Chase has just launched a new credit card, called Freedom Flex. The card is replacing the original Chase Freedom credit card which, along with Freedom Unlimited, represent Chase’s new lineup of Freedom cards. We dig into the details of Freedom Flex card in this review.
History of Chase Freedom Credit Cards
To best understand where the Chase Freedom Flex fits in, some history helps. Chase first launched the Chase Freedom card in 2006. It was a first in that rewards could take the form of either cash back or rewards points. While there were changes over the years to the card, it was best known as offering 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in select categories that changed every quarter.
In 2016, Chase launched the Freedom Unlimited card. This card was ideal for those who didn’t want to fuss with rotating categories. It simply paid 1.5% on all purchases. As part of the launch of Freedom Flex, Chase is making major updates to Freedom Unlimited, which you can read about here.
With the introduction of Chase Freedom Flex, the bank is discontinuing the original Chase Freedom card. For those who love rotating categories, however, you won’t be disappointed. Chase has combined the 5% cash back quarterly rewards and elevated rewards in a number of purchase categories, all in one card–Freedom Flex.
Chase Freedom Flex Snapshot
- $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases with the card in the first 3 months.
- 5% cash back at the grocery store (excluding Target and Walmart) on up to $12,000 in purchases the first year.
- 5% on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- 3% on dining at restaurants, including takeout or eligible delivery services.
- 3% on drugstore purchases
- 5% on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories every quarter (activation required)
- 1% on all other purchases
- 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2022
- Free access to your credit score
- 0% APR introductory rate for 15 months on purchases.
- No annual fee
The Chase Freedom Flex has a long list of cash back rewards. We’ll list the rewards, then we’ll look at just how much they could be worth.
New cardmembers will earn a $200 bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Note that the bonus is available to new cardmembers if they have not received a cardmember bonus from Chase in the last 24 months.
5% Cash Back
The card pays 5% cash back on the following categories of purchases:
- Grocery store purchases on up to $12,000 spent in the first year (Walmart and Target not included)
- Travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Up to $1,500 in combined purchases in rotating categories that change every quarter (you must activate these rewards on the Chase website)
Note that for October to December, 2020, the 5% rotating categories are purchases at Walmart and via PayPal. You must activate these in your Chase account by December 14, 2020.
3% Cash Back
The card pays 3% cash back on the following categories of purchases:
- Dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services
- Drugstore purchases
1% Cash Back
All other purchases earn 1% cash back.
Value of Rewards
The Chase Freedom Flex actually earns points. The value of the points depends on how they are redeemed. And there are several ways to redeem rewards. And it’s here that we can unlock some incredible value. First, here’s a table of the redemption options and their respective point values.
|Redemption Method||Point Value|
|Gift Cards||1 cent|
|Chase Pay||0.8 cents|
|Pay with Points||Varies|
We’ll first assume you’ll redeem for cash. Then we’ll look at transferring the points to another Chase card and redeeming the points for travel (which is the highest possible value, as you’ll see).
To determine the potential value of the Chase Freedom Flex, we have to make some assumptions. We also have to distinguish between the first year, which offers extra rewards. With that, here is the potential value to a hypothetical family of four.
|Category||Annual Amount Spent||Reward Rate||Value|
Beginning in the second year, the total rewards would go down to $880.
Combining Points with Other Chase Cards
Chase allows cardmembers to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to other Chase cards with Ultimate Rewards. You can even transfer the points to a card belonging to a member of your household. But why transfer points at all?
Good question. Some Chase cards pay a bonus when you use Ultimate Rewards to book travel through Chase. In fact, two of the most popular travel cards Chase offers pay a bonus:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve (50% bonus)
- Chase Sapphire Preferred (25% bonus)
I’ve carried the Reserve card since it was first launched, and it’s arguably the best travel credit card available today. So, if you have or get that card, you can transfer the points earned with Flex over to the Reserve. When you then use those points for travel through Chase, you get a 50% bonus each time.
This bonus would turn $1,680 in first year rewards into $2,520. And it would turn $880 in rewards beginning in year two into $1,320. It’s one of the best deals available in the credit card rewards space today.
Additional Card Benefits
The card comes with a long list of additional benefits, some from Chase and some because the card is part of Mastercard’s World Elite program:
Cell Phone Insurance: Up to $800 per claim and $1,000 per year in cell phone protection against theft or damage for phones listed on cardmembers’ monthly bill.
Lyft: $10 in credit for every five rides taken in a calendar month, automatically applied to the next ride and capped at once per month. And earn 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2022.
Boxed: 5% cash rewards on Boxed purchases for use on future purchases.
ShopRunner: Free membership to receive two-day shipping and free return shipping at over a hundred online retailers.
Fandango: Double VIP+ points for movie tickets purchased via the Fandango app or Fandango.com, which can be used towards purchasing movie tickets on Fandango or towards streaming movies and TV shows on FandangoNOW.
Zero Liability Protections: If somebody uses your account without your permission, you won’t be held responsible. Remember to call Chase immediately. Note that zero liability protection does not apply if an authorized user uses the card without the approval of the primary cardmember.
Purchase Protection: This benefit covers purchases for 120 days for damage or theft up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.
Extended Warranty Protections: On eligible warranties of three years or less, this benefit extends the warranty by one year.
Free Credit Score: You get free access to your credit score.
Fraud Monitoring: Chase monitors your account 24/7 for possible signs of fraudulent transactions.
Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver: You can decline the rental company’s insurance and charge the entire amount of the rental to the Chase Freedom Flex. It covers theft and collision damage for most cards in the U.S. and is secondary coverage to your personal insurance.
Trip Cancellation / Interruption Insurance: You can get reimbursed up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip for “prepaid, nonrefundable passenger fares” if the trip is “canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations.”
Travel and Emergency Assistance Services: You can call the Benefit Administrator for legal or medical referrals or other travel and emergency assistance.
Pros and Cons
What we like
- Excellent cash back rewards
- $200 signup bonus
- Points can be combined with other Chase cards
- Card travel and other benefits
- No annual fee
What could be better
- Requires excellent credit
- You need to keep track of the different reward categories
Given the rich rewards and no annual fee, you’ll need good to excellent credit to get approved. While it’s possible a score in the high 600s could get approved, aim for a score of at least 720.
Yes, it’s an excellent offer. I would certainly include it in the top 5 cash back cards available today. Whether it’s the best option for you will depend on how you use the card.
Yes, Chase is no longer accepting applications for the Chase Freedom. The Chase Freedom Unlimited, however, is still available.
The cards are nearly identical, with one major exception. The Chase Freedom Flex offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in quarterly rotating categories and 1% on all other purchases not part of the bonus rewards categories described above. In contrast, the Chase Freedom Unlimited doesn’t offer the 5% on rotating categories, but pays 1.5% on all other purchases not part of the bonus rewards categories. Both have no annual fee.
Chase Freedom Flex
The Chase Freedom Flex is about as good as it gets. From a signup bonus to ongoing rewards, this no fee cash back card is one of the few that gets a perfect score.
Check out the Chase Freedom Flex for more details and to learn how to apply online.