The Chase Freedom® has long been one of the top cash-back credit cards on the market.


But the classic Freedom Card recently had a significant product change, and the upgrade makes this new credit card even harder to ignore.

Chase debuted the Chase Freedom Flex℠ in September 2020, and the new card replaces the Chase Freedom credit card.


The Freedom Flex will have all of the same benefits and rewards as the old one, plus more. Here’s what you should know and why you should consider the Chase Freedom Flex as your next credit card.

Offer Details

Why We Like It

Annual Fee: $0
Bonus: $200
APR: Variable APR After Intro 0% APR Period
Rewards Rate: 1%-5% Cash Back

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  • Sign-Up Bonus
  • Rewards Rate
  • Annual Fee
  • Credit Score
  • Intro 0% APR
  • Benefits
  • Redeeming Points
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Chase Freedom Flex℠ Review

The Chase Freedom Flex card is an excellent cash-back credit card for people who are looking to maximize rewards.

Cardmembers can take advantage of 5% cash back on rotating categories, 5% back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% back on dining, including takeout and delivery, 3% back on drugstore purchases and 1% back on everything else.

New cardholders can also take advantage of valuable intro promotions.

Annual Fee

The Chase Freedom Flex has no annual fee, so it’s possible to use it with no costs at all as long as you pay off the balance in full by the due date and avoid certain fee-bearing activity.

Intro APR

New Chase Freedom Flex cardholders can save money with an introductory 0% APR on new purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months with the card.

After the introductory period, a variable rate will apply.

Balance Transfers

Balance transfers made within the first 60 days of account membership will be charged a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer.

After 60 days, that balance transfer fees increases to either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Variable APR

Beyond the initial intro 0% APR, the Chase Freedom Flex offers a variable regular APR that will be determined based on your creditworthiness.

APR is the interest rate for a whole year, rather than just a monthly rate, as applied to whatever balance you carry from one statement period to the next. Chase will determine your APR during the approval process. However, APRs can fluctuate periodically as credit card issuers adjusts rates to the market.

Credit Score

While the credit card issuer doesn’t publicly disclose the credit score needed to qualify for the Chase Freedom Flex, this card is designed for people with good to excellent credit scores (690-850). Your credit limit will vary based on your credit history and any existing relationship with Chase.

You can check and monitor all three of your credit reports for free and even potentially boost your credit score by several points using this free service.

Chase Freedom Flex Cash-Back Rewards Rate

On the rewards front, the Chase Freedom Flex offers 5% cash back on the first $1,500 spent each quarter in categories that change every three months (you need to activate the offer to get it).

These rotating categories include a lot of everyday spending buckets like groceries, streaming services, gas and more. It also offers 1% unlimited cash back on everything else.

  • 5% back on rotating quarterly bonus categories*
  • 5% back on travel booked through Ultimate Rewards
  • 3% back on dining, including eligible takeout and delivery services
  • 3% back at drugstores
  • 1% all other qualifying purchases

*Activation of quarterly bonus categories is required.

Chase Bonus Categories

Chase offers Freedom Flex cardholders the opportunity to earn 5% back, up to $1,500 in combined spending, with select retailers and spending categories that change each quarter of the calendar year.

While a limit of $1,500 in combined purchases may not sound like much, you can earn $75 if you hit your spending limit each quarter. That’s a total of $300 in cash back each year on a card with no annual fee.

The catch is that Chase requires cardholders to activate the categories online every quarter. So it does take some amount of organization to maximize this card’s rewards.

How to activate 5% bonus categories each quarter

Activating the bonus categories for is as simple as logging into your account dashboard, either online or on the mobile app.

  1. Visit the Chase bonus activation page or your online dashboard
  2. Select “Activate your 5%”
  3. You’re now ready to earn

Known Chase Freedom Flex bonus rewards categories for 2022

  • First quarter (January-March): Grocery stores and eBay
  • Second quarter (April-June): Amazon and select streaming services
  • Third quarter (July-September): TBD, but in 2021 — grocery stores and streaming services
  • Fourth quarter (October-December): TBD, but in 2021 — Walmart and PayPal

Bonus Offers

As a new cardholder, you’ll also earn a $200 sign-up bonus after you spend $500 in the first three months.

Sign-Up Bonus

New cardholders can earn a $200 cash bonus after $500 in purchases in the first three months. That’s a great sign-up bonus for purchases you probably would have made anyway. 

If you want to do the math, that’s a 40% cash-back rate on your first $500 in purchases with the card. And keep in mind that while it’s technically a cash-back credit card, you’re really earning Ultimate Rewards points, so $200 in cash back is worth 20,000 points.

Referral Bonus Program

Once you’ve become a Freedom Family Member, you can also earn additional cash bonuses through Chase’s Refer-a-Friend program.

Earn up to $500 cash back per calendar year by referring friends for any participating Chase Freedom card. That’s $100 cash back for each friend who gets approved.

How to qualify

To qualify for the Refer-a-Friend program, you need to be current chase account holder. Simply login to your referral dashboard to generate a link that you can share with friends and family.

What do I get?

You get a $100 cash bonus for each friend who uses your referral link to apply for a new card. Keep in mind that your friend needs to be approved. Further, Chase won’t notify you whether or not someone uses your link, so you’ll have to find out from your friends and family.

Does this offer expire?

The Refer-a-Friend program is ongoing, and, as such, it currently has no expiration date. Yet, your referral links will expire after six months. If they do, simply create new one.

Fees: Foreign Transaction Fees, Annual Fee and Other Costs

This card has no annual fee, so there’s no recurring cost to keep this card. Like all credit cards, if you pay it off in full by the due date, you won’t pay any interest.

However, the card does come with balance transfer fees, foreign transaction fees, and other common costs and charges to consider.

Interest rates for this card are roughly in line with similar cash-back credit cards.

New customers get 15 months with 0% APR on purchases which is a standard no-interest offer. After that, the variable APR varies based on your creditworthiness.

Chase Freedom Flex with Mastercard Benefits

The Chase Freedom Flex is also the card issuer’s only Mastercard credit card. Additionally, it’s a Mastercard World Elite card, which means it gets perks like:

  • Cell phone insurance: If you make your monthly phone payment with the card, all the phones listed on the account will be covered against damage and theft, up to $800 per claim and $1,000 per year.
  • ShopRunner shipping: You’ll get a complimentary ShopRunner membership, which provides free two-day shipping with more than 100 online retailers.
  • Extended Warranty Protection: Purchase an item with an eligible warranty of three years or less and you can extend the duration of the manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year.
  • Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance: In the event of covered situations like sickness or severe weather, cardholders can get reimbursed up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip for nonrefundable, prepaid passenger fares.

Using the Chase Freedom Flex for Travel Rewards

Getting more in cash back is a clear win for anyone who currently has the Freedom or plans to get the new Freedom Flex. But cash back isn’t where the card’s value truly lies — it’s in the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

While the Freedom cards are marketed as cash-back credit cards, they actually offer points. You can use those points to book travel through Chase at a rate of 1 cent per point. But if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you’ll get 25% and 50% more value on those travel redemptions, respectively.

What’s more, if you have a Freedom card and a Sapphire card, you can transfer points earned with your Freedom card to your Sapphire card account. In other words, if you spend $100 on 5% categories, you’d get $5 in cash back with just the Freedom Flex, $6.25 worth of travel if you transfer the points to a Sapphire Preferred account or $7.50 worth of travel if you transfer to a Sapphire Reserve.

Additionally, the Sapphire cards allow you to transfer points to several airline and hotel rewards programs, giving you a ton of flexibility. This card will be tough to beat.

Note: the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card offers the same bonus rate on travel redemptions as the Sapphire Preferred, so you can also use that if you’re a business owner.


What Happens to the Older Chase Freedom Card?

When the Chase Freedom Flex is officially launched, the old Chase Freedom will no longer be available to new applications. If you currently have the Chase Freedom, you can choose whether or not to convert your account to the new card.

Because the Chase Freedom Flex takes everything you get from the Chase Freedom and adds a boatload more in rewards and benefits, it’s a no-brainer to make that switch.

Chase Freedom Flex vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited®

It’s also important to note that the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is getting some new features. In addition to its unlimited 1.5% base rewards rate, cardmembers will earn:

  • 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3% back on dining
  • 3% back on drugstore purchases.

While the Freedom Unlimited doesn’t offer an immediate cash bonus, new cardholders instead earn an extra 1.5% cash back on all purchases (up to $20,000 spent) in the first year of card ownership. This bonus is valued at up to $300, which is more than the Freedom Flex bonus.

So, which card is better? It primarily boils down to how you plan to use them. If you’re a rewards maximizer, it’s hard to ignore the 5% rotating categories on the Chase Freedom Flex. But if you prefer a higher base rewards rate, 1.5% cash back is impressive. Read our full comparison between the Flex and Unlimited.

Also, keep in mind that the Freedom Flex’s Mastercard World Elite benefits aren’t available with the Freedom Unlimited. So if you want those, the Freedom Flex is the winner.

Comparing Chase Cards

Between awarding one-time bonuses, no annual fees, balance transfers and accelerated cash-back rewards, Chase offers high-value credit cards with positive overall ratings. Below we compare several popular Chase cards including the Chase Freedom Unlimited, Chase Freedom Flex and the travel points-earning Chase Sapphire Preferred.

 Chase Freedom Unlimited® cardChase Freedom Flex℠ CardChase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Annual Fee$0$0$95
APRVariable APRVariable APRVariable APR
Cash BonusExtra 1.5% cash back on purchases (up to $20,000 spent)$20060,000 Points
Bonus EligibilityNoneSpend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account openingSpend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
Rewards Rate5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% at drugstores and restaurants and 1.5% on all other purchases5% (up to $1,500) in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate, 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% at drugstores & restaurants and 1% on all other purchases2x points per dollar spent on travel and 1x on all other purchases
Balance Transfer FeeYesYesYes
Foreign Transaction FeesYesYesNone
Cell Phone ProtectionNoneYesNone

Bottom Line

We love that the Chase Freedom Flex card expands on an already lucrative offering from Chase. The original Chase Freedom card was already a solid choice for cash-back enthusiasts, and this one raises the bar.

It also gives cardholders access to Chase Ultimate Rewards, which is arguably the most versatile credit card rewards platform available. You’ll get plenty of redemption options at good rates. Plus, if you have one of the program’s travel credit cards, you can transfer points from your Chase Freedom Flex to your travel card account and get even more value and flexibility with how you redeem.