Chase Freedom Flex vs Freedom Unlimited, Which Freedom Card Is Best?

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Chase Freedom Flex vs Freedom Unlimited, Which Freedom Card Is Best?

Chase Freedom Flex vs Freedom Unlimited, Which Freedom Card Is Best?

Chase Freedom Flex vs Freedom Unlimited – which is the better card for you? These 2 cash back cards from Chase have many similarities, but they have their differences. We’ll compare the similarities and differences and then look at which is better for you depending on your circumstances. Let’s dig in.

Chase Freedom Flex vs Chase Freedom Unlimited

Chase Freedom Flex Highlights

The Chase Freedom Flex launched earlier this month. This card has essentially replaced the traditional Freedom (no longer available for new applications). The Freedom Flex has no annual fee just like the other Freedom cards. Here are the important details of this new card:

Welcome Offer

  • New Freedom Flex cardmembers will receive $200 cash back after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months
  • Plus earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases for the first year (on up to $12,000).
  • Subject to Chase 5/24 application rules
  • Learn More

Earning Structure

Cardmembers earn cash back on:

  • 5% cash back in rotating categories activated each quarter, up to $1,500
  • 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase Travel Portal
  • 5% cash back on Lyft rides (through March 2022)
  • 3% cash back at drugstores and restaurants, including food delivery services
  • 1% cash back on everything else
  • Learn More

Mastercard World Elite Benefits

Freedom Flex cardmembers will receive Mastercard’s leading World Elite Benefits including:

  • Cell Phone Insurance – Up to $800 per claim and $1,000 per year in cell phone protection against theft or damage for phones listed on cardmembers’ monthly bill.
  • Lyft – $10 in credit for every five rides taken in a calendar month, automatically applied to the next ride and capped at once per month.
  • Boxed – 5% cash rewards on Boxed purchases for use on future purchases.
  • ShopRunner – Free membership to receive two-day shipping and free return shipping at over a hundred online retailers.
  • Fandango – Double VIP+ points for movie tickets purchased via the Fandango app or Fandango.com, which can be used towards purchasing movie tickets on Fandango or towards streaming movies and TV shows on FandangoNOW.
  • Priceless Experiences, offering activities both digitally and in the cities where they are.

Chase Freedom Flex vs Freedom Unlimited

Chase Freedom Unlimited Highlights

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card is not new. It is a standard-bearer in Chase’s lineup, has no annual fee, and has the following details:

Welcome Offer

  • New Freedom Unlimited cardmembers will receive $200 cash back after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months
  • Plus earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases for the first year (on up to $12,000).
  • Subject to Chase 5/24 application rules
  • Learn More

Earning Structure

The announcement of the Freedom Flex card included updates to the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. This is for both existing cardholders and new applications. Starting September 15, 2020, the card will have these extra earning opportunities:

  • 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase Travel Portal
  • 5% cash back on Lyft rides (through March 2022)
  • 3% cash back at drugstores and on dining, including food delivery services
  • 1.5% cash back on everything else
  • Learn More

There is no activation required for these new categories. They will become a standard benefit on the Chase Freedom Unlimited card.

The Similarities

When comparing the Chase Freedom Flex vs Chase Freedom Unlimited, there are a lot of similarities. Here’s a quick list:

  • Earns cash back
  • Cash back can be converted to Ultimate Rewards if you hold a premium card from the Ultimate Rewards family
  • No annual fee
  • Same welcome offer of $200 in cash back/Ultimate Rewards after spending $500
  • Same introductory offer for grocery spending
  • 5% cash back on travel booked through the Chase portal (uncapped)
  • 3% cash back on restaurants and pharmacies/drug stores (uncapped)
  • Promotional APR of 0% for the first 15 months
  • 3% foreign transaction fee for both cards

Chase Freedom Flex vs Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Differences

The key difference is the rotating categories with the Freedom Flex vs the elevated 1.5% on everyday purchases on Freedom Unlimited. If you’re comparing to decide which card is best for you, ask where you spend most of your money.

The rotating categories for the Chase Freedom Flex tend to be things like PayPal (which you can use many places online), Amazon, gas stations, grocery stores and other similar promotions. These change each quarter and require registration. Additionally, the 5% earning ends after $1,500 of spend in these categories. The card also comes with Mastercard World Elite benefits that shouldn’t be overlooked.

For the Chase Freedom Unlimited, there are no enrollments or categories to remember. Instead, you earn 1.5% back on everything outside of the 3% and 5% standard categories that both have. With the 5% back on $1,500 of bonus categories with the Freedom Flex, you would need to spend $5,000 on everyday spend / 1.5% categories to match this. However, after this point, you would earn cash back/rewards points faster with the Freedom Unlimited.

The question becomes how much money you’re going to put on the card every month. What categories will you spend in, and how much? If you’re interested in unlimited earning and racking up rewards, the Freedom Unlimited is a better work horse after $5,000 per quarter. If you don’t see yourself putting more than $5,000 per quarter on this card but can see yourself doing bonus categories, go for the Freedom Flex.

Final Thoughts

Obviously, it’s possible to have both cards, and then you can use the one that gives you better results. However, with the application rules at Chase, you may only have space for one of them. Compare the cards based on your expected spending each quarter. Do you see yourself falling into bonus categories with lower spend or lots of spend on everyday purchases? Because the welcome offers, fees, and standard categories are very similar, compare the earning rates the additional perks when deciding between the Chase Freedom Flex vs Chase Freedom Unlimited.

Ryan S
Travel hacker in 2-player mode, intent on visiting every country in the world, and can say "hello" or "how much does this cost?" in a bunch of different languages.

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