Activate Chase Freedom bonus categories for Q4
Chase has launched the 5% cash back categories on the Chase Freedom Flex and the retired Freedom card for the fourth quarter of
From Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, Freedom and Freedom Flex cardholders will be able to get 5% cash back for making purchases at Walmart or through PayPal (up to $1, in combined purchases) after activation. Activation for fourth-quarter categories on both the Freedom and Freedom Flex launched on Sept. 15 and will be open until Dec. 14,
Besides that, the Flex card offers 5% cash back on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and 3% on dining and drugstore purchases. All other purchases earn 1% cash back.
See related: Chase launches new Freedom Flex card, add new categories to Freedom Unlimited
At a glance
Here’s what you need to know:
- Activation for fourth-quarter categories opened on Sept. 15 and closes on Dec. 14,
- Cardholders who activate fourth-quarter categories can earn 5% cash back at Walmart and PayPal.
- The 5% cash back bonus is capped at $1, in combined purchases per quarter.
- Chase Freedom Flex cardholders earn 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March
Chase 5% cash back calendar
|January – March|
|April – June|
|July – September|
|October – December|
(Activation closes Dec. 14)
Chase only releases its quarterly bonus categories one quarter at a time, so we can’t yet predict what will be offered in Here’s a quick look at some of the categories Chase has offered in the last year.
Chase 5% cash back calendar
|January – March||April – June||July – September||October – December|
What is included and excluded in the Walmart category?
This category includes Walmart in-store purchases, including purchases made at Walmart Discount Stores, Walmart Neighborhood Markets, Walmart SuperCenters, Walmart branded gas stations and any other Walmart-branded and operated stores. You can also earn 5% back on online purchases at www.walmart.com and purchases made with Walmart Pay.
The category doesnt apply to purchases you make at third-party merchants that operate within Walmart stores – for example, fast food restaurants, gas stations or beauty services. Walmart affiliates, such as Shipt and Sams Club, are also excluded.
What is included and excluded in the PayPal category?
In this category, you can earn 5% cash back on purchases you make using your Chase Freedom card with PayPal. Person-to-person transfers and payments made through the Xoom transfer service dont qualify.
Note that if you use your Chase Freedom card with PayPal when paying for a Walmart purchase, youll still earn 5% cash back, meaning your rewards wont double.
Tips for maximizing your 5% cash back in Q4
- Make sure to do as much of your shopping as you can at Walmart, using your Freedom or Freedom Flex card.
- Buy gift cards at Walmart for purchases throughout the year – this will help you meet the spend cap.
- Stock up on items from Walmart that you can use throughout the year, such as non-perishables or cleaning supplies.
- If youre shopping online, see if you can pay through PayPal and use your Freedom or Freedom Flex card (make sure its connected to your PayPal account).
Comparing Chase and Discover bonus categories
Chase isn’t the only card issuer that offers a 5% cash back bonus. Discover also allows cardholders to earn 5% cash back on up to $1, in combined spending in rotating categories each quarter, upon enrollment, then 1%.
Chase vs. Discover cash back categories
Chase Freedom Flex
Discover it Cash Back
|January – March||Select streaming services, phone, cable and internet services, wholesale clubs||Grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS|
|April – June||Gas stations, home improvement stores||Gas stations, select streaming services and wholesale clubs|
|July – September||Grocery stores and select streaming services||Restaurants and PayPal|
|October – December||Walmart and PayPal||Amazon.com, Target.com and Walmart.com|
Which card offers the better deal?
The right card for you depends on whether you prefer to shop online or in-store.
Discover it Cash Back offers bonus cash back at Amazon.com, Target.com and Walmart.com in the fourth quarter of the year. This is an excellent offer, especially considering it falls on the holiday season – cardmembers will be able to shop for almost any kind of gifts online, earning bonus cash back.
The Chase Freedom and Freedom Flex cards, on the other hand, will be offering 5% back at Walmart and PayPal. Many shopping websites offer the option to pay through PayPal at checkout, which makes the PayPal category on the Freedom cards great news for online shoppers, while the Walmart category covers those whod rather shop in person.
That said, PayPal isnt included in payment options at Amazon, so if thats your retailer of choice, the Discover it Cash Back may be a better card for you in the fourth quarter.
See related: Which is the best card to use on Amazon.com purchases?
We can’t predict which card will be best for you for the next year. Discover hasnt announced its categories for yet and Chase only releases bonus categories one quarter at a time. Visit our page for more information on Chase credit cards.
The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.
Ana Staples is a staff reporter and young credit expert reporter for CreditCards.com and covers product news and credit advice. She loves sharing financial expertise with her reader and believes that the right financial advice at the right time can make a real difference. In her free time, Anastasiia writes romance stories and plans a trip to the French Riviera she'll take one day—when she has enough points, that is.
Emily Sherman is a senior editor at CreditCards.com, focusing on product news and recommendations. She is also one of the founders of To Her Credit, a biweekly series of financial advice by women, for women. When she's not writing about credit cards, she's putting her own points and miles to use planning her next big vacation.
Walmart FY Q2 Earnings Report Preview: What to Look For
- Analysts estimate adjusted EPS of $ vs. $ in Q2 FY
- U.S. comparable sales growth is expected to decelerate sharply YOY.
- Revenue is expected to decline slightly after elevated growth rates last year and early this year amid the COVID pandemic.
Walmart Inc. (WMT) is offering special bonuses and temporary pay raises to employees as it prepares for the coming holiday shopping season. The company has introduced various incentives to keep its workers from chasing other opportunities in a competitive job market. Strong demand for labor as well as supply chain issues related to the COVID pandemic have led to a tight hiring market in the U.S., posing a significant challenge to major retailers like Walmart.
Investors will be focused on Walmart's rising labor costs, and the company's overall financial performance, when it reports earnings on August 17, for Q2 FY Walmart's fiscal year (FY) ended Jan. 31, The company now is in its fiscal year. Analysts expect both adjusted earnings per share (EPS) and revenue to decline slightly compared to the year-ago quarter.
Investors will also be focusing on Walmart's U.S. comparable sales growth, a metric measuring the rate of growth generated by the company's existing stores and clubs in the U.S., including e-commerce sales. Analysts expect comparable sales to rise, but at their slowest pace since the final quarter of FY
Shares of Walmart have dramatically underperformed the broader market over the past year. The stock mostly outperformed between mid-August and mid-December before gradually losing ground with the rest of the market. It hit a recent low in early March of this year but has since rebounded. Walmart's shares have provided a total return of % over the past year, a little less than half the S&P 's total return of %.
Walmart Earnings History
Walmart reported Q1 FY earnings that beat consensus estimates. Adjusted EPS surpassed expectations, rising % year over year (YOY). It was the fastest pace in at least 17 quarters. Revenue grew % compared to the year-ago quarter, also above forecasts. However, it was the slowest pace of growth since the final quarter of FY The company said that government stimulus had an impact on its results in the quarter.
In Q4 FY , Walmart posted adjusted EPS that missed analysts' expectations. Adjusted EPS rose just % YOY, the slowest pace since Q4 FY Revenue expanded % compared to the year-ago quarter, accelerating from Q3's pace of %. Costs related to the pandemic in Q4 totaled $ billion. The company said that it expected net sales and EPS to decline in FY due to anticipated divestitures.
Analysts are expecting slight declines in both adjusted EPS and revenue in Q2 FY Adjusted EPS is expected to fall % YOY, which would be the first decline since Q4 FY Revenue is forecast to dip % YOY, which would be the first decline in at least 17 quarters. For full-year FY , analysts are currently forecasting adjusted EPS to rise %, which would be a slight deceleration from the previous year. Annual revenue is expected to fall %, which would be the first decline in at least the past five years.
|Walmart Key Stats|
|Estimate for Q2 (FY)||Q2 (FY)||Q2 (FY)|
|Adjusted Earnings Per Share ($)|
|U.S. Comparable Sales Growth, excluding fuel (%)|
Source: Visible Alpha
The Key Metric
As mentioned above, investors will also be watching another key metric, Walmart's U.S. comparable sales growth. Comparable sales, also referred to as same-store sales in the retail industry, measures the sales performance of the company's stores and clubs that have been open during the previous 12 months. The metric includes sales from Walmart's remodels, relocations, expansions, and conversions, as well as e-commerce sales. Comparable sales growth gauges a company's ability to generate additional revenue from established stores. If the bulk of a company's sales are being generated by established stores as opposed to new ones, this is a good sign that the company's products have not yet saturated the local market.
Walmart's U.S. comparable sales growth, excluding fuel, accelerated last year during the pandemic. U.S. comparable sales rose % in FY compared to %, %, and % in the three years prior to the start of the pandemic--FY , FY , and FY , respectively. So far in FY , U.S. comparable sales growth has begun to decelerate. In the first quarter, U.S. comparable sales grew % YOY, slower than in each of the past four quarters. Analysts expect a further deceleration in Q2 FY , forecasting growth of just % YOY. That would be the slowest pace since the final quarter of FY For full-year FY , analysts expect U.S. comparable sales to rise %, which would be more in line with the growth experienced in the years before the start of the pandemic.
In a significant victory for California employers, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed a $ million award against Walmart in a suit alleging that the retailer violated the California Labor Code’s wage statement and meal-break provisions. The decision is Magadia v. Wal-Mart Associates, Inc., May 28, , No.
The Ninth Circuit’s opinion is an important clarification of the cognizable harm required to establish Article III standing under the Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) and the Labor Code’s wage statement requirements.
The critical takeaways:
- An employee does not have standing to bring PAGA claims in federal court for alleged Labor Code violations that the employee themselves did not suffer.
- An employer may make lump-sum payments as a retroactive adjustment to employees’ overtime rate to factor in bonus payments without identifying a corresponding “hourly rate” for the payment on employees’ wage statements.
Walmart provides “MyShare” performance bonuses to certain employees at the end of each quarter. Because the bonus must be included in the regular rate of pay for overtime wages under California law, Walmart makes a retroactive adjustment to employees’ overtime pay by calculating the difference between employees’ overtime rate over the quarter and the overtime rate that would have been in effect if the MyShare bonus had already been factored in. The employer then reports both the bonus and the adjusted overtime pay as lump sums on the wage statements issued to employees at the end of each quarter.
The lawsuit and the $ million award
In a California class action and PAGA action that was removed to federal court, the plaintiff alleged that Walmart violated Labor Code section (a)(9) by failing to identify the hourly rates and hours worked associated with the retroactive overtime payment on employees’ wage statements and violated section (a)(6) by failing to identify the start and end dates of these pay periods in its final pay statements.
The plaintiff also asserted that the employer violated Labor Code section by failing to factor in the MyShare bonus into the employees’ “regular rate of compensation” when paying employees meal break premiums for missed or untimely meal breaks.
After a bench trial, the district court determined that the plaintiff did not suffer a meal-break violation. And, because the plaintiff could not show his claims were typical of class members who suffered meal-break violations, the court decertified the meal-break class. However, the district court allowed the plaintiff to seek PAGA penalties, based on the meal-break violations incurred by other employees. In addition, the court held that Walmart’s semi-monthly and final pay wage statements violated sections (a)(6) and (a)(9). The court awarded the plaintiff nearly $ million: $48 million in statutory penalties and an additional $48 million in PAGA penalties for the section (a)(9) violation; $ million in PAGA penalties for the final-wage-statement claim; and $70, in PAGA penalties for the meal-break claim.
The Ninth Circuit reversed the judgment and remanded the wage statement claims with instructions to enter judgment for Walmart. The Ninth Circuit also vacated the judgment and penalties against Walmart on the meal-break claim and remanded with instructions to remand the claim to state court.
Meal-break claims: no injury, no standing
The Ninth Circuit held that the plaintiff lacked Article III standing to bring a PAGA claim for meal period violations because he did not personally suffer a meal period injury. The appeals court rejected the plaintiff’s contention that he did not have to suffer an individual injury because PAGA is a qui tam statute (in which a private individual sues on behalf of the government to vindicate a public right). Despite numerous similarities, PAGA claims are not traditional qui tam actions, the court explained. PAGA claims involve the interests of nonparty individuals (not just the state and the plaintiff) who are entitled to a portion of the penalties and also are bound by the PAGA judgment. Also, in a PAGA action, the State of California fully assigns the claims to the employee who is deputized under the statute to bring the claims. In contrast, in qui tam actions, the government is the real party in interest, and merely partially assigns the claim to a private individual acting in the state’s interest.
Wage statement claims: standing, but no violation
The Ninth Circuit concluded that the plaintiff did have standing to bring his wage-statement claims, finding that a violation of section (a) creates a cognizable (i.e., “concrete and particularized”) Article III injury. In reaching this conclusion, the court undertook a two-part inquiry. The court first found that section (a) protects a concrete interest in receiving accurate information about wages in employee pay statements and that Walmart could violate a “concrete interest” if it did, in fact, fail to disclose statutorily required information on the wage statements The court wrote, “Even if Walmart pays its employees every penny owed, those employees suffer a real risk of harm if they cannot access the information required by § (a).”
Nonetheless, on the merits, the Ninth Circuit held Walmart’s wage statements and final pay statements provided all the information required under the statute. Rejecting the district court’s holding that the wage statements violated section (a) because they did not include the requisite “hourly rates” and “hours worked” associated with the overtime adjustment, the Ninth Circuit found there was no “hourly rate in effect” for the bonus-based overtime pay adjustment. Rather, “[i] is a non-discretionary, after-the-fact adjustment to compensation based on the overtime hours worked and the average of overtime rates over a quarter (or six [semi-monthly] pay periods).” Thus, Walmart’s pay statements satisfied the Labor Code requirements.
Nor did Walmart’s final pay statements run afoul of the statute. The plaintiff alleged that Walmart violated section because it did not include “the dates of the period for which the employee is paid” on the plaintiff’s “Statement of Final Pay,” which he received upon being discharged mid-pay period. However, under the plain language of the statute, Walmart had the option of furnishing a separate final pay wage statement with the required pay-period dates to terminated employees in the ordinary course of business at the end of the next semimonthly pay period.
What it means for employers
The Magadia decision is a welcome relief for California employers facing a barrage of claims alleging technical violations of the state’s wage statement laws. In particular, although the Ninth Circuit found that “informational injury” may be cognizable for Article III standing in federal court, it clarified that employers, in rewarding incentive bonuses to employees, need not undertake rigorous computations to identify a fictional “hourly rate” when awarding after-the-fact overtime premiums based on those bonuses.
If you have questions about California wage and hour compliance or related issues, contact a Jackson Lewis attorney to discuss.
Activate now: New 5x quarterly bonus categories on Chase Freedom, Freedom Flex announced
Editor’s note: This is The Points Guy’s permanent page about Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Flex’s latest quarterly bonus categories.
A new quarter has just arrived, which means reshuffling which credit cards to use to maximize all of your purchases.
Want more credit card tips and travel news from TPG? Sign up for our daily newsletter.
For those of you with the Chase Freedom (no longer open to new applicants) or Chase Freedom Flex, tomorrow, Sept. 15, you can begin to activate the new Q4 5x rotating bonus categories: Walmart and PayPal purchases, up to a cumulative $1, spending maximum per quarter, then 1x.
This has historically been our favorite quarter, as it should be especially easy to maximize the spending limit.
Chase Freedom and Freedom Flex Q4 categories
From Oct. 1, , through Dec. 31, , Chase Freedom (card no longer available for sign-ups) and Chase Freedom Flex cardholders can earn 5% cash back (or 5x points) on the following categories:
- Walmart purchases
- PayPal purchases
When shopping online, thousands of retailers offer an option to checkout via PayPal. As we head into the holiday season, Walmart can also be versatile whether you’re buying electronics or groceries.
Don’t forget to activate your fourth quarter categories starting today to earn 5%/5x, which you can do online through your Chase account.
Frequently asked questions about Chase Freedom and Freedom Flex bonus categories
How do rotating categories work?
Each quarter, Chase announces a group of bonus categories that will earn 5% cash back throughout the upcoming three-month period. Generally, these categories are announced halfway through the month before the new quarter starts to give cardholders time to activate new categories beforehand. However, you can activate your categories up until midway through the last month of the quarter.
The categories tend to repeat — grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations are all common categories that you’ll notice frequently pop up on the cash back calendar, for example. So when you can maximize your rotating categories, these types of cards can offer quite a nice chunk of cash back or bonus points over the course of a year.
Related: Check out our full Chase Freedom Flex card review
How much cash back can I earn each quarter?
Chase limits the 5% back to the first $1, spent in combined bonus categories each quarter you activate the bonus.
While that may not sound like a lot, that cash back adds up over time. If you maximize the cash back categories each quarter, you’ll earn $75 in cash back quarterly — $ per year. For a no-annual-fee credit card, that’s a lot of value.
Alternatively, that can be viewed as 30, bonus Ultimate Rewards earned each year if you also have a premium product, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. In that case, those 30, points can be worth up to $ when maximized with travel partners, according to TPG valuations.
How do I activate my 5% categories each quarter?
You can head over to Chase’s site to activate your 5% cash back for this quarter. You can also register through your Chase mobile app, making one less credit card website you’ll need to visit regularly this year.
Here’s how to register:
- Head to the Chase bonus activation page or login to your Chase account.
- Enter your last name, the last four digits of your card number and your billing zip code. If you don’t have your card on hand, log into your Chase account to retrieve these digits.
- Click “Activate Now” to register.
- If you have multiple Chase Freedom cards, make sure to register each one.
- Save a screenshot of your activation, just in case there are any issues later.
Can I have both the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Flex to double my earning potential?
Yes, you can have both cards! So if you already have the Chase Freedom and want to add the Chase Freedom Flex to your wallet, you’re free to do so. Just keep in mind that the original Freedom card is no longer open to new applicants.
But if you’d rather only have one, the Freedom Flex is available as a product change.
How do I maximize my Chase Freedom and Freedom Flex card?
The most important thing is to make sure you’re activating your categories each quarter and then actually using your card for those categories.
You can set up a recurring reminder in your calendar, or you can sign up for the TPG newsletter (we send out a reminder when it’s time to activate every quarter — plus tips and tricks for maximizing your card strategy and scoring some awesome award redemptions).
Better yet, paired with a Chase credit card that earns fully transferable Ultimate Rewards points like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, the Chase Freedom Flex’s 5% cash back effectively becomes 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar, as you can learn all about in our guide detailing Chase’s “Perfect Quartet.”
In that case, you’ll be able to transfer the points earned with the Freedom Flex to Ultimate Rewards points to travel partners like Southwest, Hyatt, and United.
What are common bonus categories for the Freedom and Freedom Flex?
Of course, you’ll also want to make sure that you’ll potentially be able to maximize other bonus categories throughout the year. For reference, here are the previous Chase Freedom quarterly categories calendar all the way back to , so you can decide if common categories make sense for your spending patterns:
|– Q4||Walmart and PayPal|
|– Q3||Grocery stores and select streaming services|
|– Q2||Gas stations and home improvement stores|
|– Q1||Wholesale clubs, select streaming services and internet, cable, and phone services|
|– Q4||Walmart and PayPal|
|– Q3||Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market|
|– Q2||Grocery stores, gym memberships and fitness clubs and select streaming services|
|– Q1||Gas stations, internet, cable & phone services and select streaming services|
|– Q4||Chase Pay, PayPal, and department stores|
|– Q3||Gas stations, streaming services|
|– Q2||Grocery stores, home improvement|
|– Q1||Gas stations, drug stores, tolls|
|– Q4||Wholesale clubs, department stores, Chase Pay|
|– Q3||Lyft, Walgreens, gas stations|
|– Q2||Groceries, PayPal, Chase Pay|
|– Q1||Mobile wallets, gas stations, internet, cable, and phone service merchants|
|– Q4||Walmart, department stores|
|– Q3||Restaurants, movie theaters|
|– Q2||Grocery stores, drug stores|
|– Q1||Gas stations, local commuter transportation|
|– Q4||Wholesale clubs, drug stores, department stores|
|– Q3||Restaurants, wholesale clubs|
|– Q2||Grocery stores, wholesale clubs|
|– Q1||Gas stations, local commuter transportation|
|– Q4||Amazon.com, Zappos.com, Audible.com, Diapers.com|
|– Q3||Gas stations, Kohl’s|
|– Q2||Restaurants, Bed Bath & Beyond, H&M, Overstock.com|
|– Q1||Grocery stores, movie theaters, Starbucks|
|– Q4||Amazon.com, Zappos.com, department stores|
|– Q3||Gas stations, Kohl’s|
|– Q2||Restaurants, Lowe’s|
|– Q1||Gas stations, movie theaters, Starbucks|
|– Q4||Department stores, Amazon.com|
|– Q3||Gas stations, theme parks, Kohl’s|
|– Q2||Restaurants, movie theaters|
|– Q1||Gas stations, drug stores, Starbucks|
If you’re not already a Freedom Flex cardholder, now’s as good a time as any to sign up. The no-annual-fee card offers a $ cash back sign-up bonus after you spend $ on purchases in the first three months from account opening. New cardholders can also earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12, spent in the first year.
In addition to the rotating 5x bonus categories, the Freedom Flex comes with 5% on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% cash back on drugstores, 3% on dining (including eligible delivery services) and 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases. Those are the same bonus categories as the Chase Freedom Unlimited.
Official application link: Chase Freedom Flex with a sign-up bonus of $ cash back after spending $ on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
Additional reporting by Stella Shon and Chris Dong.
Featured image by John Gribben for The Points Guy.
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Q2 bonus walmart
Wal-Mart pays $M in Q2 bonuses for hourly workers
Over , Wal-Mart Stores Inc. U.S. hourly store workers received more than $ million in performance-based cash bonuses in the second quarter, the retailer said Wednesday.
The bonuses are on top of hourly pay increases for more than million Wal-Mart U.S. and Sam’s Club associates received earlier this year, part of a $ billion investment toward increased pay and training for workers, the company said.
Yet these numbers pale in comparison to the windfall doled out to investors, including to the founding Walton family, the Dallas Morning News noted Wednesday. The family, which owns % of the company, receives a quarterly dividend of $ million, or 50 cents per each of the family’s billion shares — nearly $3 billion annually.
Wal-Mart is the nation’s largest corporate employer, with million employees across the U.S. In an effort to drive efficiencies, improve logistics and boost customer service, the retailer last year raised starting wages for full-time store employees to $9, or about $18, a year, and new hires can climb to $10 an hour after completing a six-month training program. Wal-Mart has also moved some 1, workers in stores dedicated to accounting and invoicing tasks in back rooms into customer-facing positions like online pickup associates and pharmacy technicians.
Wal-Mart in June said those investments are paying off. “We believe a contributing factor to [Wal-Mart's recent Q2 earnings of $ billion] is our consistent improvement in customer experience,” Wal-Mart CFO Brett Biggs said on a conference call following the earnings report. “Customer surveys indicate that we’re making good progress in providing a better shopping experience with cleaner stores, faster checkout and friendlier service… While there is still a lot of work to do in executing our multi-year plan, we’re encouraged by the results we’re seeing.”
But some Wal-Mart worker advocates say the wage increases and bonuses are still not enough. Stephanie Luce, a professor of labor studies at the City University of New York, told the New York Times in June that Wal-Mart is finding ways to limit its starting pay below $10 per hour by scaling back merit pay and keeping wages lower during training periods that last longer than a year.
“I fear that Wal-Mart’s plan is more about delaying an actual wage increase than providing real training,” Luce said. “We’ve found other major retailers using probationary periods and other strategies as a way to avoid committing to set work schedules and higher wages.”
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