Chase Freedom Flex℠ vs. Discover it® Cash Back [2024]: Flex Provides More Value

CREDIT CARDS - CASH BACK CREDIT CARDS
We prefer the Chase Freedom Flex because it provides more flexibility and earning potential.
Updated April 9, 2024
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We recommend the Chase Freedom Flex℠ over the Discover it® Cash Back because it earns flexible cashback rewards and provides more ways to redeem your cash back.

We think the Discover it Cash Back is a great no-stress cash back card, but it doesn’t quite match the value offered by the Freedom Flex.

Let’s explore our Chase Freedom Flex versus Discover it Cash Back card comparison to see which is the best card for your wallet.

In this article

Key takeaways

  • We recommend the Chase Freedom Flex over the Discover it Cash Back because the Chase Freedom Flex can provide a higher earning potential. It also earns points with Ultimate Rewards, one of our favorite rewards programs.
  • The Chase Freedom has a $0 annual fee, and the Discover it Cash Back has a $0 annual fee.
  • You can find rotating bonus categories on the Chase Freedom Flex and Discover it Cash Back. These categories provide elevated rewards rates, but you have to activate them each quarter or you won’t earn the increased rate.
  • Rotating categories may have spending caps on how much bonus cash back you can earn per quarter.

Chase Freedom Flex vs. Discover it Cash Back comparison

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Chase Freedom Flex℠

4.7

Discover it® Cash Back

Discover it® Cash Back

4.7

Card type Cash back Cash back
Credit card issuer Chase Discover
Credit card network Mastercard Discover
Annual fee $0 $0
Welcome offer Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.
Earning rate Earn 5% cash back on rotating quarterly categories you activate (on up to $1,500 spent) and travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery service); and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases—automatically.
Redemption methods
  • Travel
  • Statement credits
  • Deposits to eligible checking or savings accounts
  • Gift cards
  • Combine points with other eligible Chase cards
  • Pay with Points at Amazon and PayPal
  • Online Apple purchases
  • Dining
  • Pay Yourself Back
  • Statement credits
  • Deposits to eligible checking or savings accounts
  • Gift cards
  • Charitable donations
  • Pay with Cashback Bonus at select merchants (Amazon and PayPal)
Intro APR
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases (then 20.49%-29.24% Variable).
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers (then 20.49%-29.24% Variable).
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases (then 17.24% - 28.24% Variable).
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers (then 17.24% - 28.24% Variable).
Foreign transaction fee 3% 0%
Recommended credit Excellent, Good Excellent, Good
Read full review Read full review

Our verdict

We recommend the Chase Freedom Flex Card because it provides high earning potential with multiple bonus categories. It also earns flexible rewards that you can redeem in various ways, including for redeeming for travel and cash back as well as combining rewards between eligible Chase cards.

Chase Freedom Flex benefits and drawbacks

Pros
  • $0 annual fee
  • High earning potential
  • Intro APR offers
  • Cell phone protection
Cons
  • Rotating spending categories might not align with everyday expenses
  • Has foreign transaction fees

Welcome offer: Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

We like the Chase Freedom Flex because it helps you earn 5% cash back on rotating quarterly categories you activate (on up to $1,500 spent) and travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery service); and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

The Freedom Flex has a $0 annual fee. However, it charges 3% foreign transaction fees, so it’s not the best card to use abroad.

In addition, rotating bonus categories require quarterly activation, so they aren’t always the easiest to track.

The Freedom Flex comes with several protections, including:

  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
  • Cell phone protection
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver

These protections can help you get coverage for qualified purchases made with your Freedom Flex card.

Lastly, the Chase Freedom Flex comes with intro APR offers that can help you with new purchases or an existing credit card balance:

  • Intro APR on purchases: 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases (then 20.49%-29.24% Variable).
  • Intro APR on balance transfers: 0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers (then 20.49%-29.24% Variable).

Learn more in our Chase Freedom Flex review.

Discover it Cash Back benefits and drawbacks

Pros
  • $0 annual fee
  • High earning potential
  • Intro APR offers
  • No foreign transaction fees
Cons
  • Rotating spending categories might not align with everyday expenses

Cashback Match® welcome offer: Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.

We like the Discover it Cash Back because it has a $0 annual fee and charges 0% foreign transaction fees on applicable purchases abroad.

One of its main benefits is that you can earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases—automatically.

Note that rotating categories don’t always align with everyday expenses, and it can be a hassle to remember that you need to activate your elevated earning rate each quarter.

Discover it Cash Back comes with these intro APR offers:

  • Intro APR on purchases: 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases (then 17.24% - 28.24% Variable).
  • Intro APR on balance transfers: 0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers (then 17.24% - 28.24% Variable).

Learn more in our Discover it Cash Back review.

What both cards excel at

  • Generous welcome offers: The terms of the individual offers are different, but you can earn a welcome offer with either card.
  • No annual fees: The Chase Freedom Flex has a $0 annual fee, while the Discover it Cash Back also has a $0 annual fee.
  • Earning potential: Both cards provide ways to earn valuable rewards on eligible purchases.
  • Introductory APR offers: The Chase Freedom Flex and Discover it Cash Back provide useful intro APR offers.

5 important differences between Chase Freedom Flex and Discover it Cash Back

1. Rewards and redemptions

The Chase Freedom Flex and Discover it Cash Back are considered cash back credit cards because they earn cashback rewards on eligible purchases.

However, the Freedom Flex earns cash back in the form of Ultimate Rewards points that provide a bit more flexibility than your standard cashback rewards.

For example, the Chase Freedom Flex redemption options include:

  • Travel through the Chase travel portal
  • Statement credits
  • Deposits to eligible checking or savings accounts
  • Gift cards
  • Combine points with other eligible Chase cards
  • Pay with Points at Amazon and PayPal
  • Online Apple purchases
  • Dining
  • Pay Yourself Back

While the Discover it Cash Back redemption options include:

  • Statement credits
  • Deposits to eligible checking or savings accounts
  • Gift cards
  • Charitable donations
  • Pay with Cashback Bonus at select merchants (Amazon and PayPal)

Overall, the Freedom Flex has quite a few more redemption options. That includes being able to redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards and combining your rewards with other eligible Chase credit cards.

Winner: Chase Freedom Flex because it provides more flexibility with its rewards and redemption options.

2. Bonus categories

The Chase Freedom Flex provides 5% cash back on rotating quarterly categories you activate (on up to $1,500 spent) and travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery service); and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

With the Discover it Cash Back, you can earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases—automatically.

Overall, both cards have similar rewards rates, but the Freedom Flex provides more fixed bonus categories to help increase your earning potential.

Winner: Chase Freedom Flex because it has more bonus categories.

3. Foreign transaction fees

The Chase Freedom Flex charges 3% foreign transaction fees, while the Discover it Cash Back charges 0% foreign transaction fees.

If you plan to make any foreign purchases, the Discover it Cash Back is the better option. In general, many Discover credit cards don’t charge foreign transaction fees.

Winner: Discover it Cash Back because it charges 0% foreign transaction fees.

4. Credit card network

The Chase Freedom Flex uses the Mastercard network to process card transactions, while the Discover it Cash Back runs on the Discover card network.

Mastercard is accepted in over 210 countries and territories worldwide. Discover is accepted nationwide, but it doesn’t have as much international acceptance as Visa or Mastercard.

Winner: Chase Freedom Flex because the Mastercard network has more worldwide acceptance.

5. Card protections

The Chase Freedom Flex provides useful card protections, including:

  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
  • Cell phone protection
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver

The Discover it Cash Back doesn’t provide any of these protections or coverages. However, It does provide online privacy protection.

Winner: Chase Freedom Flex because it has more card protections and coverage.

Which credit card should you choose?

When you should choose Chase Freedom Flex

  • You prefer banking with Chase Bank.
  • You prefer earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
  • You want to combine rewards between multiple Chase cards.
  • You prefer the Mastercard network.
  • You want various types of card protection benefits and perks.

When you should choose Discover it Cash Back

  • You prefer banking with Discover.
  • You prefer earning cash back.
  • You don’t want to pay foreign transaction fees.
  • You prefer the Discover network.

What factors to consider before choosing

The Chase Freedom Flex and Discover it Cash Back are similar cards that use rotating categories as part of their rewards programs. This means that you should pay attention to activating your categories each quarter if you want to take advantage of their elevated earning rates.

But overall, the Freedom Flex provides more flexibility with its rewards and how you can redeem them. It also has more bonus rewards categories, which could increase your earning potential.

Even better, the Freedom Flex offers various built-in card protections and you can combine your rewards with points on other eligible Chase cards, including the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, and Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

FAQ

What is the maximum cash back you can get from the Chase Freedom Flex?

There’s no limit to how much cash back you can earn with the Chase Freedom Flex. However, there’s a quarterly spending cap of $1,500 on the rotating categories. That means you can earn a maximum of $75 cash back each quarter if you activate the categories and max out your allowed spending.

Are Chase Freedom cards or Discover it cards better?

We recommend Chase Freedom cards because they earn flexible rewards and provide useful card protections. But if you only want to earn cashback rewards, it’s hard to go wrong with many of the Discover it credit cards. That’s especially true if you can take advantage of Discover’s unlimited Cashback Match welcome offer. This offer means that Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.

Which Discover card earns the most cash back?

The Discover it Cash Back offers a great cashback earning potential because of its elevated rewards rate. You can earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases—automatically.

Chase Freedom Flex vs. Discover it Cash Back: bottom line

We recommend the Chase Freedom Flex over the Discover it Cash Back because of its superior earning potential, flexible rewards, and useful card protection benefits. That said, we still think the Discover it Cash Back is a great rewards credit card, but it doesn’t quite match the Freedom Flex in overall value.

Compare credit cards to see more of our top recommendations and credit card offers.

Lucrative, Flat-Rate Cash Rewards

5.0

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Current Offer

$200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

Earn 2% cash rewards on purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

Author Details

Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI® Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®, is a Senior Credit Cards Writer at FinanceBuzz. For over a decade, he's leveraged credit card points and miles to travel the world. His expertise extends to other areas of personal finance — including loans, insurance, investing, and real estate — and you can find his insights on The Washington Post, Debt.com, Yahoo! Finance, and Fox Business.

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