Chase Freedom Flex Review: A Worthy Addition to the Chase Family [2020]

The Chase Freedom Flex offers loads of value with its combination of cashback rewards and high-quality benefits.
Last updated Sep 22, 2020 | By Ben Walker

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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.

Powerful New Cashback Card

Benefits

  • $200 sign-up bonus
  • 5% cash back grocery store purchases for the first year (up to $12k)
  • Up to 5% cash back on spending
  • Lyft and DoorDash perks

Drawbacks

  • Has foreign transaction fee

In this Chase Freedom Flex review

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 basics

Card type Cash back
Credit card issuer Chase
Credit card network Mastercard
Annual fee $0
Intro bonus Earn $200 cash back after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months, plus 5% on grocery store purchases (on up to $12,000 in spending 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, new cardholders can benefit from earning 5% on grocery store purchases (on up to $12,000 in spending 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: World Elite Mastercard credit cards come 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% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.
  • 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: $1,275

Year two earnings: $1,075

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. This valuation assumes that you are a new cardholder who qualifies for the 5% on grocery store purchases (on up to $12,000 in spending in the first year).

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.

Categories Rewards rate
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%
Grocery store purchases (on up to $12,000 in spending in the first year) 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 earlier this year so you can get an idea of what might come back around:

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
October-December Walmart, PayPal

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.

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.

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 2022), 4% unlimited cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% 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.

Powerful New Cashback Card

Special Offer

Earn $200 cash back after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months

See how these cards compare:

Chase Freedom Unlimited
Chase Freedom Unlimited
  • $200 sign-up bonus
  • 5% cash back grocery store purchases for the first year (up to $12k)
  • Bonus rewards on travel, dining, and drugstores
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases
Capital One® Savor® Rewards Credit Card
Capital One® Savor® Rewards Credit Card
  • $300 cash back welcome offer
  • 4% cash back on dining and entertainment
  • No foreign transaction fees