Chase Brings Back 5% Grocery Offer for Freedom Unlimited and Freedom Flex

For the first time since January 2021, new cardholders can earn more rewards at grocery stores during the first year.
Sara Rathner
By Sara Rathner 
Edited by Erin Hurd

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Beginning July 1, 2021, new Chase Freedom Unlimited® and Chase Freedom Flex℠ card holders will once again earn 5% cash back at grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

That's in addition to the existing bonus offered on both cards: Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

This grocery bonus was previously offered for a limited time in September 2020, when the Chase Freedom Flex℠ first launched, but that promotion ended in January 2021.

Otherwise, there are no other changes to either card. Here’s how they compare:

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Chase Freedom®

Offer for new cardholders:

Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

None — card is no longer accepting applications

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 booked through Chase.

• 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

1% cash back

🤓Nerdy Tip

The Chase Freedom® still exists but is closed to new applicants.

The $0-annual-fee Chase Freedom Flex℠ recently announced its 5% rotating bonus categories for the third quarter of 2021. From July 1 to Sept. 30, 2021, cardholders will earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined spending on:

  • Grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart).

  • Select streaming services (including Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, Netflix, Sling, Vudu, Fubo TV, Apple Music, SiriusXM, Pandora, Spotify and YouTube TV).

The fact that grocery stores are a 5% category for the quarter is a bit of an overlap, but this allows existing card holders who aren’t part of the 12-month promotion to earn a higher amount on groceries for a shorter period of time. Plus, new Chase Freedom Flex℠ cardholders can earn both bonuses at the same time, meaning they earn up to 9% cash back at grocery stores for the quarter — it’s not 10% back because the bonus is 4% on top of the baseline 1% back, so you earn 5% for the year plus and extra 4% for the quarter. Here are 2021’s rotating 5% categories so far:

Chase Freedom® and Chase Freedom Flex℠ bonus rewards categories for 2024

Q1 (Jan. 1-March 31)

  • Grocery stores.

  • Fitness clubs and gym memberships.

  • Self-care and spa services.

Q2 (April 1-June 30)

  • Select hotel bookings.*

  • Restaurants.


Q3 (July 1-Sept. 30)

  • TBD (In 2023: gas stations and electric vehicle charging; select live entertainment).

Q4 (Oct. 1-Dec. 31)

  • TBD (In 2023: PayPal; wholesale clubs; select charities).

*Includes bookings made directly with the hotel and prepaid bookings through Chase's travel portal.

As always, you need to activate the categories online or in the Chase app by Sept. 14 in order to receive the 5% rewards for all eligible purchases during the quarter (including purchases you made before activating).

Benefits of both cards

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ and Chase Freedom Unlimited® (which also has a $0 annual fee) both earn a sign-up bonus: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

They also offer 0% intro APR on purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 20.49%-29.24% Variable APR. Additionally, you’ll earn 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2025.

The information related to the Chase Freedom® credit card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

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