This card has been effectively replaced by the Chase Freedom Flex, which offers similar benefits, including 5% rotating bonus categories — like gas stations, Amazon and more — that tend to sync up well with household budgets.
No annual fee
5% rewards on rotating categories
Access to Chase’s Ultimate Rewards site to earn more cash back
If you value simplicity, a flat rate cash back card may be better
A foreign transaction fee
Compare to Other Cards
19.24%-29.24% Variable APR
17.24%-28.24% Variable APR
0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months
0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Detailed review: Chase Freedom®
The venerable, long-serving Chase Freedom® credit card stopped accepting applications in September 2020.
However, existing cardholders can continue to use the $0-annual-fee card and earn rewards as before. And those rewards are generous. The card still offers bonus cash back in categories that change every three months and 1% back on all other purchases.
If you’re looking for a similar card, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is a close match and was released essentially as the Freedom's replacement.
Both Freedom cards require you to track bonus categories throughout the year and activate them. If that’s too much maintenance for you, consider a flat-rate cash-back card that earns a solid rate on all purchases.
Chase Freedom®: Basics
Card type: Cash back.
Annual fee: $0.
5% cash back in quarterly bonus categories, on up to $1,500 per quarter in combined quarterly spending (you must opt in to the categories quarterly).
1% cash back on other spending.
Chase Freedom® and Chase Freedom Flex℠ bonus rewards categories for 2023
Q1 (Jan. 1-March 31)
Q2 (April 1-June 30)
Q3 (July 1-Sept. 30)
Q4 (Oct. 1-Dec. 31)
Interest rate: A variable APR applies.
Foreign transaction fee: 3%.
Rewards redemption options
Rewards earned on this card come in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards® points. Points are worth 1 cent each when redeemed as cash back. You can get that cash back in the form of a statement credit or a direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Points can also be redeemed for things like:
Gift cards (1 cent per point).
Travel booked through Chase (1 cent per point).
Amazon purchases (0.8 cents per point).
You can also transfer your points to other Chase cards that offer higher-value redemption options. More on that later.
Chase Freedom® vs. Chase Freedom Flex℠
The Chase Freedom® has been replaced by the Chase Freedom Flex℠, and the two cards share similar features, including the same yearly 5% bonus-category calendar and the same terms for earning those rewards.
But the Chase Freedom Flex℠ goes a lot further, also earning 5% back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®; 3% back at restaurants (including takeout and eligible deliveries); 3% back on drugstore purchases; and 1% back on everything else.
Current Chase Freedom® cardholders who prefer the rewards structure of the Chase Freedom Flex℠ may request a product change to that card.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® runs on the Visa payment network, while the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is a Mastercard. In terms of acceptance, it doesn't matter much if you carry a Visa or a Mastercard. But Visa and Mastercard do offer some differing side perks, and if your card changes from one network to another, your account number also will change.
The table in the dropdown below highlights the differences in rewards between the discontinued Freedom and the new Freedom Flex, as well as the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, which is still available but does not offer 5% rotating bonus categories.
Benefits and perks
There are multiple reasons why you might want to hold onto your Chase Freedom®:
Bonus categories include common expenses
This card's 5% bonus cash back is available on broad and frequently used spending categories. Categories in the past have included gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, drugstores, department stores and wholesale clubs. (See categories from the past several years here.)
One caveat: You must opt in to the bonus category each quarter by "activating" it online. Forget to do so, and you'll be stuck with 1% rewards even in the bonus category. Generally, though, you'll have until the 14th day of the third month in the quarter to sign up and earn retroactive rewards for that quarter, which is plenty of time for most people.
Transferring points amps up your value
Chase Ultimate Rewards® points are typically worth 1 cent apiece, but several Chase cards give you a way to redeem them for 25% to 50% more value. By transferring your points from the Chase Freedom® to one of these other cards, you can supercharge your rewards:
With the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, each point is worth 1.5 cents apiece when redeemed for travel booked through Chase. That makes your effective rewards rate 7.5% in the bonus categories and 1.5% everywhere else.
Points on these cards can also be transferred at a 1:1 ratio to about a dozen hotel and airline loyalty programs, including United, Southwest, JetBlue, British Airways, Marriott and Hyatt. Depending on how you use transferred points, that could get you even higher value.
Keep in mind that these other Chase cards have annual fees, so the extra value at redemption comes with its own costs.
» MORE: What is the 'Chase trifecta'?
Drawbacks and considerations
Rotating categories can be a hassle
The Chase Freedom® bonus categories change every three months, and tracking and activating them can be tedious — especially if your spending habits don't always align with the new categories. Other cards require less effort. Some examples:
The aforementioned Chase Freedom Unlimited® has fixed bonus categories, as opposed to ones that change quarterly. It earns 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®; 3% back at restaurants; 3% back on drugstore purchases; and 1.5% on all other non-bonus-category purchases. It also comes with a large bonus: Unlimited Matched Cash Back. Chase will automatically match all the cash back you earned at the end of your first year! There is no limit to how much cash back you can earn.
The Citi Double Cash® Card offers an excellent rewards rate for a $0-annual-fee card. You earn 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% when you buy something, plus 1% when you pay it off.
It's not good for traveling abroad
If you're traveling internationally, the 3% foreign transaction fees on the Chase Freedom® can get expensive. The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card is one of the few cash-back cards that don't charge these fees. It earns 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
Bonus categories might not match your spending
The Chase Freedom®'s bonus categories will be right for many people, but not for all.
The Discover it® Cash Back offers a similar rewards program to the Chase Freedom®, but with different categories. You earn 5% cash back in quarterly categories, on up to $1,500 per quarter in spending. (You must activate the categories.) All other spending earns 1% cash back. Bonus categories in the past have included things like restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores and more. There's a unique bonus for newcomers: INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
If you're looking for more customizable rewards, try the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card. It offers 5% cash back on two bonus categories you choose from a list of several options (see them below), on up to $2,000 combined spending each quarter; an unlimited 2% back on an everyday category you choose (such as gas or groceries); and 1% elsewhere.
For more information on choosing a cash-back credit card, browse our list of the best credit card deals.
Some people carry a wallet full of credit cards and enjoy squeezing the maximum rewards out of every purchase. Others prefer to use a single card that pays a great rate on everything. This card gives you 2% back on everything — 1% when you make a purchase and 1% when you pay it off.
How to decide if it's right for you
As discussed, the original Chase Freedom® card is no longer available for new cardholders. If you have it and love it, hold onto it. If you don't have it and like the sound of it, check out the Chase Freedom Flex℠. And if those rotating categories just sound like too much work, consider a different cash back credit card.
Information related to the Chase Freedom® has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.