The Chase Freedom FlexSM is a popular cash back credit card, but is it right for your wallet in 2022?
This card joined the popular Freedom Unlimited card as a part of Chase’s cash back credit card offerings in late 2020.
It replaced the Chase Freedom card by carrying forward some of its better perks and offering a few new ones. The result is one of the top options in the rotating cash back category on our list of best cash back credit cards.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the details on this rewards credit card.
1. The Freedom FlexSM Essentially Replaces the Chase Freedom Card
You’ve probably heard of the Chase Freedom credit card branding. It has been a staple of Chase Bank’s credit card offerings for years.
The “Chase Freedom” card was discontinued in late 2020, and Freedom cardholders were given the option to either keep the card they have or request the Freedom Flex card.
While the branding has been tweaked and new perks added, the Freedom Flex still carries on the legacy of the 5% cash back bonus categories that made the original Freedom card made famous.
2. Cash Back Categories Include 5% on Select Travel and Rotating Categories
Each quarter, the Freedom Flex features a spending category (or two) that can earn you 5% back for a three-month period. These categories rotate through popular spending options, like gas stations or restaurants. For example, the Quarter 1 bonus categories in 2022 were grocery stores (excluding Walmart and Target) and eBay.
The 5% reward is capped at $1,500 in spending, which means you could earn up to $75 if you max out the category each quarter.
You also can earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards. This includes vacation and car rentals.
In addition to the 5% on travel, the Flex provides 5% cash back on gas station purchases on up to $6,000 purchased in the first year of card membership as a welcome bonus promotion. After that, you’ll earn just 1% on that spending unless it’s featured as a rotating bonus category.
Here’s a complete rundown of the cash back percentage tiers for the Freedom Flex:
- 5% on travel purchased with Chase Ultimate Rewards
- 5% on quarterly rotating purchase categories (This is capped at $1,500 spending for the category.)
- 5% on gas station purchases up to $6,000 purchased in the first year
- 3% on dining (This includes both takeout purchases and delivery services.)
- 3% on drug store purchases (Chase describes this as a bonus on “daily essentials,” which includes items like medicine, toiletries and diapers.)
- 1% cash back on all other purchases
It is worth noting that Chase awards cash back in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Every dollar of cash back earned is worth 100 points.
3. There Is No Annual Fee for the Freedom FlexSM
Just like the Freedom Unlimited card, Chase offers the Freedom Flex without an annual fee. They’re sometimes branded together in advertisements, so you may want Team Clark’s help in deciding which is best for you. We compared the two cards here.
The lack of an annual fee makes the Flex card competitive in the cash back credit card market, where unlimited 2% cash back cards like Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer and Paypal Cashback Mastercard are Clark’s preference thanks to steady rewards no matter what you buy.
4. Freedom FlexSM Carries An Easy-to-Achieve Welcome Bonus
If you spend at least $500 within the first three months of card membership, you can earn a $200 welcome bonus. That’s a pretty fantastic return on what is a spending requirement of just $167 per month for the first three cycles.
Of course, there is some fine print involved. You can’t have claimed a Freedom credit card bonus within the last 24 months to earn this welcome bonus. And the whole process will take longer than three months as per that fine print: “After qualifying, please allow 6 to 8 weeks for bonus points to post to your account. To be eligible for this bonus offer, account must be open and not in default at the time of fulfillment.”
5. Freedom FlexSM Is Branded as a Mastercard, Not a Visa
This may seem insignificant on the surface, but Flex is actually the first Chase credit card to carry the Mastercard logo in more than five years, according to the release. The other cards in the Freedom family carry a Visa logo.
While there is no significant difference in the acceptance of Mastercard versus Visa, the Mastercard connection does open up some perks through the Mastercard World Elite benefits program. This includes access to the Priceless Experiences program as well.
6. Freedom FlexSM Includes Free Cell Phone Protection
One of those Mastercard perks that you’ll want to access right away is cell phone protection.
After all, who wouldn’t sleep a little better at night knowing that their $1,000 phone may be replaced if damaged or stolen?
Per Chase, the cell phone protection with this card includes “up to $800 per claim and $1,000 per year in cell phone protection against theft or damage for phones listed on cardmembers’ monthly bill.”
To earn this benefit, you must pay your cell phone bill each month with the Freedom Flex card.
7. You’ll Get 3 Complimentary Months of DashPass
This is a previously announced promotional agreement between Chase and food delivery service DoorDash that also applies to this card.
The big perk of DashPass membership is that you avoid delivery charges on orders of $12 or more from participating restaurants.
You have to activate this promotion on your own. Here are the details:
To receive the subscription benefits, the primary cardmember or authorized user(s) must first add their Chase Freedom Flex card as a payment method in the DoorDash application, and then click the activation button.
Once you activate the subscription, your complimentary three-month period begins. Note, though, that activating the trial subscription automatically signs you up for the $9.99 monthly charge when the three months end. So make sure to set yourself a reminder to cancel before your card gets charged.
8. You Can Get Free Shipping With a Complimentary ShopRunner Membership
Another of the Mastercard benefits included for Flex cardholders is a free year of membership to ShopRunner.
A ShopRunner membership scores you free 2-Day Shipping and free returns at more than 100 popular stores and online retailers.
Some examples of participating businesses include Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus. You can find the full list of eligible stores and brands here.
Freedom Flex is well-positioned to compete with its “rotating 5% cash back category” peers such as the Discover it Cashback card.
The 3% cash back on dining and drug stores is a stronger offer than the 1% that Discover gives on its non-5% category purchases. However, this card does not do a “cash back match” at the end of the first year of membership like Discover does. That’s a big promotion that effectively doubles cash back earnings in Year 1 with that card.
Money expert Clark Howard likely would opt for a cash back credit card that offers 2% cash back regardless of spending categories, but I can see how this card may appeal to some consumers.
If you dine out often, this card is competitive with the cash back returns of the Capital One Savor Rewards Credit Card and Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card while offering bonus opportunities in other spending areas.
I could see adding this card to your wallet for dining and then capitalizing on rotating 5% spending categories as they come along.