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The Chase Freedom Flex℠ (Review) has replaced the Chase Freedom® (Review). The Freedom Flex adds a host of new rewards, and it uses the Mastercard network, rather than Visa. Current Freedom cardholders who’d prefer the Freedom Flex can contact Chase to request a product change, or may apply for the Freedom Flex separately in order to get the introductory bonus.
And while some of its 5% bonus categories change quarterly, they nearly always cover purchases that many cardholders make every day.
There’s a tiny catch, though: Chase doesn’t usually reveal the card’s quarterly 5% categories until a few weeks before the quarter begins, so you never know exactly what the future brings.
For Q4 2020, which lasts from October 1 to December 31, the bonus categories are Walmart and PayPal.
You’ll need to activate your categories in order to earn at the bonus rate, and the Q4 activation deadline is December 14.
Here, we’ll explore what the Freedom Flex card’s Q4 2020 bonus categories cover, what types of categories you might see in the future, and how to make the most of your Chase Freedom Flex credit card.
Because Chase doesn’t announce the next quarter’s bonus categories until the current quarter nears its end, planning your spending with the Freedom Flex card can be a little tricky.
But as you can see by the cash back calendar below, categories usually include common credit card rewards options, plus a unique addition here and there. We’ve included the full calendar from 2019, too, so you can get a basic taste for what Chase’s bonus categories might look like. There’s no guarantee that any of the categories listed below will appear again, though, so check back to discover how to get cash back from the Chase Freedom Flex once the quarter comes to a close.
|Quarter||2020 Categories||2019 Categories|
|January – March||
|April – June||
|July – September||
|October – December||
You can activate your 2020 Q4 categories starting September 15, 2020 and ending December 14, 2020.
As we mentioned above, the Chase Freedom Flex bonus categories for Q4 2020 are Walmart and PayPal.
Both categories are very easy to use. Walmart sells a plethora of essentials, like groceries and toiletries, as well as clothes, toys, video games, car parts, and more. It shouldn’t be hard to max out that $1,500 spending limit at Walmart alone.
PayPal encompasses a similarly vast scope. As long as you can use PayPal to complete an online purchase, you can earn 5% back. And PayPal is a fairly prominent checkout tool.
Not sure you’ll be able to max out your spending limit at the 5% rate during Q4? Consider buying gift cards that you can use later on. Walmart sells gift cards for a variety of stores and restaurants, and you shouldn’t have much trouble finding an online merchant that sells gift cards and allows you to complete purchases using PayPal.
There are a few simple strategies for putting the Freedom Flex’s Q4 2020 bonus categories to good use.
The Chase Freedom Flex is mainly known for its rotating 5% bonus categories, but there are a few other features worth noting.
Topping the list? Its other rewards. Beyond its rotating categories, the Freedom Flex offers an impressive 5% cash back (with no spending limit!) on Lyft rides (through March 2022) and travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards. You get that excellent 5% rate for groceries, though it’s limited as mentioned above. As if that weren’t enough, you get 3% cash back at restaurants and drugstores, too, completing what’s easily one of the most valuable credit card offers available for no annual fee.
Chase Freedom Flex cardholders are currently offered a signup bonus of $200 bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months, with an impressive return on spend.
There’s also a strong introductory APR offer, providing 0% APR for 15 months on purchases (then 14.99% - 23.74% Variable).
The Freedom Flex card comes with a few solid benefits, too.
You get a free DoorDash membership for three months, and then a 50% discount on the membership for the following nine months. The membership, called DashPass, gives you free delivery and reduced service fees on orders over $12.
Shop through Chase is an online shopping portal where you can earn a higher reward rate when you shop at select retailers. At the time of publication, your options include (but aren’t limited to) Macy’s (3% extra), Walmart (2% extra), Home Depot (1% extra), and Best Buy (1% extra).
Plus, cardholders can take advantage of Chase Offers, a similar benefit that provides temporary deals, like discounts or cash back, on certain products or with select retailers once activated.
Several complimentary protections are also included with the Freedom Flex card, including purchase protection, an auto rental collision damage waiver, and cell phone protection, thanks to its World Elite Mastercard benefits.
The Chase Freedom Flex is a contactless card, making quick payments a breeze.
Making the most of the Freedom Flex card’s unique rotating cash back rewards program requires a bit of strategy. Fortunately, there are several simple steps you can take to maximize the value of your cash back.
The Chase Freedom Flex is a solid credit card, but the ever-changing nature of its rewards system makes it one that’s easy to use in conjunction with other cards.
We’ve compiled a few cash back cards with rewards programs that complement that of the Freedom Flex, making it easier to maximize your rewards across the board.
Conversations around the Freedom Flex card nearly always include mention of its closest competitor, the Discover it® Cash Back (Review). Like the Freedom Flex, it provides rotating bonus categories (see the calendar below) where you earn at a 5% rate until you reach $1,500 in quarterly spending.
One difference, however, is that Discover provides the full year’s bonus category calendar ahead of time, rather than making you wait like Chase. And with the Discover it, you’ll only earn 5% back on purchases made after you activate, unlike the Freedom Flex which provides retroactive rewards for the whole quarter.
Another key difference is that the Discover card’s signup bonus doubles all cash back earned in the first year, which offers more potential value than the Freedom Flex card’s intro bonus. That’s one of the more attractive introductory credit card offers, especially when it comes to cards without annual fees.
The downside? The Discover card offers none of the additional rewards — beyond the rotating categories — that have given the Flex an edge on the competition.
While it’s often considered a one-or-the-other situation, the quarterly bonus categories offered by the Chase Freedom Flex and Discover it are often different enough that you can benefit from using them together. Simply use them on whichever bonus categories are in effect for that quarter, and then use the Discover it for other purchases during the first year in order to capitalize on its signup bonus.
|Quarter||2020 5% Cash Back Categories|
|January – March||Grocery Stores, Walgreens, and CVS|
|April – June||Gas Stations, Uber, Lyft, and Wholesale Clubs|
|July – September||Restaurants, PayPal|
|October – December||Amazon.com, Target.com, Walmart.com|
The U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card also offers 5% cash back (up to $2,000) in select quarterly categories. However, rather than earning 5% in categories of your issuer’s choice, you get to pick two categories from a list that’s subject to change every quarter.
Like the Discover it, you’ll only earn 5% cash back on purchases made after you activate. So it’s a bit less forgiving than the Freedom Flex.
You also get to choose one “everyday” category (think gas stations or grocery stores), where you’ll earn 2% cash back. For best value, wait until the Freedom Flex card’s bonus categories are revealed, and then activate this card’s bonus categories to avoid overlap.
|U.S. Bank Cash+ 5% Cash Back Categories|
|TV, Internet & Streaming Services||Fast Food||Cell Phone Providers|
|Department Stores||Home Utilities||Select Clothing Stores|
|Electronics Stores||Sporting Goods Stores||Movie Theaters|
|Gyms/Fitness Centers||Furniture Stores||Ground Transportation|
The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer (Review) has earned a reputation as one of the best credit cards for all-around spending. There’s no annual fee, and you get 2% cash back on every purchase — 1% back when a purchase is made, and then another 1% when you pay it off.
The Double Cash is a solid choice for balance transfers, with a 0% intro APR offer for 18 months on Balance Transfers (then 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)).
Using the Double Cash with the Chase Freedom Flex is simple. Pick the Freedom Flex card when spending in its 3% and 5% bonus categories, and use the Double Cash for everything else.
As with the U.S. Bank Cash+, the Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card (Review) lets you call the shots. Cardholders get 3% cash back in one category that they choose from a preset list (found below), and your category choice can be updated once per calendar month. The 2% bonus categories don’t provide a ton of extra value, but wholesale clubs is a rare category to find.
The BofA card’s quarterly spending cap for earning at the 3% and 2% reward rates is $2,500.
If you’re a BofA bank account holder, this card could be a particularly valuable choice, as you may be eligible for a hefty reward bonus (25–75%).
|Bank of America Cash Rewards 3% Bonus Categories|
|Travel||Drugstores||Home Improvement/Furnishings Stores|
The Freedom Flex Card’s rewards program is strong enough that the card isn’t likely to disappear from the Chase roster anytime soon. And since there’s no annual fee, there’s really no harm in having it on hand, even if you seldom use it. Just make sure you activate the bonus categories each quarter.
Got any Chase Freedom Flex tips or tricks that we missed? We’re all ears — let us know in the comments.
Some of the Chase Freedom Flex’s 5% cash back categories rotate quarterly. The categories for Q4 2020 are Walmart and PayPal.
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