Last updated on January 24th, 2022
Finding the right credit card can be challenging at the best of times. When comparing two exceptional card offers, such as the Chase Freedom Flex and Discover It Cash Back, however, it gets a whole lot more difficult. Never fear – the BestCards team is here to breakdown these two cash back behemoths and help you find your Best Card:
Chase Freedom Flex vs. Discover It: Head-to-Head
The Chase Freedom Flex and Discover it® Cash Back are two of the most popular cash back rewards credit cards on the market today, but which is right for you? Breaking down the strengths of both cards and contrasting them with their rival offers exceptional insights into how each card is to live (and earn with) with:
5% Cash Back Categories
The first and foremost way to measure how the Chase Freedom Flex and Discover It Cash Back match up is through their 5% cash back calendars. Both cards earn up to 5% cash back on the first $1,500 in quarterly purchases in rotating categories, with 2022 looking like this:
Groceries (excluding larger stores like Target or Walmart) and eBay.
Applies to the first $1,500 in purchases at standalone grocery stores and eBay.
Official terms: Merchants who accept Visa/Mastercard credit cards are assigned a merchant code, which is determined by the merchant or its processor in accordance with Visa/Mastercard procedures based on the kinds of products and services they primarily sell. We group similar merchant codes into categories for purposes of making rewards offers to you. Please note: We make every effort to include all relevant merchant codes in our rewards categories. However, even though a merchant or some of the items that it sells may appear to fit within a rewards category, the merchant may not have a merchant code in that category. When this occurs, purchases with that merchant won’t qualify for rewards offers on purchases in that category. Purchases submitted by you, an authorized user, or the merchant through third-party payment accounts, mobile or wireless card readers, online or mobile digital wallets, or similar technology will not qualify in a rewards category if the technology is not set up to process the purchase in that rewards category.
Grocery Stores and Fitness Club & Gym Memberships
Applies to the first $1,500 in purchases at stand-alone grocery stores, fitness clubs, or gym memberships.
Official terms: Activate to earn 5% Cashback Bonus at Grocery Stores (stand-alone) and Fitness Club & Gym Memberships from 1/1/22 (or the date on which you activate 5%, whichever is later) through 3/31/22, on up to $1,500 in purchases. Grocery Store purchases include those made at supermarkets, meat lockers, bakeries, smaller grocery stores, and grocery delivery services. All purchases made at Walmart, Target, convenience stores, wholesale clubs, discount stores, and supercenters are not eligible. Fitness Club & Gym Memberships include membership fees and purchases at health clubs. Athletic or recreation facilities may be eligible. Virtual and in-person fitness classes may be eligible. Individual merchants and stand-alone stores within fitness clubs, gyms, athletic or recreation facilities may not be eligible in this category.
As you can see, Discover does a much better job at laying out its cash back roadmap for the year compared to Chase. That said, both cards provide an exceptional array of bonus categories, as evidenced by the 2021 5% categories:
Chase 2021 5% Back Categories
- January to March: Wholesale clubs, select streaming services, and phone, internet, & cable service providers
- April to June: Gas stations and home improvement store purchases
- July to September: Select streaming services and grocery stores
- October to December: Walmart and PayPal
Discover 2021 5% Back Categories
- January to March: Grocery Stores, Walgreens, and CVS
- April to June: Gas Stations, Wholesale Clubs, and Streaming Services
- July to September: Restaurants and PayPal
- October to December: Amazon.com, Target.com, and Walmart.com
Here the real value of both cards shines through. While Chase doesn’t feature the same consistency with its categories from year to year, it does provide exceptional value for money – with this especially apparent in the Q4 2021 PayPal and Walmart categories.
Earning Rewards On Additional Purchases
While Discover might have a slight edge in the rotating cash back categories (depending on who you ask, of course), Chase’s Freedom Flex is the hands-down winner when it comes to cash back on other purchases. Where Discover offers a flat-rate 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases, Chase ups the ante with up to 5% back on other purchases:
- 5% cash back on eligible grocery store purchases on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
- 5% back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- 3% back on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services
- 3% back on drugstore purchases
- 1% back on all other eligible purchases
Both Chase and Discover feature a decent welcome offer for new accounts. However, which offer provides better value for you depending on your spending habits.
Discover’s Cashback Match is one of the more exciting sign-up offers available – and it’s easy to see why. Discover will automatically match your total cash back from year one, dollar for dollar, with no cap. If you plan on spending big, that offer has some serious potential.
Chase, for its part, offers a welcome bonus of around $200 (depending on when you apply and the offer you receive) after meeting modest spending goals. Those spend minimums are typically around $500 in purchases within the first three months of account opening, making it a solid reward for minimal spending.
A Discover It cardholder would need to earn at least $100 in cash back during their first year to match Chase’s $200 welcome offer. This modest rewards haul requires at least $2,000 in spending (using only 5% back categories), making it less lucrative than Chase’s offer. That said, if you spend heavily, the sky is the limit with the Discover It.
Both cards also come with lengthy 0% APR periods on purchases. Discover offers 14 months of no interest on purchases for qualified applicants. In comparison, Chase provides an extra month (15 months total) of 0% intro APR on purchases.
Payment Network Benefits
The Chase Freedom Flex is a World Elite Mastercard, offering the pinnacle of the payment giant’s perks and protections. On the other hand, Discover uses its own payment network – one of the largest international networks (thanks to partnerships with Diners Club, BC Card, and RuPay). Here is a breakdown of the protections and benefits of each card:
Free ShopRunner Membership
Mastercard Luxury Hotel Collection
World Elite Concierge
Cell Phone Protection
ID Theft Protection
Zero Fraud Liability
Global Emergency Services
In the end, there is no absolutely correct answer to the question, “Which card is better, the Chase Freedom Flex or the Discover It?” Both cards provide excellent value, and both feature no annual fee.
The very best card for you comes down to your spending habits. Discover tends to be conservative with its cashback categories, rarely changing a successful formula. On the other hand, Chase likes to experiment and provides some exceptional categories with little notice.
Related Article: Chase, Discover, & Citi 2022 5% Cash Back Calendars