Chase Credit Card Array

Chase Freedom Flex vs Freedom Unlimited

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.

Current Welcome Bonus: $200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months after opening your account.

Favorite Card Features: 

  • 5% on rotating bonus categories up to $1,500 each quarter 
  • 5% on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal
  • 3% on drug store purchases and dining (including delivery and takeout)
  • 1% on all other purchases
  • Paired with a Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Preferred, cashback rewards points can be combined to become transferrable Ultimate Rewards points

Annual Fee: $0

In addition to this fantastic offer, there are several exciting features that come with the Chase Freedom Flex.

The Freedom Flex is 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 still 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

Credit Card Close Up

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 their 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.

Lyft:

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.

ShopRunner:

World Elite Mastercard cardholders get free ShopRunner membership for two-day shipping and free return shipping at 100+ online merchants.

Fandango:

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.

If you have a Sapphire card you’re not sure you want to keep, downgrading to a Freedom Flex is a great option.

You keep the line of credit open which helps maintain your credit score. You also save a 5/24 slot to apply for a higher-value Chase card.

Keep in mind, too, 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. But, you’ll get the enhanced bonus categories for drug stores, dining, takeout, and travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Chase Credit Card Array

Not to be left out, Freedom Unlimited still offers a ton of value!

Current Welcome Bonus: Earn an extra 1.5x for every dollar spent up to $20,000 in the first year

Favorite Card Features: 

  • 5% on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal
  • 3% on drug store purchases and dining (including takeout and delivery)
  • 1.5% on all other purchases, with no spending cap or time limit
  • Paired with a Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Preferred, cashback rewards points can be combined to become transferrable Ultimate Rewards points

Annual Fee: $0

The no-annual-fee card 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?

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.

Under 5/24? Consider adding Freedom Unlimited to your wallet. The regular bonus categories to match the Freedom Flex sweeten this no-fee card’s earning potential even more!

And, as with the Freedom Flex, you could also downgrade from a Sapphire to save a 5/24 slot.

Type of Rewards Earned with Freedom Flex or Freedom Unlimited

Dollar bills in red pail. on white window.light background. place for text. top view. a lot of money

Before breaking down the numbers, let’s be clear on what type of rewards the Freedom cards earn.

The Freedom Flex and the Freedom Unlimited are considered hybrid cashback cards.

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 (which is what I recommend!) that will ultimately be combined with your overall points balance from a Sapphire or Ink Preferred, then you’re really earning 5x on quarterly bonus categories 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:

  • cash,
  • 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.

However, there’s more value to be had when not being redeemed in these ways!

Supercharge Your Freedom Flex & Freedom Unlimited

chase sapphire preferred

Don’t be fooled, though! The Freedom Flex and the Freedom Unlimited are considered hybrid cashback cards. It’s possible to improve on the 1 cent per point fixed value.

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

Math Text with some formulas on chalkboard
Luckily, Freedom math is SO MUCH EASIER!!

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 welcome offer is to earn $200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months.

With just a Freedom Flex or Freedom Unlimited, the return value is a fixed 1 cent per point.

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.

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.

You are approved for the Freedom Flex and meet the minimum spend to earn 20k Ultimate Rewards Points.

Then, you max out the quarterly bonus categories in the first year to earn an additional 30k Ultimate Rewards points.

During the year, you use your Freedom Flex to earn 3%/3x at drug stores and for dining or ordering out. All other non-bonus spending and bills earn 1%/1x but you’re able to maximize your purchases with shopping portals.

This spending could earn 20k additional Ultimate Rewards Points.

Combine the 70k+ Ultimate Rewards Points earned from your Freedom Flex with your Sapphire Preferred to get access to Chase’s airline and hotel transfer partners.

Let’s say you transfer those 60k points (after checking for award availability) to United for a one-way business class ticket to Europe. Those 60k points have just returned thousands of dollars in value.

Or earn just 20k more Ultimate Rewards Points (on top of the 70k you earned already) and transfer 90k points 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 by using a no-fee card for those trips to the grocery store you’d be making anyway!

Fujiyoshida, Japan at Chureito Pagoda and Mt. Fuji in the spring with cherry blossoms.
Konichiwa Mount Fuji!

Freedom Unlimited and Freedom Flex FAQs

Does the Freedom Flex come with foreign transaction fees?

Yes, both the Freedom Flex and the Freedom Unlimited have foreign exchange fees. Only use them for purchases in the U.S.

What kind of credit score do I need to get the Chase Freedom Flex?

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.

Will the rotating bonus categories on the Chase Freedom Flex be the same as the original Freedom Card?

Yes. They’ll be the same. Remember to activate them just prior to the new quarter beginning.

If I product change to the Freedom Flex, will it show as a new account and add to my 5/24 count?

No. The credit line and account history should transfer over and maintain, even when switching from Visa to MasterCard.

Bottom Line

The Freedom Flex and the Freedom Unlimited are packed with value, especially when you use them to earn award flights and hotel nights!

The bonus category enhancements over the original Freedom and Freedom Unlimited cards are fantastic and will help you earn even more Ultimate Rewards Points…all from no-fee cards!

What questions do you have about the Freedom Flex or Freedom Unlimited?

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