The Chase Freedom Flex and the Chase Freedom Unlimited are great no-fee, cashback rewards credit cards. They’re also essential pieces to a well-rounded Ultimate Rewards-earning wallet.
But, what’s the difference between these cards and what can their rewards get you?
In this guide, let’s look at the Chase Freedom Flex versus the Freedom Unlimited. We’ll discuss the differences, the similarities, as well as look at the math with some spending examples.
Chase Freedom Flex vs Freedom Unlimited
Before going into the features of each card, it’s important to know that both Freedoms are subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule.
This means, if you’ve opened 5 new credit cards in the last 24 months from any bank, Chase will deny your application regardless of how amazing your credit score is.
Business cards are the only exception. When you apply for a business card at most other banks, they won’t count towards your 5/24 status.
For this reason, you want to plan your credit card strategy carefully so as not to be locked out of potentially high-value cards like the Freedom Flex or Freedom Unlimited.
Chase Freedom Flex
The Chase Freedom Flex is the new and improved card replacing the original Freedom card, which is no longer available for new applications.
The current welcome offer for theearns $200 after you spend $500 in the first 3 months of having your new card. Additionally, new cardholders can earn 5% on grocery purchases up to $12,000 during the first year of having the Freedom Flex.
In addition to this fantastic offer, there are several exciting features that come with the Chase Freedom Flex.
The Freedom Flex will be a World Elite Mastercard, no longer a Visa. This comes with several new benefits we’ll discuss more below.
If you’re a fan of the quarterly rotating bonus categories like I am, not to worry.
The Freedom Flex earns 5% when you activate these quarterly bonuses and spend in those categories (up to $1,500 per quarter) during that period of time.
Chase has also added 3% for every dollar spent at drug stores and for dining including takeout and delivery services like DoorDash.
Personally, I love the addition of drug stores as a bonus category!
Not only is it pretty unique among typical rewards cards and their bonus categories, but I also shop often for personal and household products online at stores like Walgreens by first going through a shopping portal. Now, I can stack my rewards on drug store spending!
All other purchases will still earn 1% for every dollar spent.
Chase Freedom Flex World Elite Mastercard Benefits
It’s nice to see Chase adding a Mastercard to its Ultimate Rewards-earning card lineup.
There’s little difference in the day-to-day shopping experience as most places accept Visa and Mastercard. But just as Visa Signature cards come with its own lineup of benefits, so too does the World Elite Mastercard.
Here are a few I think really stand-out, especially because the Freedom Flex is a no-fee card.
Cell Phone Insurance:
Pay your monthly phone bill with a World Elite Mastercard (Freedom Flex) and get $800 per claim and $1,000 per year for damage or should someone steal your phone.
I love shopping at Boxed for household essentials in bulk. World Elite Mastercards like the Freedom Flex earn 5% cash rewards at Boxed to use for future purchases.
Get a $10 credit after taking 5 rides in a calendar month. The credit is automatically applied to the next ride. This is in addition to the 5% back on Lyft rides all Freedom cards offer through March 2022.
World Elite Mastercard cardholders get free ShopRunner membership for two-day shipping and free return shipping at 100+ online merchants.
Earn 2x the VIP+ points when you buy movie tickets in the Fandango app or on Fandango.com. Redeem these points for movie tickets on Fandango or for streaming movies and TV shows on FandangoNOW.
Should I Get a Chase Freedom Flex?
The Freedom Flex has everything you loved about the Freedom card + new bonus categories for increased earning opportunities.
Having this card in your wallet is a no brainer, especially if you want access to a variety of bonus categories that earn Ultimate Rewards Points.
If you’re under 5/24, it’s worth applying for the Freedom Flex depending on your card strategy and which other Chase cards you have in your wallet already. The points you can earn from the $12k bonus grocery spending in the first year make a great case for using a 5/24 slot for a Freedom Flex!
Also, the original Freedom card and the Freedom Flex are different cards so you’re eligible for the bonus even if you already have the original Freedom card.
If you have the original Freedom card and you’re over 5/24 or don’t want to take a 5/24 slot, call Chase and request a product change to the Freedom Flex.
You won’t get the welcome bonus, which includes the bonus grocery spending up to $12k. But you’ll get the enhanced bonus categories for drug stores, dining, takeout, and travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
Not to be left out, the Freedom Unlimited has gotten a revamp!
The current welcome offer for the Freedom Unlimited earns $200 after you spend $500 in the first 3 months of having your new card. Additionally, new cardholders can earn 5% on grocery purchases up to $12,000 during the first year of having the Freedom Unlimited.
The no-annual fee card still earns 1.5% for every dollar of non-bonused spending, making it a solid everyday use card.
The Freedom Unlimited has also been upgraded to earn 5% when booking travel through the Chase Travel Portal, as well as 3% at drug stores and for dining out (takeout & eligible delivery services included).
Should I Get a Chase Freedom Unlimited?
The Freedom Unlimited has always been a great card for your daily non-bonus expenses. With a Chase Freedom Unlimited, you never earn less than 1.5% on each dollar spent.
If you’re a current Freedom Unlimited cardholder, you now have these improved bonus categories automatically. There’s no need to request them.
Under 5/24? Consider adding the Freedom Unlimited to your wallet. The Freedom welcome offers with their grocery bonus spending are the best ever and the new bonus categories sweeten this no-fee card’s earn potential even more!
Type of Rewards Earned with Freedom Flex or Freedom Unlimited
Before breaking down the numbers, let’s be clear on what type of rewards the Freedom cards earn.
This is why you might see the earnings for the bonus categories for both Freedoms shown as 5% or 1.5% but also 5x or 1.5x.
If you opt for cashback rewards, that’s the return value percentage.
But if you think of your rewards as Ultimate Rewards Points that will ultimately be combined with your overall points balance from a Sapphire or Ink Preferred, then you’re earning 5x or 1.5x the points for every dollar you spend.
You have the freedom to redeem the Ultimate Rewards Points you earn with a Freedom Flex or Freedom Unlimited for:
- gift cards,
- products and services offered through Chase Ultimate Rewards,
- or to book travel through the Chase Travel Portal.
Using your points in any of these ways returns a 1 cent per point fixed value. So, for example, if you earn 50,000 points and you redeem them for a 1 cent value option above, you’d get back $500 of value.
Supercharge Your Freedom Flex & Freedom Unlimited
Pair the Freedoms with a Sapphire Preferred, a Sapphire Reserve, or a Chase Business Ink Preferred to get access to more travel rewards options and a higher per point value.
What does this mean exactly?
1. Chase Airline and Hotel Transfer Partners
The Ultimate Rewards Points earned with a Freedom Flex or Freedom Unlimited can be combined with the Ultimate Rewards Points you earn with a Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or the Ink Preferred.
Once combined with one of these cards, you get access to Chase’s airline and hotel transfer partners that you don’t otherwise have access to with just a Freedom Flex or Freedom Unlimited.
Why is this so important?
Transfer partners give you access to high-value award flights and hotel nights that return a higher value than just 1 cent per point.
2. Better Value in the Chase Travel Portal
Points combined with these cards also return a higher value within the Chase Travel Portal. The Sapphire and Ink Preferred cards offer a 1.25 cent per point value, while the Sapphire Reserve points are valued at 1.5 cents per point.
This means you’ll need fewer points to redeem for travel in the Chase Travel Portal when you combine your Freedom Rewards with a Sapphire or Ink Preferred.
Freedom Welcome Bonus Math
Keeping these Freedom rewards in mind, let’s look specifically at the value of the welcome bonus on both the Freedom Flex and Freedom Unlimited cards.
The first part of the welcome offer is to earn $200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months.
However, if your Freedom card is paired with a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Preferred, you could get 1.25 cents per point or $250 of value for that same $500 minimum spend.
With the Sapphire Reserve, you could combine your Freedom points with your Ultimate Rewards balance to earn 1.5 cents per point or $300 for the same $500 minimum spend.
Not stopping there, these no-fee (hybrid ) cashback cards are offering even more!
The 2nd half of the welcome offer offers first-year cardholders 5% on grocery spend up to $12k.
Let’s say you max out the grocery spending using the Freedom Unlimited. By the year’s end, you’d have earned 60k Ultimate Rewards Points. With just a Freedom Unlimited and your rewards fixed to 1 cent per point, your grocery spend would earn $600 in rewards!
With Freedom Flex and its rotating bonus categories, you could do even better during a grocery bonus category, earning 9% or 9x the Ultimate Rewards points.
As a first-year Freedom Flex cardholder, you earn 5%/5x up to $12k on groceries. During a grocery bonus category, you typically earn 4%/4x up to $1,500 on top of your regular grocery earn rate.
Without the welcome bonus, this usually is 5%/5x during a grocery spending bonus quarter. But new Freedom Flex cardholders would be able to stack their welcome bonus offer with the grocery bonus category to earn 9%/9x!
If you combine these points with a Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred, the value of your rewards goes up!
And if you redeem for award travel using one of Chase’s airline or hotel transfer partners, you could potentially increase your rewards value by a lot!
Consider this Award Travel Scenario.
Then, you max out the $12k grocery bonus over the course of the first year to earn at least 60k Ultimate Rewards Points.
During the year, you use your Freedom Unlimited to earn 3%/3x at drug stores and for dining or ordering out. All other non-bonus spending and bills earn 1.5%/1.5x. This spending earns at least 10k additional Ultimate Rewards Points.
Combine the 90k+ Ultimate Rewards Points earned from your Freedom Unlimited with your Sapphire Preferred to get access to Chase’s airline and hotel transfer partners.
Transfer those 90k points (after checking for award availability) to Virgin Atlantic. Use your Virgin Atlantic miles to book a round trip business class ticket to Japan flown by Virgin Atlantic’s non-alliance partner ANA.
Experience a premium flight cabin that would normally sell for thousands of dollars per person all because you made your everyday expenses work harder for you.
Not too shabby a return for those trips to the grocery store you’d be making anyways!
Freedom Unlimited and Freedom Flex FAQs
Yes, both the Freedom Flex and the Freedom Unlimited have foreign exchange fees. Only use them for purchases in the U.S.
You’ll need a good to an excellent credit score to be approved for one or both of the Chase Freedoms. This means having a score above 700. Once approved, keep your no-fee Freedom card open forever. The older the average age of your accounts is, the better it is for your credit score.
Yes. They’ll be the same. Remember to activate them just prior to the new quarter beginning.
No. The credit line and account history should transfer over and maintain, even when switching from Visa to MasterCard.
The bonus category enhancements over the original Freedom and Freedom Unlimited care are fantastic and will help you earn even more Ultimate Rewards Points…all from no-fee cards!
And not to mention, the BEST EVER bonuses offering tens of thousands of Ultimate Rewards Points for meeting the minimum spend and on grocery spending in the first year makes the Freedom Flex and the Freedom Unlimited essentials for your Ultimate Rewards-earning wallet.