Chase Freedom Flex: Unique travel perks for a cash back card

While the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is marketed as a cash back credit card, there are several reasons for travel lovers to take another look. Not only does it offer a generous selection of travel insurance protections, but its rewards can be redeemed directly for travel, whether you have this card alone or you pair it with a premium travel credit card from Chase.

With its rotating bonus categories and generous rewards on everyday spending, the Freedom Flex can help anyone boost their rewards haul. If you want to earn travel rewards and don’t want to pay another annual fee for a credit card, read on to learn why this card may be exactly what you need.

Overview of the Chase Freedom Flex

The Chase Freedom Flex is a popular cash back credit card. Not only can you earn a high rate of rewards for each dollar you spend, but you can redeem your rewards in several different ways, including for travel.

Chase Freedom Flex highlights

  • Earn a $200 cash bonus when you spend $500 within three months of account opening
  • Earn 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 spent in activated quarterly bonus categories (then 1 percent back), travel booked through Chase, Lyft rides (through March 2022) and up to $12,000 spent on groceries the first year
  • Also earn 3 percent back on dining and drugstore purchases, as well as 1 percent back on everything else
  • 0 percent APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 14.99 percent to 23.74 percent
  • No annual fee

Earning rewards

The Chase Freedom Flex is truly unique in that it offers rotating bonus categories and bonus rewards in several everyday spending categories. It starts with the fact that you earn 5 percent back on up to $1,500 spent in rotating categories each quarter, after which you earn 1 percent back.

While Chase Freedom Flex categories can change over time, they frequently include options like gas stations, home improvement stores, Walmart and PayPal purchases and more. The following table shows Chase Freedom Flex categories for 2021:

Chase Freedom Flex 2021 Categories

Q1: January to March
  • Wholesale clubs
  • Internet, cable and phone services
  • Select streaming services
Q2: April to June
  • Gas stations
  • Home improvement stores
Q3: July to September
  • Grocery stores (excluding Walmart and Target)
  • Select streaming services: Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, Netflix, Sling, Vudu, FuboTV, Apple Music, SiriusXM, Pandora, Spotify and YouTube TV
Q4: October to December
  • Walmart and Paypal Purchases

Outside of rotating bonus categories, cardholders also earn 5 percent back on up to $12,000 spent on groceries the first year, as well as 5 percent back on Lyft rides (through March 2022). As an added bonus, customers can even earn 5 percent back on travel they book through Chase, which can include airfare, hotels, rental cars, day trips and more.

Separately, cardholders earn 3 percent cash back on dining and drugstore purchases and 1 percent back on everything else.

Redeeming rewards

While the Freedom Flex is a cash back credit card at heart, the rewards you earn are actually Chase Ultimate Rewards points. The points you earn are worth one cent each. That makes the $200 welcome bonus worth 20,000 points.

This program lets you redeem your rewards for cash back or statement credits if you prefer, but you also have additional redemption options like gift cards, merchandise or travel through the Chase portal.

The Freedom Flex also makes it easy to redeem rewards for travel, which we’ll go over in more detail below.

Why the Chase Freedom Flex is a good card for travelers

Picking up a cash back card for travel may seem strange, but the Freedom Flex works well in different scenarios. Consider the following perks and benefits before you make it part of your travel rewards plan.

Travel rewards redemption

If you feel intimidated by the idea of redeeming your Chase points for travel, know that it’s quite simple. The Chase travel portal partners with Expedia.com, and it works similarly. All you have to do is use the portal to shop for the travel you want, whether you need to book flights, a hotel, a rental car or other travel plans.

From there, Chase will show you how much your travel would cost in points. Here’s an example of how the portal would display your options if you searched for a hotel in New York City for dates in November of this year.

You have the option to pay for your travel plans entirely with points, with a combination of points and credit card charges or entirely with your credit card. If you pay for all or part of your travel through Chase with your Freedom Flex card, you will earn 5 percent back on that spending.

Pairing with other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards

With the Freedom Flex, you can transfer rewards to a premium Chase travel credit card account for better travel redemptions. If you also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, for example, you could use each card for purchases in their respective bonus categories, and then move all your points to your Preferred account before you redeem.

This strategy would help you get 25 percent more value for your points if you redeem for travel through Chase. Separately, moving points to your Preferred card unlocks the option to transfer rewards to Chase’s airline and hotel partners like British Airways, United MileagePlus, JetBlue, Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt.

Travel insurance

The Freedom Flex comes with a generous amount of travel insurance for a cash back credit card. Perks you’ll qualify for include trip cancellation and interruption insurance worth up to $1,500 per passenger and $6,000 per trip, secondary auto rental coverage and travel and emergency assistance services.

And remember, these benefits are offered free of charge for cardmembers.

With that said, you can get even more travel insurance protections with a premium Chase travel card. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, for example, you get higher-value trip cancellation and interruption insurance, primary auto rental coverage, trip delay reimbursement, emergency evacuation and transportation coverage, baggage delay insurance, travel accident insurance, roadside assistance and more.

Should you get the Chase Freedom Flex?

Considering the Freedom Flex offers generous rewards in everyday categories with no annual fee, you can’t really go wrong. This is true for people who travel occasionally and want some basic travel protections, and for those who travel all the time and want a way to boost their travel rewards haul.

The Freedom Flex is an even better choice for current Chase customers who have a premium travel credit card they can pair it with. When you have a few different Chase credit cards, or even the Chase trifecta, you get bonus rewards in more categories, all the best redemption options and the best selection of travel protections all at once.