Chase Freedom Flex Credit Card Review


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Chase Freedom has been a standby for rewards credit card enthusiasts for years. With its enticing lineup of 5% bonus cash-back categories and a slew of value-added perks for frugal cardholders, Freedom was one of the first no-annual-fee cash-back credit cards to achieve household name status.

Freedom hasn’t necessarily lost its luster in the years since, but it’s far from the only card of its kind these days. It was only a matter of time before Chase took the opportunity to refresh Freedom for a new generation of consumers.

That time has come. The old Chase Freedom card is now Chase Freedom Flex℠. And it’s well worth a closer look, both for current Chase Freedom cardholders — who can request a product change from Chase — and those without active Chase Freedom card accounts.

The old Freedom card’s quarterly rotating 5% bonus cash-back categories remain — with company. They’re joined by unlimited 5% cash back on travel purchases made through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal and 3% cash back on eligible dining and drugstore purchases. A truly impressive sign-up bonus and long 0% APR promotion on purchases serve to entice new cardholders, while a suite of potentially valuable Mastercard-backed benefits and limited-time opportunities to save with partners like Lyft and DoorDash further sweeten the deal.

Intrigued by what you’ve heard so far? Read on to learn more about the Chase Freedom Flex card and determine whether it’s right for you.

Key Features

Sign-Up Bonus

Freedom Flex has a two-part sign-up bonus for new cardholders.

First, you’ll earn a $200 bonus cash-back credit when you spend at least $500 in eligible purchases within three months of opening your account.

Second, you can earn 5% cash back on eligible grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart purchases) on up to $12,000 in purchases in the first year your account is open. That’s up to $600 in potential cash-back earnings at the grocery store.

Earning Cash-Back Rewards

Freedom Flex’s cash-back rewards program breaks down as follows:

  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in total quarterly purchases (for $75 in total potential cash-back rewards each quarter) in certain quarterly rotating spending categories.
  • Unlimited 5% cash back on eligible Lyft rides through March 2022
  • Unlimited 5% cash back on eligible travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • Unlimited 3% cash back on dining purchases (including delivery and takeout) and drugstore purchases
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases, including bonus category purchases above the $1,500 quarterly spending cap.

You do have to manually activate your 5% cash-back spending categories before the middle of the last month of the current quarter (usually the 14th or 15th). If you activate by the deadline, Chase applies cash back retroactively to eligible purchases going back to the beginning of the quarter.

Redeeming Cash-Back Rewards

Redeem in any amount for a statement credit, bank account deposit, gift card, direct purchases (Shop With Points) with participating merchant partners like Amazon.com, and purchases made through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards shopping portal. Once earned, your cash-back rewards won’t expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing.

Introductory APR

Enjoy 0% APR on purchases for 15 months from account opening. Thereafter, variable regular APR applies.

Regular APR

After the introductory promotion expires, variable regular APR applies, currently 14.99% to 23.74% APR.

Important Fees

This card has no annual fee. Foreign transactions cost a flat 3% of the transaction amount.

Cellphone Protection

This benefit provides up to $800 per claim and $1,000 per year in cellphone protection against covered theft or damage to any phone listed on your monthly cellphone bill when you pay that bill with your Freedom Flex card. You’re limited to a maximum of two claims in any 12-month period. There’s always a $50 deductible per claim.

Purchase Protection

This benefit provides up to 120 days of complimentary protection — against perils such as theft, damage, and loss — for all purchases made in full with your Chase Freedom Flex card. The benefit is good up to $500 per covered item and $50,000 total per account.

Complimentary Rental Car Insurance

You’re automatically covered for theft and collision expenses in the U.S. and most international markets — subject to policy limits and secondary to your own personal auto insurance — when you decline the rental company’s insurance option and charge the entire rental to your Freedom Flex card.

Complimentary DoorDash DashPass Subscription

Activate your DoorDash DashPass subscription by Dec. 31, 2021, to get the first three months from your activation date for free. For the subsequent nine months, you’ll get DashPass for 50% off the full price. DashPass benefits include unlimited delivery fee waivers on DoorDash orders over $12.

Travel Protections

This card comes with limited travel insurance protections, including trip interruption and cancellation coverage that reimburses up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip for prepaid, nonrefundable passenger fares on trips canceled or cut short due to sickness, severe weather, and certain other covered perils.

Additional Shopping Benefits

This card has some shopping benefits worth noting, including:

  • 5% cash rewards on eligible Boxed purchases for use on future purchases
  • Double VIP+ points for movie tickets purchased with the Fandango app or at Fandango.com
  • Free Shoprunner membership, featuring complimentary two-day shipping and free return shipping at more than 100 online retailers

Free Credit Score

You get a free credit score, updated weekly, with Chase Credit Journey.

Credit Required

This card requires very good credit. Some minor blemishes may be acceptable, but major dings are likely to disqualify your application.

Advantages

  1. No Annual Fee. The Chase Freedom Flex card has no annual fee. There’s therefore little downside to keeping it in your wallet, even if it’s not your primary credit card.
  2. 0% Introductory APR on Purchases for 15 Months. This card has one of the best 0% APR introductory promotions in the cash-back category: 15 months on all eligible purchases. If you’re planning a big purchase or series of purchases such as a major home improvement project or wedding, look no further.
  3. Excellent Sign-Up Bonus. This card’s double-barrelled sign-up bonus is one of the best in the cash-back category: $200 bonus cash when you spend $500 within three months of opening your account, plus 5% cash back on grocery store purchases up to $12,000 in eligible purchases during the first year. That’s a total potential first-year haul of $800.
  4. 5% Cash Back on Eligible Travel Purchases. You’ll earn 5% cash back on eligible travel purchases made through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards travel portal, powered by the same booking engine used by Expedia.
  5. Expansive 3% Cash-Back Categories. This card’s 3% cash-back categories are impressive: dining at restaurants — including takeout and delivery — and drugstore purchases. Together, these purchases account for a significant chunk of many Americans’ monthly budgets.
  6. Flexible Cash-Back Redemption. You can redeem your rewards pretty much any way you want: for statement credits, direct bank account deposits, gift cards, direct purchases with participating merchants, and merchandise for sale at the Ultimate Rewards portal.
  7. No Minimum to Redeem. You can redeem your accumulated rewards at any time and in any amount. That’s welcome news for cardholders who don’t use Freedom Flex as their primary spending aid.

Disadvantages

  1. Mediocre Baseline Cash-Back Rate. Freedom Flex’s 1% baseline cash-back rate is not great. For those who spend moderately to heavily in categories other than the 5% and 3% categories, this is sure to result in money left on the table. If you’re seeking a higher baseline earning rate, look to a product like the Citi Double Cash Card, which offers 2% cash back on all eligible purchases when you pay your statement balance in full and on time.
  2. Manual Activation Required for 5% Cash Back. Chase requires you to manually activate your 5% bonus categories each quarter by the middle of the last month of the quarter. If you fail to do so, you’ll miss out on any potential bonus cash-back earnings for that quarter. Needless to say, this is an unwelcome addition to what’s no doubt an already-busy routine.
  3. Has a Foreign Transaction Fee. Freedom Flex has a 3% foreign transaction fee — a notable drawback for frequent international travelers.

Final Word

Chase Freedom Flex℠ takes its place as one of the top cash-back credit cards on the market right now. With an expanded 5% cash-back category, a new 3% cash-back category, and plenty more perks — all for no annual fee — it clearly ups the game for Chase’s rivals.

Will they respond? It’s reasonable to assume that they will. How those responses look and when they come — those are questions we’ll need to wait a bit longer to answer.

Do you plan to apply for the Freedom Flex card? Or do you prefer another cash-back credit card?



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