My Game Plan For Chase Freedom’s 2nd 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

Bethany covered the details on the new quarter’s 5% earning categories for the 3 major players earlier.  I wanted to take some time and break down each one individually and give you my plan of attack for the quarter.

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

Chase Freedom 2nd Quarter 2018

The categories for Chase Freedom this quarter may be the best ones I have ever seen

  • PayPal
  • Grocery Stores
  • Chase Pay

If you can’t max out the $1,500 in spend this quarter you may be in the wrong hobby ;).  All joking aside this one has some low hanging fruit so the goal should be to do this as cheaply as possible.

I usually manufacture my Chase Freedom quarterly spend mixed in with some regular spend. I will list out what I see as the best options to maximize this in order from most expensive to least expensive.

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

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

Visa Gift Purchase at the Grocery Store

This is the route a lot of the experienced “increase spenders” will go.  It is quick, it is easy, and many people probably completed the $1,500 in spend on April 1st.  The problem with this route, and why it starts the list instead of finishes it, is that it comes with costs.

Buying a $500 Visa gift card at the grocery store costs $6.95 for each card.  You would need to purchase 3 cards to complete the quarterly spend.  That comes in with a total cost of $20.85.  You then need to cash out the cards which would cost you a minimum of another $1.40.

The total cost comes to $22.25 to complete the quarter.  That isn’t a lot of money, especially for 7,500 Ultimate Rewards points, but it is a cost of $.003 per point.  Even with the costs involved this is an option many will take.

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

Regular Spend Via 3rd Party Gift Card

The 2nd quarter categories presents an opportunity to stack promotions to increase your savings.  Particularly if you have a grocery store that offers fuel rewards points.  You can stack the fuel points with the Chase Freedom’s 5x quarterly earning to get a big discount on your regular shopping.

If you time it with one of the 4X Fuel points promos currently going on you can increase your savings even more.  If you went and maxed out your $1,500 in spend purchasing 3rd party gift cards during a 4x fuel promotion you would end up with 7,500 Ultimate Rewards points and 6,000 fuel rewards points.  That is $6 off per gallon of gas up to 35 gallons (most fuel programs).  Even if you used the discount on 15 gallon fill ups that is a savings of $90 on top of your Ultimate Rewards windfall.

This only works if your grocery store has a fuel rewards program and if they sell 3rd party gift cards that you know that you will use.  We do a lot of shopping at Amazon and Target so this will cover some of my quarterly spend for sure.

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

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

eBay Discounted Gift Cards

What makes this quarter so versatile is the addition of PayPal.  I can’t remember this ever being one of the categories and it really opens the door to a lot of places.  Chase Pay and mobile wallets are great and all but they don’t have the reach that PayPal does.

This is also where a majority of my spend will go for the quarter.  I plan on purchasing discounted gift cards on eBay for resale.  I should be able to earn the 7,500 Ultimate Rewards points for the quarter and put a little bit of coin in my pocket.

This may not be an option for everybody because the gift card reselling market has become tough and you need to have good reselling relationships to break even on most deals.  But if you have those things already lined up then this sets up perfectly for you.  It can be like the good ole days, earning 5X on PayPal Digital Gifts purchases :).


This quarter is diverse as a day is long so you should have no issues maxing out the 5X earning for the Chase Freedom card.  Hopefully this gave you some ideas on how to get the job done.  I will probably end up using a mix of the above mentioned options but a majority of my spend will be discounted gift cards on eBay.

Let me know what you game plan is in the comments section!


Happy 5X’ing


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. It will not be easy for some. Where I live no supermarket will take cards for payment anymore: Shaw’s, Hannaford, or Market Basket. And I personally don’t ordinarily resell, so it will take more work than picking low fruit. Any other suggestions.

    • You can use PayPal to pay some bills if that is possible. Or if you have no other options you can PayPal a friend the money and have them give it back to via check or cash. You do run the risk of shut down from PayPal from doing that. Just use PayPal/Chase Pay for as many online purchases as possible.

    • Paying friends with a card on mobile wallets/paypal etc. usually come with a 3% fee so it isn’t the best way to rack up the points unless you have no other way.

  2. Logged in to pay my progressive car insurance today and noticed PayPal is now an option. 5 points per dollar…don’t mind if I do

  3. What are the common merchants for Chase Pay? I don’t recall ever seeing it as a retail option on-line or in any store.

  4. I know they go back and forth with limit and no limit. For a while, I was able to use a lot more. Glad to know it is not just me. Is it $1,000 every 30 days?

  5. Is eBay limiting the use of their gift cards again? I got shopped at $1,000. I haven’t tried to spend more eBay gift cards for resale items in a couple of weeks. Has anyone else heard this?

  6. I will get a $500 visa gift card at Stop & Shop on Sunday, getting me the $15 off my shopping order and there is a rumor that there will be 3x fuel points on visa gift cards starting Friday. The rest I will probably buy gift cards on ebay using paypal but I will save that until May and June, as I can earn 5X on PPDG using my old Ink MasterCard thru April 30.

    • You don’t have a “friend” with a stop & shop account to do it more than once? That is a good deal!

    • I would focus on PayPal and if you can resell gift cards that is probably your best bet since many are delivered via email. If not just use PayPal for your online purchases whenever possible.


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