We’re nearing the start (October 1st) of the fourth quarter of the year. With it comes some excellent bonus-points-earning opportunities. That’s because some travel cards (and cashback cards) offer 5X bonus categories that rotate each quarter. Let’s take a look at the fourth quarter bonus categories for a couple high-value cards…
The Chase Freedom Offers 5X Back at Wal-Mart and Department Stores, October through December 2017
The Chase Freedom regularly registers as one of the best no-annual-fee cards in my rankings. That’s in large part because of the huge return on the quarterly categories and a strong signup bonus for a card without an annual fee (link to secure application with signup bonus).
With bonus categories earning 5X, you can really rack up points quickly. Keep in mind that if you have an Ultimate Rewards card like the Sapphire Reserve or Preferred or the Ink Plus or Preferred (link to secure application with signup bonus), you can transfer points earned with the Freedom to any of those accounts. That effectively turns a 5X return into a net return of a whopping 10.5%, given that Ultimate Rewards are worth about 2.1 cents each in my estimation.
For the fourth quarter, the Freedom bonus category covers Walmart and department stores. You can earn the 5X back on up to $1,500 of purchases in the bonus category per quarter.
Some people don’t realize the value in this as they think they’ll never spend $1,500 in a specific category in a quarter. However, there’s a simple trick to maximize the value of this sort of category: Buy gift cards from the bonus category vendor.
In this case you could buy Walmart gift cards at Walmart, or you could buy gift cards at Walmart for a completely different store or restaurant, as Walmart usually has a gift card rack with all sorts of offerings. The same sort of approach goes for department stores as well.
If you’re the type of person that spends big at Walmart or department stores, or you use the trick mentioned above, you could max out the Freedom bonus categories this quarter, piling up 7,500 points. If you’re able to transfer them to an Ultimate Rewards account, you’re looking at about $158 of value, per my last valuation.
The Chase Freedom currently comes with a $150 signup bonus and it doesn’t carry an annual fee (link to secure application). With these bonus categories and the lack of an annual fee it’s one of the best cards around and a perfect card for those new to the points and miles game. Note though that the Freedom card is subject to Chase’s unpublished 5/24 rule.
Activate your Chase Freedom Q4 bonus here.
The Discover It Card Can Earn You as Much as 10% Back at Amazon.com and Target in the Fourth Quarter of 2017
The Chase Freedom 5X offers are tough to beat in my mind because not only are you getting that 5X multiplier, the points are worth about 2.1 cents each in my estimation. However, there are some people who are unable to get the Chase Freedom card because of the 5/24 rule. Those people (and even those who do have the Chase Freedom) can turn to the Discover it card for great bonus categories also.
There’s an element of the Discover It card that takes its appeal to another level: For the first year of card membership, Discover doubles your cashback earnings.
TERMS OF CASHBACK BONUS OFFER: Get a $50 Cashback Bonus after you make your first purchase within 3 months of being approved. Promotional award will be applied within 8 weeks. The promotional award is in addition to the Cashback Bonus earned on all purchases.
Cashback MatchTM: After the first 12 consecutive billing periods that your new account is open, we will match all of the cash back rewards you’ve earned and apply them to your account in the following one or two billing periods. If your account is closed or no longer in the cash back reward program at the time we calculate your potential award, your cash back will not be matched. You’ve earned cash back rewards when they have posted to your account by the end of the 12th consecutive billing period. This promotional offer may not be offered in the future. This exclusive offer is available only to new cardmembers.
That means that the $50 signup bonus doubles, making it effectively $100 (link to secure application). That’s of course much better than the zero-dollar signup bonus that some cashback cards offer.
The other excellent benefit here is that the cashback earnings you accumulate from the quarterly bonus categories also gets doubled during the first year of card membership. So the 5% back at Amazon.com and Target for the fourth quarter effectively becomes 10% back for new cardholders. That’s an outstanding deal!
You can get the Discover it card with a $50 signup bonus that gets doubled to $100, by using this link to the secure application.
Activate your Discover It fourth quarter bonus here.
Rotating category spending is a great way to rack up points and some old-fashioned cash. The fourth quarter bonus categories for the Chase Freedom and Discover it cards are useful and appealing – they cover a few of the most popular holiday shopping stores right as people get into Christmas and Hanukkah shopping. Given that both cards have no annual fee and they come with signup bonuses to boot, they’re cards to consider grabbing if you haven’t already.
Are you planning to use your Chase Freedom or Discover it card for bonus categories this quarter? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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