Thanks to Chase’s 5/24 rule—which says the credit card issuer will automatically reject applications from cardholders who have taken out more than five credit cards in the previous 24 months—consumers interested in Chase’s products have to be choosy when it comes to taking out new credit cards.
With the wealth of options out there—not to mention a seemingly endless supply of big sign-up bonus opportunities—a cash back card like the Chase Freedom Flex Credit Card might not make it onto some peoples’ radar.
But, whether you’re looking for cash back or travel rewards, this is a card you’ll probably want to know about. Let’s dive into the details to see if the Chase Freedom Flex might just be worth a coveted spot in your rotation.
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The Chase Freedom Flex, which debuted just this past September, offers 20,000 points after you spend $500 in purchases during the first three months after account opening. You can redeem those points for cash back at a value of 1 cent per point, which would make the offer worth $200.
That’s not bad for a card that doesn’t charge an annual fee—but those interested in travel rewards can actually do better. If you hold a card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, you can move points between your accounts, effectively converting the cash back points you earn with the Freedom Flex into Ultimate Rewards.
By doing so, you can squeeze way more value out of that welcome offer.
Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders get a 50% Ultimate Rewards bonus, for example, when booking through Chase’s travel portal, meaning those 20,000 points will be worth $300 if you go that route. Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Ink Business Preferred cardholders, meanwhile, get a 25% bonus, putting the value of those 20,000 points at $250.
Want to really eke as much as you can out of the welcome offer? After changing the points into fully functional Ultimate Rewards points, you can transfer them to travel partners including, for example, World of Hyatt. 20,000 points will score you a room at a Category 5 property, prices for which can easily top $500.
On top of the welcome offer, the Chase Freedom Flex offers lots of ways to rack up big-time cash back (or points)—starting with an introductory bonus at grocery stores.
In the first year after taking out the card, the Freedom Flex will net 5% cashback—or, in other words, 5X points per dollar—on grocery store purchases, up to a $12,000 cap.
That earnings multiple makes the Freedom Flex one of the top-earning cards out there when it comes to groceries, and even though the bonus only lasts through the first year of holding the card, it’s still pretty lucrative.
Think about it this way: If you meet that $12,000 limit, you’ll earn 60,000 points, good for $600 in cash back or 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. That’s enough for two nights at the Park Hyatt Sydney, which could easily set you back $2,000 if paying in cash.
The Chase Freedom Flex also boasts some bonus categories that are less fleeting. For as long as you hold the card, you’ll score 3% cashback (or 3X points per dollar) at drugstores and restaurants, (including takeout and eligible delivery services, for some pandemic-friendly options). You’ll also earn 5%, or 5X points per dollar, on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Not impressed yet? That dining multiple matches the one you’ll get with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, a card that bears a sky-high $550 annual fee. And the Reserve’s only other bonus category is travel, on which it also earns 3X points per dollar—meaning that if you use your Chase Freedom Flex, you could actually earn even more points than you could with the Reserve, assuming you book your travel through Chase. Not bad for a no-annual-fee card!
Here’s what really sets the Chase Freedom Flex apart from other cards: every quarter, it offers a special bonus category (or categories) that will earn you 5% cash back, or 5X points per dollar, up to $1,500. While there’s no way to predict what the category will be, Chase tends to pick categories that are pretty universally useful, such as groceries, PayPal, Amazon, and department stores during the holidays.
If you can max out the bonus category each quarter, you’ll earn 7,500 points, or 30,000 points for the year. If turned into Ultimate Rewards points, those points can easily cover a domestic round-trip or a one-way flight to Europe in economy, for example.
Through March 2022, cardholders will earn 5% cash back—or 5X points per dollar— on Lyft rides.
If you activate the offer by December 31, 2021, you can nab three complimentary months of DashPass, the subscription service of food delivery services DoorDash—as well as 50% off of DashPass for the nine months following. With DashPass, you’ll see delivery fees waived on orders over $12 placed with DoorDash and Caviar.
Purchases made with the Chase Freedom Flex will be protected for the first 120 days against damage or theft, up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account. The card also extends the manufacturer’s warranty as long as it’s an eligible U.S. warranty of three years or less.
The Freedom Flex comes with cell phone protection, too; you can be reimbursed up to $800 per claim and $1,000 per year if your phone is stolen or damaged, provided you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your eligible card.
When you decline the collision insurance offered through a rental car company and charge the full cost of a rental car to your card, the Freedom Flex will provide theft and collision damage for most car types, both in the U.S. and outside the country.
Chase will also reimburse up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip covering non-refundable airfare if your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, weather and other covered circumstances.
Because the Freedom Flex is a World Elite Mastercard, it comes with a suite of perks including discounts at Lyft, Fandango and Wholesale retailer Boxed. Cardholders also enjoy a free membership to ShopRunner, a service that offers two-day shipping for hundreds of online merchants.
While the Freedom Flex is a top no-fee option, it’s not the only fish in the sea. There are plenty of other cards out there that offer compelling earnings structures, whether you’re looking to put cash back in your pocket or rake in flexible travel rewards.
Here are a couple:
The Freedom Flex and its similarly named sister card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited, share many features in common, including the introductory grocery bonus and the bonuses on dining, drugstore buys and travel purchased through Chase. But that’s where the similarities end.
Instead of a rotating bonus category, the Freedom Unlimited simply offers 1.5% cash back—or 1.5X points per dollar—on all purchases that don’t fall under a bonus umbrella. And, as the card’s name suggests, that 1.5% is unlimited. The lack of a bonus spending cap and the simplicity of the earnings structure make the Freedom Unlimited a great choice for those who want to make sure they’re earning points steadily but don’t want to keep up with changing bonus categories.
If you: a) have a business and b) know right now that you’re more interested in travel rewards than cash back, give the Amex Blue Business Plus a look. This card nets a straight 2X points per dollar up to $50,000 each year, making a simple way to make sure you’re getting a great return on all spending, no matter the category.
Perhaps the best part? These points are Membership Rewards points—Amex’s flexible, transferable counterpart to Chase’s Ultimate Rewards points—and you can earn them outright, without needing a more premium Amex card to transfer them to.
Earn 2x points on eligible purchases up to $50,000 annually, 1x on all else. Terms apply.Learn more
If you like the sound of high earnings rates, big welcome bonuses and lots of benefits—or if you’re looking for a second card to help you turn the cash back you earn with the Freedom Flex into Ultimate Rewards points—you might want to set your sights on Chase’s Sapphire offerings.
Specifically, the Sapphire Preferred is a great pick for beginners in the points and miles world, whether or not it’s used in combination with the Freedom Flex. While
Benefits of the Sapphire Preferred include:
- 80,000-point welcome bonus offer,
- 2X points per dollar on travel and dining purchases
- 5X points per dollar on Lyft rides
- 25% bonus when booking travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal
- Ability to transfer points to several travel partners
- Complimentary DashPass for a minimum of one year
- Primary car rental insurance
- Trip interruption, cancellation and delay protections
- Baggage delay insurance and lost luggage reimbursement
- Purchase and extended warranty protection on select purchases
As long as you’ve got a spot to spare among your 5/24, there’s almost no reason not to go for the Freedom Flex. It can earn you cash back or, when paired with another Chase card, ultra-valuable travel rewards, allowing for max flexibility. It also offers competitive multiples in everyday bonus categories—as well as bonus categories you won’t find elsewhere, thanks to its rotating quarterly bonuses.
If you’re serious about racking up travel points as fast as possible, then yes, you may want to start with a card that fields a bigger welcome bonus. But even then, don’t count out the Freedom Flex as an excellent supplemental tool that can help you quickly build your points stash!
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Editors Note: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.