Cash back credit cards reward you on purchases you make by putting some money back into your account, yet they all reward you differently. Some will provide you with flat-rate cash back on everything you buy, and others will offer higher rewards on certain purchases.

There’s also the third group of cash back credit cards: cards with rotating bonus categories. These cards offer a higher cash back rate (typically 5 percent) in categories that rotate on a quarterly basis.

Below, we’ll take a look at whether or not three major issuers — Chase, Discover and Citi — offer cash back credit cards with bonus categories. Read on for the full breakdown of the current bonus categories on these cards.

Chase 2022 rotating categories

The only Chase credit card (currently available for application) with rotating bonus categories is the Chase Freedom Flex℠. The card offers 5 percent cash back on activated bonus category purchases each quarter (up to $1,500 in purchases, then 1 percent), 5 percent back on Chase Ultimate Rewards travel purchases, 5 percent back on Lyft rides (through March 2025), 3 percent back on dining and drugstore purchases and 1 percent back on all other purchases.

Note, the issuer announces one category at a time. Here’s what the Chase Freedom Flex 2022 bonus categories look like compared to its 2021 offerings:

Quarter Chase 2021 categories Chase 2022 categories
Q1: January to March
  • Wholesale clubs
  • Internet, cable and phone services
  • Select streaming services
  • Grocery stores (excluding Walmart and Target)
  • eBay
Q2: April to June
  • Gas stations
  • Home improvement stores
  • Amazon.com
  • Select streaming services
Q3: July to September
  • Grocery stores (excluding Walmart and Target)
  • Select streaming services
  • Gas stations
  • Car rentals
  • Select entertainment
  • Music theatres
Q4: October to December
  • Walmart purchases
  • PayPal purchases
  • Walmart purchases
  • PayPal purchases

Discover 2022 rotating categories

The Discover it® Cash Back, Discover it® Student Cash Back and Discover it® Balance Transfer offer 5 percent cash back (after activation) on up to $1,500 in rotating category purchases each quarter, then 1 percent back, plus 1 percent on all other purchases. All three cards also include Discover’s first-year Cashback Match welcome offer. For example, if you earn $300 in cash back during your first 12 months of card ownership, Discover will award you an additional $300.

You can activate the next quarter’s categories at any time during the current quarter. Enrollment for each quarter closes on the last day of that quarter.

Unlike Chase, Discover releases its categories for all four quarters at the same time, a month or so before the new year starts. Here’s a look at the 2022 Discover cash back calendar, along with the previous year’s bonus categories for comparison:

Quarter Discover 2021 categories Discover 2022 categories
Q1: January to March
  • Grocery stores (excluding Walmart, superstores and wholesale clubs)
  • CVS
  • Walgreens
  • Grocery stores (excluding Walmart and Target)
  • Fitness clubs
  • Gym memberships
Q2: April to June
  • Gas stations
  • Wholesale clubs
  • Select streaming services
  • Gas stations
  • Target
Q3: July to September
  • Restaurants
  • PayPal
  • Restaurants
  • PayPal
Q4: October to December
  • Amazon.com
  • Walmart.com
  • Target.com
  • Amazon.com
  • Digital wallets

Citi 2022 rotating categories

Citi no longer offers cash back cards with rotating categories on a quarterly basis. Previously, it offered the Citi Dividend Card*, which has since been discontinued.

Currently, the card most similar to the Citi Dividend Card is the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card. The Custom Cash offers 5 percent cash back in your top spending category each billing cycle (on up to $500 each billing cycle, then 1 percent), plus 1 percent on all other purchases. This means you could earn $25 back per billing cycle, $75 per quarter and $300 per year.

Categories that qualify for 5 percent back include:

  • Restaurants
  • Gas stations
  • Grocery stores
  • Select travel and transit
  • Select streaming services
  • Drugstores
  • Home improvement stores
  • Fitness clubs
  • Live entertainment

The bottom line

So, should you get a cash back card with rotating categories? If you’re willing to put in the work, such as enrolling in bonus categories and making sure you use the card for the right purchases, this type of credit card can yield lucrative rewards. Plus, the rotating category cash back cards currently available don’t charge annual fees, so there’s no pressure for you to spend enough to justify the card’s cost.

Before you make the call to apply, consider reading through our list of the best cash back credit cards for 2022. You just might find another option that better suits your spending style and needs.

The information about the Citi Dividend Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.