Chase Freedom Flex review: Newest Chase card is a powerhouse points earner

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The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is a new no-annual-fee credit card that was just released onto the market. It comes with a solid welcome bonus, but this card is worth adding to your wallet long-term due to its new cash back/points earning rates.

Let’s start with the fun stuff, the Chase Freedom Flex currently comes with a $200 cash bonus after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. The card also comes with an introductory spending bonus that can earn you an extra $600 cash back (60,000 points) the first year. Ever heard of a no annual fee card that comes with up to $800 cash back (80,000 bonus points) in the first year? Neither have we.

With the card, you’ll earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories which rotate each quarter when you activate them.

This card is perfect for anyone who already has a travel credit card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points or for people looking to get into the hobby and start earning points they can use for free travel. It also makes our list of the best cash-back credit cards.

Here’s everything you’ll want to know about the Chase Freedom Flex to decide if it’s a good fit for your wallet.

Wake up to this view on Oahu by using Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book your Marriott stay! (Photo by Jeff Whyte/Shutterstock)

Who is the Chase Freedom Flex for?

This is a great card for anyone looking for a no-annual-fee keeper that can potentially earn a lot of cash back or points. It’s also one of the easier cards to qualify for. This is a brand new product, but expect the necessary qualifications to be similar to that of the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. You’ll likely want a credit score in the 680+ range before applying, although its possible to get approved with less than that.

Just note that the Chase Freedom Flex is affected by the Chase 5/24 rule — if you’ve opened five or more cards from any bank (not counting certain business credit cards) in the past 24 months, you won’t be approved. You’ll have to wait until you are back under the limit of five cards opened in the past 24 months before applying.

Current offer

With the Chase Freedom Flex, you’ll earn a $200 cash bonus (20,000 Chase points) after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. You’ll also get 5% back (5x Chase points) on grocery store purchases on up to $12,000 spent in the first year. Spending at Target and Walmart do not qualify for this bonus. Considering there’s no annual fee, it’s hard to make a mistake with this cash-back card offer.

Your sign-up bonus can easily be worth more than a couple hundred dollars, too. Depending on other Chase credit cards that you have in your wallet, you can pool the points you earn on the Freedom. For example:

Plus, if you have any of the cards mentioned above, you can combine your points and then transfer them to Chase’s travel partners. Transferring to partners like Hyatt, United Airlines, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and more can potentially get you much more value.

This is our favorite way to redeem Chase points since you can book things like:

  • A $1,000+ a night room at the Park Hyatt Maldives (costing 30,000 Chase points transferred to Hyatt)
  • A round-trip business class flight from the Western U.S. to Japan on ANA for just 90,000 Virgin Atlantic miles.
Transfer 90,000 Chase points to Virgin Atlantic for a round-trip business class flight to Japan. (Photo by Zach Honig)

Benefits and perks

Cell phone protection

This is one of the few no-annual-fee cards that offers protection for your cell phone since the Freedom Flex is a World Elite Mastercard. It’s generous, and it’s easy to use.

You’ll receive up to $800 per claim (and up to $1,000 each year) for damaged or stolen cell phones. You’ll have to pay a $50 deductible for each claim. To trigger the coverage, all you need to do is pay your monthly cell phone bill with the Chase Freedom Flex. Any phone bills not paid with this card won’t be covered. Note that you can’t exceed two claims per 12 month period.

Extended warranty

When you use the Chase Freedom Flex to purchase an item, the card will extend the time period of a U.S. manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year on eligible warranties of three years or less. That lets you avoid purchasing additional warranties when making big-ticket purchases.

Purchase protection

The Chase Freedom Flex offers protection against damage or theft for up to 120 days on new purchases, up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.

Credit Journey

This Chase service is a great benefit. The bank will provide unlimited free access to your credit score as well as automatically enrolling you in alerts that can help you identify fraud.

Rental car insurance

You’ll get secondary rental insurance when you pay for the rental using your Chase Freedom Flex.

Trip cancellation/interruption insurance

If your trip is canceled or impacted by an eligible situation, like sickness or injury, you can be covered with your Freedom card. You can be reimbursed up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable fares.

How to earn points

The Chase Freedom Flex card earns:

  • 5% back on travel purchased through the Chase Travel Portal 
  • 5% back on rotating bonus categories on up to $1,500 per quarter
  • 3% back on dining, including takeout and delivery
  • 3% back at drugstores
  • 1% cash back for everything else

What makes this card so powerful are those 5% cash back (or 5 points per dollar) rotating categories every quarter on up to $1,500 in combined spending when you activate the bonus.

For example, from October to December 2020, Chase is offering 5% cash back at Walmart and purchases made through PayPal. If you make the most of your spending every quarter, you can earn an extra $300 per year (30,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) in bonus-category spending alone.

Chase usually offers rotating categories that are pretty easy to take advantage of, like grocery stores, gas stations, Amazon and more.

Additionally, the 3% back (3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points) on dining and drugstores can really add up. In fact, the Chase Freedom Flex earns points at a higher rate for dining purchases than Chase’s flagship card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and at the same rate as the Chase Sapphire Reserve®!

How to redeem points

You can redeem points you earn with the Chase Freedom Flex at a rate of one cent each for cash back, paid travel or gift cards. However, as mentioned earlier, to really get the most value out of your Freedom you’ll want to pair it with a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Then you’ll be able to book paid travel through the Chase Travel Portal at a better rate or transfer your points to travel partners.

Is the annual fee worth it?

The Freedom Flex card has no annual fee, so it’s a perfect card to open and keep long term. This can help you maintain a healthy credit score because the age of your accounts is one factor that is considered when calculating your score.

Insider tips

You can earn even more travel when you transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to one of Chase’s transfer partners, airlines like United Airlines and Southwest, and hotel chains like Marriott and Hyatt. If you have one of the cards mentioned above, you can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to travel partners at a 1:1 ratio.

Earn Chase Hyatt Bonus Again
Transfer points to Hyatt and stay at luxury hotels like the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa.(Image by Million Mile Secrets Staff)

That means if you have Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you can transfer them to United Airlines and book flights at United.com within minutes. By transferring your points to partners, you can really increase the value of your points exponentially.

For example, you can turn 35,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points into a round-trip flight to Hawaii from the West Coast by transferring your points to Singapore Airlines for United Airlines award flights. That’s a potential savings of hundreds and hundreds of dollars, as opposed to the $350 cash back you would have earned with the Chase Freedom Flex alone.

Or, for example, you could transfer 8,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt for a one-night stay at the Hyatt Place Las Vegas. This stay could otherwise easily cost you $100+, under normal circumstances. After meeting the minimum spending requirements for the welcome bonus, you’ll have more than enough points for two nights on the Vegas Strip.

Credit cards similar to the Chase Freedom Flex

I think the 5% cash back (5x Chase Ultimate Rewards points) on rotating categories is a great way to boost your Chase points balance, but the activation and tracking of bonus categories might be too much for some to keep track of.

Luckily, Chase has a similar card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, which earns a flat 1.5% cash back (1.5x Chase Ultimate Rewards points) on all purchases. Like the Flex, the Freedom Unlimited also earns 3% back (3x points) on dining and at drugstores plus 5% back(5x points) on travel booked through the Chase Travel portal. I have both cards, in addition to the Chase Sapphire Reserve, in order to earn the most points for every purchase.

If you have a small business, you might want to consider the Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card which is also a no-annual-fee card that has a sign-up bonus of $500 (50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months. This card, like the Freedom Unlimited, earns a flat 1.5% cash back on purchases, but the $500 sign-up bonus is where it really stands out. And qualifying for a small business card may be easier than you think.

Or you could earn Amex points with the no-annual-fee The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (see rates & fees), which earns 2 points per dollar on the first $50,000 in purchases each calendar year, then 1 point per dollar.

Bottom line

With its 5% cash back (5x points) on quarterly categories and 3% back (3x points) at restaurants and drug stores, you can easily rack up a solid amount of cash back or points with the Chase Freedom Flex.

This card is great for people looking for a straight cash back product or those who want to get their feet wet with a no-annual-fee card that can help you earn free travel. It’s also amazing for anyone who already has a card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points since you can then leverage those points for higher value when booking travel.

Remember, the Chase Freedom Flex currently comes with a $200 cash bonus (20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening, which is a great way to start building your points balance. Plus, you’ll get 5% back at grocery stores on up to $12,000 in spending the first year you have the card. You could pretty easily end up with 80,000 points in the first year you have the card — that’s worth at least $800 in cash or potentially even more in travel.

For rates and fees of the Amex Blue Business Plus, click here.

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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