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Chase Freedom Flex: Maximize Your Quarterly Categories

Cory Santos

| Last updated on January 22nd, 2024

Chase Freedom Flex

Chase Freedom Flex
BestCards refers to a variation of FICO Score 9, which is one of many different types of credit scores. A financial institution may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. Please note that the range shown here is our own estimation and not a guarantee of credit needed to be approved for any given card. Recommended Credit: Excellent / Good
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None Annual Fee

Chase Freedom Flex

  • 20.49% to 29.24% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate Regular Purchase APR
  • 20.49% to 29.24% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate Balance Transfer APR
  • 29.99% variable based on the Prime Rate Cash Advance APR
  • 0% for 15 months from account opening date Intro Purchase APR

At a Glance

The Chase Freedom Flex is a hybrid cash back credit card that offers something for everyone. The card earns 3% cash back on dining and drugstore purchases, plus up to 5% back on rotating categories each quarter after activation – all for no annual fee.

  • Best Benefits
  • Rates & Fees
  • Why Should You Apply?
  • Earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% on up to $1,500 on combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Earn 3% on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services
  • Earn 3% on drugstore purchases
  • Earn 1% on all other purchases
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 19.24%-27.99%
  • No annual fee - You wo't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Flex℠ card
  • Intro Purchase APR: 0% for 15 months from account opening date
  • Regular Purchase APR: 20.49% to 29.24% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 months from account opening date
  • Balance Transfer APR: 20.49% to 29.24% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Intro fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater, on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR: 29.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99%
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of the transaction amount in U.S. dollars
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • You want a versatile cash back credit card that earns rewards across various categories
  • You don’t mind the lower cash back rates for dining and drugstore purchases over previous Chase cards
  • You prefer to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • You don’t want to pay an annual fee for premium Mastercard features

In-Depth Review: Chase Freedom Flex

The Chase Freedom Flex is the newest addition to the Chase Freedom credit card lineup. It’s also Chase’s first Mastercard in over five years, giving Chase cardholders a taste of different card-centric benefits, such as Mastercard ID Theft Protection and Priceless Experiences.

How to Get the Flex

Credit Score Requirements

The Chase Freedom Flex is designed for applicants with “good” or “excellent” credit scores. This means that you should aim for a FICO Score of 670+, though an ideal credit score target is 700+. 

Application Requirements

Applying for credit cards from Chase is similar across the different co-brand relationships, Southwest Airlines included. You’ll need the following information to apply for the Plus Card:

  • Aged 18 or older
  • U.S. mailing address (no PO Boxes permitted)
  • SSN or ITIN
  • FICO Score above 670 (good)
  • Proof of income

You should also be aware of Chase’s 5/24 rule. The 5/24 rule states that applicants likely won’t be approved for a new Chase card if they’ve opened five or more personal credit cards in the previous 24 months.

How to Earn Rewards

Introductory Bonus Offers

One of the nice features of the Chase Freedom Flex is that it gets the same enticing signup bonus as the other Freedom credit cards. New Flex cardholders can earn $250 in cash back just for spending $500 on purchases within the first 90 days of opening an account.

That cash back bonus is an industry leader, providing a considerable amount of money in return for a modest initial spend. It’s also the same bonus that Chase currently offers with the Freedom Unlimited.

The other major bonus offer with the Freedom Flex is a 0% introductory APR for the first 15 months on purchases, followed by variable APR after that based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate Chase is always great at offering lengthy interest-free periods for new customers, and this is undoubtedly the case with the Flex.

Earn Up to 5% Back on Rotating Categories

The Freedom Flex is designed to offer more flexibility than both the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the standard Freedom – the card it is effectively replacing. To accomplish this objective, the Freedom Flex earns bonus cash back on set categories – as well as the usual rotating categories of the Freedom.

The Freedom Flex card earns 5% back on travel purchases made through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, including vacation and car rental bookings. The card also earns 3% back on dining and restaurant purchases, which also includes takeout orders and deliveries through eligible services, like Grubhub and Uber Eats. That 3% back also applies to drugstore purchases (think Rite Aid, Walgreens, CVS, etc.), which is a really nice bonus.

In addition to the static cash back categories, the Freedom Flex takes over from the Chase Freedom in offering up to 5% cash back on a rotating selection of categories that require activation before earning. While the up to 5% rotating categories change each quarter, they typically include areas such as department store purchases, groceries, home improvement, streaming services, and more.

While the earning potential of the 5% rotating categories is capped at the first $1,500 spent per quarter, the 3% back fixed categories make the Flex just as versatile as its name implies.

Chase Freedom 5% Cash Back Calendar

Date 5% Cash Back Category
Q1 January - March 2024 Grocery stores (excluding Walmart), self-care and spa services, plus fitness and gym memberships
Q2 April - June 2024 Restaurants, hotels, and and Whole Foods purchases
Q3 July - September 2024 TBD
Q4 October - December 2024 TBD

How to Redeem Rewards

One of the great features of the Chase Freedom family of credit cards is how well they pair with other Chase proprietary cards. While the Chase Freedom Flex is known as a cash back juggernaut, that is the only way to redeem rewards with Chase.

Chase Ultimate Rewards is the points-based loyalty program from JP Morgan Chase – and one of the most popular credit card rewards programs in existence. Chase Ultimate Rewards and cash back might not seem like a good fit, but did you know that the Chase Freedom family of cards can actually earn Ultimate Rewards points?

Chase Freedom Flex cardmembers can opt to redeem their rewards through Ultimate Rewards at a rate of 1% cash back to one Ultimate Rewards point. Cardmembers that choose to earn points instead of cash back can enjoy even more rewards when pairing their Chase Freedom Flex with a Sapphire Reserve or Preferred Card – both of which enjoy enhanced redemption rates through Ultimate Rewards.

Chase Sapphire Reserve cardmembers enjoy 50% more value in travel redemption at the Ultimate Rewards portal. In comparison, Sapphire Preferred cardmembers enjoy 25% more value from points at the same outlet. Using points for partner transfers with Chase is an excellent value – especially as Chase currently partners with the following loyalty programs, many at 1:1 transfer ratios:

Aer Lingus (AerClub) Air France/KLM (Flying Blue) Emirates (Skywards)
Air Canada (Aeroplan) British Airways (Executive Club) Iberia Plus
JetBlue (TrueBlue) Southwest (Rapid Rewards) Singapore Airlines (KrisFlyer)
Virgin Atlantic (Flying Club) United Airlines (MileagePlus) IHG Rewards
Marriott Bonvoy World of Hyatt

World Elite Mastercard Benefits

As noted, the Freedom Flex is Chase’s first foray into the Mastercard market in five years. The addition of Mastercard to the Chase lineup opens a variety of unique features for Flex cardholders that Visa doesn’t provide.

Two of the most prominent benefits are cell phone protection and ID protection – both Mastercard staples.

Mastercard cell phone protection provides up to $800 per claim (and $1,000 per year) in cell phone protection against any theft or damage for phones listed on cardmembers’ monthly bills.

Mastercard ID Theft Protection, another unique feature, lets users protect themselves from ID fraud anywhere they go. Additionally, the service allows for easy fraud resolution and alerts via a helpful mobile app.

Here are all the features World Elite Mastercard products include:

Zero Liability Protection Airport Concierge Cell Phone Protection
Mastercard Global Services Priceless Experiences Lyft Credits
ID Theft Protection Priceless Golf Mastercard Travel Services
Mastercard Hotel Stay Guarantee ShopRunner Membership Hello Fresh Savings


Chase Freedom Flex vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Chase Freedom

Because of the similar names you might think the Chase Freedom Flex, Freedom Unlimited, and regular Chase Freedom are one and the same, but you’d be mistaken. The cards differ greatly, and not just because the Freedom (not the Flex) is currently not available to new applicants. Here’s how the two Freedom Cards compare:

Chase Freedom Unlimited Chase Freedom Flex Chase Freedom
Annual fee No annual fee No annual fee No annual fee
Rewards Earn 5% back on Chase travel, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on everything else Earn 5% on up to $1,500 on combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate Earn 5% on up to $1,500 on combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
Intro APR 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers N/A

Discover It Vs. Chase Freedom Flex Vs. Citi Custom Cash

The Chase Freedom Flex, Citi Custom Cash, and Discover it® Cash Back are among of the most popular cash back rewards credit cards on the market today, but which is right for you? 

Citi Custom Cash℠ Chase Freedom Flex Discover It
Annual fee $0 $0 $0
Rewards Earn 5% on purchases on your highest eligible spend category each billing cycle up to $500 spent Earn 5% on up to $1,500 on combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate Earn 5% on up to $1,500 on combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
Intro APR 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers

What We Like About the Freedom Flex Card

No Annual Fee

The Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited both lack an annual fee, and it’s refreshing to see Freedom Flex continue this trend. It is uncommon to see a World Elite Mastercard that doesn’t have a yearly fee, given the impressive benefits that come with it. Of course, the Freedom Flex doesn’t include many of the added perks that other premium World Elite Mastercard provides, such as lounge access through Priority Pass, travel statement credits, or TSA Precheck credits.

Things to Consider

Beware the Foreign Transaction Fee

Chase doesn’t market the Freedom Flex as a travel credit card. Despite that, it offers 5% back on travel bookings made through its Ultimate Rewards portal. Add to that the general reputation of Chase credit cards as robust travel products, and it is a bit disheartening to see a 3% foreign transaction fee included with the Freedom Flex.

While the fee is standard, no foreign transaction fees are obviously a better deal. Still, many savvy travelers have a wallet full of Chase cards (which should include either the Sapphire Reserve or Sapphire Preferred), so it might not raise a huge problem. Still, it’s a caveat consumers should be mindful of before choosing the Freedom Flex as their primary payment form when traveling abroad.


Here are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding the Chase Freedom Flex, along with the answers:

  • Chase credit cards require a good or excellent credit score to qualify. This means you will likely need a credit score of around 680/690 or higher to qualify for the Flex.
  • Yes. Chase customer can hold both the Chase Freedom (no longer available to new applicants) and the Freedom Flex Card at the same time. 
  • Chase’s 5/24 rule means that you can’t be approved for most Chase cards if you’ve opened five or more personal credit cards (from any card issuer) within the past 24 months.
  • Chase will often automatically increase your credit limit about every 12 months, but an increase is never guaranteed.
  • Chase Bank uses Experian for checking credit scores and gauging applications.

Chase Ratings

How does the Chase Freedom Flex stack up? Here are a selection of expert reviews for the card, as well as an overview of JP Morgan Chase as a bank:

Should You Apply for the Chase Freedom Flex?

So, is the Chase Freedom Flex worth applying for? In most instances, the answer is yes. The card is a definite improvement over the Chase Freedom (even though that card is no slouch). The ability to earn enhanced cash back on set categories (namely, dining, drugstores, and eligible travel bookings) is welcome news to those who might not find the best value in rotating quarterly categories.

The retention of those revolving categories, however, is excellent. This one-two punch of cash back categories makes the card a versatile earner all-year-long.

The major criticism with the card is that the 3% dining and drug store purchases likely spell the end of those being part of the 5% cash back calendar. For those who live and die by their quarterly categories, receiving a lower rate for two of the most popular of those categories may be a letdown.

Overall, the Chase Freedom Flex isn’t a game-changer. It’s not something that will redefine what a credit card is – and can be. Instead, it is a substantial improvement on the Chase Freedom concept – and one that is a welcome sight for many rewards-savvy consumers.

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