Chase Freedom Flex(SM) vs. Citi Custom Cash Card
Both the Chase Freedom Flex(SM) and the Citi Custom Cash Card cards offer similar welcome bonuses. The Chase Freedom Flex card offers a $200 bonus after you spend $500 in the first 3 months.
The Citi Custom Cash card offers $200 bonus after you spend $1,500 in the first 6 months.
Chase Freedom Flex rewards you in just three months, and you need to spend less to earn the $200 bonus. You'll have to wait six months for the Citi Custom Cash bonus.
The winner of the welcome bonus is the Chase Freedom Flex because it's easier to earn the bonus.
Cash Back Rewards
The Chase Freedom Flex(SM) gets you 5% cash back on purchases in rotating bonus categories: there's a different category every three months. For 2022, January – March is grocery stores (excluding Walmart and Target); April – June is Amazon and select streaming services; July – September is gas stations, car rentals, movie theaters, and select live entertainment. October – December is Walmart and PayPal. There is a cap of $1500 spent in combined purchases per quarter. You also need to activate rotating categories every quarter to earn the 5% cash back. If you max out the 5% category, you can earn $75 cash back every quarter.
The Citi Custom Cash Card simply pays you 5% cash back in the category you spend the most money in per quarter. There is a limit of $500 spent per billing cycle, then you'll earn 1% cash back, but you don't have to sign up for anything. Categories you can earn 5% cash back include restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, select transit, select streaming, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs, and live entertainment. Maxing out the 5% category with this card carn earn you $75 cash back every quarter, same as the Chase Freedom Flex.
However, you can still earn a higher cash back rate on other categories with the Chase Freedom Flex. For example, you can earn 3% cash back on dining and drug stores, then 1% on all other purchases. With the Citi card, you only get 5% cash back on your top spending category and then 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Here is a breakdown of the rewards for each card:
Chase Freedom Flex(SM)
Citi Custom Cash Card
Both of these cards would work well paired with a 2% cash back card like the Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer or the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card. Once you reach your spending limit on the 5% cash back category, you can use your 2% cash back card to earn 2% cash back on all other purchases instead of 1% cash back.
The winner of the rewards bonus depends on your spending habits. If you can max out your 5% spending limit, don't mind activating the rotating categories every quarter, and dine out often, you may earn more cash back with the Chase Freedom Flex.
However, if you don't want to worry about which card you use for specific purchases and you can spend at least $500 per month on a qualifying category, like groceries, the Citi Custom Cash may be a better fit for you.
Rates and Fees
Both cards offer a 0% introductory rate: Chase Freedom Flex offers 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months, then your rate will be 19.24% - 27.99%, depending on creditworthiness.
Citi Custom Cash also offers 0% intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. Then your rate will be 18.49% - 28.49%, depending on creditworthiness.
Neither card has an annual fee, but they both do have foreign transaction fees, so neither is a good choice if you're traveling internationally.
Who the Chase Freedom Flex(SM) is best for
The Chase Freedom Flex(SM) is an excellent card for those who spend more on certain categories in some months and don't mind activating those categories. If you travel, you'll earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which are most valuable when transferred to Chase travel partners. You can also transfer your rewards to another Chase card that offers more value for your rewards. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card offer 25% more value when you redeem your rewards for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers 50% more value when redeeming rewards for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. With the Chase Freedom Flex, you also get cell phone protection and a few other nice benefits.
You can also consider this card if you need to make a major purchase or transfer another high-interest credit card balance. You'll have 15 months to pay it off and enjoy the 0% intro APR.
Who the Citi Custom Cash Card is best for
If your spending habits stay relatively consistent, you will enjoy the 5% cash back you earn on whatever category you spend the most money. You won't need to sign up for anything or remember to switch categories. This is also a good card if you need to make a major purchase or a balance transfer as long as you can take advantage of the 0% intro APR and pay it off in 15 months.
Does it make sense to get both cards?
Both are excellent cards with decent cash back rewards and no annual fee. You can get both cards and use the Citi Custom Cash card for groceries (which tends to be a top spending category for most people), and get the Chase Freedom Flex to earn the elevated rewards on different categories in each quarter, and 3% cash back on dining and drugstores. Both are great cards; you really can't go wrong with either one.
The credit score data provided for some of the cards listed below came from publicly available information in a number of forums. The accuracy of the information cannot be verified. Keep in mind that credit card issuers consider more than an applicant’s credit score and that underwriting standards change over time.
Approval odds for the Chase Freedom Flex(SM):
|App Status||Date||Credit Score||Bureau||Credit Limit|
Approval odds for the Citi Custom Cash Card:
|App Status||Date||Credit Score||Bureau||Credit Limit|
The Chase Freedom Flex(SM) is a little more forgiving of average credit scores. You might not get a high credit limit, but your chances are better for approval than for the Citi Custom Cash Card, which requires excellent credit.