September 25, 2020

Chase Freedom Flex credit card review 2020: Benefits, rewards, and more

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Regular APR

14.99% – 23.74%

Credit Score

Good to Excellent

Featured Reward

$200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

Intro APR

0% for the first 15 billing cycles

Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
    • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
    • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
    • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
    • No annual fee.
    • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 – 23.74%.
    • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.
    Pros
    • No annual fee
    • Generous bonus cash-back categories
    • Great welcome bonus
    Cons
    • Booking through Ultimate Rewards portal can restrict outside earning potential
    • Varying percentages and rotating calendar categories require extra attention
    • 3% foreign transaction fees

    If you want to earn bonus cash back without paying an annual fee or if you want to boost your Chase Ultimate Rewards earnings, the new Chase Freedom Flex℠  could be a great addition to your wallet. The Freedom Flex pays a generous 5% cash back on airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, activities, and cruises when you book them through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

    But Chase knows you’re probably staying at home right now, and the Freedom Flex is also designed to reward cardholders who aren’t going anywhere. You’re definitely still buying groceries, and the card delivers a big first-year bonus — 5% cash back on up to $12,000 in purchases at grocery stores except Target or Walmart — on top of a welcome bonus of $200 after spending $500 within the first three months.

    What are the benefits that will make a difference beyond the first year? The card will give you 3% cash back for drugstore and dining out purchases (or dining in with takeout and delivery services). You’ll want to pay attention to your calendar, too. The Freedom Flex is part of Chase’s quarterly bonus program, which pays 5% on up to $1,500 of purchases in certain categories.

    In fact, the Chase Freedom Flex is effectively replacing the Chase Freedom in Chase’s lineup of cards available to new applicants. The Freedom card also earns 5% back on up to $1,500 spent in combined purchases on rotating bonus categories, but that card only offers 1% cash back on everything else. If you have the Freedom card, you’ll be able to request a transfer to the Freedom Flex, or you can choose to keep your card as is.

    And if you have a Chase credit card that earns Ultimate Rewards points, you can pair your accounts to make all that cash back a bit more valuable by converting it to UR points and using them to book travel. These are all attractive perks for a no-annual-fee cash-back card, making the Chase Freedom Flex℠  one of the most compelling offers to arrive in an otherwise lackluster 2020.

    Hotel loyalty alert: If you’re considering the Chase Freedom Flex, there’s one potential drawback you should consider. Taking advantage of the 5% cash back offer on travel requires booking through the Ultimate Rewards portal, which can lead to sacrificing reward opportunities elsewhere. For example, if you’re a regular guest of a major chain like Marriott, Hilton, or Hyatt, you will only receive credit for the hotelier’s loyalty program if you book directly.

    So, let’s say you book a hotel room at a Marriott property that costs $300 via the Ultimate Rewards portal. You’ll get $15 in cash back from Chase, but you won’t receive credit for the night or any additional points from Marriott. If you regularly book your hotel or vacation rental through a site like Expedia or Priceline, though, you don’t need to worry about these other loyalty programs. And for airline purchases, you’ll still get the credit and reward miles when you book through the Ultimate Rewards portal.

    Bottom line: If you’re looking for a card that pays cash back on each of your purchases, plus higher cash-back potential when you’re traveling, eating or swinging by the pharmacy, consider the Chase Freedom Flex. The newest addition to the lineup of Chase credit cards delivers a wide range of perks and protections with no annual fee.

    Chase Freedom Flex versus other Chase credit cards

      Chase Freedom Flex℠ Chase Freedom Unlimited® Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
    Annual fee $0 $0 $95
    Sign-up bonus

    $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

    5% cash back on up to $12k spent at grocery stores* in the first year

    $200 after spending $500 in the first three months from account opening

    5% cash back on up to $12k spent at grocery stores* in the first year

    80,000 points after you spend $4k in the first 3 months 
    Earning rewards

    5% cash back on travel through Ultimate Rewards

    5% on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter in rotating bonus categories

    3% back on dining and drugstore purchases

    1% back on everything else

    5% cash back on travel through Ultimate Rewards

    3% back on dining and drugstore purchases

    1.5% back on everything else

    5x points on Lyft rides**

    2x points on travel and dining

    1 point per dollar on everything else

    Other noteworthy perks Mastercard World Elite benefits X 1:1 point transfers to a range of travel partners
      Apply Now Learn more Learn more

    *excluding Target and Walmart purchases

    **through March 2022

      Chase Freedom Flex℠ Citi® Double Cash Card Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
    Annual fee $0 $0  
    Sign-up bonus

    $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

    5% cash back on up to $12k spent at grocery stores* in the first year

    X One-time $150 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months
    Earning rewards

    5% cash back on travel through Ultimate Rewards

    5% on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter in rotating bonus categories

    3% back on dining and drugstore purchases

    1% back on everything else

    2% cash back on everything (1% when you buy; 1% when you pay your bill) 1.5% cash back on everything
    Other noteworthy perks Mastercard World Elite benefits X No foreign transaction fees
      Apply Now Learn more Learn more

    *excluding Target and Walmart purchases

    Putting cash back in your pocket — or putting it to use

    To determine if the Chase Freedom Flex℠  is right for you, take a look at your spending patterns from the past 12 months. Are you regularly buying household supplies at CVS, Walgreens, or other drugstores? How often do you order takeout or spend an evening at a restaurant? Consider how you typically spend your cash to see how much cash back is on the line.

    On a personal note, I ran a spending report from 2019 to tally my total at CVS and Walgreens, which are my go-to outlets for at-home essentials. The total was just over $1,826. With the Freedom Flex, I would have received more than $54 in cash back.

    One of the big benefits of cash back is that it’s straightforward. You’ll simply see the cash back total adding up in your account and you can deposit it in your bank account, apply it as a statement credit, or use it to make purchases in the Ultimate Rewards portal.

    Or, if you have one of Chase’s premium credit cards — the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve® — you can squeeze more value from all that cash back by converting it into Ultimate Rewards points and transferring them to travel partners. If you’re booking a flight, those points can be worth a lot more.

    The Freedom Flex comes with a number of helpful protections that you will hopefully not have to use.

    Purchase protection covers new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $500 per claim, and trip cancellation/interruption insurance will reimburse you $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip if your trip is canceled or shortened because of sickness, severe weather or other types of worst-case scenarios.

    If you get the Chase Freedom Flex℠ , you’ll want to switch your cell phone bill to this card, too. It delivers $800 per claim and $1,000 per year if your cell phone is stolen or damaged.

    The cell phone protection plan is part of Mastercard’s World Elite program. While most Chase rewards credit cards are issued by Visa, the Freedom Flex is a Mastercard, and cardholders can enjoy other World Elite features including a free membership to ShopRunner, double VIP+ points from Fandango, and a $10 credit from Lyft for taking five rides in a calendar month.

    Regular APR

    14.99% – 23.74%

    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

    Intro APR

    0% for the first 15 billing cycles

    Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
    • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
    • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
    • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
    • No annual fee.
    • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 – 23.74%.
    • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.
    Pros
    • No annual fee
    • Generous bonus cash-back categories
    • Great welcome bonus
    Cons
    • Booking through Ultimate Rewards portal can restrict outside earning potential
    • Varying percentages and rotating calendar categories require extra attention
    • 3% foreign transaction fees

    Freedom Flex costs and fees

    You won’t have to worry about paying an annual fee to use the Chase Freedom Flex℠ . And for the first 15 months, you won’t have to worry about paying any interest charges on purchases, thanks to the 0% APR introductory period. After that, the variable APR will be a variable rate of 14.99% – 23.74%.

    However, the most important lesson to keep in mind while using any credit card is to pay off your balance in full each month to avoid finance charges. If you carry a balance, you can negate any of the cash-back rewards you accumulate.

    There are other fees for balance transfers (5% of the transferred amount), cash advances (5% of the amount and not less than $10), and 3% foreign transaction fees, but those are easy to avoid. Don’t transfer a balance unless the math adds up, and don’t take out a cash advance. And if you’re traveling outside the US, be sure to use a credit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card.

    Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.

    Business Insider may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

    Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they’re subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.

    Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.

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