It's that time again, your quarterly reminder to activate next quarter's bonus earning on all your credit cards offering rotating quarterly rewards.
In the first quarter of 2018, each Chase Freedom card you have will earn 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on up to $1,500 spend in combined purchases at gas stations, internet/cable phone services, and through the Chase Pay, Android Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay services.
For folks who actually use those mobile wallets you may find it easy to reach $1,500 in purchases during the quarter. Alternatively, you may have access to a gas station that, when the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars, is still willing to sell PIN-enabled prepaid debit cards.
In the first quarter of 2018 Discover it (and legacy Discover More) cards will earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases made at gas stations and wholesale clubs. Most wholesale clubs sell some form of PIN-enabled prepaid debit card, although if you haven't already, you may have to experiment to find cards that can be liquidated at your most convenient local merchants.
Citi Dividend cards are unique for allowing you to earn 5% cash back on up to $6,000 in purchases per calendar year, rather than $1,500 per quarter. In the first quarter of 2018, you can reach that threshold at gas stations and car rental agencies. Citi released the entire schedule of bonus categories for 2018 and nothing jumps out at me as easier or cheaper to manufacture than gas station spend, so if you have gas station options or are traveling to an area where gas station manufactured spend is possible, think about adding it to your shopping list.
US Bank Cash+
Finally, US Bank Cash+ cards allow you to choose one of three categories where you'll earn 2% cash back on an unlimited amount of spend, and two additional categories where you'll earn 5% cash back on up to $2,000 in quarterly spend. Recently the best bet with these cards is to either use them for big electronics purchases you were planning to make anyway, or prepaying recurring expenses like gym memberships. Let me know in the comments if you see anything more promising next quarter.