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Cash Back Bonus Calendar 2013

Monday, December 17th, 2012

2013 Cash Back Bonus CalendarChase Freedom, Discover and Citi Dividend recently released details of their rotating 5% bonus categories for 2013. If you have one of these cards, you can now sign up for your first quarter bonus program. For your convenience, the chart below summarizes the quarterly bonuses available for each of these cards and should give you an idea of how to maximize your cash back.

Cash Back Bonus Calendar 2013
As of Dec. 17, only Chase has published its bonus categories for the entire year. At this time, only the categories for the first quarter of 2013 are publicly available for the Discover and Citi Dividend cards. However, thanks to some technical shenanigans (viewing the sign up page‘s source code), we can forecast what Discover’s bonus categories may be as well. Beyond Q1, the categories listed below for Discover are not official, and subject to change.

Unless otherwise noted below, if a card appears in the table, it indicates that purchases made in the corresponding category will earn a 5% rebate, subject to a bonus cap. Chase Freedom and Discover will earn 5% on up to $1,500 in bonus category purchases each quarter. Citi Dividend cardholders will also earn 5% in their bonus categories, but are limited to a maximum of a $300 cash rebate per year, unless they received an offer indicating otherwise.

Note: This table does not include the excellent US Bank Cash+ Visa Signature card which allows you to earn 5% in two categories that you choose. See this post for more details on that card.

Category Jan-Mar Apr-June July-Sept Oct-Dec
Clothing stores Discover it
Drugstores Citi DividendChase Freedom
Fitness Clubs Citi Dividend
Gas stations Chase Freedom Chase Freedom
Discover it
Home improvement Discover it
Movie theaters Discover it Chase Freedom
Restaurants Discover it Chase Freedom
Select Department Stores Chase Freedom
Theme Parks Chase Freedom
Discover it
Amazon.com Chase Freedom
Kohl’s Chase Freedom
Starbucks Chase Freedom
Zappos.com Citi Dividend

How and When to Sign Up
Chase Freedom cardholders can sign up for these bonuses each quarter by visiting creditcards.chase.com/freedom/activate.aspx or by calling the number on the back of their card. Chase cardholders can also sign up for reminders to activate their 5% cash back. For 2013, cardholders must activate their 5% according to the following schedule:

January – March April – June July – September October – December
Activate between Dec. 15, 2012 and March 14, 2013 Activate between March 15, 2013 and June 14, 2013 Activate between June 15, 2013 and September 14, 2013 Activate starting September 15, 2013

Chase Freedom is the most lenient of the 3 cards when it comes to sign up deadlines. As long as you activate your bonus by each quarter’s deadline, you’ll earn your 5% bonus cash back for all category purchases (up to $1,500) you’ve made for the whole quarter.

Discover cardholders can sign up online or call 1-800-DISCOVER (1-800-347-2683) to participate in the 5% Cashback bonus program. Unlike Chase’s program, you must have signed up for the program before you can begin earning the 5% bonus cashback. Discover cardmembers can begin signing up anytime the month prior to the start of a quarter. For instance, for the quarter of April to June, cardmembers can begin signing up March 1.

Citi Dividend cardholders also can sign up online at dividend.quarterlyoffer.citi.com, by logging into their account online and clicking on the 5% cash back offer or by calling 1-800-231-0891. Like Discover, you’ll need to sign up for the bonus program each quarter before your bonus category purchases will be eligible to earn 5%.

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