Cash back credit cards are a popular option for consumers who want to save money on everyday purchases. Certain cards, however, offer higher rates of cash back than others, with the Chase Freedom Flex and Discover It being two of the most popular options available. These cards offer 5% back on select categories each quarter. Here are the 2023 5% cash back calendars:
At a Glance
These are the 5% categories for Chase and Discover for the first quarter of this year (January 1 through March 30, 2023).
|Target, grocery stores (excluding Walmart), plus fitness and gym memberships||Grocery stores, drug stores, and select streaming services|
2023 Cash Back Calendars
Cash back credit cards are the most popular option for US consumers, and it’s easy to see why. Cash-back credit cards let you earn rewards for making everyday purchases on your card. Depending on the specific type of cash back credit card, you might earn even more rewards through bonus categories.
The 5% back rotating categories cash back credit card is one of the most accessible types of cash back card because they provide yearly variety. Both Chase and Discover offer credit cards with 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter in bonus categories that change each quarter and 1% back on all other purchases. To get the bonus cash back, you have to opt in, or “activate,” the category each quarter.
What Are the Chase Freedom Flex 5% Cash Back Calendar Categories
5% on up to $1,500 on combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter
0% intro APR for 15 months
The Chase Freedom Flex Card is one of the most popular cash back credit cards on the market. The card offers 5% back on select categories each quarter, with 1% back on all other purchases. Here are the 5% cash back categories for 2023:
|5% Cash Back Category|
|January - March 2023||Target, grocery stores (excluding Walmart), plus fitness and gym memberships|
|April - June 2023||Amazon.com and Lowe’s|
|July - September 2023||TBD|
|October - December 2023||TBD|
How to Activate Chase 5% Cash Back Categories
Chase Freedom ad Freedom Flex card members must activate their bonus categories before they earn 5% back on the first $1,500 in spending each quarter. Fortunately, activating new categories with Chase is easy. They can activate their bonus categories by visiting the Chase bonus activation page or logging in to their Chase account.
How Does the 2023 Chase Freedom 5% Calendar Compare to 2022?
While the previous year’s cash back calendar usually provides insights into future categories in 2022, that may not be the case this year. Here’s a quick rundown of the 2022 Chase Cash Back Calendar:
- January to March: Grocery stores (excluding Target, Walmart) and eBay
- April to June: Amazon.com and select streaming services
- July to September: Gas stations, car rentals, movie theatres, and select live entertainment
- October to December: PayPal and Walmart
While Chase does not reveal its full 5% calendar until September, we can gain a few insights based on Q1 2023. Given the return of groceries. we can anticipate much of the same from 2023, including the usual hits, such as PayPal, Amazon, gas, and more.
Related Article: Best Credit Cards for Grocery Shopping
What Are the Discover It 5% Cash Back Calendar Categories?
5% cash back in rotating categories each quarter, up to the quarterly maximum, when you activate
0% for 15 months from account opening
Discover is another card issuer that offers a 5% cash back credit card. The issuer’s Discover It Cash Back is an excellent cash back card with no annual fees. It also features Discover’s Cashback Match for the first year (only for new cardholders).
Unlike Chase, Discover often announces its Cashback Calendar in full. Unfortunately, that seems to have changed in 2023, with the card issuer instead unveiling the first six months of 5% cash back for 2023:
|5% Cash Back Category|
|January - March 2023||Grocery stores, drug stores, and select streaming services|
|April - June 2023||Restaurants and wholesale clubs|
|July - September 2023||TBD|
|October - December 2023||TBD|
How to Activate Discover Cash Back Categories
Before earning 5% back on the first $1,500 in quarterly spending, Discover cardholders need to activate their 5% back categories. Users can activate a 5% Cashback Bonus using the Discover mobile app, their online account, or by calling 1-800-DISCOVER.
How Does the 2023 Discover 5% Calendar Compare to 2022?
Beyond streaming services in Q2, the 2023 Discover 5% Cashback Calendar is much different than the 2022 version. For reference, here’s the 2021 Discover Calendar:
- January to March: Grocery stores, gym, and fitness club memberships
- April to June: Gas stations and Target
- July to September: Restaurants and PayPal
- October to December: Amazon.com and digital wallets
Perhaps the most noticeable change is the switch to Amazon.com in the first quarter. This, in turn, can be a great bonus for savvy shoppers – especially with plenty of great deals after the holiday season!
Related Article: The Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards
Other Cash Back Options
Chase and Discover are currently the only major issuers with an active 5% back credit card that uses quarterly categories. Previously, Citi issued the Citi Dividend Card. though that card is no longer open to new applicants. Amalgamated Bank of Chicago (ABOC) also featured a 5X rotating category card, but that too has been discontinued.
What Are the 2023 Citi Dividend Platinum Visa 5% Categories?
Here are the 2023 Citi Dividend quarterly categories for existing cardholders:
- Q1: Amazon and select streaming services
- Q2: TBD
- Q3: TBD
- Q4: TBD
With Q1 2023 including “select streaming services,” here is the list of eligible streaming services according to Citi:
|Amazon Music||Fubo TV||MLB.tv||Prime Video|
|Apple Music||HBO Max||NBA League Pass||Showtime|
|Apple TV+||YouTube (Music/TV)||Netflix||Sling TV|
Citi Custom Cash℠ Card
Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter
Earn $200 in cash back after you spend $750 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
Not sure any of the three rotating cash back credit cards mentioned are right for you? No worries@
Cash back fans still have a rotating 5% back card to choose from, though it uses a different cash back model than Discover or Chase. The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card is a generous cash back credit card that offers up to 5% back on eligible purchases – through cash back takes a much different form, with cardholders earning in their top spending category each month.
The Custom Cash℠ earns 5% back on your highest spending category each billing period. This “customized cash” cash back makes the card more akin to the Bank of America® Cash Rewards Card – though that card only earns 3% back on the top category, vs. 5% with Citi’s Custom Cash℠ Card.
What are the 5% back categories? Cardholders can earn the maximum rewards with purchases in the following 5% eligible categories:
|Dining||Fitness clubs||Grocery stores|
|Drugstores||Gas stations||Home improvement stores|
|Travel & transit (select)||Live entertainment||Streaming service (select)|
FAQs About Rotating Cash Back
We get it. Sometimes cash back rewards structures are confusing. Don’t worry – here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions:
- You can activate your 5% cash back categories quickly by clicking on the “Activate” option in your Chase mobile app, or by visiting the Chase website and logging in to your eligible card account.
- You can activate your Discover it cash back categories through the Discover mobile app, online via the Discover website, or by calling 1-800-DISCOVER.
- No. Neither card offers “unlimited” 5% cash back. Instead, cardholders earn up to $1,500 on combined purchases in bonus categories, with all other purchases earning 1% after that.
Chase Freedom and Discover It are two excellent cash back cards. The 5% cash back calendars offer significant value for those who either like to shop online or prefer to plan their major spending ahead of time. The bonus categories are incredibly useful around the holidays, as department stores, online shopping, and other major retailers are the focus.
Those who don’t spend heavily in bonus categories, however, don’t have to settle for 1% cash back. There are plenty of excellent credit cards that offer accelerated cash back on all purchases.
Not sure which card is best for you? Check out some of our “Best Of” lists to discover the top credit cards in each category: