Chase Freedom Flex vs. Citi Double Cash: Flex Stronger For Most

Both are excellent cash-back credit cards, but for different reasons. Your decision will depend largely on how much work you want to put into a cash-back card.
Kimberly Palmer
By Kimberly Palmer 
Updated
Edited by Kenley Young
Chase Freedom Flex vs. Citi Double Cash: Bonus Rewards or Simplicity?

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Both the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the Citi Double Cash® Card are stellar no-annual-fee cash-back credit cards. But they work in different ways, and your choice will hinge on how much effort you want to put into managing a credit card.

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers higher ongoing cash-back potential, as well as a lucrative sign-up bonus. But it requires a lot of effort to manage.

The Citi Double Cash® Card, on the other hand, is as straightforward as cards get, offering a solid 2% back on all purchases: 1% when you buy, 1% when you pay it back.

If you’re willing to put in some effort and your spending patterns match up with the Flex's bonus categories, then it may be the card for you. If you're looking for a no-muss, no-fuss card that earns good rewards no matter where you spend, then the Double Cash is the better pick.

How the cards compare
Chase Freedom Flex
Chase Freedom Flex℠
Apply now

on Chase's website

Citi® Double Cash Card
Citi Double Cash® Card
Apply now

on Citibank's application

Rates & Fees
Annual fee
$0
$0
Sign-up bonus

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

Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

Rewards
  • 5% cash back in quarterly bonus categories on up to $1,500 in combined spending each quarter. Activation of bonus categories is required. (See the quarterly 5% bonus calendar below.)

  • 5% back on travel booked through Chase.

  • 3% back on dining, including takeout and delivery services.

  • 3% back on drugstore purchases.

  • For all cardholders, through March 31, 2025, 5% back on qualifying Lyft services purchased through the Lyft app.

  • 1% on all other purchases.

2% cash back on all purchases: 1% when you buy, 1% when you pay it back.

APR

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

0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months, and then the ongoing APR of 19.24%-29.24% Variable APR .

Foreign transaction fee

3%.

3%.

Still not sure?
🤓Nerdy Tip

Chase Freedom Flex℠ is a World Elite Mastercard , which means it comes with cell phone insurance, discounts and incentives like Shoprunner, and hotel perks through the Mastercard Luxury Hotel and Resorts program.

Why the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is better for optimizers

Impressive sign-up bonus

The sign-up bonus is large for a card with a $0 annual fee: Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

The standard offer for the Citi Double Cash® Card does not include a sign-up bonus.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Although the Citi Double Cash® Card has not traditionally offered a sign-up bonus, the card currently has this offer in effect: Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

Rotating 5% bonus categories ...

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ earns 5% cash back in rotating bonus categories, on up to $1,500 in combined spending each quarter. (You must activate those categories online.)

That means you have the potential to earn up to $300 each year if you max out those bonus categories. Here's a look at Chase's 5% calendar:

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)

  • 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.

The Double Cash has no 5% cash-back opportunities.

... On top of fixed bonus categories

But with the Chase Freedom Flex℠, there's more. Cardholders also earn 5% back on travel booked through Chase; 3% back on dining, including takeout and delivery; 3% back on drugstore purchases; and 1% back on all other purchases. (Also, through March 31, 2025, the card also earns 5% back on qualifying Lyft services).

The Double Cash, again, does not feature bonus categories, but simply a flat rewards rate on everything.

Better opportunities to maximize point value

With the Chase Freedom Flex℠, cash back is always an option, and points are worth 1 cent each when redeemed this way. You can also redeem rewards at the same penny-per-point value for things like gift cards and for travel booked through Chase.

And speaking of travel, you may be able to get more bang for your points if you have another Chase card that offers higher-value redemption options. For example, if you also hold the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you could move points earned on your Flex to that card, which allows you to redeem rewards for travel through Chase at a 25% higher rate.

Cards like Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® also feature about a dozen travel partners (major airlines and hotel chains) to which you can transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio.

The Citi Double Cash® Card offers a version of this. It allows you to turn your cash rewards into Citi ThankYou points, and you can redeem those rewards for things like gift cards and travel, too. And similarly, owning another ThankYou-rewards-earning card like the Citi Strata Premier℠ Card or the Citi Prestige® Card would allow you to combine your points and redeem with Citi's travel transfer partners, in some cases at elevated point values.

But for many, Citi's travel partners will be less desirable. For example, there's only one domestic airline (JetBlue).

A 0% intro APR on purchases

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers a 0% intro APR on purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 20.49%-29.24%, Variable APR. So if you need some breathing room to finance an expensive purchase upfront, it can help.

The Double Cash does not offer a 0% promotional APR rate on purchases.

Where the Citi Double Cash® Card shines

Low maintenance, solid rewards on everything

If you prefer credit cards that don’t require active management, then the Citi Double Cash® Card is probably the better fit for you.

It offers a cumulative 2% cash back on all purchases (1% when you make the purchase and 1% when you pay it off). That's high for a flat-rate card, and it means you don’t have to worry about activating any bonus categories or tracking them throughout the year.

A 0% intro APR on balance transfers

The Citi Double Cash® Card could be a slightly better tool for getting you out of some existing debt.

It offers an intro 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months, and then the ongoing APR of 19.24%-29.24% Variable APR. That's among the lengthiest balance transfer offers on the market.

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers a shorter 0% promotional APR window on balance transfers.

Why not both?

In this case, it doesn't have to be one or the other. Why not use these cards in tandem, for the best of both worlds?

You could use the Chase Freedom Flex℠ whenever you spend in bonus categories, and pull out the Citi Double Cash® Card for use everywhere else.

That way, you'll never have to settle for anything less than 2% back in rewards, all the time. Or, check out NerdWallet's best credit cards to see all your options.

Travel Cards from Our Partners
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

75,000

Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's over $900 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Points
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!

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
4.7
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

2x-5x

Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.

Miles

Intro offer

75,000

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

Miles
See more travel cards

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