Chase introduced the Chase Freedom Flex Card two weeks ago as the successor to the now-discontinued Chase Freedom Card. This resulted in both praise and confusion in the points and miles world. While there is confusion about the future of the Chase Sapphire Cards, the Freedom Flex became an amazing no annual fee option for Chase.
But is the Freedom Flex worth going for?
What’s exciting about the Freedom Flex Card is its earning structure. The old Freedom Card only earned 5x UR points on quarterly rotating categories. Fortunately, so does the Freedom Flex. The bonus category spending limit per quarter is $1,500, which means you can earn up to 7,500 UR points per quarter. The only other cards that have a similar earning structure are the Discover It and the US Bank Cash +.
But that’s not all! The Freedom Flex earns 5x points on Travel purchased from the Chase Travel Portal. It also earns 3x points on Dining and Pharmacy purchases. All other purchases earn just one point per dollar.
This is an incredibly generous earning structure from Chase, especially for a no annual fee credit card. However, it might redundant for Sapphire and Freedom Unlimited cardholders.
Furthermore, Chase is offering a sign-up bonus worth 20,000 UR points (or $200 in cash back) for the Freedom Flex. This bonus can be earned by spending just $500 within the first three months.
Last Four Quarterly Categories
Chase normally releases their quarterly categories two weeks before the start of a new quarter. This will remain the same with the Freedom Flex. The last four categories (for the old Freedom Card) were as follows:
- 1st Quarter 2021: Wholesale Clubs, Streaming Services, Internet, Cable, & Phone Services
- 4th Quarter 2020: Walmart & Pay Pal
- 3rd Quarter 2020: Amazon.com and Whole Foods purchases
- 2nd Quarter 2020: Grocery Stores, Gym Memberships, & Health Clubs
One risk with rotating category cards is their usefulness. However, the Freedom Flex can be used all year long because of its other static categories. Even if a category is not useful during a particular quarter, you can still use the Freedom Flex. This is unusual for a rotating category credit card.
Earning points is fantastic, but points earned are useless if you cannot redeem them for anything of value. Chase has multiple options for points redemption:
Cash Back, Travel, & Gift Cards
Cash back is one of just three redemption options if you do not have a premium Chase card. If you redeem for cash back, each UR point is worth 1 cent. By comparison, American Express Membership Rewards (MR) points are worth between 0.5 and 0.8 cents per point (CPP) if you redeem for cash back or a statement credit.
Furthermore, you can also redeem UR points for travel via Chase’s travel portal. As with cash back, points are worth 1 CPP if you redeem them this way.
The final option is to redeem points for gift cards. With this option, UR points are worth 1 CPP. Sometimes, Chase discounts some of their gift card options, enabling cardholders to redeem for more than 1 CPP.
Redeeming points for any of these options is not optimal, but not terrible either. Any credit card that gives you 5% cash back in rotating categories is a winner. But moving points to Chase’s transfer partners is the most valuable redemption option if you can do it.
Transfer partners are by far Chase’s most valuable option, but they are only available if you also have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Ink Business Preferred. Chase has the following transfer partners:
- World of Hyatt
- Aer Lingus
- Air Canada (coming in late 2021)
- British Airways
- KLM Flying Blue / Air France
- Singapore Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- United Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
The Chase Freedom Flex is a World (Elite) MasterCard. This is unusual for Chase, whose credit cards are mostly under the Visa network. Until today, the lone exception was the IHG Premier Card.
Furthermore, this means that Freedom Flex cardholders have access to network benefits benefits from MasterCard. Some of these perks include cell phone insurance and $5 off every order made with your Freedom Flex from Postmates.
Rules & Regulations
The Chase Freedom Flex is subject to the 5/24 Rule. This rule was enacted by Chase to prevent “churners” from scoring their sign-up bonuses too many times. The 5/24 rule states that you will not be approved for any UR-earning card if you were approved for five or more new accounts in the last 24-months. Some Chase co-branded cards also fall under this rule as well.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
The Chase Freedom Unlimited is similar to the Freedom Flex. In fact, the Freedom Unlimited is the same in every way except for their earning structures and networks. This means that the Freedom Unlimited is redundant to the Freedom Flex for some people.
Both cards earn 5x UR points (or 5% cash back) per dollar on travel purchased via the Chase Travel Portal. They also both earn 3x UR points (or 3% cash back) on dining and pharmacy purchases. However, the Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5x UR points (or 1.5% cash back) on all other (non-bonus) purchases. That’s 50% more than the one point (or 1% cash back) per dollar you can earn with the Freedom Flex. On the other hand, the Freedom Flex earns 5x UR points on the rotating categories. The Freedom Unlimited does not have any rotating categories.
Plus, Chase is offering a sign-up bonus worth 20,000 UR points (or $200) for the Freedom Unlimited. You can earn this bonus by spending just $500 within the first three months. Like the Freedom Flex, the Freedom Unlimited has no annual fee and rewards from both cards can be transferred to a premium Chase credit card account. Both cards earn cash back without a premium Chase credit card.
American Express Everyday Card
The American Express Everyday Card has a different earning structure than most points and miles cards. It earns 2x Membership Rewards (MR) points per dollar at grocery stores and only one on everything else. You will also receive a 20% points bonus if you use your card at least 20 times per month. This means you can potentially earn 2.4x points at grocery stores and 1.2x points on non-bonus spend.
This card has no-annual fee and a public sign-up bonus worth 10,000 MR points. It can be earned after spending just $1,000 in the first 3 months.
The advantage of the Everyday Card is that it does not require a premium Amex card to transfer points to transfer partners. In fact, its the only personal credit card in the industry that can transfer points to partners. The Freedom does not have this special advantage.
Cash back lovers rejoice! The Discover It is an excellent cash back credit card and a great alternative (or complement) to the Chase Freedom Flex. Discover’s flagship credit card earns 5% cash back for purchases within a set of rotating categories. However, the Freedom Flex is better for travelers who want to earn Chase UR points, regardless of the categories. That’s because there are no travel redemptions or ways to transfer rewards earned with the Discover It.
Some people have both cards to maximize the 5x rewards. Both options have different sets of rotating categories each year. Therefore, using both cards for different purchases can be easy. This card has no annual fee (and not many other fees to boot).
The Chase Freedom Flex is an exciting new no annual fee credit card in the age of COVID-19. I was surprised to see Chase discontinue the old Freedom Card in favor of this one in 2020. Nonetheless, the Freedom Flex is one of the most rewarding UR point-earning credit cards offered by Chase. And it can be a great way for beginners and veteran travelers alike to quickly earn UR points.
Apply Today: Chase Freedom Flex