New 5X Categories on Freedom, Discover & Dividend: Best Uses & How to Maximize

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3rd Quarter 2016 5X Bonus Categories

3rd Quarter 2016 5X Bonus Categories

Congratulations. You successfully navigated through half of 2016. While that achievement will mean different things to different people, for us rewards junkies it means that the 5X/5% categories on our favorite cards have changed. Let’s take a look at this quarter’s categories for Chase Freedom, Discover it and Citi Dividend and see how to maximize them.

Chase Freedom 3Q 5X

3rd Quarter 2016 5X Bonus Categories

Chase Freedom will earn 5% at the following types of stores in the 3rd quarter of 2016 on up to $1,500 in spend:

  • Warehouse Clubs such as Costco or Sam’s Club
  • Restaurants

Freedom Cashback Calendar

Best Uses: Use for all of your non-chain dining (you can often save more than 5% on chain gift cards from third parties.) You can also purchase a wide range of gift cards at places like Costco.

Activating: You need to login to your Freedom account and activate the 5%/5X categories before September 14, 2016 to be eligible. Thankfully if you register, they will retroactively give you the bonus points, although you should just do it now!

Discover it 3Q 5%

3rd Quarter 2016 5X Bonus Categories

Discover it will earn 5% at the following types of stores in the 3rd quarter of 2016 on up to $1,500 in spend:

  • Home Improvement Stores

Discover Cashback Calendar

Best Uses: Many home improvement stores sell gift cards, although you should always look at the third party market before purchasing. This could also be a way to lock in 5% savings at Amazon as well by purchasing their gift cards. If you still have doubling, it could become 10%!

Activating: Discover won’t start paying 5% in these categories until you activate the bonus on your account. Make sure to login to do it before making any purchases.

Citi Dividend 3Q 5%

3rd Quarter 2016 5X Bonus Categories

Citi Dividend pays out a maximum of $300 per year in cashback. There is no quarterly limit, but once you reach the max you don’t earn anymore.

The Dividend will earn 5% at the following types of stores in the 3rd quarter of 2016:

  • Hilton
  • Car Rentals

Dividend Cashback Calendar

Best Uses: This could be a way to lock-in 5% savings at Hilton, but it isn’t a great opportunity. I am personally saving my $300 cashback until the 4th quarter when Best Buy and Department stores are paying 5%!

Activating: You must activate this bonus on your account by signing in if you want to earn 5% in these categories for the 3rd quarter.


It is tough at first when the quarters change since we must shuffle around cards in our wallet, but being able to earn 5% is a great thing. While I will miss the Freedom’s 2nd quarter grocery bonus, I’m glad it has restaurants on the list for this quarter and Discover’s 5% at Amazon isn’t bad either. 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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Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. Nick. Haven’t seen any mention of the all the hotel bonuses out now. You know about Starwood $5000 and $10000 bonus points promotion. But both Marriott and Ritz Carlton credit cards have come close to matching. They came out the day after Starwoods.

  2. If one is dining and spending, perhaps over $30, then having the Freedom card registered with a dining program should provide points in an airline or hotel program, as a bonus.

    By chance, Aldi began accepting credit cards during March. Beside the local grocers on Chase list, I got the 5% on my shopping at Aldi for the three months period. Hopefully I’ll get the same results when I eat at a local St. Louis Bread Co., aka Panera Bread.

    So are prescription co-pays paid with a Chase Freedom card eligible for the 5% bonus or not?

  3. Couple of things to add to the Discover 5% for home improvement category.

    I prefer to utilize the 5% (maybe 10%) for ebay gift cards. Amazon will be Q4 for both Chase and Discover. This is of course YMMV and just depends on your needs, but just wanted to make sure people know both Home Depot and Lowe’s carry ebay gift cards. With the recent scarcity in ebay sourcing, this is definitely a welcomed rainstorm in the desert.

    Home Depot had $25 and $50 ebay gift cards only. It’s been the case for at least this year (I always look when I’m there). Home Depot will most likely require a manager approval. Wasn’t hard coded but the cashier had to use her walkie to ask her manager if she could approve $50×10 ebay gift cards.

    The Lowe’s here has had $10-$500 variable load ebay gift cards for at least a year (probably more). Save yourself the standing in line and just go to the customer service desk, as they’re the only ones authorized to make large purchases. I’m not sure if there’s any specific denomination that’s hard coded into the register, but when I told them I wanted to buy $500 x 5 ebay gift cards they just directed me to the service area. I had no problems buying them in one visit, but then again I’m in there at least once every few weeks (owning a home is fun!) so the girl knew me. Either way, I’d suggest people start with Lowe’s and skip Home Depot.

    I have 4 Discover cards and 2 of them have the DCB promo closing on the 3rd, so I effectively have 3 days for it to post. Even if it doesn’t post in time I’ll still happily take 5% for ebay.

  4. Check AMEX offers occasionally for other categories than what is listed in the above 5% offers. I didn’t get a groceries offer, but others recently did. However, I checked this afternoon and on one of my AMEX cards I saw and activated 10% cashback from gas purchases thru 9/30.

  5. Chase should give a big fat bonus to whoever made the decision to extend the Freedom 5% for warehouse shopping until the end of the year. Brilliant counter-strategy to CITI’s acquisition of the Costco account. CHASE now reaps the rewards of the shift from AMEX to VISA at CITI’s expense. And spending habits tend to linger, so the effects down the road aren’t good for CITI either.

    • Nick, it just got worse than that. You’ll notice the 5% CITI Dividend categories above include Hiltons and Car Rentals. Look at what I received 5 minutes ago from CHASE Freedom. Another direct shot at CITI! This is intense!

      Earn a total of 10% cash back on up to $2,500 in combined hotel and car rental purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards in July.

      Offer valid on purchases made July 1–31, 2016.
      Applies only to hotels and car rentals booked through

      Purchase in July. Travel anytime.


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