Chase’s debut of the Freedom Flex card was an excellent one for consumers. Besides offering the typical rotating 5% bonus categories, the card now also earns 3x points at drugstores and on dining, which is very nice. It’s a pretty easy process to convert a Freedom to a Freedom Flex.
However, I was sitting on two Freedom cards, and I only converted one. And I’m very glad I did so. Here’s why.
No Real Need for Two Flex Cards
The new aspects of the Freedom Flex don’t warrant converting both cards to the new version. If there was a cap on the 3x earning at drugstores or on restaurant spend, then there would be an argument for this. But there is not. The additional categories and card network (Visa versus Mastercard) are the main differences. Having one card that earns uncapped 3x on drugstore spend is just as good as two.
The other aspects of the products remain identical. Both offer 5x in rotating quarterly categories on up to $1,500 in spend per quarter. There is no difference in the activation process for either card. Sure, it might seem nice to convert both to the new card, but I didn’t have an argument for it. The only argument is solidly against converting my second Freedom.
Mastercard versus Visa Matters Greatly
The new Freedom Flex card is a Mastercard while the original Freedom card is a visa. Given the acceptance of Visa and Mastercard, this doesn’t seem to be much of an issue on the surface. I’ve never been to a U.S. restaurant or drugstore that does not accept both.
But there is one place it really matters: Costco. I shop at Costco routinely, and they only accept Visa in person. Keeping one Freedom as a Visa was critical. I knew that Chase typically has warehouse clubs as one of the rotating 5x categories, and I wanted to be able to take advantage of this through Costco shopping. I typically also fuel up at Costco, and they only accept Visa at the pump as well.
What’s nice is that I can get the best of both worlds. I can shop in-person at Costco and use my Freedom (when wholesale clubs are the category, which it is currently) and I can fill up my tank before I leave the parking lot, using my Freedom again (when fuel is the category). But I can also order online with the Freedom Flex, since Costco accepts Visa, Mastercard, and Discover (but not American Express) for online purchases. Turns out that new tires will put a nice dent in the $1,500 quarterly spend cap.
The Visa versus Mastercard issue was the very first thing that came to mind when I first considered switching to the Freedom Flex. Luckily, with two Freedom cards, I didn’t have to sacrifice the additional earning at Costco for the benefits of the Flex. This is one reason I’m very much into converting old cards into fee-free Chase products once you no longer need them. Having extra Freedom cards only provides upside, and now it can in handy with the introduction of the new Freedom Flex.
Did you have any reason for keeping an “old” Freedom card instead of converting yours to the Flex?
Featured photo courtesy of Jim the photographer under CC-BY-2.0 license.