Chase is offering select cardholders 5% cash back on Walmart and PayPal purchases, giving you the chance to earn big on your holiday spending.

Cash back cards aren’t the most exciting rewards credit cards out there. Most of them earn a flat rate and offer limited redemption options. But Chase is different, with a 5% cash back calendar offering generous rewards at rotating merchants every quarter.

Qualifying cardholders who take advantage of these bonuses can earn up to $75 every quarter — in some cases, you can even convert these rewards into Ultimate Rewards® points for high-value travel redemptions.

The latter feature really distinguishes the Chase cash back calendar from Discover’s, which limits redemptions to cash back only. And as we’re nearing the end of the year, with the holiday shopping season just around the corner, this is the ideal moment to maximize every dollar spent.

Here’s everything you need to know about Chase’s rotating 5% cash back deals.

What are the Chase 5% cash back categories for 2022?

Chase’s 5% cash back categories for 2022 have been pretty impressive, offering elevated rewards in everyday spending categories.

Qualifying Chase cardholders will earn 5% cash back for the current quarter on Walmart and PayPal transactions. Note that the bonus is limited to the first $1,500 spent each quarter.

  • January – March 2022: Grocery stores (excluding Walmart and Target)
  • April – June 2022: Amazon and select streaming services
  • July – September 2022: Gas stations, car rentals, movie theaters, and select live entertainment
  • October – December 2022: Walmart and PayPal

Remember: to take advantage of these bonuses, you need to activate them by the required deadline. The registration deadline for the current quarter is December 14, 2022.

Which Chase cards qualify for 5% cash back rewards?

Both the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and Chase Freedom® Card qualify for 5% cash back rewards. While the Chase Freedom® no longer accepts new applicants, you can still get a Freedom Flex℠ card. The current welcome bonus is $200 cash back after spending $500 within three months of account opening.

Aside from the rotating 5% cash back bonus, Freedom Flex℠ cardholders earn 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 31, 2025. Other bonuses include 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on drugstores and dining (including takeout and select delivery services), and 1% everywhere else.

The Freedom Flex℠ has no annual fee and comes with a few perks that make it worth keeping long-term. Cardholders get up to $1,000 per year in cellphone protection, which is limited to $800 per claim and includes a $50 deductible. The card also includes up to $1,500 in trip cancellation/interruption insurance per person, plus secondary rental car coverage.

Read more: Best no-annual-fee credit cards

Before applying for a Chase credit card, be sure to familiarize yourself with the 5/24 rule to determine if you’re eligible. Under the rule, Chase won’t approve you for a new credit card if you’ve opened five or more credit cards in the last 24 months — with any bank.

How to maximize the current quarter

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Chase is offering 5% cash back at Walmart and PayPal during the current quarter. While this may seem limiting initially, keep in mind that Walmart has a significant presence both online and in the number of IRL stores. The bonus applies to all Walmart stores, including gas stations and online purchases.

So you can stock up on gifts, gas, holiday decorations, groceries, and virtually anything else while earning 5% cash back through the end of the year. Despite this bonus being limited to one retailer, Walmart’s inventory is extensive enough to cover most expense categories.

Read more: Best cash back credit cards for holiday shopping

If you frequently shop online, the 5% cash back bonus might be easier to maximize through PayPal. That’s because PayPal is accepted at popular retailers like eBay, Zara, Victoria’s Secret, Express, and Forever 21. You can even use PayPal to book travel.

If you download the PayPal app, you can also use a QR code to shop in-store at over a million merchants nationwide. This opens up even greater opportunities for you to use the 5% Chase cash back bonus.

PayPal also sells e-gift cards you can use to earn 5% cash back on groceries, travel, retail purchases, dining, and more. And e-gift cards can make great gifts for friends and family who live far away. You’ll save on shipping costs, and buying them through PayPal with your Chase card will get you 5% cash back.

How to activate Chase cash back rewards

You can activate your quarterly Chase cash back bonus online or on the mobile app. Chase imposes a quarterly registration deadline, which you’ll need to meet if you want to earn rewards. The current quarter’s registration deadline is December 14, 2022.

The good news is you’ll earn the 5% cash back bonus for the whole quarter, no matter when you register (as long as you do it by the designated deadline). For example, if you max out the current quarter’s bonus by November 30 but activate it on December 14, you will still earn 5% cash back on the purchase in November.

To ensure you never miss the registration deadline, you can opt-in to receive email notifications when it’s time to register. You can then activate the bonus electronically in one of three ways:

  • Online — Register online by entering your name, zip code, and the last four digits of your card.
  • Chase mobile app — Activate the bonus by logging in through the Chase mobile app and selecting “5% cash back.”
  • ATM — Activate the 5% cash back offer through a Chase ATM while withdrawing money.

Redeeming rewards

While rewards from the Chase Freedom Flex℠ are called “cash back,” they’re technically points you can redeem for cash back. You can apply cash back rewards towards a range of purchases:

  • Pay Yourself Back — 1.25 cents per point (currently towards select charities)
  • Cash and gift cards — 1 cent
  • Travel — 1 cent
  • Amazon — 0.08 cents

If you also have an Ultimate Rewards®-earning credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can transfer your rewards to airline and hotel programs at a 1:1 ratio. The latter option is a great way to maximize your rewards since you can use them towards luxury hotels and first-class travel.

Source: Giphy.com

Here’s a complete list of Chase Ultimate Rewards® transfer partners:

  • Aer Lingus, AerClub
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Emirates Skywards
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • United MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • World of Hyatt

Is the Chase cash back calendar worth it?

The Chase cash back calendar is an incredibly lucrative tool that can help you multiply your rewards in common spending categories. Even though bonus rewards are capped at $75 per quarter, cardholders can accumulate up to $300 over the course of a year. The ability to earn $300 in cash back rewards on a no-annual-fee card, paired with the potential to convert those rewards into loyalty points, is incredibly valuable.

With nothing to lose (except a temporary two-to-five-point credit score drop), adding a Chase Freedom Flex℠ to your wallet for the 5% cash back calendar makes a lot of sense. You’re bound to find an opportunity to maximize everyday expenses for at least one quarter each year and it will cost you nothing.

Summary

The Chase cash back calendar is a great way to earn rewards on your everyday purchases. You can register for the quarterly bonus online or on the mobile app, and you’ll earn the 5% cash back bonus for the whole quarter, no matter when you register. You can redeem your rewards for cash back, travel, or gift cards, or you can transfer them to airline and hotel programs at a 1:1 ratio.

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About the author

Total Articles: 3
Ariana Arghandewal is a travel reward expert and founder of Pointchaser, an award-winning blog. She has covered all things points, miles, and credit cards for over a decade and served as an editor at The Points Guy, NerdWallet, and FlyerTalk. Her work has appeared in CNN Underscored, Forbes Advisor, Fodor's Travel, and U.S. News Weekly.