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Higher earning on gas and more: New sign-up offers on the Chase Freedom cards

Jan. 13, 2022
13 min read
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When it comes to no-annual-fee credit cards, it doesn't get much better than Chase's duo of the Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited.

At the moment, there are new sign-up offers on these cards that may make them even more compelling than usual, especially if you plan to fill up at the gas pump over the next year.

First, let's take a look at the Chase Freedom Flex. If you apply for this card directly through TPG, you'll get $200 back after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months of card opening.

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However, it may be more worthwhile to apply for this card through Chase's public application page instead. That's because you'll not only get this initial sign-up bonus, but you'll also receive 5% back for the first year on gas purchases (on up to $6,000). All told, that's up to $500 in potential value, or 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points (more on that below).

Meanwhile, there are two different bonuses available for the Chase Freedom Unlimited.

With the first, the card is offering similar terms to the Freedom Flex: Earn $200 back after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months of card opening plus 5% back for the first year on gas purchases (on up to $6,000). In all, that's up to $500 or 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points in potential value. This offer, too, is available publicly but not through links from this site.

With the second Freedom Unlimited offer, which is the one available through TPG, new cardholders can earn an extra 1.5% back (on top of the card's already great earning rates) on up to $20,000 in purchases in the first year. There is no initial $200 back after spending $500 in three months, and no gas-specific bonus earning. Instead, you're reaping a potential $300 in extra cash back on everyday spending (or 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points) by hitting that first-year spending mark.

If you spend more than $2,000 per year on gas, then either the public Freedom Flex or the public Freedom Unlimited offers are your best bets.

In general, both the Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited cards feature excellent rewards rates with no annual fee. Even better, they also offer the flexibility to earn either cash back or fully transferable Ultimate Rewards points when combined with other Chase products, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

Let's dive a bit deeper into these offers and see how they stack up.

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Chase Freedom Flex offer

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus

With the public Chase Freedom Flex offer, you'll earn $200 back after spending $500 in the first three months of card opening. In addition, you'll get 5% back for the first year on gas purchases (on up to $6,000). Assuming you can fully maximize the gas promotion, that's an additional $300 back. Again, this bonus is available publicly and will be different from the terms you might see if you click through an affiliate link from this site.

Total potential value from the sign-up bonus: In terms of cash back, it's up to a total of $500. However, remember that the Freedom Flex earns this cash back in the form of Ultimate Rewards points, so another way to think about the potential bonus is up to 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points.

If you have another Chase card that earns transferable Ultimate Rewards points, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can combine the points from your Freedom Flex with those from your other account and transfer them to the Ultimate Rewards program's airline and hotel partners. In this scenario, TPG values the points at 2 cents apiece, so 50,000 of them would be worth a whopping $1,000 toward travel.

Earning rates

Besides this sign-up bonus, the Freedom Flex is packed with other earning opportunities across top spending categories, making it an attractive option for both newbies looking for their first rewards credit card and experts looking to round out their wallet.

Here’s a quick rundown of the bonus categories offered with the Chase Freedom Flex:

That’s an impressive lineup of earning categories for any card, let alone a no-annual-fee credit card.

But remember, the Chase Freedom Flex also earns 5% back on up to $1,500 per quarter in rotating merchant categories (activation required), and gas stations are usually one of those during one of the quarters. If that happens again, then you'd be looking at a whopping 9% back (or 9 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar) on gas purchases up to that $1,500 quarterly cap. So if gas is one of your main expenses, this is the card to focus on.

The information for the public Freedom Flex offer has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: Review of the Chase Freedom Flex

Chase Freedom Unlimited offer #1 - 5% back on gas for a year

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus

If gas is one of your main expense areas, you'll want to consider the public Chase Freedom Unlimited offer instead of the one available through TPG. New cardmembers can earn $200 back after spending $500 in purchases on the card in the first three months, plus 5% back on up to $6,000 in purchases at gas stations in the first year. If you're able to max out both tiers of this offer, you're looking at $500 back, or 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points.

Total potential value from the sign-up bonus: $500 cash back, or 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points worth up to $1,000 based on our valuations.

Earning rates

The key to this offer will be maxing out that gas category in the first year.

Related: Review of the Chase Freedom Unlimited

The information for the public Freedom Unlimited offer has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Chase Freedom Unlimited offer #2 - an extra 1.5% for a year

Sign-up bonus

With the Chase Freedom Unlimited offer available through TPG, you'll earn an additional 1.5% back on all earning categories on up to $20,000 spent in the first year. That's up to $300 in additional cash back, if you fully maximize the offer.

Total potential value from the sign-up bonus: $300 cash back, or 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points worth up to $600 based on our valuations.

Earning rates during the first year

With that 1.5% bump included, here are the earning rates on the Chase Freedom Unlimited during your first year with the card:

Earning rates after the first year

After the first year, here's what you can expect in terms of earning rates.

The key here is the ability to earn at least 3% back on virtually everything in the first year, and 1.5% back in subsequent, with even higher earning rates in the categories listed above. However, this offer is probably less lucrative for most potential applicants since there's no opportunity to earn $200 back right off the bat by spending $500 in the first three months, and you've got to spend $20,000 in the first year to max out that 1.5% across-the-board earning increase.

Which is the best offer?

To determine which version of this card offers the best value proposition over the course of the first year, you'll have to take a look at your individual spending habits.

Let's take a hypothetical example using the 2020 expenditures report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average U.S. household spent the following amounts in 2020 on these popular everyday categories:

  • Restaurant spending: $2,375
  • Gas: $1,568
  • Apparel: $1,434
  • Entertainment: $2,912

Here's how much cash back you would earn with each of these card offers in the first year based on these numbers.

Chase Freedom Flex - public offerChase Freedom Unlimited - public offerChase Freedom Unlimited - TPG offer
Initial sign-up bonus$200 back after spending $500 in the first three months$200 back after spending $500 in the first three months$0
Restaurant3% back permanently = $71.253% back permanently = $71.254.5% back for the year = $106.88
Gas (first year bonus only)5% back for the year = $78.405% back for the year = $78.405% back for the year = $78.40
Apparel1% back permanently = $14.341.5% back permanently = $21.513% back for the first year = $43.02
Entertainment1% back permanently = $29.121.5% back permanently = $43.683% back for the first year = $87.36
Total cash back/Ultimate Rewards points$393.11$414.84 $315.66

The scenario above doesn't take into account the 5% back on the first $1,500 spent on rotating categories each quarter on the Chase Freedom Flex.

As you can see, in this given scenario, you'll want to opt for either the Chase Freedom Flex or the Chase Freedom Unlimited public offers (i.e. not the ones available through TPG's affiliate links) in order to maximize that first-year gas bonus.

That said, if you make few to no purchases at gas stations in a year, then you might want to opt for the Chase Freedom Unlimited offer that extends an extra 1.5% back on top of its normal earning rates for the first year. The fact that this particular offer doesn't include $200 back after $500 spending in the first three months is an enormous drawback, though, and should take the card out of contention for most folks.

Combine points for even more value

Just a reminder that the Chase Freedom Flex and Freedom Unlimited earn cash back in the form of Ultimate Rewards points that are worth a fixed 1 cent apiece, which is why they are considered cash-back credit cards.

However, if you also hold a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, you can combine your points into a single Chase Ultimate Rewards account, which would give you access to the full Chase Ultimate Rewards program’s redemption value.

That means you have the ability to transfer to Chase’s hotel and airline travel partners, which can help you get outsized value from your points. You can transfer Ultimate Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio to 11 airline programs (British Airways, Flying Blue, JetBlue, Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Air Canada, Southwest, United, Virgin Atlantic, Aer Lingus and Iberia) and three hotel programs (Hyatt, IHG, and Marriott).

With this in mind, you may look at these no-annual-fee cards a bit differently. With the sign-up bonuses above, you can earn up to $300-$500 worth of cash back on the Chase Freedom Unlimited or up to $500 cash back on the Chase Freedom Flex over the course of the year. However, when you combine your points with a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, those bonuses have an even greater value proposition. For instance, $500 cash back becomes 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points (worth $1,000, according to TPG valuations).

Bottom line

For the first quarter of 2022, Chase is shifting the emphasis on its bonuses from groceries to gas on the Chase Freedom lineup. While that may not benefit everyone, these no-annual fee cards are still stellar options for everyday spending on a wide variety of categories. Both beginners and experts can get a lot of value out of these cards, and they're certainly worth considering adding to your wallet.

Additional reporting by Eric Rosen.

Featured image by (Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
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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  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Rewards Rate

6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 points
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  • 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
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
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  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
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  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees