Chase Freedom Flex Review 2021: 5% Rotating RewardsCredit Cards
- Chase Freedom Flex
- Basics: With a robust rewards program and no annual fee, the Chase Freedom Flex card is generally a good choice for someone who wants to optimize cash back while keeping it simple.
- Pros: The Freedom Flex covers a lot of bases. In addition to its standard 3% rewards on dining and drugstore purchases and 5% rewards on travel booked through Chase, it also gives 5% back on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter on common spending categories that change quarterly.
- Cons: Despite its generous rewards system, the Freedom Flex still has some downsides, including a $300 annual maximum on 5% cash back earned in the quarterly-rotating categories and a 3% foreign transaction fee.
- WELCOME OFFER:
Earn $200 if you spend at least $500 within the first 3 months
- ANNUAL FEE:
- CASH BACK:
5% back on rotating categories, 5% back on travel booked through Chase, 5% back on Lyft rides (through March 2022), 3% back on select categories, and 1% back on everything else
- FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEE:
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The Chase Freedom Flex is a good credit card that gets the job done for beginners and experts alike – but has its downsides depending on how you spend and how you want to earn your rewards. In this review, I discuss the many features and benefits of the Freedom Flex, as well as its downsides.
The Freedom Flex currently has a welcome offer of $200 if you spend at least $500 within three months of opening the card. If this review helped your decision in applying for this card, I would appreciate it if you used my affiliate link. If you use my link and are approved, I receive a commission at no additional cost to you.
If you would rather watch a review of the Chase Freedom Flex card, check out my video below!
The Chase Freedom Flex is a hybrid between a rotating-category cash-back card and a standard cash-back card. There is no minimum amount to redeem Freedom Flex cash-back earnings, and as long as your account remains open, your cash-back earnings do not expire.
|5% Cash Back (Rotating)|
|5% Cash Back (Non-rotating)|
|3% Cash Back|
|1% Cash Back|
The Chase Freedom Flex offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter on categories which rotate on a quarterly basis. As of Q3 2021, the categories are grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart) and select streaming services.
Shortly before each quarter begins, Chase announces its bonus categories for that quarter by sending cardholders an email with a button to activate the five percent bonus. Cardholders may also activate cash back for rotating categories through their Chase online account.
Along with its rotating rewards, the Freedom Flex gives cash back for spending in several other categories. Earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 5% cash back on Lyft rides (through March 2022), 3% cash back on dining (which includes sit-down dining, takeout, and delivery through certain services, including Uber Eats and Postmates), and 3% cash back on purchases made at drugstores.
In addition to these rewards, Freedom Flex cardholders earn 1% cash-back on all other purchases.
Aside from cash-back rewards, the Chase Freedom Flex card also offers a variety of extra perks.
|5% Cash Back (Non-rotating)|
The intro APR for the Chase Freedom Flex is 0% on new purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months.
The Freedom Flex offers a complimentary 3-month subscription to DashPass, a DoorDash subscription service which features free deliveries on orders over $12 through DoorDash or Caviar.
After that, you are automatically subscribed to DashPass at 50% off the regular rate for the next nine months. The regular rate for DashPass is $9.99/month, and you can cancel anytime through the DoorDash or the Caviar app.
You must activate by December 31st, 2021, to cash in on this offer.
All Freedom Flex card holders also receive 5% cash-back on qualifying Lyft purchases through March 31st, 2022. Technically, this is 4% cash-back in addition to the 1% cash-back that cardholders already earn through all other purchases.
Qualifying Lyft purchases include all car, bike, and scooter rides, as well as subscription and membership products.
The Chase Freedom Flex is a World Elite Mastercard, which means cardholders also receive additional benefits, courtesy of Mastercard. These perks include cell phone protection, zero liability protection, and memberships and discounts with brands like Lyft, Shoprunner, HelloFresh and more.
Here are some of the additional perks:
- Cell phone protection (covers up to $1,000 per year; 2 claims per year and $800 maximum per claim). You must pay with your Chase Freedom Flex card to activate this benefit.
- Zero Liability & ID theft protection
- $5 Lyft credit if you take at least 3 Lyft rides per month (the $5 credit is issued once a month)
- Free Shoprunner membership
- 5% cash back on HelloFresh orders (to use for future purchases)
- $5 Fandango Reward if you spend at least $20 on movie tickets
To see the full list of Chase Freedom Flex benefits through Mastercard, click here.
|Foreign Transaction Fee|
No Annual Fee
A great thing about the Chase Freedom Flex is that it doesn’t have an annual fee, so you don’t have to do a cost-benefit analysis every year to decide whether you should keep it or cancel it.
Even if you stop using your Freedom Flex one day because you’ve upgraded to other cards, you can always keep it around and make money with it by adding authorized users.
3% Foreign Transaction Fee
Unfortunately, if you use the Chase Freedom Flex abroad, you’ll pay Chase a 3% fee on every transaction.
As I’ve mentioned previously, the Freedom Flex currently has an introductory offer of $200 if you spend at least $500 within three months of opening the card. If you have decided that the Freedom Flex is for you, I would appreciate it if you signed up through my affiliate link.
Pairings With Other Credit Cards
Citi Double Cash
While the Freedom Flex only offers 1% cash back on non-bonus purchases, it makes for a simple and straightforward yet powerful credit card setup when paired with the Citi Double Cash, which gives unlimited two percent cash back on all purchases. This pairing allows you to get the Freedom Flex’s high rewards in bonus areas while also getting 2% back on non-bonus spending with the Citi Double Cash.
Neither of these cards has an annual fee, which enables you to eventually upgrade your card setup (if you’d like to) by opening a card with an annual fee but higher rewards in a specific area without needing to cancel your Freedom Flex or Double Cash.
Sapphire Preferred or Reserved
The Freedom Flex also works well when paired with the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which offer 25% and 50% cash back respectively on points redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. If you have one of these cards, you can transfer your points to these cards to get that bonus, which effectively increases your cash-back rate.
For example, after using your Freedom Flex to get 3% back on drugstore purchases, you can transfer those points to the Sapphire Preferred and then redeem them through Chase Ultimate Rewards for a 25% bonus, making your rewards actually come out to 3.75%. If you transfer those points to the Sapphire Reserve, your cash back on drugstore spending would essentially be 4.5%.
Similarly, your cash back in the rotating categories could equal 6.25% on the Preferred or 7.5% on the Reserve when redeemed for travel through the Ultimate Rewards program.
Thus, when paired with a premium card, a simple no-annual-fee card like the Freedom Flex actually offers some sizable rewards. Check out this comparison video to find out if the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve works best for you.
Pros and Cons
Chase Freedom Flex Pros
The Chase Freedom Flex covers a lot of ground for people who know what they’re going to spend their money on. With no annual fee and a (relatively) generous rewards program, this card is useful for most.
Generous Cash Back on Typical Expenses
The Freedom Flex cash back for rotating categories are generally pretty common expenses, and the card offers 3% back on dining and drugstores, as well as 5% back on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
The card’s partnerships with Lyft and DoorDash are also useful if you are a frequent user of the services.
Another benefit to the Chase Freedom Flex is that it’s pretty low maintenance – a suitable card for a minimalist who wants to maximize their earnings and don’t mind setting a reminder to activate their quarterly 5% cash-back benefits.
Chase Freedom Flex Cons
While the Freedom Flex is generally a great card, it has a few downsides.
Chase 5/24 Rule
The Chase Freedom Flex is subject to the Chase 5/24 rule, meaning that you’ll automatically be rejected if you’ve opened five or more credit cards (from any issuer) in the past 24 months.
Late Notice for Rotating Categories
Unlike some other rotating cards, Chase doesn’t announce the rotating categories for each quarter until just a few weeks prior, which can make it difficult to plan.
Limited Cash Back
Your 5% cash back with the Freedom Flex is capped at $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter. This translates to a maximum cash back of $75 per quarter, for a grand total of only $300 per year.
While you’ll also get 1% cash back in non-bonus areas, this is easily surpassed by the Citi Double Cash card. Don’t get me wrong – $300 is still a sizable chunk of cash back, but you can’t get unlimited five percent cash back in the bonus categories.
3% International Fee
The Freedom Flex charges a three percent foreign transaction fee, so it’s not the best card for international travel. If you do enjoy traveling internationally, you should probably consider a travel-specific card like the ones listed here.
|Chase Freedom Flex||Chase Freedom Unlimited||Citi Custom Cash||Citi Double Cash|
|Foreign transaction fee|
Chase Freedom Flex vs Freedom Unlimited
|Rotating Cash-back Rewards|
|Ongoing Cash-back Rewards|
|Foreign transaction fee||3%||3%|
|Sign-up Bonus||Earn $200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months||Earn $200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months|
The Freedom Flex and Freedom Unlimited cards offer similar rewards, but if you’re looking to decide between the two, the difference really depends on how you like to spend.
The welcome offer and cash back for ongoing categories remain the same between the two cards, but the cash back for rotating categories and other purchases is where the card diverges. For example, the Freedom Flex offers 5% cash back on rotating categories, while the Freedom Unlimited offers a limited-time 5% cash back on groceries stores (excluding Walmart and Target, and only up to $12,000 in purchases or for the first 12 months – whichever comes first). Chase Freedom Flex only offers 1% cash back on all other purchases, while Freedom Unlimited offers 1.5% – which is, indeed, unlimited.
If you know you’re going to spend more money on seasonal categories, opt for the Chase Freedom Flex. If you would rather earn your cash back through other purchases, Freedom Unlimited is your better bet.
Is the Chase Freedom Flex Worth It?
The Chase Freedom Flex credit card is definitely worth it – with no annual fee and 5% cash back on bonus categories, this card is tough to beat. But it all narrows down to how you spend, and how much cash back you want to cash in.
Who the Chase Freedom Flex Is Good For
The Freedom Flex is good for people who frequently use the rotating cash-back categories, people who don’t mind limited cash back in bonus spending, and people who travel domestically more than they do internationally.
In my opinion, the Freedom Flex card is best suited for those who want to optimize cash back and perks, but aren’t too set on earning a significant amount of rewards. While the rewards for the Freedom Flex are limited, they’re still better than most cards on the market. Better yet – if you have predictable spending and know you’re going to spend a considerable amount on the seasonal categories, this card might be worth it.
Who the Chase Freedom Flex Is Not Good For
This card is not suited for people who rarely use the services offered within the rotating categories, people who want unlimited cash back, and people who travel internationally more than they do domestically.
If you want more freedom in earning cash back outside of the rotating bonus categories, a different yet similar card, like Chase’s Freedom Unlimited, might be your better bet.
- Should you get the Chase Freedom Flex?
Get the Freedom Flex if you spend more of your money on the bonus seasonal categories rather than the select categories. If you don’t mind setting a quarterly reminder to activate your 5% cash back on these categories, this card might be for you.
- Is it hard to get Chase Freedom Flex?
It can be hard to get the Chase Freedom Flex because you need a good credit score to be approved. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
Keep in mind that other factors chime in when applying for this card. If you have a decent credit score, sufficient income, and haven’t opened five or more credit cards in the past 24 months, you might have a chance in getting the Chase Freedom Flex.
- What credit score do you need for Chase Freedom Flex?
You need a credit score of at least 670 to be likely approved for the Freedom Flex. A 670 credit score or higher is considered to be “good,” but it never hurts to try and improve your approval odds.
Check out this article on ways to increase your credit score to a 700 or above. I recommend bumping up your credit score before applying for the Freedom Flex, since credit card applications create hard inquiries that may affect your current credit score.
- Is the Chase Freedom Flex good for beginners?
With a relatively robust rewards program for no annual fee, the Freedom Flex can be a good beginner card to build credit while earning cash back.
However, note that you need to already have good credit to be approved for this card, which might mean that you need to build credit first, if you currently don’t have any.
- Is the Chase Freedom Flex or the Freedom Unlimited better for me?
The Freedom Flex card would be better suited for someone who is a frequent consumer of the seasonal rotating categories, and wants to maximize their cashback in that way. The Freedom Unlimited card would be better suited for someone who is not particularly moved by the rotating categories, and would rather earn their cash back through other purchases instead.
- Does the Chase Freedom Flex have an annual fee?
The annual fee for the Chase Freedom Flex card is $0.
- Can I combine Freedom Flex rewards with other Chase cards?
When paired with a premium card, a simple no-annual-fee card like the Freedom Flex actually offers some sizable rewards.
The Freedom Flex works well when paired with the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which offer 25% and 50% cash back respectively on points redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
- How is the Chase Freedom Flex different from the original Chase Freedom?
Think of the Freedom Flex card as the upgraded version of the Freedom card (as of 2020, Chase has closed applications for the latter). Both feature similar rewards, but Freedom Flex is geared more towards optimizing cash-back perks, like 5% on travel through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards Program and 3% on dining and drugstores.
If you currently own an original Chase Freedom card and want to upgrade to the Freedom Flex, you can request a product change from Chase or submit a new application, depending on your preference.
Logan is a practicing CPA, Certified Student Loan Professional, and founder of Money Done Right, which he launched in 2017. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.