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Choosing between the Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited
Honestly, you can’t go wrong when choosing between these two stellar cash back cards, but there are some important differences. Our goal is to help you earn the most possible points on your purchases. Adding either, or both, of these cards to your wallet can help you earn a ton of additional points. In order to do that, let me describe the strategy I employ in achieving my own travel goals and recommend you consider. This strategy will ultimately help you choose between the Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited.
The Strategy of carrying these cards in tandem with a premium Chase credit card
First, both of these are technically cash back credit cards, but their real potential is unlocked when you pair them with a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Ink Business Preferred. How does this work? The 3 cards mentioned earn premium Chase Ultimate Rewards and Chase allows cardmembers to combine points.
The cash back you earn from a Chase Freedom Flex and/or Chase Freedom Unlimited is actually earned as Ultimate Rewards that can be redeemed for various things, but they can’t be transferred to travel partners. This is an exclusive benefit for cards that earn premium Ultimate Rewards. But, this is what I love, the points earn from a Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited can be merged into a premium card account. When you combine points they take on the traits of the account they’re merged into, and thus can instantly be transferrable.
For instance, if you were to take the points earned from your Chase Freedom Flex and merge them into your Chase Sapphire Preferred, they could then be transferred into Ultimate Rewards transfer partners or redeemed at 1.25c in Chase Travel. This action unlocks a bevy of redemption possibilities, but also increases the value of your points if you simply want to use them in Chase Travel.
Adding a Chase Freedom Unlimited or Chase Freedom Flex to your wallet can help you earn a ton of Ultimate Rewards by leveraging high category bonuses, but then combining them into premium accounts for higher valuation and transfer options.
How the Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited are similar
They both carry no annual fee and have the same welcome bonus…
- 20k Points ( $200 cashback ) after spending $500 in the first 3 months
They both have very similar bonus categories. Each card earns the following rate of return on these categories
- Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase Travel
- 3% on dining at restaurants
- 3% back on drugstores
Those categories mentioned above are as good or better than what Chase offers on its flagship Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Category bonuses can help you get closer to aspirational products like Emirates First Class – 85k points from the US to Europe and Europe to Dubai. Emirates is a Chase Transfer Partner.
Chase Freedom Flex is a Mastercard and Chase Freedom Unlimited is a Visa
There are different benefits associated with each and you should be aware of them. Perhaps you see more value in one vs the other.
The Chase Freedom Flex is a Mastercard World Elite
That means the card comes with these additional perks just because it’s a Master World Elite
- Mobile Phone Insurance – Up to $800 per claim and $1,000 per year on mobile phone protection
- theft and damage on users listed on the phone bill paid by the cardholder
- Lyft – $10 in credit for every five rides taken in a calendar month
- This gets applied to the next ride
- 1x per month
- ShopRunner – free membership
- 2 day shipping at over 100 stores
- Fandango – 2x VIP+ points on movie tickets bought on the Fandango app or Fandango.com
The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a Visa Signature
Visa Signature benefits include traditional Visa benefits and add on a few perks
- Extended Warranty – add on an additional year of the manufacturer’s warranty if that that warranty is less than 3 years
- no added benefits, whatever is included in that original manufacturer’s warranty
- Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver – Car rentals are protected against damage and theft when you rent for less than 15 days in the USA and fewer than 31 days abroad ( certain countries are excluded ).
- This is secondary coverage to your own insurance
- Personal Injury isn’t covered
- Some vehicles, including minivans, SUVs, and luxury/exotics
- Read the full details here
- Zero Liability
- You won’t be held liable for unauthorized transactions
5x rotating categories or 1.5x everywhere?
This is the biggest distinguishing characteristic in my opinion – will you earn more points on rotating categories or 1.5x everywhere? Only you can make that decision and it’s the biggest difference between the Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited.
The Chase Freedom Flex has rotating 5%/5x category bonuses
Every quarter Chase Freedom Flex cardholders can activate their card to earn a category bonus of 5% or 5x points on their purchases up to $1500. These categories rotate every 3 months. If you max out all of your quarterly bonuses for the year, you can earn 7500 points every quarter, or 30k Ultimate Rewards. That’s an amazing haul for just $6k worth of purchases.
Take a good look at these categories and see if you already spend quite a bit on these purchases as this could be the deciding factor of whether you get a Chase Freedom Flex or Chase Freedom Unlimited
Chase Freedom Unlimited get 1.5x or 1.5% everywhere without limit
This is the big deal with the Chase Freedom Unlimited. You’re guaranteed a minimum of 1.5x everywhere you spend, without limit.
Can I hold both a Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited
Absolutely. Both cards carry no annual fee, and if you’re really looking to optimize the number of points you earn, carry them both. That way if you’re spending money at a place that hits one of those rotating category bonuses…you’ll earn 5x. If you’re not…you’re guaranteed to earn 1.5x. Carrying either, or both of these cards alongside a Chase premium card will increase the number of points you earn on every dollar you ordinarily spend.
If you were to hold both cards alongside a Chase Sapphire Preferred perhaps you’d spend this way:
- 5x rotating category Bonuses – Chase Freedom Flex
- 5x on Travel with Chase Travel – Either Chase Freedom Flex or Chase Freedom Unlimited
- 2x on Travel no with Chase Travel – Chase Sapphire Preferred
- 3x on Dining – Either Chase Freedom Flex or Chase Freedom Unlimited
- 3x on Pharmacies – Either Chase Freedom Flex or Chase Freedom Unlimited
- Foreign Transactions – Chase Sapphire Preferred – no fx fees
- Rental Cars – Chase Sapphire Preferred gives primary rental car coverage
- 1.5x All other purchases – Chase Freedom Unlimited
That is a lot of category bonus points for $95 total annual fee spend.
Overall – you can’t go wrong
Both of these cards are stellar cards and I highly recommend them. Team them up with a Chase premium card and you’re well on your way to earning having a killer point balance come end of year.
Monkey Miles has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Monkey Miles and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers
A Monkey Miles favorite for beginners and point pros alike because it earns unlimited 1.5x Ultimate Rewards with no annual fee.
♥ Earn 20k Bonus Points or $200 after $500 Spend in 3 months
♥5x on travel purchased via Chase Travel
♥3x on dining and drugstores
♥1.5x on all purchases, unlimited