Meet Chase Freedom Flex℠, the newest member of the Chase Ultimate Rewards® family, and a new, excellent option for maximizing those Chase Ultimate Rewards® points.
Often new cash-back cards aren't ones that we get too excited about, but the no-annual-fee Freedom Flex℠ aims to raise the bar with hefty rewards on everyday purchases, a solid signup bonus, and, importantly, another option for maximizing those oh-so-valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards® points. Freedom Flex℠, while sharing several features with the existing Chase Freedom® and Chase Freedom Unlimited®, operates on the Mastercard network instead of on Visa. To the average cardholder, that won't really matter as both Visa and Mastercard enjoy wide acceptance around the world.
Freedom Flex℠ rewards
This isn't a "travel rewards" card, but that doesn't mean the rewards can't be travel geared. Here's the deal:
- Earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal
- Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in categories that rotate quarterly (activation is required each quarter).
- Earn 3% cash back at restaurants, including takeout and delivery (a welcome factor given the current COVID-19 circumstances)
- Earn 3% cash back on drugstore purchases
- Earn 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases
True, that's a lot of rewards categories and details to keep up with, but it's also a LOT of opportunities to rack up rewards just living your everyday life.
The rewards structure, in fact, means that this no-annual-fee card will compete with a few of Chase's popular premium cards that do charge annual fees, including Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which earns three points per $1 on dining and travel, plus up to 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards® and one point on everything else. And Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which earns 5X total points on all travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal; 3X points on dining, including eligible delivery services and takeout; 3X points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs); 3X points on select streaming services; 2X points on travel purchases; and 1X point on all other purchases.
Both of these cards charge annual fees ($550 for the Reserve® card and $95 for the Preferred® version), but both also offer added value when you redeem points housed under these accounts for travel through the Ultimate Rewards® portal. Points are worth 50% more for Reserve® cardholders and 25% more for Preferred® cardholders.
Updates to Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Additionally, Chase announced that Chase Freedom Unlimited® cardholders now also enjoy the above earning categories with two exceptions:
- Unlimited® cardholders continue to earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase that doesn't fall under one of the other categories.
- Only Freedom Flex℠ cardholders earn 5% in quarterly rotating categories up to $1,500 spent when you activate.
>>Learn more in our Chase Freedom Unlimited® review.
Freedom Flex℠ signup bonus
New cardholders earn a $200 bonus (that's 20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards® points) after spending $500 within the first three months of account opening. You also earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases for the first year, up to $12,000 spent (excludes Target and Walmart).
Freedom Flex℠ cellphone insurance and added perks
A credit card that saves you money? Where do we sign up? Freedom Flex℠ offers cardholders included cellular phone protection against covered damage and theft. Just pay your mobile bill with your card and you're covered for up to $800 per claim and $1,000 per year. There's a maximum of two claims per 12-month period and each claim has a $50 deductible.
Cellular phone insurance isn't cheap, but not carrying that insurance could be quite expensive should your phone find it's way into a puddle of water or take a tumble and come away with a shattered screen. That makes this Freedom Flex℠ perk one that is certainly nice to see.
Flex℠ cardholders also earn 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2022 and receive three months of DashPass, that's DoorDash's subscription services that offers unlimited $0 delivery fees and reduced services on orders with a $12 minimum.
Now, neither of the above perks would be enough to make a credit card a good on their own, but when combined with Freedom Flex℠'s rewards earning and signup bonus opportunities – not to mention access to the Ultimate Rewards® program – these little extras are icing on a very nice cake.
Additionally, FlexSM cardholders will have access to Mastercard's World Elite Benefits, including, in addition to the cell phone insurance mentioned above:
- Lyft credits: Receive $10 in credit for every five Lyft rides in a calendar month. The credit is automatically applied to the next ride taken.
- Boxed cash rewards: Earn 5% cash rewards on Boxed purchases to be used on future purchases.
- ShopRunner membership: Enjoy a free membership to receive two-day shipping and free return shipping with more than 100 online retailers.
- Fandango VIP status: Earn double VIP+ points for movie tickets purchased through Fandango or Fandango+. The points can be used toward future movie tickets on Fandango or streaming programming through FandangoNOW.
Freedom Flex℠ foreign transaction fees
This is primarily a cash-back card, not a travel card, even though rewards are earned as Ultimate Rewards® points; therefore, Freedom Flex℠ cardholders will pay foreign transaction fees (3% of each transaction in U.S. currency).
This fee is common to Chase's other cash-back cards in the Freedom family, and it's an excellent reason to pair the new Freedom Flex℠ card with one of Chase's premium travel cards such as Chase Sapphire Reserve® or even a business card like Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, neither of which charge foreign transaction fees.
Is Freedom Flex℠ replacing Chase Freedom®?
Chase plans to "sunset" Chase Freedom® in late September and will no longer accept new applications at that time, so Flex℠ is effectively replacing the card. Current Chase Freedom® cardholders can continue to use their cards with the same rewards and services they've always enjoyed, according to a Chase spokesperson, or they can contact Chase and request a product change to the new Freedom Flex℠. They will not, however, be required to make that change.
Chase Freedom Flex℠ product change details
If you do decide to request a product change to Chase Freedom Flex℠, there are a few things to keep in mind, both good and bad.
First, the good:
- The product change will NOT require a new application or credit pull, so your credit score shouldn't be affected. Simply call Chase customer service and request the change.
- A product change will also allow you to maintain your length of credit history. Say, for instance, you've held your Chase Freedom® card for 10 years. That long credit card relationship reflects positively on your credit report, so you don't want to close the card. Luckily, a product change won't disrupt that history. That is, in fact, one of the best reasons to consider a product change any time you're considering closing any card you've had for some time.
- Because there isn't a credit check and your account will essentially stay the same when you make the change, a product change will generally NOT count against your 5/24 status. As a reminder, 5/24 is the unofficial rule (as in, Chase hasn't officially confirmed it, but plenty of anecdotal evidence supports it) that Chase will not approve you for a new card if you have applied for five or more personal credit cards with any bank in the past 24 months.
Now for a bit of bad news:
- If you elect to product change to Chase Freedom Flex℠, you will NOT be eligible for the signup bonus offer.
And that's it on the bad news front! In other words, a product change really might be in your best interest if you're a current Chase Freedom® cardholder. You won't earn a bonus, but you'll still get to earn that 5% in rotating categories up to $1,500 spent each quarter – so the same rewards structure as is offered with the current Chase Freedom® – plus, you'll get to earn at all the other higher rewards rates.
Is Freedom Flex℠ a good card?
In a word, yes. Chase has taken some major steps to provide cardholders with a card that addresses many people's everyday spending habits, but, because it operates on the Chase Ultimate Rewards® system, it's also a fabulous addition to your wallet if you're someone looking to maximize Ultimate Rewards® earning with a multiple credit card strategy.
In fact, we'd recommend pairing it with Chase Freedom Unlimited® so that you can earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases that don't earn more with the new Chase Freedom Flex℠ as well as adding one of the Sapphire cards to your portfolio so that you can take advantage of the extra value your rewards have when redeemed for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal. This is a credit card strategy that truly makes your Ultimate Rewards® points work for you.