The Bankrate promise
At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for . The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.
- Transfer your existing credit card balance and pay no interest for 18 months with Chase Slate Edge℠. After the intro period ends, a 20.49 percent to 29.24 percent APR applies.
- Chase Freedom Flex℠ is one of the top rotating categories cash back cards on the market, offering 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 spent in the categories each quarter, then 1 percent (activation required).
- Which card is right for you will depend on whether you prioritize a lengthier intro APR offer or a shorter intro APR but ongoing rewards opportunities.
The Chase Slate Edge℠ and Chase Freedom Flex℠* are designed for consumers with differing goals, both short and long-term. Understand your needs and priorities, and the right choice for you should emerge.
Put simply, the Chase Slate Edge only makes sense if you’re primarily interest in paying off debt and saving on interest via a lengthy balance transfer offer. Freedom Flex, on the other hand, stands out as a solid no annual fee cash back rewards card that also happens to offer a solid, albeit it shorter, intro APR.
Here we look at what each card offers, how they stack up and how to decide which works best for you.
|Feature||Chase Slate Edge||Chase Freedom Flex|
|Sign-up bonus||None||$200 if you spend $500 in the first 3 months|
|Rewards rate||None||Earn 5% cash back in rotating quarterly categories (upon enrollment, on up to $1,500 in combined spending each quarter, then 1%); 5% cash back on travel booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal; 5% cash back on Lyft rides (through March 2022); 3% cash back on dining and drugstore purchases; 1% cash back on all other purchases|
|Introductory APR offer||0% intro APR for the first 18 months on purchases and balance transfers (after that, a 20.49% – 29.24% variable APR applies)||0% intro APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (after that, a 20.49% – 29.24% variable APR applies)|
|Balance transfer fee||$5 or 3% of balance transfer, whichever is greater, for the first 60 daysAfter, $5 or 5% of each balance transfer, whichever is greater||$5 or 3% of balance transfer, whichever is greater, for the first 60 daysAfter, $5 or 5% of each balance transfer, whichever is greater|
Chase Slate Edge vs. Freedom Flex: Highlights
While the Chase Slate Edge and Freedom Flex are both solid offerings, each is geared toward a specific type of cardholder. The Chase Slate Edge makes sense for anyone who is looking to transfer a credit card balance and wants a long balance transfer period. The Freedom Flex is better suited to experienced rewards cardholders who don’t mind putting some effort into maximizing their cash back; if they need an intro APR, they’re comfortable with one that is a bit shorter.
Take a look at how these cards compare on some key points.
Welcome bonus winner: Freedom Flex
As the only rewards card in this head-to-head, Freedom Flex is the easy welcome bonus winner. Earn $200 cash back after spending just $500 in the first three months.
Cash back is always a nice way to earn your rewards, but keep in mind that Freedom Flex accumulates that cash back in the form Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Therefore, the welcome bonus can be viewed as either $200 cash back or 20,000 Ultimate Rewards points.
The Ultimate Rewards universe is one of the most popular out there when it comes to credit card rewards, which means that Freedom Flex, even though it’s advertised as a cash back card, can be a powerful tool in your travel rewards card strategy.
Chase Slate Edge doesn’t offer a welcome bonus, but Chase will automatically consider you for a higher credit limit if you pay on time and spend $500 in the first six months.
Rewards rate winner: Freedom Flex
Once again, Freedom Flex is the only option here if rewards are your primary goal. And, as far as rewards go, this card isn’t too shabby.
Earn 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 spent in categories that rotate each quarter, then 1 percent (activation required). Beyond the rotating categories opportunity, cardholders can also earn 5 percent back on travel booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal, 3 percent back at restaurants and drugstores and 1 percent back on other purchases.
If you’re looking for a no-fee rewards card and don’t mind keeping tabs on your spending and enrolling in rotating cash back categories, Chase Freedom Flex can be a great fit, allowing you to maximize your rewards earnings across a variety of purchase categories.
Chase’s cash back calendar typically includes popular categories like grocery stores and online shopping. While a category like groceries should make it easy to max out the $1,500 spend cap, other categories like streaming services can be tough to get full value out of. Even so, the Freedom Flex also makes for a great all-purpose rewards card thanks to its ongoing rewards offering in practical categories, especially its 5 percent cash back rate on Ultimate Rewards travel and 3 percent cash back rate on dining.
Not only does the 5 percent cash back rate on Ultimate Rewards travel rival the travel rewards rate offered on some of the best travel credit cards, but the Freedom Flex also makes a perfect pair with premium Chase cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card. That’s because your rewards are worth 50 percent more when you combine them under your Sapphire Reserve and redeem for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal.
As you can see, when it comes to rewards, the Freedom Flex blows the Chase Slate Edge out of the water. Once your debt is paid off, the Chase Slate Edge has very few ongoing benefits, as it comes with no rewards program and offers limited cardholder perks.
Annual fee winner: Tie
These are both no-annual-fee credit cards, which makes this category a tie.
To truly maximize your Freedom Flex rewards, though, you’ll want to house your rewards under a Chase premium card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card®, which does carry an annual fee. If you’re only interested in cash back, Freedom Flex on its own works well; if you want to wring every possible bit of value out of your credit card rewards, you’ll want a premium card that opens up additional value when redeeming for travel through the portal — 25 percent more value with Sapphire Preferred — and the ability to transfer your rewards to a variety of hotel and airline loyalty programs.
Foreign transaction fee winner: Tie
Perhaps we should call both cards losers in this category. Both Slate Edge and Freedom Flex charge foreign transaction fees. Therefore, it’s best to have another card option on hand, one that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, when you travel abroad or shop online in a foreign currency.
Balance transfer offer winner: Slate Edge
If you need to hit pause on mounting interest charges and pay down your credit card debt, Chase Slate is your best choice. It comes with an introductory APR for 18 months on both purchases and balance transfers (20.49 percent to 29.24 percent variable APR after that).
This offer is squarely positioned among the longest balance transfers card offers on the market; plus, this one also offers that same intro period for purchases.
Like most balance transfer cards, the Chase Slate Edge charges a 3 percent balance transfer fee or $5, whichever is greater, for the first 60 days. After that, for any ongoing balance transfers, there is a $5 or 5 percent fee on each transfer, whichever is greater. Just be sure you have a plan to pay off the balance you transfer within the 18-month introductory period, as you’ll be charged interest on any balance that remains at the end of this period, plus an additional balance transfer fee per transfer. To start, use a balance transfer calculator to see how long it will take you to pay off your debt based on your monthly payment.
Meanwhile, the Freedom Flex is primarily a cash back rewards card that happens to also offer a decent intro 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (then a 20.49 percent to 29.24 percent variable APR applies).
If you’re after a card to use as part of a long term rewards strategy, but could also put a decent intro APR to use, then Freedom Flex is an excellent choice. However, no amount of rewards is going to make up for wasting money on interest payments. If your primary goal is getting out of debt with the help of a longer intro APR period, Slate Edge is a better idea.
You can always apply for Freedom Flex or another top rewards card down the road once you’ve paid off your existing debt.
Best for financing new purchases: It depends
Both of these cards can be a big help if you’d rather chip away at a large expense, like a home repair, over time than plop down a lot of cash upfront. Since both cards have a similar introductory offer on new purchases, the one you choose should depend on your other priorities.
If you can make a shorter intro period work, the Freedom Flex not only allows you to finance your purchases over your first 15 months as a card member, but it also allows you to earn rewards on them. If you’re strategic with when you buy, you may even be able to line up your purchases with one of the card’s rotating categories to earn 5 percent back on the first $1,500 you spend when you activate (and 1 percent on anything above that).
The card also comes with consumer-friendly perks like purchase protection and extended warranty coverage, which should give you some extra peace of mind.
On the other hand, if you need longer to finance new purchases, the Chase Slate Edge card will be a better choice. You won’t earn any rewards on your spending, but you can at least keep interest charges at bay for your first 18 months as a card member.
Which card earns the most
Freedom Flex is the only option here that will earn you rewards, but how much it earns is up to you and your willingness to be strategic with your spending. Remembering to activate and then use your card in the quarterly 5 percent categories will truly make this card a workhorse for you.
That said, earning 3 percent at restaurants and drugstores has the potential to add up as well, and that requires little planning.
How to maximize earning with Freedom Flex
Let’s assume you’re committed to maxing out the spending in the 5 percent categories each quarter. That spending alone will earn you $300 in cash back (or, 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points in a year).
Now let’s say you also spend $1,000 a year in travel booked via the Ultimate Rewards portal — that’s another $50 in cash back.
Lastly, estimate that you spend $6,000 per year at restaurants for another $180 and $1,000 per year at drugstores for $30.
All together that adds up to $560 a year in cash back.
Why should you get Slate Edge?
Credit card debt isn’t something you want to mess around with or have hanging over your head. Slate Edge offers a prime opportunity to move beyond debt and get back to a place where credit cards work well for you.
This card is primarily for people who need a long time — 18 months — to pay off existing credit card debt without accruing additional expenses in the form of interest. In general, if you’re looking to make a purchase and pay it off over time, you could consider a rewards card with an intro 0 percent offer so that you earn rewards on that purchase.
Chase Slate cardholders are also eligible for a credit line increase if you spend $500 in the first six months, which could help reduce your credit utilization and, therefore, could help boost your credit score with little effort on your part.
Lastly, with the Chase Slate Edge, Chase will automatically consider you for a 2 percent APR reduction if you spend $1,000 by your next account anniversary and make timely payments on your balance. It’s never ideal to carry a credit card balance, but it sometimes happens. The potential to decrease your APR is unique on a credit card, and it can save you a lot of money if you ever do carry a balance outside the intro period.
Why should you get Freedom Flex?
Freedom Flex is a fine cash back rewards card for anyone who is willing to put a bit of strategy and thought into their credit card purchases. Where it truly shines, however, is as an addition to a comprehensive Ultimate Rewards strategy.
If you already have a premium Chase card such as Sapphire Preferred or Reserve, adding Freedom Flex to the mix will allow you to earn top rewards in quarterly categories and boost your Ultimate Rewards bank overall.
As an added bonus, Freedom Flex does offer a respectable intro 0 percent APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (then 20.49 percent to 29.24 percent variable APR), making it a good choice to save money of interest as well.
The bottom line
When choosing between the Chase Slate Edge and Chase Freedom Flex, it all depends on your lifestyle and reasons for getting a new card.
If you have debt and are looking to transfer it to a new card to save money on interest, the Chase Slate Edge offers a longer intro period. You’ll get a chance to pay down your debt and save on interest charges. If you don’t normally carry a balance on your cards and are more interested in earning rewards, the Chase Freedom Flex should be your pick.