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Ever since Chase announced the launch of the new Chase Freedom Flex credit card, which essentially replaced the soon-to-be legacy Chase Freedom card, I’ve spent quite a bit of time comparing and contrasting those two cards and what the differences are.
Here’s my in-depth comparison of the Chase Freedom Flex and the Chase Freedom.
If you missed it, Chase also completely refreshed the Chase Freedom Unlimited, which means that many of you are still a bit confused on the differences between the brand new Chase Freedom Flex and the newly refreshed Chase Freedom Unlimited.
In this article
Here’s a chart comparing the Freedom Flex and the Freedom Unlimited
I’ve bolded the rows where the cards differ.
|Chase Freedom Flex||Chase Freedom Unlimited|
|Bonus Offer||$200 (20,000 Ultimate Rewards points) when you spend $500 in your first 3 months, plus 5X on grocery store purchases on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.||$200 (20,000 Ultimate Rewards points) when you spend $500 in your first 3 months, plus 5X on grocery store purchases on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.|
|Earn rate on general spend||1X||1.5X|
|Earn rate on rotating quarterly bonus categories (limit $1,500 per quarter n spend)||5X||Not a feature of this card|
|Earn rate on on travel when purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal||5X||5X|
|Earn rate on dining including takeout||3X||3X|
|Earn rate at drugstores||3X||3X|
|Earn rate on Lyft rides (through March 2022)||5X||5X|
|Mastercard World Elite benefits ($10 credit per 5 Lyft rides, 5% in Boxed credits, Free Shoprunner)||Yes||No|
|Foreign Transaction Fees Charged?||Yes||Yes|
|Can points be transferred to a Sapphire card for transfer to travel partners?||Yes||Yes|
|Cell Phone Protection Benefit: up to $800 per claim and $1,000 per year (see full details)||Yes!||No|
As you can see, the differences between these two cards are fairly small yet really important to understand, especially if you don’t have either and only want to (or only can, thanks to 5/24) one or the other.
Here are the key differences between the Freedom Flex and the Freedom Unlimited
- The Freedom Flex has rotating quarterly 5X bonus categories like the old Freedom card. Every 3 months, you can activate an offer for that next quarter’s rotating bonus categories in which you will earn 5% (in the form of 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points) on up to $1,500 in spend. (Here’s an example of how the rotating Freedom bonus categories work). The Freedom Unlimited does NOT have quarterly rotating bonus categories.
- The Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5% on any spend that isn’t in a bonus category, which on these cards now are dining, drugstores, Lyft, and travel booked via Chase.
- The Freedom Flex is a World Elite Mastercard while the Freedom Unlimited is a Visa. This has very little meaning to most people but the World Elite Mastercard does give you those extra benefits mentioned in the table above: Premium cell phone protection (terms apply!), a $10 credit per 5 Lyft rides taken and paid for with the card, 5% in Boxed credits, and free Shoprunner (2 day shipping at participating merchants). As well, Costco notably only takes Visa, though you almost certainly have another Visa you can use there, like the Costco Anywhere Visa or Costco Anywhere Visa Business Credit Card or literally any other personal Chase card.
How to Decide Between the Freedom Flex and the Freedom Unlimited?
First off, you can have both! If you already have one you can apply for the other. So if you already have a Freedom Unlimited, you can grab a Freedom Flex, get the bonus offer – $200 (20,000 Ultimate Rewards) after spending $500 in 3 months and then you can use the Freedom Flex for the rotating quarterly bonus categories and the Unlimited for 1.5X on non-bonused spend.
But what if you already have another card that earns more than 1.5% / 1.5X on non-bonused spend (and by the way, I list the best credit cards for spend without a bonus category here). I’m partial to a Citi Double Cash which earns 2% cash back on everything and can be converted into Citi Thank You points if you also have a Citi Premier or Prestige card or an Amex Blue Business Plus card, which earns 2X Membership Rewards on everything up to $50k a year.
If you already beat 1.5X on non-bonused spend, you probably only need a Freedom Flex so you can get the 5X rotating categories. Or, you might opt for a Freedom Flex because you want the World Elite benefits like the free cell phone protection benefit (which is really a great benefit in a no-fee card!!).
But if you don’t already have a great card for non-bonused spend, and you want to focus on earning Chase points, then the Freedom Unlimited may be the better first option.
If you currently have a Chase Freedom card, it won’t automatically convert into a Freedom Flex but you can call Chase at the number on the back of your card and ask for them to convert it for you.
You can have only one Chase Freedom Flex card and you can only convert to it from an existing Chase Freedom. Therefore, if you don’t have an existing Freedom card, you’ll need to apply outright for the Chase Freedom Flex if you want one.
If you currently have a Chase Freedom and also max out the $1,500 on the quarterly bonus categories, you may still want to apply for a new Freedom Flex so that you can have double the quarterly 5X limit ($1,500 per card). The rotating categories are the same.
See how to apply for a Chase Freedom Flex or a Chase Freedom Unlimited.
Any other questions?
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You can find credit cards that best match your spending habits and bonus categories at Your Best Credit Cards.
New to all of this? My “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available on Amazon and at major booksellers.