How to Optimize Chase Freedom Flex, Discover it Cash Back for Q4 2023

Most eligible cardholders, especially holiday shoppers, will find something to celebrate this quarter.
Craig Joseph
By Craig Joseph 
Edited by Kenley Young

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Regardless of how you celebrate, the right credit card can help you hold on to more of your cash this holiday season.

From Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2023, holders of the Chase Freedom Flex℠ (or the legacy Chase Freedom®) and select Discover cards like the Discover it® Cash Back and Discover it® Student Cash Back can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined quarterly spending in the following categories:

Chase Freedom Flex℠

  • Wholesale clubs.

  • PayPal.

  • Select charities.

Discover it® Cash Back and select Discover cards


  • Target (in store and online).

Both cards earn 1% back on all other non-bonus-category spending. You must activate the 5% categories to be eligible for bonus rewards.

Chase cardholders can activate bonus categories online or in the Chase app by Dec. 14, 2023, and bonus rewards can be earned retroactively. For eligible Discover cards, bonus rewards can be earned starting from the date cash-back categories are activated online.

Here are some tips to maximize your bonus categories this quarter:

Overall tip: Set your default payment method

Whether you’re earning cash back with Chase or Discover, you’ll want to set your card as the default payment method for each eligible bonus category. This will ensure you don’t miss out on bonus rewards when you pay.

PayPal is widely accepted by online merchants, and even by some brick-and-mortar stores. Regardless of where you use it, add the Chase Freedom Flex℠ to your PayPal account and set it as your primary payment method, if you haven't already.

Shopping on Amazon or Set your Discover it® Cash Back or other eligible Discover card as the default card in those accounts.

Chase Freedom Flex
NerdWallet rating 

Optimizing the Chase Freedom Flex℠

Use PayPal, both in-store and online

Most people associate PayPal with online shopping — but did you know you can also use PayPal to checkout in-store at some major retailers like Best Buy and Walmart, and even for in-flight purchases with United Airlines? According to PayPal, the payment platform is now accepted at millions of small and large merchant locations globally. That huge acceptance footprint should make it even easier to maximize your rewards this holiday season. Just be sure to set your Chase Freedom Flex℠ as the preferred payment card in your PayPal app so you don’t miss out on that bonus cash back.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Rewards won’t "stack" if you make one transaction across multiple bonus categories. For example, if you make a qualifying charitable contribution through PayPal, you’ll only be eligible to earn up to 5% cash back on that transaction.

Buy in bulk at wholesale clubs

From cleaning supplies to bulk food items and beyond, wholesale clubs like Sam’s Club and BJ’s offer a great way to stock up on supplies you’ll use well after the holiday season. With some thoughtful spending, you can lock in that bonus cash back for items you won’t use until 2024. Just be aware of exclusions: You won’t earn bonus cash back on gas or other in-club services like cell phone plans, insurance or travel packages.

Another major caveat: Costco stores don't accept Mastercard, meaning you can’t use the Chase Freedom Flex℠ (which runs on the Mastercard payment network) for in-club purchases. However, you can still earn bonus cash back by using your card through the Costco website. This works even for purchases you make online but pick up at your local store.

Make a charitable donation

The holidays are a perfect time to give back. If your personal budget allows for charitable giving, you can earn bonus cash back for using your Chase Freedom Flex℠ to make a donation to select charities (see below for a complete list). Be sure to account for any transaction fees you may incur for using a card before making the donation. If the fee is greater than the rewards you’ll earn, you’d be better off writing a check. Depending on your tax situation, donations to a qualifying charity may be tax-deductible, leading to additional savings.

  • American Red Cross.

  • Equal Justice Initiatives.

  • Feeding America.

  • Habitat for Humanity.

  • International Medical Corps.

  • International Rescue Committee.

  • Leadership Conference Education Fund.

  • NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

  • National Urban League.

  • Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

  • United Negro College Fund.


  • United Way.

  • World Central Kitchen.

  • GLSEN.

  • Out and Equal.

  • Sage.

Chase Freedom® and Chase Freedom Flex℠ bonus rewards categories for 2023

Q1 (Jan. 1-March 31)

  • Target.

  • Grocery stores.

  • Fitness clubs and gym memberships.

Q2 (April 1-June 30)


  • Lowe's.

Q3 (July 1-Sept. 30)

  • Gas stations and electric vehicle charging.

  • Select live entertainment.

Q4 (Oct. 1-Dec. 31)

  • PayPal.

  • Wholesale clubs.

  • Select charities.

Optimizing the Discover it® Cash Back

Earn cash back from your couch

Discover it® Cash Back
NerdWallet rating 

In today’s busy world, Amazon has become synonymous with convenience. From electronics to pet food, you can shop from your couch for almost anything at the world’s largest retailer. And through the last quarter of 2023, paying with an eligible Discover card can earn you bonus cash back.

Qualifying purchases include those made on and through the Amazon app, including digital downloads, Amazon Fresh orders, Amazon Local Deals, Amazon Prime subscriptions and items sold through third-party merchants.

If you don’t need to make an immediate purchase, reload your Amazon gift card balance and grab that bonus cash back for a future purchase. Amazon also sells a selection of third-party gift cards. If you’re making a purchase at another retailer, first see whether Amazon sells a gift card to that retailer. You could earn bonus cash back on the gift card purchase, then use the gift card with the other merchant.

Target bonus cash back

Jeans? Groceries? A new flat-screen TV? Whatever you’re looking for, there’s a good chance Target sells it. And for the fourth quarter of 2023, purchases made in Target stores, at and on the Target app all qualify for bonus cash back with your eligible Discover card. If you’re shopping online or in the app, be sure to make your eligible Discover card the default payment method.

Gift cards make for a perfect stocking stuffer, and Target stores carry an extensive selection of third-party gift cards. Just head to the gift card rack and get rewarded for rewarding your friends, loved ones or colleagues.

Discover bonus rewards categories for 2023

Q1 (Jan. 1–March 31)

  • Grocery stores.*

  • Drugstores.

  • Select streaming services.

Q2 (April 1–June 30)

  • Restaurants.

  • Wholesale clubs.

Q3 (July 1–Sept. 30)

  • Gas stations.

  • Digital wallets.

Q4 (Oct. 1–Dec. 31)


  • Target, including and the Target app.

*The grocery stores category does not include grocery purchases at Walmart or Target or at other superstores or wholesale clubs.

Chase Cards from our Partners
Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


Enjoy 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; and 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.


Intro offer

Matched Cash Back

Unlimited Matched Cash Back. Chase will automatically match all the cash back you earned at the end of your first year! There is no limit to how much cash back you can earn.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.


Intro offer


Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Chase Freedom Flex

on Chase's website

Chase Freedom Flex℠
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Earn 5% on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.


Intro offer


Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

See more Chase cards

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