You are currently viewing Chase Freedom Q1 categories now live: Earn 5% back/5 points per dollar at grocery stores, gyms and spas

Chase Freedom Q1 categories now live: Earn 5% back/5 points per dollar at grocery stores, gyms and spas

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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers. 

Chase has kicked off 2024 with a bang for Freedom (no longer available to new applicants) and Chase Freedom Flex cardholders. For Q1, we see the return of our two favorite categories and a brand-new one.

During the first quarter of 2024, cardholders can earn bonus rewards on spending at select grocery stores, fitness club and gym memberships, and self-care and spa services.

As many of us are setting goals for the new year around health and wellness, this is a great chance to earn some extra rewards along the way. Whether you’re focused on cooking more at home, checking out a new gym or reducing stress by adding in some spa treatments, there’s a bonus category for you.

You can earn 5% back (or 5 points per dollar) on up to $1,500 of spending in these categories — and 1% (or 1 point per dollar) after that — between now and March 31 after activating.

Here’s how it all works.

Chase Freedom and Freedom Flex Q1 2024 categories

Now through March 31, Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Flex cardmembers can earn 5% cash back (or 5 points per dollar) on spending in the following categories:

  • Select grocery stores (including Instacart)
  • Fitness club and gym memberships
  • Self-care and spa services

As noted above, you must activate your card to unlock the bonus-earning potential in these categories.

a hand holds a credit card

It’s simple to complete this process online through your Chase account — with your last name, the last four digits of your card and your ZIP code. Registration is now open.

Analyzing the Q1 bonus categories

Q1 is the perfect time to take inventory of our habits and set new goals for the coming year. If your 2024 goals involve meal planning, the grocery category is worth getting excited about. Even better — most grocery delivery services (including Instacart) are included, so you can save time while earning more.

Regardless of your fitness habits, a fitness club or gym membership can be a significant expense that doesn’t fit into many credit card bonus categories, making it especially nice to see as a Q1 bonus category.

And self-care and spa services are making their bonus category debut this quarter. Whether you’re treating yourself by going for a new look at the salon or booking some much-needed relaxation time at the spa, you’ll earn bonus rewards on your me-time.


Here are the bonus details:

  • Grocery stores: Home chefs and meal preppers will rejoice to see the return of the grocery store category. As noted above, grocery-specific delivery services (such as Instacart) are included in this category. However, stores that sell a wide range of products, such as wholesale clubs like Costco and big-box retailers like Walmart and Target, are not included.
  • Fitness club & gym memberships: If you’re joining a snazzy new fitness studio, pay with your Freedom or Freedom Flex to earn bonus rewards and kick up the excitement to another level. And if you’re continuing an existing membership, switch your card on file to your Freedom or Freedom Flex for Q1 and use the extra rewards to treat yourself. Note, however, that only physical studio memberships are included; you won’t earn bonus rewards on fitness streaming subscriptions.
  • Self-care & spa services: This new category is exciting, as the new year is a great time to invest in self-care and stress relief. Eligible beauty and recovery treatments (such as massages, spa treatments, manicures, tanning and barber and salon services) at a spa or participating salon will earn bonus rewards this quarter. However, services provided within a different type of business, such as a spa within a hotel, are not included.

Remember that Chase limits the 5% back (or 5 points per dollar) to the first $1,500 spent in combined bonus categories each quarter you activate the bonus. After you reach the maximum, you’ll earn 1% back on these purchases.

Frequently asked questions about Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Flex bonus categories

How do rotating categories work?

Each quarter, Chase announces a group of bonus categories that will earn 5% cash back (or 5 points per dollar) throughout the upcoming three-month period. Generally, these categories are announced halfway through the month before the new quarter starts to give cardmembers time to activate new categories beforehand. However, you can activate your categories until midway through the last month of the quarter.

The categories tend to repeat periodically — for instance, grocery stores, restaurants and gas stations are all common categories you’ll notice frequently pop up on the cash-back calendar. So, depending on the categories and whether you can maximize them, these two cards can offer quite a nice chunk of cash back or bonus points over the course of a year.

Related: Check out our full Chase Freedom Flex card review

How much cash back can I earn each quarter?

Chase limits the 5% back (or 5 points per dollar) to the first $1,500 spent in combined bonus categories each quarter you activate the bonus.

While that may not sound like a lot, that cash back adds up over time. Maximizing the cash-back categories each quarter, you’ll earn $75 in cash back quarterly and up to $300 per year. For a no-annual-fee credit card, that’s a lot of value.

Alternatively, since the cash back you earn comes in the form of Ultimate Rewards points, you’re looking at a potential of up to 30,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards earned each year. Suppose you also have a premium product like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. In that case, you can combine the Ultimate Rewards points you earn with your Chase Freedom or Freedom Flex card with those you earn from your more premium Ultimate Rewards-earning card, and they become fully transferable.

In that case, TPG values Chase points at 2.05 cents apiece, so the 30,000 you can earn in a year would be worth more like $615.

How do I activate my 5% categories each quarter?

You can head to Chase’s site to activate your 5% cash back (or 5 points per dollar) for this quarter. You can also register through your Chase mobile app, making one less credit card website you’ll need to visit regularly this year.

Here’s how to register:

  1. Head to the Chase bonus activation page or log in to your Chase account.
  2. Enter your last name, the last four digits of your card number and your billing ZIP code. If you don’t have your card on hand, log in to your Chase account to retrieve these digits.
  3. Click “Activate your 5%” to register.
  4. If you have multiple Chase Freedom cards, make sure to register each one.
  5. Save a screenshot of your activation in case of any issues later — though you should also receive a “You’re Activated!” confirmation email.

Can I have both the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Flex to double my earning potential?

Yes, you can have both cards. So, if you already have the Chase Freedom and want to add the Chase Freedom Flex to your wallet, you’re free to do so. Remember that the original Freedom card is no longer open to new applicants.

But if you’d rather only have one, the Freedom Flex is available as a product change.

And, of course, you’ll also want to ensure you’re eligible for a new Chase card.

How do I maximize my Freedom and Freedom Flex cards?

The most important thing is to make sure you activate your card to earn the 5% cash back (or 5 points per dollar) each quarter in the specific categories, then use your card for purchases in those categories.

You can set up a recurring reminder in your calendar or sign up for the TPG newsletter (we send out a reminder when it’s time to activate every quarter — plus tips and tricks for maximizing your card strategy and scoring some excellent award redemptions).

Better yet, paired with a Chase credit card that earns fully transferable Ultimate Rewards points like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, the Chase Freedom Flex’s 5% cash back effectively becomes 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar, as you can learn all about in our guide detailing the “Chase Trifecta.”

In that case, you’ll be able to transfer the points earned with the Freedom Flex to Ultimate Rewards points and to travel partners like SouthwestHyatt and United.

What are common bonus categories for the Freedom and Freedom Flex?

Of course, you’ll also want to make sure that you’ll potentially be able to maximize other bonus categories throughout the year. For reference, here are the previous Chase Freedom quarterly categories all the way back to 2012 so you can decide if common categories make sense for your spending patterns:

Bottom line

If you’re a Chase Freedom or Freedom Flex cardholder, you can earn 5% back (or 5 points per dollar) on grocery, fitness club & gym membership and self-care & spa service purchases during the first quarter of 2024 after activating.

In addition to the rotating 5% cash back bonus categories, the Freedom Flex accrues 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% cash back on drugstores, 3% cash back on dining (including eligible delivery services) and 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases.

Apply here: Chase Freedom Flex with a sign-up bonus of $200 cash back after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.