Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.
As of Oct. 6, 2022, new cardholders who apply for either card directly via Chase can earn 5% cash back at grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart) on up to $12,000 in spending in the first year. That rate is on top of an existing upfront sign-up bonus offered on both cards when you apply via Chase: $200 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases during the first 3 months from account opening. If you were to max out both offers, you'd snag $800 in cash back.
These offers are available only to those who apply directly through Chase. NerdWallet features a different offer on both cards.
Chase has featured this limited-time offer for grocery stores twice since 2020. There are no other changes to either card's ongoing rewards structure. Here’s how the Freedom cards compare:
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Chase Freedom Flex℠
Offer for new cardholders who apply directly with Chase
Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening, plus 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (up to $12,000 spent) in the first year.
Rotating bonus categories
5% back on quarterly bonus categories that you activate, on up to $1,500 per quarter in spending.
Ongoing bonus categories
• 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
• 3% cash back at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services.
• 3% cash back on drugstore purchases.
Rewards on other purchases
1.5% cash back.
1% cash back.
Chase Freedom Flex℠ rotating categories
In addition to earning 5% back at grocery stores, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ also earns 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined spending each quarter in a series of rotating categories. Note that you must activate those categories. (All other non-bonus-category purchases earn 1% back.)
Here’s a look at the card's 5% categories for 2022:
Chase Freedom® and Chase Freedom Flex℠ bonus rewards categories for 2022
Q1 (Jan. 1-March 31)
• Grocery stores. • eBay.
Q2 (April 1-June 30)
• Amazon.com. • Select streaming services.
Q3 (July 1-Sept. 30)
• Gas stations. • Car rentals. • Movie theaters. • Select live entertainment.
Q4 (Oct. 1-Dec. 31)
• PayPal. • Walmart.
Chase has included grocery stores as a 5% rotating bonus category for one quarter every year since 2014. In the past, this rate has been "stackable" with the limited-time 5% grocery store offer for new cardholders — meaning it's been possible to earn 9% cash back at grocery stores if the two deals coincide on the calendar. (It’s not 10% back because the quarterly bonus is calculated as 4% back on top of the card's baseline 1% back. So you'd earn 5% for the year, plus an extra 4% for the quarter.) It's unclear whether the deals will be stackable this time.
Benefits of both cards
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ and Chase Freedom Unlimited® both offer a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 18.74%-27.49% Variable APR.
Plus, with either card you can earn 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2025.
And as noted above, if you apply for these cards via NerdWallet, you'll be eligible for different bonus offers.