Do this now: activate third-quarter bonus categories

Is everybody else as excited as I am about the beginning of the third quarter, just a few short days away? Here are the cash back bonus categories and activation links for the quarter beginning July 1 and ending September 30, 2015.

  • Chase Freedom. 5 non-flexible Ultimate Rewards point per dollar spent at gas stations. If you have gas stations that sell PIN-enabled prepaid debit cards or PayPal My Cash cards, this one takes care of itself. Otherwise, you can either buy actual gasoline, or see what other gift cards your local gas stations carry. Make sure you activate your third-quarter bonus earning for each Chase Freedom card you hold.
  • Discover it. 5% cash back at "Home Improvement Stores, Department Stores, and," doubled to 10% if you call to enroll in the current double cash promotion. Ordinarily I load my Bluebird card with $200 Visa prepaid debit cards purchased at Staples with Ink Plus; in July, I'll instead load Bluebird with $1,500 in prepaid debit cards purchased at Home Depot or Sears.
  • Citi Dividend Platinum Select. Earn 5% cash back on airline purchases and at any hotel in the Hilton portfolio. I won't personally be taking advantage of this offer.
  • US Bank Cash+. Select one of gas stations, grocery stores, or restaurants where you'll earn unlimited 2% cash back, and two additional categories where you'll earn 5% cash back on up to $2,000 in spend during the quarter. Charity remains a 5% cash back category, so if you have recently taken out a large negative-interest-rate loan, low-risk, short-duration Kiva loans continue to be an option. Cash+ registration takes a few days to become effective, so don't delay.