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- The Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers rotating quarterly categories, as well as ongoing rewards for travel, dining and drugstore purchases.
- The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers points on dining, streaming, online grocery purchases and travel, for a $95 annual fee.
- Since the Sapphire Preferred lets you qualify for superior travel redemptions and 1:1 transfers to Chase airline and hotel partners, this card can be an especially good deal for consumers who want more ways to cash in their rewards.
If you’re in the market for a new rewards credit card and are considering the Chase Freedom Flex℠* and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, it’s important to learn how they stack up against each other and why you might want to choose one over the other.
Keep reading for a breakdown of Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Freedom Flex:
|Chase Freedom Flex
|Chase Sapphire Preferred
|$200 cash bonus when you spend $500 within 3 months of account opening
|60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 within 3 months of account opening
|0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 20.49% to 29.24%
|None; 21.49% to 28.49% variable APR
|Foreign transaction fee
Chase Freedom Flex vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred highlights
Both of these Chase cards are excellent options if you want to earn rewards on your spending, yet they each stand out in a few different categories. As you compare the Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Sapphire Preferred, consider how they stack up in the following areas.
Welcome bonus winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Sapphire Preferred really shines when it comes to its welcome bonus. New cardholders can receive a first-year bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 within three months. This welcome bonus is worth $600 in gift cards or $750 in travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards. On the flip side, the Chase Freedom Flex bonus is only $200 when you spend $500 within three months of account opening.
That said, pay attention to the Sapphire Preferred’s considerably higher spending requirement. You’ll need to spend around $1,334 per month on your card for three months in a row to earn its bonus, whereas the Chase Freedom Flex only requires you to spend about $166 a month across the same time period.
Rewards rate winner: Chase Freedom Flex
Though the Chase Sapphire Preferred can be exceptionally valuable in terms of travel rewards, it’s a bit overshadowed by the Chase Freedom Flex’s cash back rewards rates.
With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, cardholders can earn 5X points on travel booked through Ultimate Rewards, 5X total points on Lyft rides (through March 31, 2025) and 3X points on dining, select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs). This is in addition to the 2X points on general travel purchases that you’ll receive and 1X points on everything else.
On the other hand, the Chase Freedom Flex offers a more tempting rewards earning rate for those who are able to maximize it. You’ll start off by earning 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 spent in rotating quarterly bonus categories after activation (then 1 percent). On top of that, you’ll earn 5 percent back on travel booked through Ultimate Rewards, 5 percent back on Lyft rides (through March 2025), 3 percent back on dining and drugstore purchases and 1 percent back on everything else.
While the Flex rewards are marketed as “cash back,” they are officially Chase Ultimate Rewards points. As a result, the Freedom Flex can function as a less expensive travel credit card option that offers one more 5 percent category compared to the Sapphire Preferred.
Annual fee winner: Chase Freedom Flex
The Chase Freedom Flex doesn’t charge an annual fee, so that makes it the obvious winner in this category. Keep in mind, however, that the Chase Sapphire Preferred only charges $95 per year. That’s pretty reasonable for a card with such a generous bonus offer and redemption perks, so don’t rule it out based on the annual fee alone.
Furthermore, Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders enjoy up to $50 in statement credit annually toward a hotel stay booked via the Ultimate Rewards portal. That credit alone offsets more than half of the annual fee.
Foreign transaction fee winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Sapphire Preferred also comes with no foreign transaction fees, which is pretty standard among travel credit cards. With the Chase Freedom Flex, you’ll need to pay an additional 3 percent in foreign transaction fees for every purchase you make outside of the United States. If you frequently travel internationally or even shop with international merchants from the comfort of your own home, you’ll quickly make up for the Sapphire Preferred’s annual fee with your foreign transaction fee savings.
Which card earns the most?
For most people, the Chase Freedom Flex is going to net the most rewards over time. The big difference between the Chase Freedom Flex vs. Sapphire Preferred, when it comes to rewards, is your redemption strategy.
To understand what that means, take a look at the following example. Let’s say you want to use your Chase credit card for all your regular spending, from groceries to miscellaneous purchases, and that you hope to earn the highest rate of rewards possible in any given quarter. Your quarterly spending might look like this:
- $1,500 spent on groceries (online groceries with the Preferred and Walmart groceries with the Freedom Flex)
- $800 spent on Chase Ultimate Rewards travel
- $400 spent at restaurants
- $250 spent on miscellaneous purchases
With the Chase Freedom Flex, you would earn $129.50 in rewards for the quarter (assuming you do all your grocery spending at Walmart, given it’s a 2023 Q4 Chase Freedom Flex bonus category). That breaks down to $75 in cash back from grocery spending, $40 back from Chase Ultimate Rewards travel, $12 back from dining and $2.50 back on all other spending.
If you instead use the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you would earn 9,950 points, worth $99.50 in cash back or statement credits. That breaks down to $45 in cash back from online grocery spending, $40 back from Chase Ultimate Rewards travel, $12 back from dining and $2.50 back on all other spending.
Note, however, that this example doesn’t take into account redemption options or the welcome bonus on each card. More specifically, if you choose to redeem your 9,950 points earned with the Sapphire Preferred for travel via the Chase portal, they’d be worth around $124 thanks to the 25 percent points boost.
Further, if you transfer to the right high-value Chase hotel or airline partner, your points could be worth about 2.0 cents apiece, according to Bankrate valuations. That brings your potential value to $199.
If travel isn’t the name of your game (or your top priority in terms of redemptions), the Chase Freedom Flex can earn you more rewards when used strategically.
Of course, the absolute best value comes when you carry both Flex and Sapphire and use them strategicially to earn top points. From there, combine all your points under your Sapphire card so you can redeem them for 25 percent more value for travel via the Ultimate Rewards portal or transfer to a high-value travel partner.
Why should you get Chase Freedom Flex?
The Chase Freedom Flex is a World Elite Mastercard, which provides a wealth of benefits, from zero liability protection and Mastercard ID Theft Protection to cell phone protection. Here are a few additional reasons the Chase Freedom Flex may be worth it.
The Chase Freedom Flex benefits include valuable consumer perks like purchase protection against damage or theft, extended warranties, an auto rental collision damage waiver, trip cancellation and interruption insurance and travel and emergency assistance services.
Keep in mind this card also offers an introductory 0 percent APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 20.49 percent to 29.24 percent. This is a benefit you don’t get with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, and it’s one that could save you considerable amounts of money if you wind up carrying a balance on your card during the first 15 months (or are looking to cover a large purchase).
While the Chase Freedom Flex is a cash back credit card at heart, you technically earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points (which can be redeemed for cash back in the form of a statement credit or direct deposit). Additional redemption options include travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, gift cards, merchandise, purchases in the Apple Ultimate Rewards Store and paying with points on Amazon.com and via PayPal.
Note that, unlike the Sapphire Preferred, Ultimate Rewards points earned with the Freedom Flex can’t be transferred to Chase’s travel partners. To access this option, you’ll need to pool your Freedom Flex points with a premium Chase card like the Sapphire Preferred.
You’ll need a good credit score or better to qualify for this credit card, which typically means a FICO score of 670 or higher.
Why should you get Chase Sapphire Preferred?
While the Chase Freedom Flex is valuable in its own right, many rewards enthusiasts still swear by the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Here are a few reasons Chase Sapphire Preferred is worth it for many consumers.
Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits include an annual $50 hotel statement credit toward a hotel stay booked via the Ulatimate Rewards portal and an anniversary points bonus equal to 10 percent of your spending on the card from the prior year.
Further, the card offers trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement, an auto rental collision damage waiver, purchase protections and extended warranties. Thanks to its array of perks, the Sapphire Preferred is considered to be among the best credit cards for travel insurance.
Chase Sapphire Preferred really stands out in terms of rewards redemption. While you have all the same options as the Chase Freedom Flex, you get 25 percent more value when you redeem points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal plus the option to transfer points to high-value Chase travel partners.
Similar to the Freedom Flex, you’ll need good credit or better to be approved for this card.
The bottom line
Picking between the Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Sapphire Preferred may not be easy, but it all boils down to what you value most. Would you rather earn more bonus points in a broader range of categories? Or would you prefer the option to redeem for superior travel experiences via point transfers to Chase airline and hotel partners?
Of course, you can choose to apply for one of these cards now, then apply for the second down the road and pool your points. With both cards in your wallet, you could take advantage of the best rewards potential and perks each one offers — just be sure to keep Chase’s 5/24 rule in mind.
The information about the Chase Freedom FlexSM has been collected independently by Bankrate. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.