Chase Freedom Flex Credit Card Review

GOBankingRates Score

4.4
Quick Take: Chase offers two main Freedom credit cards, which are designed to give you more flexibility when earning and redeeming cash-back rewards. The two cards create some confusion due to their similarities. The Freedom Flex card has clues in its name — you'll have more flexibility when earning cash-back rewards, but you'll need to be flexible about it since some categories will come and go on a revolving quarterly calendar. This Chase Freedom Flex review aims at clearing up the differences between these two Freedom cards and will help you decide if the Freedom Flex card is your best option.
  • Rewards Rate
    4.0
  • Rewards Categories
    4.5
  • Fees
    4.5
  • Sign-Up Bonus
    4.5
How did we calculate this?

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Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Unlimited rewards of 5% for travel, 3% for drugstore purchases and dining and 1% on all other purchases
  • Sign-up bonus of $200 after spending $500 in three months and 5% cash back on gas in the first year, up to $6,000
  • Rewards points don't expire
  • Points can be redeemed for cash back, gift cards, online shopping at select retailers or travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal

Cons

  • Revolving rewards categories must be activated before the deadline to earn 5% cash back
  • Points redeemed for Amazon Shop With Points have a lower value of 80 cents per 100

Chase Freedom Flex Card Overview

Chase is well known for its nationwide banking network and popular credit cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred travel rewards card. You don’t have to bank with Chase to apply for the credit cards it issues. The Chase Freedom Flex credit card is one of two main offerings in the Freedom category, designed to earn cash back on your everyday purchases.

You’ll find that rewards credit cards often come with a long list of rules and restrictions that make earning rewards complicated. Chase makes it simple by offering flat rates of 3x or 5x for select categories and 1x for all other purchases made with the Freedom Flex credit card. 

In addition, there is no annual fee when you have a Chase Freedom Flex credit card, which is good news if you plan on using the cash back as a way to offset your card spending.

This Chase Freedom Flex review takes a deep dive into what the card has to offer so you can decide if it’s worthy of a spot on your credit history — and in your wallet.

Who Is the Chase Freedom Flex Credit Card Best For?

Simply put, the Chase Freedom Flex card is best if you enjoy finding the best deals and rewards. If you like couponing, cash-back sites, shopping on Rakuten and don’t mind investing a little time to keep updated on the latest rewards promotions, the Chase Freedom Flex card is for you. 

Besides the standard rewards categories, the Freedom Flex card puts out a quarterly calendar offering bonus earnings of 5x on select categories. Check your email or turn on notifications via the Chase app to stay on top of the following quarter’s rolling categories — you’ll need to activate them by a particular date to start earning more cash-back rewards

If this all seems like too much work, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card doesn’t have rolling categories and offers 1.5x instead of 1x on general purchases.

Features of the Chase Freedom Flex Card

The Chase Freedom Flex credit card earned a GOBankingRates score of 4.4 out of 5 for several reasons. Here’s more on the Freedom Flex card’s strengths.

Sign-Up Bonus

Most rewards cards offer lucrative sign-up bonuses to encourage browsers to apply. The Chase Flex credit card starts you off with a sign-up bonus of $200 once you meet the spend requirement of $500 or more within the first three months after approval.

Intro APR 

Another sign-up bonus the Chase Freedom Flex credit card offers is an introductory annual percentage rate of 0% for newly approved cardholders. You won’t pay interest on balance transfers or purchases for the first 15 months. After the intro period a rate applies. This could come in handy if you’d like to pay off a high-interest credit card debt or need to make a major purchase. You’ll have some breathing room to pay off the amount for over a year with no interest charges.

Keep in mind that you’ll save on interest, but there’s a fee for transferring a balance. It’s 3% or $5 (whichever is greater) for transfers made in the first 60 days or a fee of 5% or $5 for transfers made after the initial 60 days.

Earning Cash-Back Rewards

The Chase Freedom Flex credit card may not have the simplest rewards structure, but even beginners can catch on quickly. Besides the first-year bonus category of gas purchases, travel (when booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal) will also earn 5% cash back. Drugstore buys, restaurant spending, takeout and select food deliveries all earn 3% cash back. All other purchases qualify for 1% cash back.

While the rewards aren’t groundbreaking, they don’t expire, nor do they come with spending caps — you can earn an unlimited amount of cash back on your spending.

And now to what makes the Freedom Flex different from the Freedom Unlimited card: the revolving categories. Chase issues a quarterly calendar of bonus categories that earn you 5% back instead of the standard 1%. The offer is for a limited time and isn’t publicized far in advance. Look out for an email offer for the quarter’s categories. Once you receive the notice, you’ll need to activate the category before you can start earning the bonus rewards rate.

Redeeming Points

You’ll notice that the rewards you earn are called points. For every 100 points you earn, you can redeem them for the equivalent of $1 in cash back. For example, a points balance of $500 is valued at $5 when it’s time to redeem your points.

There is no minimum required before you redeem points. If there’s only 20 points in your account, you may redeem them. In addition, your rewards don’t expire if you prefer to accrue a sizable balance first.

Good To Know

Points can be redeemed for cash, gift cards, and travel when booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards website. You can also pay for online shopping through participating retailers or by using the Amazon Shop With Points program. However, Amazon’s Shop With Points program devalues your points. You’ll only receive 80 cents per 100 points.

Other Chase Freedom Flex Perks

Besides the sign-up bonuses, no annual fee and revolving 5x rewards categories, there are other card perks available. You’re eligible for free credit monitoring and access to your credit score through Chase Credit Journey. Plus, travel and buyer protections such as extended warranty coverage, purchase protection for damaged or stolen items, trip cancellation insurance and coverage for auto rental collision damage are included for free.

Fees

As mentioned, the Chase Freedom Flex has no annual fee. There are other fees to be aware of, such as balance transfer fees of 3% to 5% and foreign transaction fees of 3%.

As for interest charges, the card’s APR is , depending on your creditworthiness. Plus, late fees can cost as much as $40. These fees tend to be high but can be avoided with a good budget and a responsible spending plan.

Chase Freedom Flex vs. Other Options

It’s hard to provide a one-size-fits-all guide to a particular credit card. Your credit card needs can be far different than someone else’s. To give you a better idea of what’s available, here’s a comparison of the Chase Freedom Flex and other Chase credit cards you might consider. 

Card Best For
Chase Freedom Flex Bonus earnings categories
Chase Freedom Unlimited No-hassle cash-back rewards
Chase Sapphire Preferred Rewards travel

Chase Freedom Flex vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited

Questions about the differences between Chase Freedom Unlimited and Flex are common. When comparing these two Freedom cards, the biggest difference lies in the amount of effort you want to put into earning cash back. 

If you don’t mind monitoring and activating bonus categories every quarter, the Chase Freedom Flex is the right option. However, if you’d like to keep it simple, Chase’s Freedom Unlimited pays 1.5x on all purchases that don’t fall into travel, dining or drugstore purchases — without having to do anything.

Otherwise, both cards offer the same sign-up bonuses, introductory APR and point structure. It all depends on whether you can take advantage of the bonus rolling categories.

Chase Freedom Flex vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Freedom Flex is a cash-back credit card. The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a travel rewards credit card. Although they both overlap in some ways, such as earning points on spending and the ability to redeem points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards website, the similarities end there.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card has an annual fee of compared to $0 for the Freedom Flex. However, the Sapphire Preferred card’s sign-up bonus is far more lucrative. You’ll earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first three months, valued as $1,000 in travel when booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Final Take

If you’re ready to step up your points-earning game, the Chase Freedom Flex offers revolving quarterly categories that can help you on your mission. You’ll need to stay on top of the calendar and activate the offers to earn the points, but it isn’t too complicated to do so. 

Even if you’re not ready to add bonus categories or you find that the categories don’t work with your card spending, you can earn 5x points on travel booked through Ultimate Rewards, 3x on dining and drugstores and 1x on all other purchases. Depending on how much card spending you do, the points can add up to a sizable cash-back reward.

Chase Freedom Flex Card FAQ

Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about the Chase Freedom Flex card.
  • What's the difference between Chase Freedom Unlimited and Flex?
    • The Freedom Unlimited card's point structure is simpler to follow, with no revolving bonus categories. The next biggest difference is its 1.5x rewards rate for most purchases, compared to Freedom Flex's 1x.
  • Can I have both the Freedom Unlimited card and the Freedom Flex card?
    • Chase allows you to have both the Freedom Flex and Freedom Unlimited card at once. However, the two cards may be too similar. Although the Chase Freedom Flex credit card is a quality card with many great features, you may want to consider adding a different rewards card to really maximize your rewards. You may be better off adding a travel rewards card to your credit mix for expanded travel perks.

Information is accurate as of Apr. 27, 2022.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Chase. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Chase.

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About the Author

Cynthia Paez Bowman is a personal finance writer with degrees from American University in international business and journalism. Besides writing about personal finance, she writes about real estate, interior design and architecture. Her work has been featured in MSN, Brex, Freshome, MyMove, Emirates’ Open Skies magazine and more.
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