The Chase Freedom Flex card is not currently one of our top rated cash back credit cards. Please see the list of our best cash back credit cards to see what we feel are better options.
Full Review of the Chase Freedom Flex Card
Several high-earning rewards categories
Substantial one-time bonus for a no-annual-fee card
Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
Cell phone insurance protection
Charges foreign transaction fees
Mediocre earning rate on all other purchases
Must activate quarterly rotating 5% cash-back categories
5% cash back in rotating categories is limited
- Several High-Earning Rewards Categories: This card features several categories that earn more than the 1% base cash-back rate. Those include 5% cash back on travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards and rotating quarterly bonus categories (when activated and up to $1,500 of combined purchases per quarter). Drugstore, dining, and eligible dining delivery purchases earn 3% cash back.
- Substantial One-Time Bonus for a No-Annual-Fee Card: The card currently advertises a two-part one-time bonus, and both parts are competitive on their own. You can earn $200 cash back after spending $500 in the first three months. Additionally, you can earn 5% cash back on up to $12,000 in grocery spending in the first year, excluding Target and Walmart purchases, until January 13th, 2021. Compared with other no-annual-fee cards, this is very generous.
- Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance: This benefit provides reimbursement of up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip for prepaid, non-refundable passenger fares. To qualify, you must pay for your trip with the card and your trip must be canceled or cut short for a covered reason. Those include illness, severe weather, and more.
- Cell Phone Protection: You’re insured for up to $800 per claim and $1,000 per year against covered theft or damage to phones listed on your monthly cell phone bill when you pay that bill with the card. There is a $50 deductible per claim and a two-claim limit per 12-month period.
- Charges Foreign Transaction Fees: The Chase Freedom Flex credit card charges a 3% foreign transaction fee. Several other no-annual-fee credit cards do not charge these fees, which can quickly add up if you travel internationally.
- Mediocre Earning Rate on All Other Purchases: This card earns just 1% cash back on all other purchases. However, given its higher cash-back earning rates in certain categories, along with its other benefits, that isn’t a huge drawback.
- Must Activate Quarterly Rotating 5% Cash Back Categories: To earn 5% cash back in the bonus rotating quarterly categories, you need to activate this benefit each quarter. You can set a calendar reminder so you don’t forget to do this, but it does require some extra work.
- 5% Cash Back on Rotating Categories Is Limited: The rotating 5% cash-back categories earn that rate on just your first $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter. After that, you earn 1% cash back.
This Card is Best For
Seeks to maximize cash back earnings across spending categories
Resists or refuses an annual fee on principle or due to cost
Primarily responsible for household grocery and other major purchases
Incurs gasoline or other commuting expenses each month
Who This Card Is For
The Chase Freedom Flex card could be a good fit for those who want to earn cash back or Ultimate Rewards points in a wide variety of categories. The one-time bonus adds even more value for a no-annual-fee card, especially if you regularly shop for groceries at stores other than Target or Walmart.
When you consider all of the ancillary benefits this card offers, such as cell phone protection and trip cancellation and interruption insurance, it stands out as one of the better options in the no-annual-fee credit card space. However, people who don’t want to be bothered keeping up with rotating bonus categories or don’t regularly spend money in the higher earning categories may find more straightforward cards could be a better fit.
Chase Freedom Flex One-Time Bonus
You can earn $200 cash back after spending $500 on purchases with the Chase Freedom Flex card in the first three months from account opening. The one-time bonus is deposited into your rewards account as 20,000 Ultimate Rewards points. This bonus offer is decent for a no-annual-fee credit card and the spending requirement is reasonable, as well.
Chase says the bonus should post to your Ultimate Rewards account within six to eight weeks after qualifying. Your account cannot be in default and must be open to qualify. Current cardholders and those who previously had this card and received a bonus within the past 24 months do not qualify for the bonus.
During your first year, you can also get 5% cash back on up to $12,000 in grocery store spending, not including Target or Walmart, until January 13th, 2021. That can add up to $480 in extra rewards above the standard 1% cash back this card normally offers.
All told, you could conceivably earn a bonus of up to $680 if you spent the full $12,000 on grocery store purchases during the first year. Of course, $12,000 a year—or $1,000 a month—is a lot of groceries.
Rewards Earning Details
The Chase Freedom Flex earns cash back in the form of Ultimate Rewards points. Each percent of cash back is equivalent to one Ultimate Rewards point.
This card has 5% bonus cash-back categories that rotate each quarter and which you must activate. The bonus cash back is limited to $1,500 in combined purchases per quarter in the rotating categories.
You can also earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards and 3% cash back on drugstore and restaurant purchases, including takeout and eligible delivery services. You’ll earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.
A temporary promotion through March 2022 offers a total of 5% cash back on Lyft rides. This consists of the standard 1% cash back on all other purchases plus an additional 4% cash back specifically on Lyft rides.
Any points you've earned do not expire as long as your account remains open. You can automatically lose points if your account is closed for misuse, fraud, failure to pay, bankruptcy, or certain other reasons.
Rewards Redemption Details
You can redeem the Chase Ultimate Rewards points you earn with this card in many ways. Options include cash back in the form of a statement credit or direct deposit, gift cards, travel, and pay with points for Amazon and Apple purchases.
Points redeemed for cash back and travel through this card are worth one cent each. Points redeemed for gift cards are generally worth one cent each but can be worth more if a gift card promotion is in effect. Redeeming points through pay with points results in a value of 0.8 cents per point for Amazon purchases and one cent per point for Apple purchases.
The Chase Freedom Flex card does not allow you to transfer points directly to other loyalty programs. However, the Ultimate Rewards points it earns can, in some instances, be combined with other Ultimate Rewards cards’ balances. For example, if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Ink Business Preferred credit card, you can combine your Ultimate Rewards points from the Chase Freedom Flex with one of those cards, which will let you transfer points to participating loyalty programs.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
Maximizing your rewards with this card is a matter of earning as many Ultimate Rewards points as possible and then redeeming them for the most value. So you’ll want to use the card for purchases in its higher earning categories and keep an eye on the rotating quarterly categories. Don’t forget to activate your bonus 5% rotating category cash back each quarter and remember that the bonus is only good on the first $1,500 in combined purchases per quarter.
As far as redeeming points goes, you’ll usually be best off combining your Chase Freedom Flex’s Ultimate Rewards points with the points on a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Ink Business Preferred credit card. Those cards allow you to transfer your points to participating loyalty programs and redeem them for travel at higher rates when booked through Ultimate Rewards.
If you don’t have one of those other Chase credit cards, make sure you redeem your points for a value of at least one cent per point. You can achieve this by requesting a statement credit or cash back, by shopping at Apple, or by booking travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Gift cards typically offer a value of one cent per point, but some may have higher redemption values from time to time. Avoid lower value options, such as redeeming points at Amazon for 0.8 cents per point.
Chase Freedom Flex’s Outstanding Benefits
- Cell phone insurance protection
- Complimentary DoorDash DashPass: Activate this benefit by Dec. 31, 2021 to get a complimentary three-month DashPass membership that automatically renews at a 50% discount for the following nine months.
- Trip cancellation or interruption insurance
- Auto rental collision damage waiver secondary coverage
- Extended warranty protection
- Mastercard World Elite program benefits
- Purchase protection
Chase ranked fourth among national card issuers, with a score of 809 out of 1,000 in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. The average score was 810.
While you don’t have to be a Chase Freedom Flex cardholder to use this service, Chase offers access to your VantageScore 3.0 credit score along with other useful credit information on the Chase Credit Journey web pages.
You can manage your account online, using the Chase mobile app or by calling 800-432-3117.
This card’s security features fall in line with normal industry standards.
Fees to Watch Out For
The Chase Freedom Flex doesn’t charge an annual fee, but it does charge a 3% foreign transaction fee. Balance transfer fees of 5% or $5, whichever is greater, and cash advance fees of 5% or $10, whichever is greater, are higher than on some competing cards.
The Chase Freedom Flex is one of the better no-annual-fee cards available today. It offers several higher earning cash-back categories, but its 1% cash back on all other purchases isn’t anything special. The one-time bonus could provide significant value to people who regularly spend a large amount of money at grocery stores other than Target or Walmart.
The card’s additional benefits, such as trip cancellation and interruption insurance, cell phone protection, and others, offer excellent value for a no-annual-fee credit card. On the downside, the card also charges a 3% foreign transaction fee, making it less than ideal for frequent international travelers.