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On the surface, the Chase Freedom and Discover it® Cash Back seem very similar in earning and rotating bonus categories. And neither card adds an annual fee, so they’re both good picks to keep long term and potentially help boost your credit score.
But there’s a clear winner between the 2 cards. If I had to choose one, it would be the Chase Freedom – and here’s why!
Disclaimer: I currently have the Chase Freedom in my wallet! I even once had the Discover it credit card but my younger, more inexperienced self closed that account before understanding the true potential of no-annual-fee cards. 🙁
Which Card Is Better? Chase Freedom vs Discover it® Cash Back
Apply Here: Chase Freedom
Best Sign-Up Bonus
Fair warning, we have to do some math to figure this one out so bear with me. 🙂
The Chase Freedom has a simple sign-up bonus. If you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening, you’ll earn $150 (15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points).
With the Discover it® Cash Back card, Discover will match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first card year.
So to equal the $180 from the Chase Freedom, you’ll need to spend at least $1,800 on purchases in 5% cash back bonus categories (enroll every quarter to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases made in various categories throughout the year) or $9,000 in non-bonus categories ($1,800 X 5% OR $9,000 X 1% = $90 + $90 cash back match) within the first 12 months of account opening. Of course, you can mix your spending categories, but this covers the best / worst case scenarios.
The Chase Freedom offers a large sign-up bonus, and to reach the same amount of cash back on the Discover it® Cash Back card, you’ll have to spend at least $1,300 more.
Winner: Chase Freedom (unless you spend at least $1,300 more in bonus categories with the Discover it® Cash Back)
Best Point Earning
Both cards offer 5% bonus categories each quarter and 1% unlimited cash back. The Chase Freedom and Discover it® Cash Back card usually offer similar bonus categories.
With the Chase Freedom, you’ll earn 5% cash back (5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1) spent on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in categories which rotate each quarter when you activate the bonus.
And with the Discover it® Cash Back, you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases made in accordance with Discover’s 2018 Cashback Calendar after enrollment. Plus, earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Just this year, there have been bonus categories of gas stations, wholesale clubs, grocery stores, and mobile payments.
It can be tough to say which card is better for the future because each quarter’s bonus categories are only released a few months in advance.
Best Redemption Value
Of these 2 cards, only the Chase Freedom earns valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points. You can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for cash back or travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal at a rate of 1 cent per point. For example, if you earn 10,000 points, that equates to $100 in cash back or travel.
But if you have an annual-fee Chase Ultimate Rewards card, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, you can combine your points to one of these cards and use them to buy travel at a rate up to 1.5 cents per point (depending on the card) through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal.
Million Mile Secrets team member Scott has kept both of these cards for many years! He favors using his Chase Freedom because he moves those points to his Chase Sapphire Preferred for Big Travel.
You can even transfer your points to valuable travel partners, like Hyatt or United Airlines, for potentially more value!
Winner: Chase Freedom
Best Annual Fee
Neither card carries an annual fee. Anytime you can add a no-annual-fee card to your wallet, we encourage you to do so. Carrying cards like the Chase Freedom 0r Discover it® Cash Back allow you to earn lucrative rewards without shelling out hundreds on annual fees.
Best Additional Benefits
The Chase Freedom comes standard with Chase’s suite of extended warranty, price protection, secondary car rental coverage, and roadside dispatch benefits!
Eligible purchases with your Chase Freedom extend the manufacturer’s warranty of the product by 1 year! With this coverage, you’ll get an additional year of warranty on eligible warranties of 3 years or less, up to a maximum of $10,000 per claim, and a maximum of $50,000 per account.
You’ll also get automatic purchase protection coverage when you shop with the Chase Freedom, which covers you in the event of damage or theft. If an eligible item you purchase is lost or stolen within 120 days, this coverage will replace, repair, or reimburse you up to a maximum of $500 for each claim and up to $50,000 total for your account.
If you decline the rental agency’s Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) / Loss Damage Waiver (LDW), you’ll get secondary coverage when you pay for your car rental with the Chase Freedom. Coverage is global and is eligible with most private passenger vehicles.
Finally, for a flat fee 0f ~$70 per service call, the roadside dispatch provides:
- Towing – Up to 5 miles included
- Tire Changing – You provide your own spare
- Jump Starting
- Lockout Service
- Fuel Delivery – Up to 5 gallons (cost of fuel not included)
- Winching – Within 100 feet of paved or maintained road
You can find much more information regarding these benefits here!
Winner: Chase Freedom
Best Worldwide Acceptance
The Chase Freedom and Discover it® Cash Back have similar acceptance domestically. Both Discover and Visa cards are accepted by nearly all US merchants that accept credit cards. But the Chase Freedom edges out the Discover it with foreign acceptance.
Visa cards are accepted in over 200 countries while Discover cards are accepted in only 185 countries. Keep in mind, the Chase Freedom adds foreign transaction fees, while the Discover it® Cash Back does not. So take your travel habits into account.
If you travel abroad often, we actually recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred because of its worldwide acceptance and NO foreign transaction fees!
- Best Sign-Up Bonus: Chase Freedom, unless you can spend a LOT on your Discover it® Cash Back in the first 12 months of opening your account
- Best Point Earning: Tie – Both cards offer 5% bonus categories each quarter (up to $1,500 in various categories for the Discover it Cash Back after enrollment) and 1% unlimited cash back
- Best Redemption Value: Chase Freedom – You can redeem for cash back, gift cards, and travel at 1 cent per point! If paired with a premium Chase card, your redemption value could be as high as 1.5 cents per point, a 50% increase!
- Best Annual Fee: Tie – Both have $0 annual fees.
- Best Additional Benefits: Chase Freedom – Extended warranty, price protection, and roadside dispatch are just a few additional benefits that come standard with this card
- Best Worldwide Acceptance: Tie – Visa cards are accepted more places than discover, however the Chase Freedom adds foreign transaction fees
With a suite of complimentary benefits, a easy-to-earn sign-up bonus, and the ability to combine your earned points with a premium Chase card, the Chase Freedom offers unique perks for a no-annual-fee credit card.
But the Discover it® Cash Back is also a good choice for some folks. But if we had to choose one, it’s going to be the Freedom card. Good thing they’re issued by different banks, so if you want you can get both cards!
What do you think of these 2 cards? Why would you pick one over the other?