My Game Plan For Chase Freedom’s 3rd Quarter 5% Categories

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How I Plan to Maximize Chase Freedom's 5% Categories

How I Plan to Maximize Chase Freedom’s 5% Categories

I wanted to give you my plan of attack for the Chase Freedom’s 5% categories for the 3rd Quarter.  While this isn’t as valuable as the very easy to achieve 2nd quarter you should be able to max it out with proper planning.

This isn’t a one size fits all game so I will give some other suggestions as well.

Chase Freedom 3rd Quarter 2018

The categories for Chase Freedom this quarter is the standard summer quarter for Chase.

  • Gas Stations does not include merchants that do not specialize in selling automotive gasoline; for example, truck stops, boat marinas, oil and propane distributors, and home heating companies.
  • Lyft payments.
  • Walgreens purchases.

This one will not be as easy to hit at last quarter for most (thank you PayPal!).  But there are still ways to get it done outside of regular spend at these retailers.  I personally don’t use Lyft so that is off the table for me.  If you do use them then that will work out nicely for you.

CLICK HERE to compare this and other travel rewards credit cards.


Visa/3rd Party Gift Cards at Walgreens

This one is a little tricky since not all Walgreens allow gift card purchases with a credit card.  But I have a feeling that this is where a lot of people will start, and finish, their quarterly spend.  I am going to try to avoid Visa gift cards this quarter to save on the fees and use it as a last resort.

Walgreens often has 3rd party gift card sales too which could be an option for resellers out there.  That probably isn’t as easy of a task now that The Plastic Merchant is done.

This is a very viable option for the quarter but I probably won’t spend much time in Walgreens.  It is the one place I find worse than Walmart :).

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Gas Stations

Low hanging fruit is to simply fill up your gas tank with the Chase Freedom card.  But most of us don’t spend $500 a month on fuel.  Good thing there are other options at gas stations.

I will be on the lookout for gift card deals at my local gas stations.  Much like Speedway’s current promo, why could that not have been next month?!? With these deals you can usually find profitable gift cards, earn 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards with the Freedom card, and earn gas station rewards points.  That is what I call stacking!

You can also just purchase 3rd party gift cards for personal use.  My local store sells Amazon & eBay gift cards and I get Speedy Reward points for the purchase.

One area where most people could benefit though is grocery chains that have gas stations as well.  Those of you with a Meijer store know what to do ;).  As long as those code as gas stations (most should but do a test sample purchase first) you can purchase store gift cards to use on groceries etc.  This opens up the quarter to a whole other area that is a large expense for most people.  Earning 5X on your gas & grocery purchases should get it done!


While not as easy as last quarter hopefully I gave you a few ideas on how to max out this quarter.  The Chase Freedom Card is a great tool and way to rack up Ultimate Reward points and that is why I labeled it the one card everyone should get.

I will be spending my $1500 in the third quarter at the gas stations (and grocery stores with my trick).  Where do you plan on doing your spending?


Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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  1. I just noticed several WAG in different states have hard coded a limit of one $500 vanilla per transaction. I’ve just checked with a store manager who allowed up to two when they had the promo of free $5 WAG gc wyb any two vanillas. He said the register won’t allow to scan a 2nd $500 gc and he can’t override it but he allowed me to buy another $500 OV in a different transaction. I had to grab a candy on sale to make the 2nd transaction amount different from the first.

  2. If you drive regularly, isn’t it easy enough just to buy $1500 in gas station gift cards for that gas station to be used until they run out, unless you first want to buy some alternate gift cards at Walgreen’s?

    • You can easily do that – I usually get a lot better discount on my gas than just earning 5X per dollar so it doesn’t work for me but for a lot of people it would be fine.

    • If anyone is going to use their GC funds within a 90 day period, it would lessen the risk of GC funds getting stolen. I’ve read reports of those who hoarded GCs only to find out later their funds have been stolen. For this reason, I resist the urge to hoard GCs if I cannot use them ASAP.

    • I have had some 7-11s code as gas and some as grocery. Note that as with any store it can even vary per register within a given store. So the best advice is to do a test purchase, not just at a location but also note the specific register to verify before making a big purchase. Note that Chase allows you to set a gas station alert via email and/or text which will instantly tell you if it’s coded as a gas station.

  3. Sam’s Club gas does code as gas. That’s the good news; bad news is they don’t sell gc. I am pretty sure it is same for Costco. Where I live, the price difference between Sam’s gas and other gas stations [even Kroger branded supermarket] is about 30 cents a gallon for regular. I can’t see paying more for gas to get the 5x. Color me blue.

    • The trick is to buy a Kroger gift card at the gas station to use in the store on groceries. You can still get your gas at Sam’s

  4. Going to miss the usual 3rd quarter dining bonus while on a business trip in Vegas.

    I hope this quarter isn’t a sign of things to come. Especially only allowing very specific stores. If it had been a generic drug stores category I would have loaded up on CVS gift cards. I have never seen them available anywhere else.

    • CVS gift cards used to be on sale on eBay all the time but they haven’t had them in a few months now for some reason.

  5. I’m so unexcited about Q3 that I haven’t even activated any of our 4 cards.

    Gas? Already have the Costco card with 4%. Yes UR are more valuable and it’s also 1% higher at 5%. My time and mental bandwidth is more important than what will boil to a few dollars difference.

    I’m not into the YMMV game, mainly because I have two young kids. But also because I don’t like wasting my time and essentially gambling on whether or not it’ll work.

  6. Can you purchase gift cards at the Costco fuel pump so it codes as gas? Don’t they just send you into the store for gift cards? In that case it wouldn’t code as a gas purchase.

    • I could have sworn I have seen them but I could be confusing it with grocery store chains…I will adjust just in case. I know I have seen them at Kroger and Meijer for sure.

    • You can’t purchase at the pump. Have to go to member services to buy a cash card. Can also do it online however that’ll also take a few weeks to get to you.

  7. I am so glad to see Walgreens is on the list because my go to store allows CC for buying vanillas. They still have old cards with $4.95 fees which I look for instead of the ones with $5.95 fees. I have identified cashiers who allow up to two $500 VGCs in one transaction and I check out with them; there are those who will insist the register will only allow one $500 per customer per day. Since it’s not hard coded, I just go at the right time. Needless to say, Q3 will be a breeze to complete on 3 Freedoms.

      • I drain them to Western Union MOs at my local small town grocery store. The one I go to charges .59 cents for MOs up to $1000. Check grocery stores near you if they accept debit cards for money orders (don’t say giftcards) and if they do, vanilla usually go through without issues. Good luck!

        • is your local grocery store a chain or just only in your town? I don’t think theres many small/independent grocery chains in La lol

          • The one I go to is not part of a nationwide chain, it’s a small store member of a cooperative. I had to spend time checking out different grocery stores before I found it.


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