Is the Chase Freedom Flex worth it?
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The Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers a unique take on cash back rewards. This card combines tiered rewards with a quarterly rewards bonus to help cardmembers maximize cash back earnings.
Notably, it earns 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter in bonus categories you activate, along with rewards on travel, dining, drugstore purchases and more.
With so many ways to earn cash back, applying may seem like a no-brainer. But is it worth it?
What does the Chase Freedom Flex offer?
The Chase Freedom Flex is a cash back rewards card that’s designed to fit the everyday spender, as well as those who like to splurge on travel. The main highlight of this card is its rewards program, which allows you to earn cash back on virtually every purchase.
First, you can earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 in purchases in the first three months from account opening — a nice incentive with a low spending requirement. In addition to its welcome bonus, cardmembers also earn:
- 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in activated bonus categories each quarter
- 5 percent back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- 5 percent back on Lyft rides (through March 2025)
- 3 percent back on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services
- 3 percent back on drugstore purchases
- 1 percent back on all other purchases
Your cash back rewards never expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing. There’s no minimum required to redeem them, either. When you’re ready to use your rewards, you can redeem them for:
- A statement credit
- A direct deposit into a U.S. checking or savings account
- Shop with Points at Amazon
- Gift cards
- Travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards
The Chase Freedom Flex has no annual fee, and you can also take advantage of its 0 percent introductory APR for 15 months from account opening on both purchases and balance transfers. Once the introductory period ends, a variable rate of 19.49 percent to 28.24 percent applies.
Is the Chase Freedom Flex card worth it?
Whether the Freedom Flex is worth signing up for depends on your spending habits and the features and benefits you’re looking for in a cash back card. Consider these details when weighing your options:
A simple way to test the Freedom Flex’s value is to estimate how much you could earn when you use it to spend. This includes what you could earn in quarterly bonus categories as well as other rewards.
First, let’s assume you max out the 5 percent cash back bonus each quarter, spending $1,500 within each quarter’s bonus categories. Say you charge $3,030 per year on food away from home, the 2021 average reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You also charge $5,000 per year in travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards, $2,000 at drugstores and $5,000 in miscellaneous purchases
Based on those numbers, you’d earn:
- $300 in rewards on $6,000 in total quarterly bonus category spending
- $250 in rewards on $5,000 in travel purchases
- $90.90 in rewards on $2,375 in dining purchases
- $60 in rewards on $2,000 in drugstore purchases
- $50 in rewards on $5,000 in miscellaneous spending
Altogether, that adds up to $750.90. If you qualify for the sign-up bonus, you can add $200 to your first-year haul, totaling a whopping $950.90. Remember that your second-year rewards earnings will likely be less since you won’t have the introductory bonus.
The Freedom Flex offers a variety of redemption options, starting with cash back. There’s no minimum required to redeem for cash back, and you can choose from a statement credit, direct deposit or check.
If you’d rather use your rewards for something other than cash, you can redeem them for shopping at Amazon.com or gift cards. You also have the option to book travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards using your points. That’s a plus if you’re looking for a cash back card that’s rewarding when it comes to travel.
This card has no annual fee, which is surprising given how generous the rewards program is. But no annual fee is a plus for cardmembers, as it means you don’t have to worry about fees nibbling away at the value of the rewards you’re earning.
There is a 3 percent foreign transaction fee, however, which is something to keep in mind if you’re considering using the card for international purchases.
Aside from the rewards program, there are some other enticing Freedom Flex benefits for cardholders. For example, you can enjoy zero liability fraud protection, 24/7 fraud monitoring, purchase protection and extended warranty protection. In terms of travel benefits, you get trip cancellation and interruption insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver coverage and travel and emergency assistance services.
You also get a complimentary ShopRunner membership for one year. This benefit offers free two-day shipping and free returns at dozens of major retailers. Cardmembers can also enjoy a free, three-month subscription to DashPass, DoorDash’s membership service that waives delivery fees.
There’s one more valuable benefit to know about: cellphone protection. You can get up to $800 per claim and $1,000 per year (with a limit of two claims per year) in cellphone protection for theft or damage. You’ll just need to use your Freedom Flex to pay your monthly cellphone bill.
How to maximize rewards with the Chase Freedom Flex
If you’re considering the Freedom Flex, it helps to know how to get the most from it. These tips can help you maximize your rewards as you earn and redeem them.
Activate bonus categories (and max them out)
Getting 5 percent cash back on quarterly categories is great, but only if you remember to activate the bonus category. Fortunately, Chase will send you reminders to activate your categories each quarter so you don’t miss out.
You also have plenty of time to activate your bonus categories. For instance, the deadline to activate Q4’s bonus categories is Dec. 14, 2022. Even if you wait to activate until that date, qualifying purchases made earlier in the quarter will retroactively earn 5 percent cash back.
Once you’ve activated the bonus categories, aim to max out those rewards if possible. Again, you can earn 5 percent back on up to $1,500 in purchases in the bonus categories each quarter, worth $75.
Book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you need to book flights, hotels or other travel purchases, doing so through Chase Ultimate Rewards is an easy way to maximize the rewards you earn. You can get 5 percent back on travel bookings through the Ultimate Rewards portal, versus the 1 percent back you’d earn from booking directly with the airline, hotel or third-party travel site.
Should I get the Chase Freedom Flex?
The Freedom Flex could appeal to anyone who wants multiple opportunities to earn cash back on purchases at competitive rates. That said, it may be better suited to some spenders than others.
Who should get the Chase Freedom Flex
Consider signing up for this card if:
- You don’t mind booking travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- You spend regularly on dining out at restaurants or at drugstores
- You don’t mind having to activate a quarterly bonus to earn 5 percent back
- You want to earn cash back without paying an annual fee
- You’re looking for an introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers
Who should think twice about the Chase Freedom Flex
You might want to pass on it if:
- You don’t spend enough to earn the welcome bonus
- You’re looking for a card with premium travel benefits, such as lounge access or free checked bags
- You’d prefer a flat-rate cash back credit card over a rotating bonus category option
The bottom line
The Chase Freedom Flex is worth a look if you’re interested in finding a card that rewards both travel and everyday spending with cash back.
However, it isn’t your only option for earning cash back. Taking time to compare it to other options on our list of the best cash back credit cards can help ensure you find the best fit for your spending habits.