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2021 Comparison: The Chase Freedom Flex vs. the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card

Updated Mar 18, 2021 | Published Mar 02, 20215 min read

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At a glance

Both the Chase Freedom Flex and Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card provide plenty of value. The Freedom Flex offers quite a few bonus reward categories while the Quicksilver Cash Rewards provides a flat cash back rate for every purchase. However, the best option would be to use both cards together.

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The Chase Freedom Flex℠ (Review) and the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card (Review) are both solid rewards cards, however the Freedom Flex provides greater rewards.

The Freedom Flex features a wide array of bonus categories, some of which rotate every three months. The categories that rotate have a spending limit, but it’s high enough where it doesn’t matter too much. The Quicksilver card provides a flat cash back rate for every purchase with no limits.

Neither card requires an annual fee. That means you could get them both at no extra cost, as long as you avoid interest and other fees. Using them together would give cardholders the best of both worlds and maximize rewards.

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Min. credit levelGood
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR14.99% - 23.74% Variable

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR15.49% - 25.49% Variable
  • One-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won’t expire for the life of the account and there’s no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.49%-25.49% variable APR after that
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees

The Freedom Flex and the Quicksilver at a Glance

The most important difference between these two cards is their reward programs. The Freedom Flex offers static 3% and 5% cash back categories, as well as additional 5% cash back categories (up to $1,500 spent, then 1%) that rotate quarterly.

The Quicksilver rewards card simply offers 1.5% cash back for everything you buy. Whereas the Freedom Flex is limited in how much you can earn with its rotating categories, the Quicksilver has no such limit.

While both cards feature common protections like extended warranty, the Freedom Flex offers a stronger benefits package. Its perks include a DoorDash delivery service membership, special deals with Fandango and Boxed, and more protections like rental car insurance, cell phone insurance, and purchase protection. However, the Capital One card features travel accident insurance, unlike the Freedom Flex.

Each card also features a 0% introductory APR on new purchases, giving you some time to make purchases interest-free for some time. But keep in mind you’ll still need to make minimum payments each month.

The Rewards

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Spending Rewards
  • 5% cash back on:
    • Travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
    • Lyft rides (through March 2022)
  • 5% cash back in rotating categories, up to $1,500 in spending each quarter, then 1%
  • 3% cash back at:
    • Restaurants
    • Drugstores
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • $200 bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months

As you can see, the Freedom Flex credit card offers a bit more than the Quicksilver. Between the static bonus categories and the 5% categories that rotate every quarter, it provides plenty of value.

Despite the $1,500 spending limit, you should still earn plenty of cash back. 5% cash back on $1,500 is still $75, plus whatever rewards you would’ve earned from the other bonus categories along the way.

Here are the quarterly 5% cash back categories for 2021, and the previous categories from 2020:

Quarter 2021 Categories 2020 Categories
January – March
  • Wholesale Clubs
  • Streaming Services
  • Internet, Cable, Phone Services
  • Gas Stations
  • Streaming Services
  • Internet, Cable, Phone Services
April – June
  • Gas Stations
  • Home Improvement Stores
  • Grocery stores
  • Fitness club and gym memberships
  • Streaming services
July – September
  • TBA
  • Amazon.com
  • Whole Foods Markets
October – December
  • TBA
  • Walmart
  • PayPal

Once you’ve earned some cash back, you can redeem it for:

  • Statement credits
  • Gift cards
  • Travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards

How to Get More Out of Your Freedom Flex Rewards

You can actually transfer your cash back (in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards points) to other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards. By transferring it to a card that offers point transfers to Chase’s travel partners (for example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (Review) or the upgraded Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Review)) you can increase the value of your points.

Once your points have been moved to either card, you can transfer them to Chase’s hotel or airline partners where you could find a per-point value of 2 cents or more. At that rate, your cash back equivalent would be at least 10% for the rotating categories, and 10% and 6% for the static categories.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

Spending Rewards
  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • $200 for spending $500 in the first 3 months after account opening

The Quicksilver is a pretty simple cash back card. Whether you’re shopping at Target or piling up your grocery store purchases, you can earn at more than the typical 1% rate for non-category purchases. And it works well with other categorial reward cards like the Freedom Flex.

You’re able to redeem cash back rewards for statement credits or bank account deposits whenever you like. Or, you can redeem for gift cards, but statement credits and deposits are the easiest routes to take.

Who Are These Cards Designed For?

Both are pretty well suited for the general spender, as neither really focuses on any one area. However, the Quicksilver Cash Rewards card might be better for those who don’t feel like paying attention to where you’d earn the most rewards. The Freedom Flex has a lot of bonus categories to keep track of.

If you travel outside of the U.S. frequently, the Quicksilver could be the better choice. Unlike the Freedom Flex, it features no foreign transaction fee, meaning you wouldn’t be charged extra for any transaction that requires a different currency. However, the Freedom Flex could provide more travel rewards, if you can book all of your travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, that is.

Another aspect to keep in mind is the impact the cards might have on your spending habits. The Quicksilver card earns the same rate on everything you buy, so it probably won’t affect how you spend too much.

But because the Freedom Flex earns more cash back on a wide variety of purchases, it might be tempting to alter how you spend your money in order to earn more rewards. We don’t recommend doing so. Credit cards should be used to support how you’re already spending your money, not encourage you to spend more of it or in different ways than you normally would.

Insider tip

There’s another card in the Freedom family, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® (Review). It’s pretty much just like the Freedom Flex, but provides 1.5% back for “all other purchases” instead of the 5% rotating categories. It’s a bit like a combination of the Freedom Flex and Quicksilver cards.

4 Reasons Why the Freedom Flex Is the Better Card

We think the Freedom Flex is objectively the better card for four reasons.

  1. It provides higher cash back rates.
  2. It covers more ground with its bonus categories, providing more opportunities to earn rewards.
  3. It comes with more benefits, including shopping and travel protections, a DashPass (DoorDash membership), access to shopping portals like Shop through Chase, and more.
  4. You can get more value for your rewards by pairing it with another Chase Ultimate Rewards card and utilizing a point transfer.

That said, while side by side the Freedom Flex might be the more attractive offer, that doesn’t mean you have to choose between these two cards. The best strategy here is actually to use both of them together.

Can I Get Both Cards?

If you’re torn between getting one or the other, you don’t actually have to pick. Using them together would grant you the best of both cards.

Use the Freedom Flex whenever you’re shopping in its bonus categories, and then use the Quicksilver for whatever the Freedom Flex’s bonus categories don’t cover.

Having both could be handy for travelers. If you can book through Chase Ultimate Rewards you could earn 5%, and then use the Quicksilver while away from home to avoid foreign transaction fees (see other great cards without foreign transaction fees here).

The Verdict

When comparing these two cards, the Freedom Flex comes out on top. It offers higher rewards, more bonus categories, better redemption options, and stronger benefits. However, it does have a foreign transaction fee, so if you plan on traveling outside of the U.S., the Quicksilver Rewards Card might be the better call.

That said, you don’t really have to choose. The best strategy here is actually to get both cards. Neither of them requires an annual fee and their rewards don’t overlap. That means you can get both without any extra cost and have more earning opportunities.

However, if neither card appeals to you, here are a few more reward cards that might suit you better:

  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (Review) is more travel-oriented, and pairs well with the Freedom Flex. It earns 5X points per dollar for Lyft rides (through March 2022), and 2X points for travel and dining. Its point transfer opportunities could substantially increase the value of your rewards.
  • The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (Review) provides one of the highest reward rates of any card, boasting 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent annually, then 1%) and for select U.S. streaming services, as well as 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and for transit services. It does have an annual fee, but it’s pretty inconsequential compared to the rewards you’ll be earning. (Rates & Fees)
  • The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer (Review), similar to the Quicksilver Cash Rewards card, earns a flat 2% cash back for everything you buy. You’ll get 1% when you make the initial purchase and the other 1% when you pay it off (you have to pay the minimum due to earn rewards). There’s no annual fee and it provides a long intro APR for balance transfers.
  • The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card (Review) earns rewards for a number of common purchases. You’ll get 3X points on restaurants, gas stations, streaming services, and travel. It has no annual fee and an intro APR for purchases and balance transfers.

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Min. credit levelGood
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR14.99% - 23.74% Variable

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR15.49% - 25.49% Variable
  • One-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won’t expire for the life of the account and there’s no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.49%-25.49% variable APR after that
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
See a wide variety of cash back credit cards to fit all kinds of spending. Best Cash Back Credit Cards of April 2021
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For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

Written by

Evan Zimmer

Evan graduated from SUNY Oswego with a degree in journalism and creative writing. In his professional writing career, he strives for precision and comprehension in his work. He’s written news articles, blog posts, and copy, working across a slew of different mediums. With in-depth research and great care for accuracy and detail, he now works to bring you the most up-to-date credit information.

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