Chase Freedom Flex vs. U.S. Bank Cash Plus: It’s Close, but Flex Has the Edge

Both cards boast rotating 5% categories and ongoing bonus tiers, but the Flex likely wins for most — although it depends on your spending habits and redemption plans.
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Chase Freedom Flex vs. U.S. Bank Cash Plus: It’s Close, but Flex Has the Edge

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The Chase Freedom Flex® and the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card are comparable, competitive players in the 5%-back arena.

Both $0-annual-fee cards earn 5% cash back in bonus categories you opt into each quarter, on top of ongoing bonus rewards on certain everyday spending — so both are also fairly complicated cards. The difference boils down to your spending habits: Do you spend fairly predictably, or do you prefer customization? It may also depend on your redemption plans and whether travel is in your future.

With the Chase Freedom Flex®, quarterly 5% categories are determined by the issuer, and you don't get to see them until a couple of weeks before they go into effect. But they tend to be broad and useful — previous categories have included things like gas, home improvement stores and Amazon.com. Its sign-up bonus is eye-popping, and on an ongoing basis, it's a reliably rich and versatile card for foodies and travelers. It is likely the better pick for most.

The U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card is more flexible when it comes to 5% category choices. The card lets you pick two 5% bonus categories from a list (see below), and it boasts a higher combined quarterly spending cap — but that list of 5% categories is narrower. In terms of ongoing rewards, the card may be better for grocery stores, but less competitive on dining.

Here’s how to decide which card is right for you.

How the cards compare
U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Credit Card
U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card
Chase Freedom Flex
Chase Freedom Flex®
Apply now

on Chase's website

Annual fee
$0
$0
Sign-up bonus

$250 rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.

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

Cash-back rewards
  • 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible net purchases ($100 per quarter) on two categories you choose.

  • 5% cash back on prepaid air, hotel and car reservations booked directly in the Rewards Center.

  • 2% cash back on your choice of one everyday category, like gas stations, EV charging stations or grocery stores.

  • 1% cash back on all other eligible net purchases.

  • 5% cash back in quarterly bonus categories on up to $1,500 in combined spending each quarter.

  • 5% back on travel booked through Chase.

  • 3% cash back at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services.

  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases.

  • 1% cash back on all other purchases.

APR

0% intro APR for 15 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 19.49%-29.74% Variable APR.

0% intro APR on purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 20.49%-29.24%, Variable APR.

Balance transfer fee
Either 3% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater.
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee
3% of each foreign transaction
3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
Limited-time perks and offers

None.

  • Through March 31, 2025, earn 5% back on qualifying Lyft services purchased through the Lyft app.

  • Through 2024, cardholders get a free three-month subscription to DoorDash’s delivery service, DashPass. (You must activate by December 31, 2021.) After the first three months, you’ll automatically be enrolled for the next nine months at 50% off.

Still not sure?

Per the table above, in addition to 5% rotating bonus categories, both cards offer an ongoing bonus tier on other spending. The U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card earns 2% back on an "everyday" category of your choice (gas/EV charging, groceries or dining). The Chase Freedom Flex® features a richer 3% back on dining and drugstores, along with 5% on travel booked via Chase — but no opportunity to "choose" in this tier.

For the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card, each quarter you can choose two of the following 12 possible 5%-back categories:

  • Fast food.

  • Home utilities.

  • TV, internet and streaming.

  • Department stores.

  • Cell phone providers.

  • Electronics stores.

  • Sporting goods stores.

  • Movie theaters.

  • Gyms/fitness centers.

  • Furniture stores.

  • Ground transportation.

  • Select clothing stores.

🤓Nerdy Tip

The Chase Freedom Flex® is considered a cash-back credit card, but technically it earns points in a currency called Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Those points are worth 1 cent each when redeemed for cash back, but you'll have other redemption options, too.

Why the Chase Freedom Flex® wins out for most

Broader, more straightforward bonus categories

The Chase 5% bonus category historically has included things like restaurants, gas, home improvement stores, wholesale clubs, Amazon.com and more. And beyond that, Chase Freedom Flex® also features rich, fixed bonus categories in several popular categories.

You don't get to choose what categories are featured, but they're typically broad enough that you can realize a benefit from them.

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.

  • Amazon.com.

Q3 (July 1-Sept. 30)

  • Gas stations and EV charging.

  • Select live entertainment.

  • Movie theaters.

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.

The U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card lets you choose your 5% categories, but overall your options are narrower, sometimes down to specific inventory. For example:

  • "Fast food," but not all restaurants.

  • "Ground transportation," but not all travel.

  • "Movie theaters," but not all forms of entertainment.

  • "Furniture stores," but not home improvement stores.

  • "Select" clothing stores, but not every one you can think of.

The U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card does earn 2% back in an "everyday" category of your choice, and those are more general and inclusive (grocery stores, gas stations/EV charging stations, and restaurants). But will you remember that fast food is a 5% category, while fine dining is a potential 2% category?

More flexible rewards

With the Chase Freedom Flex®, you can redeem your rewards for cash back (at the rate of a penny per point) as statement credit or as a direct deposit to most U.S. checking and savings accounts. But you can also redeem for:

  • Gift cards (1 cent per point).

  • Travel booked via Chase (1 cent per point).

  • Amazon purchases (0.8 cent per point).

And if you have another Chase Ultimate Rewards®-earning card — like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve® — you can move any points you earn with the Flex to those cards and then redeem those rewards for travel booked via Chase at higher redemption values.

Redemption options for the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card are more limited. You can opt for statement credit, but if you want actual "cash back" you'll need to deposit rewards into an eligible account with U.S. Bank. If you have at least $20 in rewards, you can also redeem for a U.S. Bank Rewards gift card, but only in $5 increments.

Where the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card shines

Rewards customization

Unlike the Chase Freedom Flex®, the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card offers more control of your rewards: Each quarter, you can activate and select which two 5% bonus categories you want and which “everyday” category will earn an unlimited 2% cash back.

The card’s 2% back isn't as rich as what the Chase Freedom Flex® offers on dining and drugstores (3% back), but because you can choose your own categories (and know what they are all year), you can better align the card with your usual spending habits.

By comparison, the 5% bonus categories of the Chase Freedom Flex® are chosen by Chase each quarter. You won’t know what they are until they are announced, and that can make it difficult to plan your spending.

Higher spending cap

Each quarter, the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card earns you 5% back on up to $2,000 in combined bonus category spending. That's a higher quarterly spending cap than the $1,500 limit of the Chase Freedom Flex®.

If you were to max out the former's 5% bonus category by spending $2,000 each quarter, you'd earn a cool $400 a year in cash back. Comparatively, maxing out the bonus categories on the Chase Freedom Flex® each quarter can earn you $300 a year.

Of course, this excludes both cards’ additional cash-back categories and welcome offers.

Neither card is for the faint of heart

Both the Chase Freedom Flex® and the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card suffer from the same primary drawback: They are complicated. Not only do you have to remember to activate your rewards every three months, but you also have to keep track of quarterly and ongoing categories.

For the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card specifically, you’ll have to keep track of which two categories you're earning 5% back on, and which of the cash-back categories you’ll get 2% on. This can get confusing as you go about your day-to-day spending, especially since the card's 5% categories aren't as general or broad.

Rewards maximizers will find either card a viable and lucrative fit. But there are definitely simpler and lower-maintenance cash-back credit cards out there.

Chase Cards from our Partners
Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
5.0
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1.5%-5%

Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

Cashback

Intro offer

Up to $300

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!

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
5.0
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1x-5x

5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.

Points

Intro offer

60,000

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Points
Chase Freedom Flex

on Chase's website

Chase Freedom Flex®
5.0
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1%-5%

Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Earn 5% on Chase travel purchased through Chase Travel®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.

Cashback

Intro offer

$200

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

See more Chase cards

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