Activate Your 5% Cash Back Cards

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It’s that time of year again, time to activate your 5% cash back credit cards (I’m looking at you Discover ItChase Freedom, and Citi Dividend). If you follow this blog or any other travel blog, chances are you have already activated your Discover It and Chase Freedom. If you haven’t, do it now! We still have a week until April, but it never hurts to be prepared. In fact, I would highly suggest activating as soon as possible so you do not forget about it.

When it came time to activate the Q1 bonus in December, I was on vacation in the caribbean and completely forgot about my Chase Freedom’s 5% bonus. Only after using my Freedom to buy gas did I realize that the bonus was not activated. Fortunately, gas is a very easy category to max out, so I didn’t miss out on much.

The general theme for Q2 bonuses is home improvement. So, if you are planning on painting, upgrading your furniture, or doing a project that involves Lowe’s or Home Depot, you’re in luck!

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Discover It

  • 5% Cash Back Categories:
  • Quarterly Limit: ($1500 @ 5%) = $75 Cash Back Max Per Quarter
  • Best Manufacturing Method: If you are not planning a home improvement project, the best way to manufacture this 5% cash back would be to buy prepaid gift cards. I have not tested this myself, but I have heard reports of people buying prepaid gift cards at Home Depot with a credit card with no issue.

Discover It offers a lot of great features including Shop Discover, great 5% cash back categories (especially online shopping for Q4), and a very generous sign-up bonus without an annual fee. They also give you your FICO score for free, on every statement. If you are looking to get a cash back card, I would highly suggest Discover It. You can sign-up here.

  • Sign-Up Bonus: $150 cash back after spending $750 in three months.

Chas Freed

 

Chase Freedom

  • 5% Cash Back Categories: Restaurants and Lowe’s
  • Quarterly Limit: ($1500 @ 5%) = $75 Cash Back Max Per Quarter
  • Best Manufacturing Method: Again, if you are not planning a home improvement project, the best way to manufacture this 5% cash back would be to buy prepaid gift cards.

I have all three of the cards mentioned in this post and Chase Freedom is my absolute favorite. It does not offer a free FICO score like Discover It does and it only has a $100 sign-up bonus, but this card earns Ultimate Rewards instead of cash back. Ultimate Rewards points are not very valuable if you do not have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or an Ink Bold/Plus. However, when you do they can be transferred from your Freedom to your Ink Bold then to 10 different travel partners, which makes them very useful! I also like to use the Ultimate Rewards Mall, because I prefer UR points to cash. You can sign-up here. (Disclaimer: This is an affiliate link. Thank you for your support!)

  • Sign-Up Bonus: $100 cash back after spending $500 in three months.

Citi® Dividend Card

 

  • 5% Cash Back Categories: Home Furnishing Stores, Home and Garden Stores, and Home Depot
  • Limit: ($6000 @ 5%) = $300 Cash Back Max Per Year
  • Best Manufacturing Method: Since this card has a yearly 5% cash back limit, I would wait until gas stations are a category or until Q4 when holiday shopping is the category. Otherwise, if you have this card right now then you could max out your yearly bonus at the pharmacy we all know and love!

The Citi Dividend is the easiest card to max out the 5% cash back limit, since pharmacies are one of the Q1 categories. I maxed out my Citi Dividend in the first two weeks of January. So, I would highly suggest this card solely for its manufacturing ability. You can sign-up here.

  • Sign-Up Bonus: $100 cash back after spending $500 in three months.

I would suggest getting all three of these cash back cards at one point or another, since they all lack annual fees and give you 5% cash back on rotating categories. If you want one to start with, I would suggest Discover It since it has the most features and the highest sign-up bonus. If you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Bold/Plus, definitely get the Chase Freedom, so you can transfer your UR points. If you are looking for a card that can be easily manufactured with get the Citi Dividend.

If you are looking to maximize your 5% cash back check out this post.

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