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Owning a cashback credit card can be beneficial as your spending habits change during the coronavirus. Launched on Sep. 14, 2020, the new Chase Freedom Flex℠ introduces robust cashback opportunities and rotating bonus categories that change every quarter. Chase has partnered with Mastercard to create the Chase Freedom Flex℠, sweetening the deal with exclusive World Elite Mastercard Benefits.
With a $0 annual fee, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is armed with excellent rewards-earning opportunities and customer-friendly benefits — fitting for the pandemic at hand. Both credit card newbies looking for cash back and credit card experts who are currently pausing on travel will enjoy the versatility of the Chase Freedom Flex℠.
While this card does not cover foreign transaction fees, it offers many traveler’s benefits and protections. Keep in mind, though, that this card is subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule, meaning that you won’t qualify if you’ve opened five or more credit cards in the past 24 months.
Chase Freedom Flex℠
- Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
- Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
- Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
- Earn 5% on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
- No annual fee.
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
- No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.
Chase Freedom Flex℠ review: Great cashback potential with unmatched benefits — all for no annual fee
$200 sign-up bonus offer
Chase consistently offers solid welcome bonuses, even for cards with no annual fee. Thankfully, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is no exception. You’ll Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
Earn cashback rewards fast through elevated spending categories
In response to the coronavirus, Chase provides its customers with even more opportunities to earn cash back: Earn 5% cash back on eligible purchases in rotating categories, 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases. Bonus spending categories change quarterly and will help you maximize these purchases.
This is the current Chase Freedom® card’s cashback calendar for 2021, with each category announced two weeks before the start of the new quarter. The new Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the existing Chase Freedom® card will follow the same calendar, so this gives you an idea of some of the common rotating categories.
January - March
April - June
July - September
October - December
|Wholesale clubs, internet, cable and phone services||Gas stations and home improvement stores||Grocery Stores (excluding Walmart and Target) and select streaming services||Walmart and PayPal|
As long as you keep your Chase account open, cashback rewards do not expire. Best of all, you can redeem your rewards for any amount, which means you can cash out at any time without worrying about any minimums.
Get added protection while shopping
Several consumer protections can come in handy, too. Enjoy purchase protection that covers damage and theft on new purchases for 120 days, with up to $500 per claim and $5,000 per account. Chase will also extend a manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year on eligible warranties three years or less.
Excellent travel benefits for a cashback card
Although the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is a cashback card, it offers essential travel benefits as well. Car rental insurance covers theft and collision damage for most cars, although coverage is secondary for U.S. rentals. For any trip cancellation or interruption by sickness, severe weather or other qualifying reasons, you can be reimbursed up to $1,500 per person or $6,000 per trip. The card also offers travel and emergency assistance services if any problems arise during your trip.
Other exclusive benefits you shouldn’t sleep on
There are some limited-time benefits for Chase Freedom Flex℠ cardholders, such as earning 5% cash back on Lyft rides until March 2022. You’ll also receive a complimentary DashPass membership through DoorDash for three months, giving you unlimited free deliveries for purchases over $12 — the subscription will automatically renew at 50% of the membership price for the following nine months. This offer must be activated by Dec. 31, 2021.
Finally, since the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is now a World Elite Mastercard, enjoy these additional benefits:
- Cell phone protection with up to $1,000 in yearly coverage (up to $800 per claim, with two per year) that covers theft and damage. Simply pay your cell phone bill with your Chase Freedom Flex℠ to qualify.
- World Elite Concierge provides 24/7 personal assistant services for travel or other questions.
- Priceless Golf offers exclusive golf tours and experiences, and access to Golf Concierge.
- $10 monthly Lyft credit after taking five Lyft rides each month.
- 5% rewards on Boxed orders for future purchases.
- Free ShopRunner membership to receive two-day shipping and free return shipping on 100-plus online retailers (enrollment required).
- $5 off future movie tickets or at-home purchases for every two movie tickets purchased with Fandango.
- 10% off on rental homes and villas through onefinestay.
Pair with other Chase cards for even more value
If you’re a current cardholder of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, adding the Chase Freedom Flex℠ may benefit your portfolio. Instead of cash back, you can turn 1 cent of Freedom Flex points into 1 Ultimate Rewards point.
Then, by booking travel on the Ultimate Rewards portal with either premier Chase travel card, you’ll gain even more value on your Chase Freedom Flex℠ rewards. As a reminder, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card provides 25% more value in travel redemption, while the Chase Sapphire Reserve® provides 50% more value.
Another option is to transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to Chase’s 13 partner airline and hotels. All points transfer at a 1:1 ratio.
Chase transfers to 10 airline programs and three hotel programs:
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- British Airways Executive Club
- Emirates Skywards®
- Flying Blue Air France KLM
- Iberia Plus
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®
- United MileagePlus®
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- IHG® Rewards Club
- Marriott Bonvoy
- World of Hyatt®
Comparisons to other credit cards
We’ve picked out a few other cashback credit cards that have no annual fees.
Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
|No bonus||Earn One-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.|
Earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
|Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.||Earn unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day.|
Chase Freedom Flex℠ vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited®
The Chase Freedom Flex℠’s popular sister card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card, lets you Earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
When comparing the cards, there are two main differences to note: The rotating bonus categories, and the earnings rate on all other purchases. The Chase Freedom Flex℠ earns 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories and a standard 1% rate on purchases not covered by other categories. Meanwhile, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® doesn’t have any rotating bonus categories, but it does have a better 1.5% earnings rate on anything else.
That 0.5% difference can seem marginal at first glance, so you’ll want to assess your spending habits and see if you’ll actually benefit from the Chase Freedom Flex℠’s rotating categories. If you can’t keep up with them (since you will have to manually activate the bonuses each quarter), the Chase Freedom Unlimited® may save a few headaches for you.
Keep in mind that you can have both cards if you want to leverage each card’s strengths when maximizing purchases. However, the Chase 5/24 rule again applies here, so you’ll want to make sure that you can qualify for both in a given time frame.
Chase Freedom Flex℠ vs. Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer takes the guesswork out of cashback rewards by offering a standard earning rate. You’ll Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
However, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer does not offer a sign-up bonus and has minimal card benefits, unlike the Chase Freedom Flex℠. So if you make drugstore or dining purchases frequently — or anything that may fit in the bonus categories — the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is likely the better choice for you.
Chase Freedom Flex℠ vs. Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
With the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card, you’ll earn a standard 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day. Both cards have a decent sign-up bonus. The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card offers cardholders a One-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. The Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers cardholders the ability to Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card is a better travel card overall, as it has trip insurance and the major benefit of a foreign transaction fee of None. If you go abroad frequently and are in need of a card that will take care of those pesky fees, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card may be better for you.
What the Chase Freedom Flex℠ means for the rest of the Chase family
The introduction of the Chase Freedom Flex℠ changes up the game for the rest of the Chase family. The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is designed to phase out the Chase Freedom® card, the original no-annual-fee cashback card by Chase. In fact, the Chase Freedom® card closed entirely to new applicants on Sep. 14, 2020, though current cardholders continue to enjoy the rotating bonus categories. Keep in mind, however, that if you’re looking to request a product change from your Chase Freedom® to the Chase Freedom Flex℠, you will not receive the new sign-up bonus.
Meanwhile, Chase’s premier travel cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, earn 2 and 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on travel and dining purchases, respectively. However, Chase’s no-annual-fee, cashback cards started earning 5% back on travel and 3% back on dining, which is a much greater return (though it’s specified that the 5% on travel is for purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards).