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, and earn 5% cash back on up to $12,000 spent on grocery store purchases during your first year (excludes Target and Walmart).
- 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 and earn 5% cash back on up to $12,000 spent on grocery store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart) during the first year.. 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.
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.
- Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel
- Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
- Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
- Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
- Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get our best prices on thousands of trip options
- Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase-or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
- Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
- No foreign transaction fees
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.
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 $200 welcome cash-back bonus or 5% on grocery store purchases. That offer is 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 the 5% cash back on grocery store purchases up to $12,000 spent in the first 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 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within three months of opening an account. Those points are worth $750 in travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. The card also offers 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. 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®.
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® is offering a $200 statement credit to new cardholders who spend at least $2,000 with the card in the first six months of opening an account.
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; terms apply for the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express