Chase Freedom Unlimited vs Chase Freedom Flex

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In case you haven’t noticed, Chase has come out with some killer credit card offers lately, including the release of the new Chase Freedom Flex℠ card. With a $200 (20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points)  sign-up bonus after meeting minimum spending requirements and the ability to earn 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, you can earn 80,000 points with a no-annual-fee card. That’s an incredible deal. 

But you may have noticed the similarities between this new card and the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. And you’re not mistaken, both cards are currently offering the same welcome bonus. So we wanted to do a side by side comparison to help readers better understand which is the right card for them. 

Chase Freedom Flex vs Chase Freedom

CardChase Freedom UnlimitedChase Freedom Flex
Sign-up bonus$200 (20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account

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
$200 (20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account

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
Ongoing earnings5% cash back on travel purchased through the Chase Travel Portal 

3% cash back on dining, including takeout and delivery

3% cash back at drugstores

1.5% cash back on all other purchases
5% back on travel purchased through the Chase Travel Portal 

3% back on dining, including takeout and delivery 

3% back on drugstores 

5% back on rotating bonus categories on up to $1,500 per quarter (activation required)

1% back on all other purchases
Annual fee$0$0
Benefits & perksCell phone insurance

Complimentary DoorDash DashPass 

Purchase protection

Extended warranty

And more!
Extended warranty protection

Purchase protection

Trip interruption/cancellation coverage

Roadside dispatch

And more!

Welcome bonus (Winner: It’s a tie)

Both cards offer the exact same sign-up bonus: Earn $200 (20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account. Plus, earn 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.

Ongoing earning rate (Winner: Chase Freedom Flex)

With the Chase Freedom Flex, you’ll earn:

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

The Chase Freedom Unlimited has a similar but slightly more simple earnings structure, including: 

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

As you can see, the main difference is the ability for Freedom Flex cardholders to earn 5% back on rotating bonus categories. Because of this, the Freedom Flex earns a slight edge over the Freedom Unlimited for anyone who can maximize the card’s rotating bonus categories. But if you don’t want the hassle of rotating bonus categories, the Freedom Unlimited is your best bet. Plus, the Freedom Unlimited has a slightly higher earning rate for non-bonus purchases (1.5% vs 1%).

Best redemption value (Winner: It’s a tie)

The best part about having either the Chase Freedom Flex or Freedom Unlimited card is that you’ll earn one of our favorite types of flexible rewards  — Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Ultimate Rewards are great because you can use them in different ways, either for cash back or for travel through Chase’s Travel Portal at a value of one cent per point. So, for example, 20,000 points would equate to $200 in cash back or travel.

But the real fun comes to those who also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card. Because you can combine your points to one of these cards and redeem points at a rate of either 1.25 or 1.5 cents per point (depending on the card) through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal. Or, transfer your points to valuable Chase partners, like Hyatt or United Airlines, for potentially more value. 

Annual fee (Winner: It’s a tie)

Neither of these cards comes with an annual fee. So both cards tie in this category. And they both make the list of our best no annual fee credit cards.

And even better, regardless of which card you choose,  keeping a no-annual-fee card in your wallet can help improve your credit score. 

Overall best card (Winner: It depends)

There’s no clear-cut winner between these two cards because, in reality, they’re nearly identical. The card that’s best for you will depend on your spending habits and where you tend to spend the most money.

If you’re looking for convenience, go with the Chase Freedom Unlimited, which earns 1.5% on all purchases. But if you can maximize the quarterly rotating bonus categories that the Freedom Flex offers, you’ll likely earn more rewards with that card.

I love the ease of earning 1.5% back on all my purchases with the Freedom Unlimited and can’t be bothered with the hassle of rotating bonus categories. But lots of the MMS team keep the Freedom Unlimited to earn $75 per quarter by spending $1,500 combined in bonus categories like Amazon. Take a look at your spending and do the math to see what makes sense for you.

Don’t forget about Chase’s application rules

Both of these cards are subject to the Chase 5/24 rule, wherein if you’ve opened five or more credit cards from any bank within the previous 24 months (not counting certain small business cards), Chase won’t approve you for either of these cards. 

It’s also worth noting that if you convert your Chase Freedom Unlimited card to Chase Freedom Flex (or vice versa), you won’t be eligible for the welcome offer. That said, if you find your current card doesn’t match your spending habits, then converting could make sense. Especially if you really want the card but don’t want it to count toward your “5/24” limit. You can also change the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card into either of these cards.

Converting your card instead of opening a new card means you can keep the same credit card number and your credit report won’t get dinged with a new inquiry. So there are certainly some benefits to that.

Bottom line

In choosing between these two cards, it really comes down to whether or not you can make the most of the Freedom Flex’s rotating quarterly bonus categories. If you can, fantastic. The Freedom Flex will be a great addition to your wallet. If you don’t want the hassle, the Freedom Unlimited is likely the better choice.

For more detailed information about each card, be sure to check out our in-depth review of the Freedom Unlimited and review of the Freedom Flex card here.

Featured image by fizkes/Shutterstock.

Deborah Atchison is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, she covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

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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