Updated Oct 05, 2020 | Published Sep 17, 2020 • 12 min read
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The Chase Freedom Flex features excellent 3% and 5% cash back rewards, including a few quarterly rotating bonus categories and a useful benefits package.
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Our Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars
We give the Chase Freedom Flex℠5 out of 5 Stars. It provides good rewards, solid benefits, and has the flexibility of quarterly rotating 5% bonus categories.
Why We Like It
5% cash back in quarterly rotating bonus categories
5% cash back on Lyft rides and travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
5% cash back on groceries (for the first 12 months, or up to $12,000; excludes Target and Walmart)
3% cash back on dining and at drugstores
No annual fee
Why It Could Be Better
$1,500 spending limit on the rotating 5% bonus categories
The Chase Freedom Flex boasts an impressive amount of versatility. You’ll earn a solid amount of cash back across a wide variety of categories, like travel, dining, groceries, and more. There are additional 5% bonus categories that rotate quarterly, expanding its earning potential even further.
That’s pretty great for a card that doesn’t ask for an annual fee, and provides a handful of useful shopping and travel protections, to boot.
There’s one other card in the Freedom collection, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® (Review). It too features no annual fee and earns 1.5% cash back on most purchases, along with 5% and 3% cash back categories.
The Freedom Flex replaces the Chase Freedom® (Review), with an expanded rewards program. It’s now a Mastercard, while the old card was a Visa. If you have the original Freedom card, you can request a product change to the Freedom Flex.
Insider Advice: Getting the Most Out of Your Card
Don’t forget to activate your 5% bonus categories: You’ll need to activate your rotating 5% cash back categories every quarter by a deadline. You’ll have about 15 days before the quarter begins to activate, and up until about 15 days before the quarter ends. Consider setting up email alerts to remind yourself.
Use your card for groceries, while you can: For the first 12 months, or until you spend $12,000 on groceries, you’ll be able to earn 5% cash back at grocery stores (Target and Walmart don’t count as grocery stores).
Travel with your card: You’ll earn 5% cash back on travel (through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel service, and also for Lyft rides), an incredible rate for a card with no annual fee, so book with the Freedom Flex and bring it with you when you go.
Dine in: You’ll get 3% cash back on restaurant purchases, meaning that dessert will taste all the sweeter.
Get food right to your door: But if you don’t feel like eating at a restaurant, thanks to your three-month DoorDash membership your orders of $12 or more won’t have any delivery fees.
Grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart purchases; up to $12,000 spent in the first year)
5% cash back in rotating categories (up to $1,500 spent per quarter, then 1%)
3% cash back at:
1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
$200 bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months
The Freedom Flex lives up to its name by providing a versatile earning experience. Not only will you earn in a wide variety of categories, you’ll also gain additional 5% cash back categories that change every three months.
As you can see, the selection is quite eclectic, and that makes it pretty useful. It offers something for everybody, from gym memberships to Amazon purchases, so it’d be relatively surprising if you couldn’t find a use for the card.
Just keep in mind you’ll need to manually activate the categories each time they change. Otherwise, you won’t be able to earn that 5% cash back. You should be able to activate them about 15 days before the new quarter begins, so 15 days before the end of the preceding month. And you’ll have 15 days into the last month to still activate, if you forgot to do so at the start. Even if you activate late, you’ll earn that 5% back on all eligible purchases made previously.
It’s kind of a hassle, but you can set email alerts to remind yourself when that activation day is about to roll around. This would probably be a smart move, as you don’t want to miss out on any potential returns on your spending!
While this is referred to as a cash back credit card, you’ll technically be earning Ultimate Rewards points for your purchases. Each point you earn is worth up to 1 cent when redeemed through normal means. However, it’s simpler just to refer to the rewards as cash back in most cases.
There are a few different methods available when you’re ready to redeem your rewards. You can:
And from there, you can either redeem for a bonus or transfer those points to a selection of airline and hotel partners at a 1:1 rate. Here’s how it’s done:
Earn cash back rewards with your Chase Freedom Flex.
Transfer your rewards to one of the three cards listed above.
Redeem them for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards to get a 25% or 50% bonus, depending on the card.
Or, transfer them to airline or hotel loyalty programs where they could be worth even more.
If you funnel all your rewards through another card, you can increase your cash back equivalent beyond the 5% maximum the Freedom Flex offers. If you get the 25% bonus, you’d see a cash back equivalent of 6.25%. It would jump to 7.50% if you get the 50% bonus.
The Freedom Flex offers a useful selection of benefits. You’ll be able to check one of your credit scores, find special earning deals with Shop through Chase, and get covered by several handy shopping and travel protections.
Complimentary DoorDash membership: You’ll get three free months of DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service (learn more about Chase DoorDash benefits). You’ll pay $0 in delivery fees for orders over $12, and get reduced service fees. Once those three months are up, you can reenroll for 50% off.
Shop through Chase: Cardholders can get more cash back at select retailers with the Shop through Chase marketplace. You’ll find deals that come and go over time, which let you earn a good reward rate outside the bonus categories.
Chase Offers: Browse and activate special offers from a selection of retailers on the Chase app.
Lyft credits: Once per month you can earn a $10 Lyft credit for every five rides you take.
Boxed rewards: You’ll earn 5% cash back rewards on Boxed Wholesale orders to be used for future purchases.
Fandango discount: You’ll get $5 off every two tickets you buy.
Chase Credit Journey: You can check your VantageScore 3.0, based on your TransUnion credit report. Everyone is able to use this tool however, not only Chase cardholders.
Cell Phone Protection: Your phone is covered against damage and theft when you pay the bill with your card, up to $800 per claim and $1,000 per year.
Extended Warranty: Buy a product with your card, and an eligible manufacturer’s warranty will be extended for an additional year.
Purchase Protection: Your new purchases are covered for 120 days against damage and theft, up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.
Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver: Decline the rental car provider’s insurance offer and charge the whole amount to your card, and your rental car will be covered against damage and theft. This is secondary to your personal insurance.
Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance: If your trip is delayed or interrupted by eligible conditions, such as sickness or weather, you could be reimbursed by up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip.
Travel and Emergency Assistance Services: If you’re in need of legal or health assistance, or are having other travel emergencies, call your Benefit Administrator.
The Terms & Fees
Balance Transfer APR
Cash Advance APR
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
Foreign Transaction Fee
3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
Balance Transfer Fee
Cash Advance Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
Returned Payment Fee
The terms are pretty standard here, but if you do plan on traveling you should take note of the foreign transaction fee. Although this card offers rewards for travel, you’ll be responsible for that extra charge for every purchase you make in foreign currency.
The rewards are excellent and cover a wide selection of categories, and the benefits could prove useful in a pinch. It’s kind of like a Swiss Army credit card; it touches on a bit of everything without focusing on any one subject, like a dedicated travel card or restaurant card might.
You can use it for a myriad of purchases, and then maybe combine it with another rewards card that covers everything else.
All in all, you could do a lot worse than the Freedom Flex.
How Do I Apply for the Chase Freedom Flex?
Click the link below to be directed to the credit card issuer’s website. You’ll fill out an application with all the necessary information, and will likely hear back pretty quickly regarding if you’ve been approved or denied.
What Credit Scores Do I Need to Qualify for the Freedom Flex?
It’s recommended that you have good credit before applying.
That means your credit scores would need to be in the ranges of 670–739 for FICO and 700–749 for VantageScore.
Keep in mind that credit card issuers take more than just your credit scores into account, however. They’ll look at your income, source of income, and monthly mortgage or rent payments when deciding your creditworthiness.
So even if your scores are lower than those ranges, you still might be approved. But that also means if your scores are higher, there’s a chance you’ll be denied.
Qualifications and Requirements
Must be 18to apply
Personal identifying information: Social Security number, email address, phone number
Financial information: Total annual income, source of income, monthly mortgage/rent payment
Some people report being denied for Chase cards for having five or more new credit card accounts in the last 24 months
The quarterly bonus categories for July–September are Amazon and Whole Foods, and the October–December categories are Walmart and PayPal.
Previous categories include grocery stores, streaming services, fitness clubs, gas, and internet, cable, and phone services.
In addition to those quarterly rewards, you’ll also earn 5% cash back on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 5% on Lyft rides through March 2022, 5% on groceries for 12 months or up to $12,000 spent, 3% cash back at restaurants and drugstores, and 1% on everything else. So the earning potential is pretty exceptional.
How do I log in to my Chase Freedom Flex account?
Just navigate to Chase’s website and enter your information to sign in. From there, you can check your account profile. That’s where you can keep an eye on your balance, pay your card, see your statements, and check out other card features.
What’s the difference between the Chase Freedom and Freedom Flex?
The Chase Freedom Flex is actually replacing the Chase Freedom® (Review). It adds a 5% cash back category for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards plus some 3% cash back categories, allowing you to earn more at restaurants and drugstores. The Freedom was also a Visa, and the Freedom Flex is a Mastercard.
It too features 5% cash back in quarterly rotating categories, up to $1,500 in spending (then 1%; activation required). The categories are often pretty similar too, but it’s hard to say if that’ll be true in the future. However, the Discover card has a leg up in a sense, at least for the first year.
Discover will double the cash back you earn for the first 12 months, so you’ll actually be earning the equivalent of 10% back when spending in the quarterly categories.
However, that, and 1% for all other purchases (2% after the bonus!), is all that comes with the card in terms of its rewards. There are no other bonus categories aside from the rotating ones, so the Flex offers quite a bit more.
The benefits for the Discover card are weaker. There are no shopping or travel protections, but you can still check your FICO Score 8 credit score, based on your TransUnion credit report.
5% cash back in categories that rotate every three months (see calendar below), up to $1,500 spent per quarter (then 1%; activation required)
1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
Cashback Match: Get double cash back for the first year, provided at the end of the first year
The 5% cash back calendar for 2020 is:
5% Cash Back Categories
January – March
Grocery Stores, Walgreens, CVS
April – June
Gas Stations, Uber, Lyft, Wholesale Clubs
July – September
October – December
Amazon.com, Target.com, Walmart.com
Free FICO credit score: See your TransUnion-based FICO Score 8 on statements, online, and by mobile app.
Cash at Checkout: When shopping at participating locations, you can get immediate cash back by charging an additional amount over your purchase for no extra fee.
Refer a Friend: Receive a statement credit bonus when you refer someone you know to apply for a Discover card (if that person is approved).
Free Social Security number alerts: Discover will let you know if your Social Security number appears on an extensive list of dark web sites.
Inquiry and new account alerts: Get notified about any new credit inquiries or accounts on your Experian credit report.
Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: See Terms for See Terms, then See Terms
Designed to be used every day, hence the name, you’ll get a 20% boost to your rewards if you make 20 or more purchases in a single billing period. That shouldn’t be difficult to reach, considering it earns 2X points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent on purchases per year, then 1X), and 1X everywhere else. If you hit that 20% bonus, you’re looking at a cash back equivalent of at least 1.2%–2.4%.
While that’s lower than what the Freedom Flex offers, the Amex card does provide a less complicated earning experience. There are no revolving categories to activate and keep track of, all you need to do is use it to buy stuff like normal.
The benefits are pretty similar, and you’ll get some time before your purchases start accruing interest thanks to the 0% APR for 15 months (then 12.99%–23.99% Variable).
2X Membership Rewards points per dollar at:
U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent annually)
American Express Travel
1X Membership Rewards point per dollar for all other purchases
20% point bonus: For making 20 or more purchases per month
Introductory Bonus Offer
10,000 Membership Rewards points for spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months
Amex Offers: You’ll have access to extra rewards and occasional discounts at a wide variety of merchants — currently there are more than 80 different offers available, and the selection changes now and then.
Lowest Hotel Rates Guaranteed: If you book an eligible prepaid hotel room through Amex Travel and then find the same room being advertised online for a lower price, you can be refunded for the difference.
Entertainment Access: Exclusive access to pre-sale and member-only events in big cities around the world
Shopping and travel protections: Purchase protection, global assist hotline, car rental loss and damage insurance
Purchase APR: 0% for 15 months, then 12.99%–23.99% Variable
Annual fee: $0
Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases, then a variable rate, currently 12.99%–23.99% Variable.
2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x); 1x points on other purchases.
Use your Card 20 or more times on purchases in a billing period and earn 20% more points on those purchases less returns and credits.
Over 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
Like the Freedom Flex, it earns on a wide variety of purchases, only without the quarterly rotating categories. With this card, you’re looking at a cash back equivalent of 1%–3%, depending on what you use it for. The 3% will apply to dining, gas, travel, and streaming services, while the 1% will be for everything else.
So the rewards are slightly less, but it’s also less to keep track of. And there’s no spending limit that reduces your earnings once you reach it. So, potentially, you could end up earning more with this card than the Freedom Flex, depending on how much you spend and where. There’s even a 0% interest APR for 12 months (then 13.99%-25.99% Variable) for both purchases and balance transfers to sweeten the pot.
The benefits are pretty similar. You’ll still be able to monitor one of your credit scores, but you’ll actually get a few more travel protections with this card. It’s a good alternative if you’re looking for a card that earns on a multitude of things, with a slight emphasis on travel.
3X points per dollar spent on:
1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
20,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
Free FICO credit score: See your FICO Score 9, based on your Experian credit report.
Entertainment Access: Access special offers and presale tickets to major events in cities around the United States.
Cell phone protection: Your phone is covered by up to $600 for damage and theft, as long as you pay your monthly bill with this card.
Shopping protections: Extended warranty, purchase protection, and return protection
Travel protections: Roadside assistance, car rental insurance, travel accident insurance, travel inconvenience insurance, lust luggage reimbursement, travel and emergency assistance
Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 12 months, then 13.99%-25.99% Variable
No foreign transaction fee
Annual fee: $0
Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – that’s a $200 cash redemption value
$0 annual fee and no foreign currency conversion fee
Earn 3X points on eating out and ordering in
Earn 3X points on travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals
Earn 3X points on gas stations, rideshares and transit
Earn 3X points on popular streaming services
Earn 1X points on other purchases
Select “Apply Now” to learn more about the product features, terms and conditions
There are no quarterly rotating categories to keep an eye on here. Instead, you’ll want to take advantage of this card’s redemption and transfer options. You’ll be earning 5X points per dollar on Lyft, and 2X for travel and dining. But when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards for travel you’ll get a 25% bonus, bumping up the value to 1.25 cents per point (compared to 1 cent with the Freedom Flex).
You’ll also have the option of transferring your points to Chase’s hotel or airline partners. From there you can find a higher value for your rewards. In some cases, you could find a value of upwards of 2 cents per point, which would boost your earnings to 10% and 4% cash back equivalents in the 5X and 2X categories respectively.
However, take note that this is one of three cards you can transfer points to from the Freedom Flex to get a better reward value. So, as explained above, you could actually use both cards together to really maximize your rewards.
5X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on:
2X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar for:
1X Ultimate Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
80,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
1:1 point transfer: 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value – that means 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points. The travel and hotel partners include Southwest Airlines, JetBlue, United, World of Hyatt, Marriott Bonvoy, and IHG Rewards Club.
DoorDash membership: You’ll get a free DoorDash membership for at least a year, known as a DashPass. That’ll get you free delivery and reduced service fees for orders over $12.
Referral bonus points: You can invite friends to apply for the Sapphire Preferred, and for every friend who’s approved you’ll get 15,000 bonus points. You can earn up to 75,000 bonus points per year in this way.
Shop through Chase: Cardholders can get more points at select retailers with the Shop through Chase marketplace.
Chase Offers: Receive exclusive offers from a variety of different merchants through Chase.
Credit Journey: Monitor your VantageScore 3.0 credit score based on your TransUnion credit report, and get advice to improve your credit.
Visa Signature Concierge: You can call 1-800-953-7392 to speak with your Visa Signature Concierge, 24/7.
Travel protections: Trip delay reimbursement, trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, travel and emergency assistance, travel accident insurance, primary auto rental collision damage waiver, and roadside dispatch
Shopping protections: Purchase protection and extended warranty protection
Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 15.99% - 22.99% Variable
No foreign transaction fee
Annual fee: $95
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards(R).
2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Do you have the new Chase Freedom Flex card? Did you upgrade from the Freedom? Let us know how you like the rewards in the comments!
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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