Chase Freedom and Discover It 5% Cash Back Categories Q4 2018

The Discover It and Chase Freedom are cards that feature rotating 5% cash back categories each quarter you activate. Earn 5% on up to $1,500 in combined category purchases for each card.

For Q4 2018 (Oct-Dec), some of the categories overlap. Here’s how to plan your quarter.

Discover It 

The Discover It 5% cash back categories for Q4 2018 are:


  • Wholesale clubs

Be sure to log in to your Discover account to activate the offers to earn 5% on the select categories.

Wholesale clubs

Wholesale clubs like Sams’s Club, Costco, and BJ’s are included in the category. When you shop in-person, some of the wholesale clubs have an exclusive contract with a payment processor like Visa.

Most people don’t realize that you can use the Discover It card online to make purchases at Costco.

For example, if you are planning on buying electronics at Costco, the optimal strategy would be to buy them online with a Discover It card to earn 5% cash back.

I usually buy my groceries in bulk at Costco, so my strategy is to buy the cash gift cards to Costco online with the Discover It card.

Note: When I say gift cards, I mean the store branded gift cards to use as credits in the future, not cash equivalents like Visa gift cards.

Chase Freedom


The Chase Freedom 5% categories for Q4 2018 are:

  • Chase Pay

  • Department stores

  • Wholesale clubs

Again, you must activate the offer in your account to earn 5% cash back or 5X points on the select categories in Q4 2018. Redeem points for 5X when you transfer points to your Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Ink Preferred and redeem for travel.

Department stores

Department stores earn 5X points when you use the Chase Freedom card. If you question if the store codes as a department store, you can check the Visa Supplier Locator site to see what it codes as:

Since you can also shop department stores online, be sure to use a cash back portal like Ebates to earn additional cash back.

Sign up for Ebates get a $10 Welcome Bonus after you join for free and place your first purchase of $25 or more (referral link):

Chase Pay

Chase Pay is the mobile wallet app by Chase. Add your Chase Freedom to Chase Pay to start earning 5X points at retailers that accept Chase Pay.

For example, Best Buy is a merchant that accepts Chase Pay, so you can earn 5X points at Best Buy when you pay with Chase Pay.

Sebby’s Strategy

Below is my plan for Q4 2018. Keep in mind that everyone’s spending habits are different, so do what works best for you.

I plan on buying $1,500 in Amazon gift cards to maximize the Discover It quarter. My rationale is that I spend over $1,500 on Amazon purchases per year anyway, so I might as well earn 5% cash back on those purchases. That’s 10% with Cashback Match if you’re in the first year of your Discover It card.

I usually buy gift cards towards the end of the quarter if I still have some room to optimize (up to $1,500). Otherwise, I just link my Discover It card to and buy directly.

As a side note, you can save $10 at Amazon (targeted offer) when you change your 1-Click default payment to an eligible Discover card. Offer expires on 10/31/2018.

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image via

Since you can only earn 5% on up to $1,500 in combined category purchases, I won’t be using the Discover It at wholesale clubs.


I’ll be putting wholesale purchases on my Chase Freedom card. Similar to the strategy, the Chase Freedom will be my primary card when I shop at Costco, and if there’s still room at the end of the quarter ($1,500 in combined category purchases), I’ll buy Costco gift cards.

Chase Pay

Chase Pay is interesting because it opens the door to more retailers if they accept Chase Pay. This is the perfect way to earn 5X points on holiday shopping if the item is not available at a department store or wholesale club.

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