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Incredible earning with no annual fee: Chase Freedom Flex card review

Nov. 17, 2022
11 min read
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Chase Freedom Flex overview

The Chase Freedom Flex is one of the best cash-back credit cards around thanks to phenomenal earning rates across a variety of spending categories, all with no annual fee to worry about. The card becomes potentially even more valuable when you pair it with a Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card, too. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐½

*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.

When it comes to travel rewards cards, it's easy to focus on premium products with high-end perks like airport lounge access and airline companion tickets — though those tend to come with high annual fees.

However, there are quite a few excellent no-annual-fee cards that might be a better choice for some folks, and sitting atop that list is the Chase Freedom Flex.

Although it's ostensibly a cash-back card, if you have another Chase card that earns transferable Ultimate Rewards points, you can combine the rewards from your Freedom Flex with those from your other account and they become transferable to Chase's airline and hotel partners. Given the Chase Freedom Flex's strong earning rates across a variety of purchase categories, that makes the card a potentially powerful tool in any traveler's wallet.

On top of this, the card has valuable earning categories and benefits you wouldn't typically expect from a no-annual-fee credit card. Here's a deeper look at the benefits of the Chase Freedom Flex and who should consider this card.

Who is this card for?

The Chase Freedom Flex is a great all-around credit card for beginners and fans of cash back. It’s easier to be approved for than many top-tier cards from Chase and American Express, and it offers a great array of benefits for a no-annual-fee card.

But this card is also great for pairing as part of a larger credit card strategy for rewards experts. If you have a Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card — such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve — the rewards you earn with the Freedom Flex can be converted to full-fledged Ultimate Rewards points, which doubles their value according to TPG's latest valuations.

Finally, the card does come with a 0% introductory annual percentage rate (APR) period for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (then a variable APR of 17.99%-26.74% applies after that), making it a good option for those wanting to finance a larger purchase without paying interest.

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Sign-up bonus

Right now, the Chase Freedom Flex is offering a quality sign-up bonus. You’ll earn a $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months with the card.

A $200 bonus after spending just $500 in three months is an easy-to-hit offer that’s pretty valuable for a no-annual-fee card — especially if you have another Chase card and can turn that $200 into 20,000 Ultimate Rewards points (worth $400 according to TPG valuations).

Related: Easy sign-up bonuses you can earn right now

Main benefits and perks

As a no-annual-fee credit card, you normally shouldn’t expect much in the way of perks and benefits outside of the earning structure. However, the Chase Freedom Flex does offer a few additional benefits for cardholders:

Cellphone protection

The Chase Freedom Flex is a Mastercard, unlike most of Chase’s credit cards. In fact, it's a World Elite Mastercard. This means you'll have access to a solid cellphone protection plan. You’re covered for $800 per claim for theft or damage, with a maximum of two claims and $1,000 total in a 12-month period (though you may have to pay a $50 deductible). You do have to pay for your monthly phone bill with the card to receive this coverage.

Related: The 8 most valuable World Elite Mastercard benefits

Shopping protections

When using your Freedom Flex card to make purchases, you'll have two extra protections on those purchases. You'll have access to extended warranty protection. This benefit applies to U.S. manufacturers' warranties of three years or less and will add a year to the length of the existing warranty.

You'll also have access to purchase protection, which covers your new purchases against damage or theft for up to 120 days from the date of purchase. This coverage applies up to the cost of the item or up to $500 per claim and up to $50,000 per account.

Food delivery perks

As part of Chase’s partnership with DoorDash, cardholders get three months of complimentary DashPass, which gets you free delivery on eligible orders and reduced service fees.

I know I have personally saved quite a bit using my Chase credit card’s complimentary DashPass access (though I get mine through the Sapphire Preferred, not the Freedom Flex).

Once your three months of free access are over, you’ll still get nine months of discounted access for 50% off. Cardholders must register for this benefit before Dec. 31, 2024.

ANDREW HARRER/BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY IMAGES

Trip cancellation and interruption insurance

The card also comes with trip protections. For prepaid, nonrefundable fares booked with your Chase Freedom Flex, you’re covered for $1,500 per person or $6,000 per trip if it’s canceled for a covered reason. You can also take advantage of the auto rental collision damage waiver benefit. If you decline the rental company's coverage, this benefit can protect against theft and collision damage, though this is secondary coverage.

Related: Why I switched from the Chase Freedom to the all-new Chase Freedom Flex

Earning

When Chase launched the Chase Freedom Flex, it took the rotating category rewards structure of the original Chase Freedom card (no longer open to new applicants) and added to it.

The Freedom Flex is packed with earning opportunities across top spending categories, making it a compelling option for both newbies looking for their first rewards credit card and experts looking to round out their wallets.

Here's how you'll earn points with the Freedom Flex:

That’s an impressive lineup of earning categories for any card — never mind a no-annual-fee credit card. While experts may prefer to book paid trips directly (especially when booking hotels), beginners can get a lot out of a card that earns 5% on travel booked through Chase’s platform, which is powered by Expedia.

The rotating categories will change each quarter and do require activation in advance. Categories we've seen regularly include Walmart, gas stations and purchases with PayPal.

Redeeming

Your rewards are earned in the form of points worth 1 cent each, which is why this card is considered a cash-back credit card. However, if you hold a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, you can pool your points into one Chase Ultimate Rewards account. This would give you access to the full Chase Ultimate Rewards program’s redemption value.

Using Ultimate Rewards points can provide access to hotel redemptions like this one at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar. TADEU BRUNELLI/GRAND HYATT BAHA MAR

Chase Ultimate Rewards cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred have access to Chase’s travel partners, which can help you get outsized value from your points. But beginners can also make use of Chase’s portal redemption bonuses. Points are worth 1 cent apiece in Chase's travel portal and when making redemptions with Pay Yourself Back. However, Sapphire Preferred and Ink Business Preferred cardholders get 25% more, so points are worth 1.25 cents each on these redemptions. And Sapphire Reserve cardholders can redeem points at 1.5 cents apiece using these options.

If you’re pooling your points from the Freedom Flex to another Chase card, you’ll have access to the redemption categories and bonuses of the account you transfer your points to (for example, moving your points to the Chase Sapphire Preferred would allow you to redeem your points using that card's benefits).

Related: How to transfer Ultimate Rewards between accounts

If you don't have a credit card that earns transferable Ultimate Rewards points, then you can redeem your Freedom Flex earnings as cash back, such as a statement credit. Earnings will be worth 1 cent apiece.

Which cards compete with the Chase Freedom Flex?

The Chase Freedom Flex is a solid cash-back credit card. The most direct competitor to the card is its sister card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited. The Freedom Unlimited offers the same sign-up bonus and rewards structure, with one notable difference: rather than earning 5% on rotating categories, you’ll get 1.5% cash back on all non-bonus spending.

Related: Best cash back credit cards

For those who don’t like the prospect of activating quarterly categories or who don’t think they’d be able to maximize those categories, the Chase Freedom Unlimited may be the better option. However, keep in mind that the Chase Freedom Unlimited is a Visa credit card, which means you won’t get any of the Mastercard benefits outlined above, such as cellphone protection).

Related: Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card review

Another solid contender is the Citi® Double Cash Card. While its name says "cash," improvements to the Double Cash card make your earnings more flexible. You'll earn 1 Citi ThankYou point for each dollar spent and another point for each dollar when paying your bill. Thus, you can earn 2 points per dollar. These are Citi ThankYou points but have limited uses, such as redeeming for cash back at a value of 1 cent each or transferring points to the following programs: Choice Privileges, JetBlue TrueBlue and Wyndham Rewards. Like the Freedom Flex, there's also an option to expand the value of your rewards by having a more-premium credit card, such as the Citi Premier® Card, and unlocking all of Citi's hotel and airline transfer partners.

Related: Citi Double Cash Card review

Use your Freedom Flex earnings to help you travel to great beaches like this one in Capitola, California. JONATHAN CLARK/GETTY IMAGES

Bottom line

The Chase Freedom Flex is a solid cash-back card that offers an impressive rewards structure and valuable sign-up bonus — especially considering it’s a no-annual-fee credit card.

Both beginners and experts can get a lot of value out of this card, and it’s definitely worth a closer look at the Freedom Flex for a possible addition to your wallet.

If you have the card, make sure to activate the rotating categories each quarter.

Official application link: Chase Freedom Flex

Additional reporting by Ryan Smith.

Featured image by PIXDELUXE/GETTY IMAGES
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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4 / 5
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Rewards

1 - 5X points
5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.

Intro offer

Earn 150,000 points120,000 points
The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$695

Recommended Credit

670-850
Good, Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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4 / 5
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Rewards Rate

5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

    Earn 150,000 points
    120,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $695
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Good, Excellent

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.