The Bottom Line: The Chase Freedom Flex card has huge cash back rewards across various categories and has no annual-fee. If you're looking for just one credit card to do it all, the Chase Freedom Flex card is an ideal choice.
When I started Financial Samurai in 2009, I opened up my first Chase account. Since then, I've been a happy customer who also owns the Chase Ink Business Cash card (no annual fee) for all business expenses and the Chase Freedom Unlimited card for all travel related expenses.
If you want a utility card that provides great cash back rewards and no annual fee, the Chase Freedom Flex credit card is a great choice that will fit your lifestyle.
Chase Freedom Flex Credit Card Overview
Card type: Cash back
Annual fee: $0.
Sign-up bonus: Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend just $500 on purchases in your first 3 months of opening your account. That's like getting 30% cash back! With such a low spending hurdle, everybody should open a Chase Freedom Flex credit card just to get the $200 bonus.
- 5% cash back in quarterly bonus categories, up to $1,500 per quarter is eligible in combined spending. You must opt in to the categories each quarter.
- 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases, automatically.
So what types of bonus categories do cards like Chase Freedom Flex offer? Popular rotating bonus categories could include purchases like the below.
- Gas stations
- Home improvement stores
- Grocery stores
- Select streaming services
- Department stores
- Chase Pay
Interest rate: 0% APR on Purchases for the first 15 months.
Foreign transaction fee: 3%.
Chase Ultimate Rewards Program
Chase has by far the best rewards program online through their Chase Ultimate Rewards. Part of the reason why I have so many chase credit cards and chase accounts is so I can concentrate my rewards points to get more free travel, free hotel stays, and free electronics.
Points are worth 1 cent each when redeemed as cash back. You can get that cash back in the form of a statement credit or a direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts.
When you've got nothing else to buy, redeeming your points for statement credit is the responsible thing to do to help pay off your monthly bill.
Points can also be redeemed for:
- Gift cards (1 cent per point).
- Travel booked through Chase (1 cent per point).
- Amazon purchases (0.8 cents per point). Redeeming for less point value here can seem weird, but Amazon has also reduced prices for goods by more than 20% since it came to being. We are Amazon Prime members and always find the best deals on Amazon.
If you want to redeem your points for higher value than 1 cent per point, then you should look for various bonus categories or specials that come up every so often.
Some have suggested transferring your points to the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card or the Ink Business Cash Credit Card, because each of their points is worth 1.25 cents. But transferring is a hassle, and these cards have annual fees to account for as well.
If you're not spending the appropriate amount to justify an annual fee, transferring points doesn't make sense.
Just know that points on these cards can also be transferred at a 1:1 ratio to about a dozen hotel and airline loyalty programs, including United, Southwest, JetBlue, British Airways, Marriott and Hyatt. That's great flexibility for travel lovers.
Chase Freedom Key Features
Besides having no annual fee, I like the Chase Freedom Flex card because of its bonus categories and long 0% APR introductory period.
Chase Freedom Flex offers a whopping 5% bonus cash back on rotating categories each quarter. These categories might include gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, drugstores, department stores and wholesale clubs.
Make sure you opt-in to the bonus category each quarter. Otherwise, you will only earn 1% rewards even in the bonus category. This is very important because plenty of people forget to opt-in.
Even if you miss out on the 5% bonus, you'll probably only miss one quarter once you see your rewards statement. Just set yourself a quarterly reminder and you'll be all set.
You'll also have until the 14th day of the third month in the quarter to sign up and earn retroactive rewards for that quarter, which is plenty of time for most people to take advantage of the fantastic bonus rewards opportunities.
The Chase Freedom Flex card is also one of my favorite cards for gas rewards.
Great 0% APR Intro Period
If you're planning on buying something expensive with a credit card, you will get a 0% introductory APR on purchases for the 15 months with the Chase Freedom Flex card.
I don't recommend doing a balance transfer on the Chase Freedom Flex card because there is a 3% balance transfer fee. In other words, you'll have to pay $300 to transfer a $10,000 balance.
That said, if you are paying a 16%+ variable APR rate on your old credit card, then perhaps paying the 3% balance transfer fee is worth it. For example, an 16% – 25% APR on a $10,000 balance for one year is $1,600 – $2,500 in interest.
I would plan ahead and get the Chase Freedom Flex card first. Get the $200 sign-up bonus after spending $500. And then pay for something big that you need to take advantage of the 0% introductory APR offer.
Chase Freedom Flex vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited
You may have also seen the Chase Freedom Unlimited card advertised around as well.
The key difference between the two cards is that the Chase Freedom Unlimited provides unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, instead of a combination of 1% cash back on all purchases and 5% cash back on rotating categories.
Therefore, if you can't be bothered with keeping track of various categories that rotate every quarter, the Chase Freedom Unlimited could be a better for your lifestyle.
There's also no reason why you can't get both cards for their various features and sign-up bonuses.
Chase Freedom Flex: Downsides
There's really not too much downside to owning the Chase Freedom Flex card. That's like complaining about your food when your friend takes you out to eat.
But here are some issues some of the most particular specifics you might complain about.
Rotating Categories May Be A PITA
The Chase Freedom Flex bonus categories change every three months, and tracking and activating them takes work. If you want to load up on groceries one quarter, but groceries isn't part of the 5% cash back bonus category, you may get annoyed. That said, you'll still get 1% cash back on all your purchases.
If you're easily annoyed and can't be bothered with keeping track of the categories every quarter, then the Chase Freedom Unlimited, mentioned above, pays 1.5% on all purchases. It also offers a $200 bonus after you spend $500 within the first 3 months of activation.
You can also consider one of my favorite cash back cards, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card. It also gives you 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Further, you also get a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. Finally, the card also doesn't have an annual fee.
Foreign Transaction Fee Is A Bummer
If you travel internationally, I don't recommend using the Chase Freedom Flex card due to its 3% foreign transaction fee. Instead, use the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card because it offers great rewards and have no foreign transaction fees.
If you're looking for international rewards travel credit cards, you can also check out my review by clicking the link.
Should You Get The Chase Freedom Flex Card?
The Chase Freedom Flex credit card is great due to its 5% bonus categories, 1% cash back on all other purchases, and the $200 sign-up bonus for spending only $500 within the first three months of ownership.
As someone who loves cash back and free money, it's worth signing up for the Chase Freedom Flex card with no annual fee. Just make sure to keep track of your spending and pay off your credit card bill in full each month.
For further suggestions on saving money and growing wealth, check out my Top Financial Products page.
In addition, if you enjoyed this article and want to get more personal finance insights and tips, please sign up for the free Financial Samurai newsletter. You’ll get access to exclusive content only available to subscribers.
About the Author: Sam worked in investment banking for 13 years at GS and CS. He received his undergraduate degree in Economics from The College of William & Mary and got his MBA from UC Berkeley. In 2012, Sam was able to retire at the age of 34 largely due to his investments that now generate roughly $250,000 a year in passive income. He spends most of his time playing tennis, taking advantage of free credit card rewards, and taking care of his family.
Financial Samurai was started in 2009 and is one of the most trusted personal finance sites on the web with over 1.5 million pageviews a month.