New Chase Freedom Flex card now available, Freedom Unlimited upgrades live

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How long has it been since a credit card issuer has released a new product worth writing your mother about?

Chase has thrust itself back into the headlines with two big moves on the rewards credit card front. They’re giving two no annual fee credit cards better earning rates than some cards that carry annual fees north of $450. They’re even debuting a new credit card, the Chase Freedom Flex℠.

Here’s everything you need to know about the changes which are now live.

These no annual fee cards can achieve a free stay at the Park Hyatt St. Kitts — if you know how to use the points! (Photo by EQRoy/Shutterstock)

Chase updates their Freedom credit card line

The new Chase Freedom Flex

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is a new credit card that is now available for applications. At this time, Chase will no longer offer the Chase Freedom. If you’re a current Chase Freedom cardholder, you’ll get to keep your card as-is, with no changes. You can also ask Chase to product change your Chase Freedom to the new Chase Freedom Flex℠.

So what’s the difference between this new card and the current Chase Freedom? Firstly, note that this will be a Mastercard instead of a Visa. This means it should be considered a new “card product,” and therefore ensure your eligibility to earn the card’s sign-up bonus, even if you’ve recently earned the bonus on the Chase Freedom. Chase has clarified with Million Mile Secrets that current Chase Freedom cardholders are eligible for the welcome bonus on the new Chase Freedom Flex℠.

Note: Chase will not approve you for most of their cards if you’ve opened five or more cards from any bank (not counting certain business credit cards) in the past 24 months. Read more about Chase’s 5/24 rule here.

Here are the main benefits you can expect from the Chase Freedom Flex℠:

  • 5% back on travel purchased through the Chase Travel Portal (NEW)
  • 3% back on dining, including takeout and delivery (NEW)
  • 3% back on drugstores (NEW)
  • 5% back on rotating bonus categories on up to $1,500 per quarter (similar to the current Chase Freedom)
  • World Elite card benefits (NEW), which includes cell phone protection, ShopRunner, Postmates discounts, Lyft credit, etc.

Essentially, the new Freedom Flex is the same as the current Freedom, but with a lot more goodies. On top of the 5% back on rotating categories (think PayPal, Amazon, grocery stores, gas stations and more) up to the quarterly max of $1,500, you’ll now earn 3-5% back (3-5x Ultimate Rewards) in popular spending categories. Heck, 3% back (3x Ultimate Rewards) on dining makes this card an even better option than one of Chase’s flagship cards, the Sapphire Preferred, if you have a Chase Ultimate Rewards earning card.

The 5% back on purchases made through the Chase Travel portal is also an enticing addition, given it’s essentially a mirror of the online travel agency Expedia. If you can find better rates for flights or hotels through Chase, it can definitely be worth considering booking through them to get 5% back (although there are some downsides of booking hotels through an OTA).

One of the other very intriguing new benefits of this card is its World Elite benefit of cell phone protection. You’ll be covered for stolen or damaged phones, including cosmetic scratches that don’t affect the phone’s performance. You’ll be covered for up to $800 per claim, with a maximum payout per year of $1,000. There’s a $50 deductible. That’s pretty great for a no annual fee credit card!

The signup bonus for the Freedom Flex is similar to what the Chase Freedom offered:

  • $200 (20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening (same as the current Chase Freedom)
  • 5% cash back (5x Ultimate Rewards) on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

Updated Chase Freedom Unlimited benefits

The Chase Freedom Unlimited®, already an MMS reader favorite, is getting an artillery upgrade from Chase beginning today. Similar to the Chase Freedom Flex, cardmembers will automatically receive:

  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through the Chase Travel Portal (NEW)
  • 3% cash back on dining, including takeout and delivery (NEW)
  • 3% cash back at drugstores (NEW)
  • 1.5% cash back on all other purchases (current benefit)

These changes are only positive for the Freedom Unlimited. The current 1.5% cash back (or 1.5x Ultimate rewards) will remain which is awesome since it already made it one of the best cards for nonbonused, everyday spend. Similar to the Freedom Flex, you’ll now get even more back on dining, drugstores and travel purchased through Chase.

The welcome bonus will remain the same on the Chase Freedom Unlimited®:

  • $200 (20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening (same as the current Chase Freedom)
  • 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

How to make the most of these cards

If you haven’t at least skimmed our post on the Chase Trifecta, it’s must-read material. It’s perhaps the best strategy to earn a boatload of points and regularly travel for free.

In short, you can turn cash back rewards you earn with the Freedom, Freedom Flex and Freedom Unlimited into transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards points (which we value at 1.7 cents each) if you also carry one of these cards:

That’s because you can pool the rewards you earn from Chase Freedom cards to a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and transfer your Chase points to valuable partners like Hyatt, Iberia, United and more. Read our post on the best ways to use Chase points for all the details on how these points can be way more valuable than cash back.

Based on our valuations that means the 5% back (converted into 5x Ultimate Rewards) earned on a Chase Freedom card is equivalent to an 8.5% return on spend!

The information for the Chase Freedom has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Bottom Line

It’s great to see Chase rolling out new products and make incredibly positive changes to existing credit cards during a time when most banks are pulling back from a volatile market.

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is a solid addition to Chase’s portfolio and builds upon all the great aspects of the current Freedom card. The Chase Freedom Unlimited has become even more rewarding for current and future cardholders and doesn’t change what already made the card great. The earning rates on these cards make them quite competitive in the cash back card category, but being able to turn that cash back into Ultimate Rewards points really sets these two cards apart.

Let us know if you have any questions about the changes Chase has made! And subscribe to our newsletter for more breaking credit card news and deals delivered to your inbox once per day.

Joseph Hostetler is a full-time writer for Million Mile Secrets, covering miles and points tips and tricks, as well as helpful travel-related news and deals.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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