getting a new credit card? Read CNN Underscored’s guide to the best credit cards available right now.

Get all the latest personal finance deals, news and advice at CNN Underscored Money.

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