It’s now possible to activate/enroll all 5% category credit cards for the second quarter of 2021, including the Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Flex, Discover IT, Citi Dividend, US Bank Cash+ and a few others. In this post we’ll provide the activation link for each card and links to track your spend, along with strategies to help increase spend in these categories.
Dates: April 1st – June 30, 2021. Store purchases can usually be done until the last minute. Online purchases should be given a buffer zone of a day or two.
Chase Freedom – Gas, Home Improvement
With your Freedom and Freedom Flex cards, earn 5% back this quarter on up to $1,500 in spend at gas stations and home improvement stores.
- Gas Stations – Might be possible to get the 5% at the convenience store inside of gas stations or at 7-Eleven.
- Home Improvement Stores – Should include Lowe’s, Home Depot and others. Likely online and in-store. We’ll update when the official terms are available.
Tip: Click this link (login required) to check how far you are along the $1,500.
Discover – Gas, Wholesale Clubs, Streaming Services
With your Discover card, earn 5% back this quarter on up to $1,500 in purchases at Gas Stations, Wholesale Clubs, and Streaming Services.
- Gas Stations – Works for pump and inside payments which makes it easier to use as it may work for purchases from the convenience store at a gas station (perhaps for a gift card purchase there as well).
- Wholesale Clubs – Probably includes online wholesale club purchases too. Costco does not accept Discover in-club, but you should be able to buy a Costco Cash card online with a Discover card and use it that way.
- Streaming Services – includes only the following U.S. streaming subscriptions: Apple Music, Apple TV+, AT&T TV Now, BET+, CBS All Access, DAZN, Disney +, ESPN+, Fubo TV, Google Play Movies & TV, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, Philo, Peacock TV, Showtime, Sirius XM, Starz, Sling, Spotify, Vudu, YouTube TV.
Activate to earn 5% Cashback Bonus at Gas Stations (stand-alone), Wholesale Clubs and Select Streaming Services from 4/1/21 (or the date on which you activate 5%, whichever is later) through 6/30/21, on up to $1,500 in purchases. Purchases made at Gas Stations include only merchants in the category that sell automotive gasoline that can be paid for either at the pump or inside the station. Gas Stations affiliated with supermarkets and supercenters may not be eligible. Check with your Wholesale Clubs to make sure your Discover card is accepted. Purchases of affiliated Wholesale Club services, such as delivery services, travel and cell phone purchases, may not be eligible in this category. Individual merchants and stand-alone stores within physical Wholesale club locations, or online, may not be eligible in this category. Select Streaming Services purchases include only the following select U.S. streaming subscriptions: Apple Music, Apple TV+, AT&T TV Now, BET+, CBS All Access, DAZN, Disney +, ESPN+, Fubo TV, Google Play Movies & TV, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, Philo, Peacock TV, Showtime, Sirius XM, Starz, Sling, Spotify, Vudu, YouTube TV. If your subscription is bundled with another product or service, billed by a third party (such as a digital platform, a cable or satellite provider, telecommunications, internet provider or a car manufacturer), the purchase may not be eligible in this category. Add-ons associated with Select Streaming Services may not qualify for this promotion if they are not listed, billed in a bundle, separately or through a third party. Listed merchants are in no way sponsoring or affiliated with this program.
Citi Dividend – Supermarket, Drugstores
With your Dividend card, earn 5% back this quarter at Supermarkets and Drugstores. Citi is different than the other cards in that you have a $6,000 annual cap rather than a $1,500 quarterly cap. Thus, you can get 5% back on up to $6,000 in this quarter, you can save the entire amount for a different quarter, or you can use part up each quarter. A lot of people will max out their full year on this quarter given how easy it is to spend at grocery stores and drugstores.
- Supermarkets – groceries are always a useful category. Plus, you can buy gift cards in many supermarkets as well.
- Drugstores – drugstores often sell a wide variety of gift cards which makes the category easy to use.
US Bank Cash+/Elan – Select your Categories
U.S. Bank Cash+ and Elan Max offer 5% cash back in two categories, up to $2,000 combined total per quarter. Keep in mind that Car Rentals was recently replaced with TV, Internet, and Streaming Services.
Here are the current options:
- TV, Internet, and Streaming Services
- Home utilities
- Select clothing stores
- Cell phone providers
- Electronic Stores
- Fast food
- Ground Transportation
- Sporting goods
- Department Stores
- Furniture Stores
- Movie theaters
Tip: Login here, then scroll down and click on the red “View Your Cash+ History” button.
Bank of America Cash Rewards
The Cash Rewards card from Bank of America offers 3% back on one selected category, up to $2,500 per quarter. If you don’t select anything it defaults to gas. Once you selected a category for one quarter, that remains your category in the future unless you change it. Each calendar month you can change it if you’d like, but you’re always limited to $2,500 for the entire quarter.
- Gas (default)
- Online Shopping
- Drug Stores
- Home Improvement/Furnishings
This category is especially lucrative for those who have Preferred Rewards status with Bank of America which can get you 5.25% back on one of these categories at the higher relationship level.
Lots of useful categories here. Important note: the Cash Rewards card also offers 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs up to $2,500 per quarter, and that $2,500 limit combines with the Category Selection limit. After spending $2,500, you’ll earn 1% back on everything.
Other Cards with 5% Category
ABOC – Home Improvement, Gardening, Select Online Retailers
- Earn 5x points on qualifying home improvement, gardening, and selected online retailers. Must have a registered account at abocrewards.com.
Nusenda FCU – Restaurants, Home Improvement, Movies
- Earn 5% this quarter on Restaurants, Home Improvement stores, and Movies on up to $1,500 in purchases.
Affinity FCU – Add Me
- Earn 5% this quarter on purchases at [ADD ME]
The 5x is on top of regular earn for a total of 6x or 7x, depending on the card. There also does not appear to be any limit.
Vantage West [AZ] – Select your Category
Get 5x points on the category of your choice, up to $1,500 per quarter. Eligible categories:
- Utilities [water, cell, electric, etc.]
- In-Store Wholesale Purchases [Costco, Sam’s Club, etc.]
- Department Stores
- Hardware & Home Improvement Stores
- Charitable Organizations
- Pharmacies & Drug Stores