Comparing 5X Bonus Categories for Freedom, Discover & Citi Dividend & How to Maximize

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2017 5X Bonus Categories Freedom, Dividend, Discover

2017 5X Bonus Categories Freedom, Dividend, Discover

Hopefully by now you are finishing your 4th quarter spending on your favorite 5%/5X earning no annual fee credit card. In the past few days we have learned what the 1st quarter bonus categories will be on the Discover it, Chase Freedom and Citi Dividend cards. Let’s take a look and compare where you can earn 5X in the first quarter of 2017.

  • Chase Freedom: Gas Stations, Local Commuter Transportation
  • Citi Dividend: Home Depot & Home Furnishing Stores
  • Discover it: Gas stations, Ground Transportation and Wholesale Clubs


The Chase Freedom and Discover it cards earn 5% cashback on up to $1,500 in spend per quarter in these bonus categories. (New Discover it cardmembers also have all cashback doubled the first year.) The Citi Dividend earns 5% cashback in rotating categories up to a total of $6,000 in spend per year. With the Freedom and Discover cards the limit is per quarter, whereas the Dividend has the same annual limit, but you can earn as much or as little cashback you want in any quarter.

Activating Cashback

Each of these cards requires you to login and activate your cashback for each quarter in order to earn the bonus. Both Discover and Citi will not pay bonus cashback retroactively, so make sure to register as soon as possible for the bonus categories. Registration for each of these cards is now open and can be found by logging into your online account.


As you can see, Chase & Discover overlap somewhat which is never a good thing. Thankfully Discover threw us a bone by adding Wholesale Clubs to the mix. Max out your Discover cashback with gift cards and other purchases at Costco (online only), Sam’s or BJ’s and save the gas and transportation purchases for your Freedom card!

As for the Citi Dividend, since you don’t have a per quarter limit I would wait until later in the year to maximize that. You can find a wide variety of gift cards at Home Depot, but later in the year you will be able to get 5% back at drug stores and even Best Buy, so you might want to wait until then.


While many are still frantically spending before Christmas, with these cards it is now time to look ahead to 2017. I personally have each of these cards (multiple Freedoms) and earn hundreds of dollars worth of cashback each year by maximizing their bonus categories. Happy 5Xing!

Shawn Coomer
Since 2007 Shawn Coomer has been circling the globe with his family for pennies on the dollar. He uses that first-hand knowledge and experience to teach others how to achieve their travel dreams for the least amount of money possible.

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  1. Do we know if buying Costco Cash cards also qualifies for the 5x UR points currently and next quarter with Discover IT?

  2. Actually, Citi has just released their full 2017 Dividend calendar, and drugstores are indeed the bonus category for Q2.

    Also, Shawn, your comment on using Discover at wholesale clubs mentions Costco, but I think they only accept Visa, no?

    • Yes I had seen the Citi calendar which is why I mentioned drug stores, but perhaps I should have elaborated. Also, you are correct they are Visa only in-store, but they do accept Discover online. I made sure to notate that in the post. Thanks Alex!

  3. It’s not a guarantee that Dividend will get drugstores in 2017. I believe they’ve given it 2 out of the past 3 years.


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