Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Freedom Flex: Which Card Offers More Value?

Choosing between the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom Flex comes down to what kind of rewards and benefits you’re looking for.
Last updated Oct 23, 2020 | By Ben Walker
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Chase has recently added to its already impressive credit card lineup with the all-new Chase Freedom Flex. This new member of the Freedom family has created quite a stir in the credit card world with its excellent earning potential and high-quality benefits. But how does it stack up against other cards, like say the ever-popular Chase Sapphire Preferred?

If you’re on the fence about which Chase credit card to choose, use this comparison of the Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Freedom Flex to see which option would make more sense for your financial goals and lifestyle.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Freedom Flex

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is known as a beginner travel card that can help you start earning points toward future trips and vacations. It’s been around for more than a decade and is still counted as one of the best rewards credit cards available because of its useful perks and benefits.

The Chase Freedom Flex is a new Chase card that offers multiple ways to earn valuable rewards on everyday spending. It also has excellent benefits and has immediately become a top contender for one of the best cashback credit cards on the market.

Here, we’ll take a side-by-side look at how both cards match up against each other so you can see which one might be a better fit for you.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Chase Freedom Flex
Annual fee $95 $0
Sign-up bonus Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening Earn $200 cash back after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening; 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (on up to $12,000 in spending in the first year)
Earning rate 5X on Lyft rides, 2X points on eligible dining and travel, and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases 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
Redemption methods
  • Points can be redeemed for statement credits, electronic bank deposits, gift cards, travel, and to make purchases from participating merchants
  • Points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • Points can be transferred to many partner loyalty programs
  • Cash back can be redeemed for statement credits, electronic bank deposits, gift cards, travel, and to make purchases from participating merchants
Intro APR N/A 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months
Travel perks
  • Up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip in trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • Car rental collision damage waiver
  • Up to $500 in baggage delay insurance
  • Up to $500 per ticket in trip delay reimbursement
  • Travel and emergency assistance services
  • Up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip in trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • Car rental collision damage waiver
  • Travel and emergency assistance services
Other benefits
  • Chase purchase protection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Cell phone protection
  • Complimentary three months of DashPass from DoorDash
  • Complimentary ShopRunner membership
  • Receive $10 in Lyft credit once a month after you’ve taken five rides in a month
Foreign transaction fee None 3%
Recommended credit score Excellent, Good Excellent, Good

What both cards excel at

Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom Flex were designed with different cardholders in mind: the Sapphire Preferred is meant primarily a travel credit card, whereas the Freedom Flex is a cashback credit card that earns big rewards on common purchases. However, you will see some overlap between the two cards:

  • Redemption options: Although the Sapphire Preferred is a travel rewards card and the Freedom Flex is a cashback card, they both earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. The best way to use Chase points is typically on travel through the Chase travel portal, but you can also use them for statement credits, bank deposits, gift cards, and to make purchases with certain retailers.
  • Travel coverages: The Sapphire Preferred has a more extensive list of travel coverages and protections than the Freedom Flex, which is to be expected for a travel card. They both, however, offer trip cancellation/interruption insurance and auto rental collision damage waivers.
  • Purchase coverages: Both cards also offer extra protection on your purchases. With either card, you can extend an eligible warranty for a year and also receive up to $500 for theft or damage on new purchases for a set period of time.

4 important differences between the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Freedom Flex

To really compare the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Freedom Flex, we need to dig into the differences between each card. Both cards have a few similarities, but they’re ultimately different categories of cards. Knowing how they’re different will help you decide if one card might be a better match for you than the other.

1. Sign-up bonus

A hallmark of many popular travel rewards credit cards is a generous sign-up bonus. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you get 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. With the Chase Freedom Flex, it’s $200 cash back after spending $500 in the first 3 months.

Overall, the 60,000 points are worth much more than $200, though you do have to spend a bit more to earn the bigger bonus. If you also factor in the 25% increased rate on travel redemptions for the Sapphire Preferred, you’re looking at a sizable amount of value to put toward your next trip.

If you can meet the spending requirement, the Sapphire Preferred’s sign-up bonus easily beats out the sign-up bonus from the Freedom Flex.

#1 Travel Rewards Card

Benefits

  • 60,000 point sign-up bonus
  • 2X points on eligible dining and travel purchases
  • 25% more value when redeeming rewards for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Premium travel protection benefits

2. Earning potential

This is a tough comparison because the earning potential on each card depends on what you’re using it for. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 5X on Lyft rides, 2X points on eligible dining and travel, and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases. So if you’re a frequent traveler and diner, you can earn plenty of bonus points with the Sapphire Preferred.

With the Chase Freedom Flex, you 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. With more bonus categories available on the Freedom Flex, you have additional opportunities to earn bonus rewards. Plus, many of these bonus categories encompass areas in which people typically have common expenses. You can’t plan for the rotating categories, but in the past, these categories have included purchases from grocery stores, Amazon.com, Walmart, gas stations, streaming services, and more.

If you’re primarily focused on earning rewards from travel purchases, the Sapphire Preferred is a safe bet. However, the Freedom Flex provides a much wider range of ways to earn bonus rewards and would be the better option otherwise.

3. Fees

The fees associated with a credit card can heavily affect your decision to get one. The Chase Sapphire Preferred has a $95 annual fee, whereas the Chase Freedom Flex has a $95 annual fee. By cost alone, the Freedom Flex is the winner here. However, $95 isn’t much to pay and can easily be offset if you can leverage the Sapphire Preferred’s multiple benefits.

Keep in mind, the Sapphire Preferred also has no foreign transaction fees, but the Freedom Flex has a foreign transaction fee of 3%. So for making purchases abroad, the Sapphire Preferred makes a lot more sense.

4. Intro APR

An introductory APR period on a new credit card can be a great way to avoid interest on balance transfers or purchases for a set amount of time. The Chase Sapphire Preferred doesn’t have an intro APR offer, but you can find one on the Chase Freedom Flex.

With the Freedom Flex, you get 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months. This automatic offer for new cardmembers can help you better manage your finances because your purchases won’t accrue any interest for a while. So if you need to make some bigger purchases and want time to pay them off, the Freedom Flex provides a great opportunity to do so.

Powerful New Cashback Card

Benefits

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

Which card should you choose?

The Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Freedom Flex competition doesn’t have a clear winner. The best card for you depends on what you need the card for and what you’re hoping to gain.

The Sapphire Preferred is best for earning rewards from travel purchases and then redeeming those rewards for future travel. When you use your rewards to book travel through the Chase portal, they're worth 25% more. The Freedom Flex earns cash back from a variety of sources, which is helpful for racking up rewards from everyday spending. And then you have similar redemption options between the two cards, except the Freedom Flex doesn’t give you 25% more value for travel redemptions and you can’t transfer points to airline or hotel partners.

It’s difficult to choose between the two, which is why it makes a lot of sense to simply go with both cards. With both cards, there’s only a low annual fee of $95 to worry about, which can be offset by the rewards you earn. Chase allows you to combine points between some of its cards, so you can earn on your Freedom Flex and then move your points onto your Sapphire Preferred. This would give your points more value because they’re worth 25% more toward travel redemptions on the Sapphire Preferred.

You’d also have more earning potential with both cards. To maximize your earnings, simply use whichever card earns the highest rate on your purchases. For instance, the Freedom Flex would be better for restaurant and drugstore purchases, whereas the Sapphire Preferred is better for travel purchases that aren’t through Chase. Then, combine your points onto the Sapphire Preferred and get a higher rate for travel redemptions through Chase.

To offset the $95 annual fee on spending alone, you’d need to earn at least 7,600 points each year because 7,600 points are worth $95 (7,600 x 0.0125 = 95) toward Chase travel redemptions on the Sapphire Preferred. If you didn’t earn points in any bonus categories at all on either card, that’s $7,600 you’d have to spend to earn that amount of points. However, you’d likely be using these cards on purchases in bonus categories, so the target spend should realistically be much lower.

If you used your Freedom Flex on only the 5% rotating categories, you’d need to spend $1,520 on the year to earn 7,600 (1,520 x 5 = 7,600) points. For the Sapphire Preferred and its 2X categories, you’d need to spend $3,800 to earn 7,600 points (3,800 x 2 = 7,600). Of course, you can also have a combination of earning from the two cards as you use them throughout the year. Overall, just spending a few thousand on the year could be more than enough to offset the $95 annual fee, though you can easily spend more than that on dining, groceries, travel, drugstores, utilities, gas, and other expenses.

FAQs about the Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Freedom Flex

Which are better, the Chase Sapphire or Freedom cards?

The better Chase family of cards depends on your financial goals and spending habits. If you mainly want to earn rewards and redeem them for travel, it makes more sense to go with a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve over a Chase Freedom Unlimited or Chase Freedom Flex card. If you mainly want a card to earn cashback rewards from everyday spending, the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Freedom Flex are the better options.

Of course, you can also go with multiple Chase cards. This would give you the widest range of earning potential and redemption options. Use whichever card earns the best rewards rate on each purchase and then combine your points for free through your Chase online account. Then redeem your points however you’d like. If it’s for travel redemptions, the Chase Sapphire cards get higher redemption rates on travel.

Can you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Freedom Flex?

Yes, you can have both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Freedom Flex. This is an excellent pairing of two cards because they complement each other well. Earn on everyday purchases with the Freedom Flex and on travel with the Sapphire Preferred. Then, combine your rewards through your Chase online account onto the Sapphire Preferred, and they will be worth 25% more toward travel redemptions.

Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred still worth it?

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is well worth it. Its earning potential and valuable benefits can easily offset the $95 annual fee, but you also get 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. The sign-up bonus alone can cover your annual fee for multiple years.

The bottom line on Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Freedom Flex

Although there’s no obvious winner between the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom Flex, it’s clear both cards offer amazing value when you consider their benefits and rewards, though the Sapphire Preferred primarily focuses on travel and the Freedom Flex is designed for everyday spending.

Overall, the best option for you may be to go with both cards. This will give you the highest earning potential and more lucrative options for points redemptions. Learn about the Chase 5/24 rule before applying for Chase credit cards so you can avoid a few simple mistakes.

Powerful New Cashback Card

Benefits

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