Chase Shakes Up Freedom Cards: New ‘Flex’ Option, New Categories for Unlimited

The new card will feature 5% rotating bonus categories plus elevated rewards on other spending. The original Chase Freedom will stop taking applications.

Sara RathnerAugust 31, 2020
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Chase Shakes Up Freedom Cards: New 'Flex' Option, New Categories for Unlimited

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Chase is adding to its Freedom family of credit cards with the new Chase Freedom Flex℠.

The $0-annual-fee card debuted on Sept. 15, 2020. It combines some of the benefits offered by the Chase Freedom® and the Chase Freedom Unlimited® — including rotating 5% cash-back categories and extra cash back at grocery stores for the first year — and adds some bonus categories of its own.

But unlike the existing Freedom cards, which run on the Visa payment network, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is a Mastercard, offering Mastercard World Elite benefits to all cardholders.

Chase is also adding new ways for Chase Freedom Unlimited® cardholders to earn more cash back.

The "original" Chase Freedom®, meanwhile, will be closing to new applicants.

Chase Freedom Flex
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Meet the Chase Freedom Flex℠

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ starts out with a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Here's what else it offers:

Spending Rewards

  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in rotating bonus categories each quarter you activate. The Chase Freedom Flex℠ will offer the same bonus categories as the Chase Freedom®, which, for the third quarter of 2020, include Amazon.com and Whole Foods.

  • 5% back at grocery stores (not including Target or Walmart) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

  • 5% back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

  • 3% back at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services, like GrubHub, DoorDash and Uber Eats.

  • 3% back at drugstores.

  • 1% back on all other purchases.

Nerd tip: All of the Freedom cards technically earn their rewards as Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, which are worth 1 cent apiece when redeemed for cash back in the form of a statement credit. But you can also transfer your points to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, where each point is worth 25% to 50% more when redeemed for travel through Chase.

Cell phone protection

Pay your monthly cell phone bill with your Chase Freedom Flex℠ to get protection against covered theft of, or damage to, your phone. You can get up to $800 per claim and up to $1,000 per year, with a maximum of two claims in a 12-month period. There is a $50 deductible per claim.

Cardmember discounts

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ also matches these benefits from the Chase Freedom® and the Chase Freedom Unlimited®:

  • Get 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2022.

  • Get three months of DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service offering unlimited $0 delivery fees and lower service fees on food delivery orders of $12 or more. DashPass typically costs $9.99 per month.

Changes to Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card
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The Chase Freedom Unlimited® currently offers 1.5% cash back on purchases, and new cardholders earn 5% cash back at grocery stores (not including Target or Walmart) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

Those benefits remain in place, but new and existing Chase Freedom Unlimited® cardholders will also earn:

  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

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

  • 3% back at drugstores.

The new benefits kick in for cardholders on Sept. 13, according to an email to cardholders from Chase. Cardholders don't have to do anything to get them — the new rewards rates will apply automatically.

It continues to offer the following sign-up bonus: Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

No changes on original Freedom

The Chase Freedom® will be closed to new applicants, but current cardholders can keep their accounts open and will notice no change to how their card earns rewards: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 per quarter on rotating bonus categories (activation required), and 1% back on all other purchases.

In July 2020, both the Chase Freedom Unlimited® and the Chase Freedom® began offering new applicants 5% cash back at grocery stores in the first 12 months on up to $12,000 in spending. While Target and Walmart are excluded, you can earn that extra cash back with grocery delivery services like Shipt and Instacart.

Comparing rewards

Rewards and bonus offers in effect starting Sept. 15, 2020:

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Chase Freedom®

Offer for new cardholders:

• $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

• 5% cash back at grocery stores (not including Target or Walmart) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

None — card is no longer accepting applications

Rotating bonus categories:

None.

• 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.

None.

Rewards on other purchases:

1.5% cash back

1% cash back

1% cash back

Can you switch from one product to another?

You can request a product change from the Chase Freedom® and the Chase Freedom Unlimited® to the Chase Freedom Flex℠, but you won’t qualify for the sign-up bonus or the bonus cash back at grocery stores in the first 12 months.

However, if you apply for the Chase Freedom Flex℠ as a brand-new applicant, even if you already have other Chase cards, you would be eligible for the bonus and promotion, assuming you are under the Chase 5/24 rule.

Information about the Chase Freedom® has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been provided or reviewed by the issuer of this card.

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