Chase Freedom Flex vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited

If you currently hold the Chase Freedom card, switching it out for the Freedom Flex can keep all of your rewards, credit limit, purchase APR and card number intact. Simply call to request this product change.

The Flex has significant value to offer if you can maximize its quarterly bonus categories and take full advantage of all its additional benefits, which might not be available with Freedom Unlimited.

1. No annual fee

Both Chase Freedom Flex and Unlimited credit cards are no-fee credit cards that provide rewards in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards points that can be redeemed for cash back. Both operate differently on payment networks: Chase Freedom Unlimited is issued through Visa while Mastercard handles Chase Freedom Flex transactions.

Both cards share many features in common — no annual fee, generous sign-up bonuses and long 0% APR periods — but differ significantly when it comes to ongoing rewards structures. The Chase Freedom Flex offers 5% cash back in rotating categories each quarter (up to $1500 combined spending), while the Chase Freedom Unlimited gives 1.5% back.

Before selecting between these options, carefully evaluate where your spending habits lie within these categories. If your expenses frequently fall in 5% categories and allow you to meet or surpass quarterly caps with ease, Freedom Flex could be best. On the other hand, if your expenditure falls outside these rotating categories more frequently then Freedom Unlimited might prove more worthwhile for long term planning purposes.

Consider also whether or not you are open to the idea of opening new cards in general. Both Chase Freedom Flex and Ultimate cards require good credit scores; if you have opened five Chase cards or more in 24 months, chances are good you won’t qualify for either of them. If one of these cards interests you, contact Chase directly and request upgrading; but this only works if they agree.

2. 5% cash back on rotating categories

The Chase Freedom Flex offers cardholders an impressive rewards rate without incurring fees, with 5% cash back in quarterly rotating categories, such as restaurants and travel. Though its earnings limit is relatively modest at $1,500 per quarter, it can quickly add up over time!

Contrary to cards such as Discover it Cash Back, Chase Freedom Flex allows you to choose which category(s) to earn in. However, this also means activating rotating bonus categories by the end of every quarter if desired; otherwise you will only earn 1% cash back on purchases outside your selected categories.

Keep in mind that once activated, predetermined bonus categories only earn 5% cash back each quarter; when your earnings reach their cap, your earning rate reverts back to 1%.

Your card’s online account provides access to the list of upcoming rotating categories. Chase typically releases this information a few weeks before each new quarter begins, giving you ample time to activate and maximize earning rewards dollars in those categories.

Q4 2023 bonus categories of Chase Freedom Flex include restaurants and travel, with each running from July 1 through September 30. Booking travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards platform enables an even higher 9% rewards rate – helping maximize its benefits and get maximum value out of it. Plus, transferring rewards helps maximize value if you’re searching for an Ultimate Rewards earner!

3. 1.5% cash back on non-bonus-category spending

Credit cards that offer no-fee rewards rates like this one are hard to topple, and Chase ups its game further by providing an impressive rate on non-bonus spending – an unrivaled figure matched only by cards offering generous bonus categories or point redemption structures.

Chase Freedom Flex provides a strong base, with its 5% cash back on rotating categories (up to $1,500 in combined purchases per quarter) and 1% on all other spending. In addition, this card offers an attractive $200 sign-up bonus when spending $500 within three months – in addition to cell phone protection and secondary car rental insurance coverage.

Note that while this card bills itself as a cash-back rewards card, your Ultimate Rewards points earned can be redeemed both for cash and travel at 1.25 cents per point (1.5% more for Sapphire Preferred and Reserve cards). So for example, $100 spent dining could net you 30 Ultimate Rewards points!

Freedom Unlimited stands up well against its flat-rate rivals such as Citi Double Cash and Discover it Cash Back with 1.5% cash back on all other spending, making it competitive with them.

As we have previously explained, the Chase Freedom Flex is an ideal card for anyone who can maximize its quarterly bonus categories, while for those who are unable to do so, its cousin card, the Freedom Unlimited can be an equally great alternative that provides both a strong foundation and ceiling of rewards rates across rotating and static categories – further expanding earning potential and maximization potential.

4. Cell phone protection

The Chase Freedom Flex offers an attractive welcome bonus that should be easy to hit, and a rewards rate on all spending that exceeds those typically seen from cards with no annual fee. Take advantage of its rotating rewards categories and the Chase Freedom Flex could become one of the standout cards in your credit card portfolio.

The World Elite Mastercard also comes equipped with additional benefits not found on Chase Freedom Unlimited cards, such as purchase protection and extended warranty coverage; trip cancellation/interruption insurance (a must for no-fee credit cards); an auto rental collision damage waiver; free ShopRunner membership; $10 in Lyft credits after every five rides taken monthly and 5% cash back on Boxed wholesale orders – among many other perks.

This card is ideal for anyone who’s looking to earn extra points on some of their regular spending without needing to deal with rotating categories or more complicated rewards cards. People with frequent utility expenditures such as utilities, children’s activities, daycare fees or insurance premiums who don’t typically earn bonus rewards may find the service invaluable. Though the Chase Freedom Unlimited card may offer similar transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards point-earning opportunities, acquiring it might not be worthwhile if you already own multiple transferrable Ultimate Rewards point earning cards in your portfolio. In that instance, another option might be better: Learn about what sets apart the Chase Freedom Flex from its counterpart, the Chase Freedom Unlimited, by tuning into this week’s episode of Team Clark Live. Additionally, read my full review of this card which details all its bonus categories and benefits.

5. No 5/24 rule

Chase Freedom Flex(sm) and Chase Unlimited both provide credit cards offering 5% cash back in rotating categories, each offering no annual fee and 0% APR for 15 months – they also earn Ultimate Rewards points which you can redeemed through various travel rewards platforms. When it comes to selecting one over the other, your decision depends on what redemption strategy best fits your travel rewards plans.

if you have opened five or more credit cards with any issuer in the last 24 months, Chase may refuse your application for their credit cards – this rule is known as the 5/24 rule and it applies to all Chase cards; co-branded and business credit cards do not fall under this requirement.

There are a few ways around the 5/24 rule. Calling Chase Reconsideration Line and asking them to exclude certain accounts from your 5/24 count may help, or becoming an authorized user on someone else’s account may work; although neither method are guaranteed successful.

Another smart strategy is waiting a few months until your credit falls below the 5/24 limit again before applying for a Chase credit card. This strategy may help prevent getting too many rewards cards all at once while giving existing credit time to mature – however it may result in being denied future applications, so only employ this strategy if your credit score falls between high- and very-good; additionally you must manage spending responsibly and manage it in accordance with this strategy.