Why I switched from the Chase Freedom to the Chase Freedom Flex

Sep 16, 2020

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I’ve had the no annual fee Chase Freedom card in my wallet — forever. I have no idea when I first got that card, but I think I’ve had the account open in some form or fashion since college (and I’m turning 40 soon, so it’s been a while). But now it’s time for that account to transform once again.

While the Chase Freedom has served me well with its rotating 5x bonus categories and ability to move those points over to cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card to redeem the points at a higher value of up to 1.5 – 2 cents each — there’s now a better option for my wallet.

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The no-annual-fee Chase Freedom Flex is now available. This card has 5% rotating bonus categories like the original Freedom, but it also has additional built-in bonus categories that make it even better.

In addition to the 5x bonus categories (up to $1,500 each quarter, activation required), the Freedom Flex offers 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining, 3% on drugstore purchases and 1% elsewhere.  That’s obviously better than what the Chase Freedom has to offer, since the original Freedom offers just offers 1x on purchases outside the rotating 5x bonus categories.

Related: Guide to the best credit card bonus categories 

To keep my really long account history (and not mess with any Chase 5/24 or new product sign-up restrictions) it was time for a call Chase for a product change.

The process to product change from Freedom to Freedom Flex was pretty simple, although it did require a brief phone call. I called the phone number on the back of the Freedom card and pressed “0” until I got a real person. He was happy to help with the product change, but did have to read through a script of all the benefits and disclaimers before I could give final approval for the change. All in all, it took less than 10 minutes from the start to the end of the call. (But still, grab some coffee, or make yourself comfortable before starting the call.)

(Photo by Lisa Weatherbee/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Lisa Weatherbee/The Points Guy)

On the phone, I was reminded multiple times that the product change involves changing from a Visa to a Mastercard. I was also told that this change means that any automatic charges associated with the card will need to be adjusted since the account number will be changing as the card moves from a Visa to a Mastercard product.

Related: Comparing Visa and Mastercard benefits 

I was also told — as I already knew — that since I am changing to the Freedom Flex card, instead of applying outright, that I am not eligible for the new customer bonus. For those curious, the new customer bonus on the Freedom Flex is currently $200 (aka 20,000 points) after $500 in spending in the first three months.

The terms to get the new customer bonus indicates that the product is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of this credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of this credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this credit card within the last 24 months. It may be worth it to many to try and apply for the Freedom Flex outright to get the bonus, but for me, I was happy to keep things simple and product change from the old Freedom to the new Freedom Flex.

Related: Ultimate guide to credit card bonus restrictions 

Bottom line

I like to earn as many points as possible for my purchases, and the no annual fee Freedom Flex has lots of built-in and rotating bonus categories in categories that should make that easy. For example, I don’t have another card that offers 3x points at drugstores and getting 3x on dining isn’t bad, either. And — keeping that 5x earning rate on rotating bonus categories that can be as easy as Paypal or Amazon is key.

In less than 10 minutes on the phone with Chase, I was able to change from the Chase Freedom product I’ve known and loved to a Freedom Flex product that will be even more rewarding for my family down the road.

Featured image by Astrakan Images/Getty Images

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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