With Chase, you have options for some of the best travel credit cards and best cashback credit cards currently available. And with the addition of the new Chase Freedom Flex, the value of Chase credit cards will continue to increase.
In this Chase Freedom Flex review, we’ll cover who should get the Freedom Flex, its benefits and drawbacks, and how you can earn and redeem cash back. This should help you compare credit cards and decide whether the Freedom Flex is the right choice for you.
Seriously Powerful Cashback Card
Who should get the Chase Freedom Flex?
Everyday spending on common purchases can easily make up a large portion of your personal budget, which is why it’s important to earn cash back or rewards on these purchases. Because cashback credit cards earn you money back on every purchase, you’re basically getting a nice discount whenever you use one of these cards. This is why the Chase Freedom Flex in particular can be so valuable.
There are plenty of cashback cards to choose from, but the Freedom Flex has unique earning potential and superior benefits. With this card, you can earn 5% on rotating quarterly categories (on up to $1,500 spent) and travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal; 3% at restaurants (including takeout and delivery) and drugstores; and 1% on all other purchases.
For everyday purchases, it’s hard to beat the return you can get when you use the Freedom Flex on common expenses like restaurants (including takeout and delivery) and drugstores. You may not always get value from the rotating categories, but some of them will likely be useful. In the past, rotating categories have included purchases from Amazon.com, grocery stores, gas stations, streaming services, and more.
The Freedom Flex doesn’t come with luxury travel benefits, so it may not be the right fit for you if that’s what you’re looking for. However, you can use it to earn extra cash back when you book travel through the Chase travel portal. This makes the Freedom Flex a viable option both for everyday spending and making travel purchases through Chase.
Overall, the benefits greatly outweigh the cost on this card, especially because it has a $0 annual fee.
|Card type||Cash back|
|Credit card issuer||Chase|
|Credit card network||Mastercard|
|Intro bonus||Earn $200 cash back after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months, plus earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart; up to $12,000 in the first year)|
|Reward rate||5% on rotating quarterly categories (on up to $1,500 spent) and travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal; 3% at restaurants (including takeout and delivery) and drugstores; and 1% on all other purchases|
|Recommended credit score||Excellent, Good|
|Intro APR||0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months|
Chase Freedom Flex benefits and perks
- Generous sign-up offer: Earn $200 cash back after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months, plus earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart; up to $12,000 in the first year).
- Rewards earning: Earn 5% on rotating quarterly categories (on up to $1,500 spent) and travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal; 3% at restaurants (including takeout and delivery) and drugstores; and 1% on all other purchases.
- $0 annual fee: With a $0 annual fee, there’s no annual cost to offset as you earn cashback rewards.
- Introductory APR on purchases: You’ll receive a 0% intro APR on your purchases for 15 months after account opening. This means you can avoid accruing credit card interest on any purchases you have to make.
- Coverages and insurance: The Freedom Flex comes with purchase protection, extended warranty protection, cell phone protection, auto rental coverage, and trip cancellation or interruption insurance.
- DoorDash and Lyft: Earn 5% cash back on Lyft rides (through March, 2022). Also, receive three complimentary months of DashPass from DoorDash. This service provides unlimited DoorDash deliveries with $0 delivery fees on orders over $12.
Drawbacks to this card
- Low unlimited rate: Bonus categories are nice when you have the opportunity to take advantage of them, but that won’t always be the case. Aside from the bonus categories, the Freedom Flex earns just 1% cash back on all other purchases. Compared to other cashback cards with higher unlimited rates on all purchases, this rate doesn’t compete.
- Foreign transaction fee: The Freedom Flex may have some travel benefits, but it wouldn’t be wise to use this card on purchases while you’re abroad. The foreign transaction fee is 3%.
- No luxury benefits: Don’t expect to find any luxury travel benefits on the Freedom Flex. For Priority Pass airport lounge access or annual travel credit, you’d need to look into a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Although, it could make a lot of sense for frequent travelers to pair Chase Freedom and Chase Sapphire cards to utilize the rewards and benefits of both cards.
Earning and redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards
With the Chase Freedom Flex, you’re able to earn cash back in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards points. These points are among the most valuable of any credit card rewards available, which is one of the reasons Chase credit cards are so popular.
Here, we’ll show you how much cash back you can potentially earn in your first two years with the Freedom Flex card. We’ll also help you understand the best ways to earn and redeem cash back with this card.
Potential earnings in years one and two
Here's a look how your cash back can add up with the Chase Freedom Flex. To calculate these values, we used a point valuation of 1 cent per Ultimate Rewards point.
Remember, this is an estimation. The actual value will be determined by how much you spend and in which categories you spend.
Year one earnings: $807
Year two earnings: $607
These values are based on the FinanceBuzz Credit Card Rewards Valuation Model, which looks at points earned via spending, the sign-up bonus, and the annual fee. These numbers do not take into account the rotating bonus category since we can't predict what it will be or how much you will spend in that area. So your earnings have the potential to be much higher than what is indicated here.
Best ways to earn
The best way to earn rewards with the Chase Freedom Flex is by taking advantage of its bonus categories. You’ll earn the most cashback rewards if you often make purchases in categories in which the Freedom Flex earns increased cash back.
|Rotating quarterly categories (on up to $1,500 spent) and travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal||5%|
|Restaurants (including takeout and delivery) and drugstores||3%|
|All other purchases||1%|
|Lyft rides (through March, 2022)||5%|
Each quarter (four times per year), Chase launches a new 5% bonus category. To earn rewards at the 5% cashback rate, be sure to monitor the Chase Freedom bonus category calendar and activate each category as it becomes available.
Here are the current bonus categories as well as the categories from from the previous year so you can get an idea of what might come back around:
|Chase Freedom bonus categories for 2021|
|January-March||Select streaming services; internet, cable and phone services; and wholesale clubs|
|April-June||Gas stations and home improvement stores
|July-September||Grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart) and select streaming services|
|Chase Freedom bonus categories for 2020|
|January-March||Gas stations; internet, cable and phone services; select streaming services (includes Netflix, Sling, Vudu, FuboTV, Apple Music, SiriusXM, Pandora, Spotify, Hulu and ESPN+)|
|April-June||Grocery stores, gym memberships and fitness club memberships
|July-September||Amazon.com, Whole Foods|
Maximizing your redemptions
The Chase Freedom Flex has the potential to earn a lot of cash back if you’re using it on purchases that give bonus rewards. In addition, you also have multiple redemption options. You can redeem your cash back for travel, a cash deposit, a statement credit, gift cards, and for purchases with shopping partners. You can also pay for certain purchases with the Pay with Points feature.
Each of these redemption options offers good value, but you can increase the value of your rewards if you also have another Chase card, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve. Chase Ultimate Rewards can be freely transferred between different Chase cards, and their value increases with specific cards. For instance, points are worth 25% more in travel redemptions on the Sapphire Preferred and 50% more in travel redemptions on the Sapphire Reserve.
It’s easy to get more value from your points when you combine them between Chase cards. You can spend with the card that earns the most bonus rewards in that category and then transfer the points to the card with the best redemption value. One popular strategy, called the Chase trifecta, uses three Chase cards to combine points together and get the most value from your redemptions. Another option is to combine a travel rewards card with a cashback card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Freedom Flex cards.
Chase Freedom Flex FAQs
What credit score is needed for the Chase Freedom Flex card?
You likely need an above-average credit score to qualify for the Chase Freedom Flex card. For Chase cards, this would typically mean a good or excellent score. Good credit starts around 670, and excellent credit is around 800 and above.
How do I activate the Chase Freedom Flex 5% bonus categories?
It’s easy to activate your Chase Freedom Flex 5% bonus categories through your online account on a computer or mobile device. Simply navigate to your Freedom Flex card in your account and click the “Activate” button.
Or you can head to the Chase Bonus website and input your card information to activate your 5% bonus categories. If you have multiple Freedom cards, you’ll need to activate each one separately.
Which Chase Freedom card is better?
The Chase Freedom card has been closed to new applicants with the arrival of the Chase Freedom Flex. The Freedom Flex has better benefits and earning potential than the Freedom anyway, so there’s no real comparison between the two. However, the Chase Freedom Unlimited has new benefits and provides healthy competition to the newest member of the Freedom family.
Both the Freedom Flex and Freedom Unlimited offer similar rewards rates, but there are some slight differences. The Freedom Flex has rotating bonus categories whereas the Freedom Unlimited offers 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
One card isn’t necessarily better than the other, as it depends on your spending habits. If you’d rather have a higher unlimited cashback rate for any purchase, the Freedom Unlimited is better. If you’d rather earn increased cash back on rotating categories like gas and groceries, the Freedom Flex is better.
When you directly compare Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Chase Freedom Flex, you might find that having both cards best fits your needs.
Can I have more than one Chase card?
Yes, you can have more than one Chase card. Chase doesn’t specify a limit on how many of its cards you can have, but there are unofficial guidelines in place. For example, you won’t qualify for a new Chase card if you’ve already opened five or more cards from any issuer in the past 24 months. This is called the 5/24 rule.
You can also have only one Chase Sapphire product at a time, whether it’s the Sapphire, Sapphire Preferred, or Sapphire Reserve. Otherwise, the number of Chase cards you’re allowed depends on a number of factors, including your creditworthiness and whether Chase approves you for more cards.
Other cards to consider
The Chase Freedom Flex provides heaps of earning potential and benefits — all with a $0 annual fee. However, it’s not an all-encompassing card that will earn the most rewards on every purchase you make.
With the Chase Freedom Unlimited, you can earn cash back on 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases. That 1.5% on all other purchases is more than the 1% cash back offered by the Freedom Flex on all other purchases apart from its bonus categories.
Additionally, a card like the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card can provide more rewards than the Freedom Flex if you often spend in specific categories. With this card, you can earn 8% cash back on tickets purchased through Vivid Seats (through January 2023), 4% unlimited cash back on dining and entertainment, 3% at grocery stores (excludes superstores like Walmart and Target), and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
The earning rates are similar between the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards and the Freedom Flex, but the categories are a bit different. Remember to consider how you typically spend your money when looking for the next card for your wallet.
Seriously Powerful Cashback Card
Earn $200 cash back after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months, plus earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart; up to $12,000 in the first year)
See how these cards compare:
Chase Freedom Unlimited
- $200 sign-up bonus
- Bonus rewards on travel, dining, and drugstores
- 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (up to $12k in your first year)
- No annual fee
- 0% intro APR on purchases
Capital One Savor Rewards Credit Card
- $300 cash back welcome offer
- 4% cash back on dining and entertainment
- No foreign transaction fees