Just a quick reminder that today is the first day of the 3rd quarter of 2017, so if you have a card with rotating quarterly bonus categories, it’s time to move those cards to the front of your wallet.
For the Discover Cards, you’ll earn 5% cash back at restaurants.
For US Bank, you’ll have the categories you’ve chosen as most valuable to you.
For the Chase Freedom card, restaurants and movie theaters will earn you 5 Ultimate Rewards (URs) points for each dollar. You can choose to redeem those URs as cash back on your credit card statement at the rate of 1 cent per point. However, if you have another Chase card that earns URs and that card has an annual fee, you can pool your points and transfer them to various airline and hotel programs where it’s possible to get more than 2 cents per point in value.
So plan your purchases carefully for the next quarter!
As we are just past the middle of the 2nd quarter of 2017, a couple of cash-back cards have already announced their categories for the 3rd quarter (and even beyond). As a US Bank Cash+ customer I received an email letting me know I could make my selections now. Here are the choices for Q3:
I originally got this card because charitable donations were one of the 5% categories but that option went away in mid-February. I’ve kept this card both because it’s free and because it gives me a 5% discount on my gym membership (which I need to use more often!).
Discover has also announced their categories for both Q3 and Q4, though it looks like the Q4 category list may expand once we get closer to it.
Restaurants is a category where I can certainly do a lot of damage as I eat out a lot. My only dilemma comes when Chase decides to offer 5 Ultimate Rewards points via their Freedom card during the same quarter. Since Chase has not yet announced their Q3 categories we’ll have to wait to see what card I will choose.
(h/t: Rapid Travel Chai)
Today is the 15th of the third month of the quarter and that means it’s time to register your Discover Card and Chase Freedom card for the next quarter’s bonus categories. You can earn 5% back (Discover) or 5x points (Freedom) on purchases of up to $1500 on each card. And if you haven’t already registered for your US Bank Cash+ card, here’s a reminder to do that now.
Discover’s bonus categories this quarter are Home Improvement stores and Wholesale Clubs. Home improvement stores often sell retail gift cards and perhaps in your area they sell Visa or MasterCard gift cards as well. While you can’t use Discover at Costco, I know it’s accepted at Sam’s Club and they often sell Visa/MC gift cards too. That would make it very easy to max out this quarter’s promo. To register, click on the link in the email you receive – it is tied to your account which makes it super easy – or go to the registration page and log into your account.
Note: You must register for this promo BEFORE any purchases will receive the bonus. So register now, before the quarter even starts.
For the Freedom card, this is one of my favorite quarters. It’s so easy to max out this promo at grocery stores and drug stores as they both sell Visa gift cards as well as other useful items. (Hey, ya gotta eat!) You must register for this promo by June 14th.
US Bank Cash+
US Bank opens up their registration much earlier that Discover or Freedom. Selection for Q2 bonus categories has been available since mid-February. As I mentioned in this post in February, the Charity category has gone away which was a great disappointment to me. These are the US Bank Cash+ categories for Q2:
To register just click on this link and log into your US Bank account and make your selections.
Categories: Cash Plus, Chase, Credit Card Promos, Credit Cards, Discover, Freedom, US Bank
Tags: Chase Freedom, Credit Card Promos, Credit Cards, Discover, US Bank Cash Plus
The US Bank Cash+ card has rotating bonus categories each quarter. You can choose two categories from a large list to earn 5% cash back and from a list of three categories to earn 2% cash back. All other purchases will earn 1% cash back. The nice part about it is that you get to select the categories that will help you most! You may now make your selections for the second quarter of 2017 by visiting the selection site. Here are the categories for the second quarter of 2017:
As a reminder, effective today, February 17, 2017, you can no longer earn 5% cash back for charity contributions if that was one of the categories you selected for the first quarter. As I mentioned last month, this is the main reason I got this card and I’m really disappointed US Bank is dropping this category. I’ll keep the card because it’s free and because I can get 5% back for my gym membership but otherwise I’d let it go. Hopefully they’ll change their mind at some point in the future.
US Bank has a couple of credit cards that I’ve found useful. I’d had their Club Carlson Visa and I got good value from Club Carlson points in Turkey a couple of years ago but since then the card had sat idle in my drawer. Last year I changed to the Cash+ card.
Each quarter the US Bank Cash+ Card allows you to select the cash-back categories that best fit your needs. There are three categories that are 2% cash back each quarter and you can select which categories you’d like for 5% cash back from a list. While the 2%/5% categories max out at $1500 in purchases each quarter, you can get unlimited cash back at 1% for all purchases after the $1500 or for any unbonused categories.
When I recently downloaded my latest statement I noted this wording under the Important Messages heading:
Effective February 15, 2017 a new 5% Cash+ Category will be available: Ground Transportation featuring merchants such as Uber and Amtrak®. Also effective February 15, 2017, the 5% Charity Category will no longer be available.
While that’s great for folks who use Uber and Amtrak, it defeats the main purpose I had for getting the card, namely charitable donations. I’ve been blessed with a good income and like to give back and this was a real incentive to do so.
It’s a shame that US Bank is removing this category so I’ll be sure to bump up my giving for this quarter so it is completed before February 17. I find the timing of this odd as it’s smack in the middle of the quarter, instead of waiting until quarter-end. We’ll have to see how they handle the selection of a new 5% category for those of us who’ll be losing this one
Does this category change negatively impact you?
Three credit cards have quarterly bonus categories where you can earn bonus points or cash back for purchases in those categories. Registration for Q1 bonuses for US Bank Cash+ and Discover is now open. Registration for the Chase Freedom card should open on December 1.
US Bank Cash+
The US Bank Cash+ card allows you to choose one category where you’ll earn unlimited 2% back and 2 categories that will earn 5% back for up to $2000 in purchases. To activate those categories, see the email you should have received from US Bank.
These are the bonus category selections for the first quarter of 2017:
Discover Card bonus categories for Q1 2017 are Gas Stations, Ground Transportation and Wholesale Clubs. Click on this link to be taken to the activation page.
As a reminder, Q4 bonus categories may still be activated if you haven’t done so already and any purchases in the bonus categories will be retroactively applied. Bonus categories for Q4 2016 are Amazon.com, Department Stores and Sam’s Club. So don’t forget to activate your bonus categories today!