Chase Freedom Flex℠ review: No annual fee and 5% cash back in popular categories
Chase Freedom Flex℠
CardRatings Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons
- New cardholders can earn $200 cash back once spending $500 within the first three months of opening and account, PLUS 5% cash back on up to $12,000 on grocery store purchases the first year of card membership. When combined, this bonus can be worth as much as $800!
- There are so many bonus categories here that racking up rewards should be a breeze.
- Enjoy up to $1,000 a year in cell phone insurance just for paying your cell phone bill with your FlexSM card.
- There's a ton of rewards-earning potential here, but there are several categories to keep up with. If you'd rather not think about when and where you use your credit card, a flat-rate card may be a better fit for you.
As the newest cash-back credit card from Chase, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ comes with an impressive package of benefits and rewards. Rather than having a flat rate, Freedom Flex℠ is a unique tiered/rotating-category hybrid, offering:
- 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases made in rotating quarterly bonus categories
- 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 3% cash back on dining and drugstore purchases
- 1% unlimited cash back on other purchases
Plus, the card has a number of other perks, including Mastercard World Elite benefits, allowing cardholders access to:
- No annual fee
- Intro 0% APR on new purchases for the first 15 months, then 14.99% - 23.74% Variable
- Complimentary ShopRunner membership for free two-day shipping from more than a hundred online retailers
- Complimentary three-month DoorDash DashPass, followed by a 50% discount for the following nine months
- 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2022, plus a $10 credit for every five rides taken in a calendar month
- 5% cash rewards on Boxed purchases for use on future purchases
- Double VIP+ points at Fandango for movie ticket purchases
Additionally, the card comes with a valuable sign-up bonus and cell phone insurance.
Chase Freedom Flex℠ cardholders get not one, but two, bonuses when opening a new account.
First, receive $200 cash back after spending $500 within the first three months of opening an account. As far as welcome bonuses go, that's one of the best around for a no-annual-fee credit card. Not only is the spending requirement low, but the bonus reward equals out to 40% cash back on the required purchases.
Plus, this card is offering 5% cash back on up to $12,000 of grocery store purchases for the first year (excluding Target and Walmart). This unique offer can be worth as much as $600.
Cell phone insurance is another valuable perk offered by Chase Freedom Flex℠. Cardholders are insured for up to $800 per claim and $1,000 per year against covered theft or damage. There's a maximum of two claims per 12-month period and each claim has a $50 deductible.
To receive this coverage, cardholders simply need to pay their monthly wireless bill using the Freedom Flex℠ card. Insurance coverage is automatically extended to phones listed on a bill's plan.
- Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
- Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
- Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
- Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
- No annual fee.
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
- No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.
While Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers robust benefits and cash-back offers, it's not perfect.
For one thing, it comes with a foreign transaction fee. Although the Freedom Flex℠ offers 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, it's not actually what we would consider a travel rewards card. As a result, it doesn't offer all the same perks as some travel cards, such as no foreign transaction fees, which is often waived with many true travel cards. The foreign transaction fee means this isn't a card you'd want to use while traveling overseas and may be a better choice for everyday spending close to home.
Another potential downside to the Freedom Flex℠ card is related to the 5% bonus cash back on grocery store purchases for the first year. While a lucrative offer, it doesn't apply to Target or Walmart purchases, and this offer is only good for new cardholders for the first year of membership.
Finally, if you are an existing Chase Freedom® customer and request to change your card to the Freedom Flex℠, you won't be eligible for the 5% cash back on groceries or the $200 welcome cash-back bonus. Those offers are only available to cardholders opening a new account.
Chase will no longer accept applications for Chase Freedom®, meaning the Chase Freedom Flex℠ will be the only Chase option for new cardholders who want 5% cash back on rotating categories.
However, Chase Freedom® cash-back offers and benefits will continue to be available to existing cardholders. The company says people won't be forced to transfer their card to the new Freedom Flex℠ unless they want to make the switch.
Chase Freedom Flex℠ vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited®
While Chase Freedom® will be discontinued to new cardholders in favor of Chase Freedom Flex℠, you can still apply for the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card. With the launch of the Freedom Flex℠ card, Freedom Unlimited® is getting some updates too. That means new applicants for either card can get the $200 cash-back bonus when spending $500 within three months of opening an account as well as 5% cash back at grocery stores for one year.
The main difference between Freedom Flex℠ and Freedom Unlimited® are their cash-back structures. While the Flex℠ card offers enhanced rewards in rotating quarterly categories, the Unlimited® card will not earn rewards in rotating categories. Instead, it earns a flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases, in addition to 5% cash back on travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal, and 3% on restaurants and drugstore purchases.
Both cards are solid choices for everyday expenses, and one strategic option to consider would be to get both cards and use the Freedom Flex℠ for spending in bonus rotating categories while paying with the Freedom Unlimited® for all other purchases to earn that 1.5% cash-back rate on everything not falling in a bonus category.
Chase Freedom Flex℠ vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred®
Both Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card are rewarding credit cards, but they have different strengths. Freedom Flex℠ is a good card for everyday use while the Sapphire Preferred® card offers plenty of perks for travelers.
With the Chase Sapphire Preferred®, you can earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within three months of opening an account. Those points are worth an astounding $1,000 in travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. The card also offers two points per dollar spent on travel and dining as well as one point per dollar spent on everything else. However, while the Freedom Flex℠ doesn't have an annual fee, the Sapphire Preferred® charges $95 a year.
You can have both the Freedom Flex℠ and Chase Sapphire Preferred®, and if you end up with both cards, be aware that rewards can be combined under your Chase Sapphire Preferred® card. Then, when you redeem for travel, you can access the Sapphire card's 25% bonus on points when booking through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
The information related to Chase Sapphire Preferred® has been collected by CardRatings and has not been reviewed or supplied by the issuer of this card.
Chase Freedom Flex℠ vs. Blue Cash Everyday®
Both these cards are good for everyday spending. Neither charges an annual fee, and both offer tiered cash-back categories. However, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express has different reward categories. American Express is a CardRatings advertiser.
Blue Cash Everyday® cardholders earn 3% cash back on up to $6,000 in purchases made at U.S. supermarkets each year (excluding Target and Walmart), then 1%. They also earn 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. All other purchases earn 1% cash back. As a welcome offer, the Blue Cash Everyday® awards a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card within the first three months of card membership.
Both cards have strong cash-back programs; however, since the Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers 5% cash back on quarterly rotating categories, we think it has a slight edge over Blue Cash Everyday®.
Yes, we think so. It's rare to see a new cash-back card that really excites us. However, by offering 5% cash back on multiple categories, an achievable sign-on bonus and plenty of extras, we think the Chase Freedom Flex℠ could be a great addition to any wallet.
See Rates and Fees for the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express