The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is regarded as one of the best cash-back credit cards on the market. It earns up to 5% cash back on everyday purchases, comes with valuable ongoing benefits such as automatic cell phone insurance and monthly statement credits, and it’s got a competitive sign-up bonus.
But here’s the secret that even many Chase Freedom Flex cardholders don’t realize: it doesn’t actually earn cash back—and that’s a good thing!
This card earns Chase Ultimate Rewards® points—one of the most valuable travel rewards currencies in existence. You can redeem points for 1 cent each if you want. Or, you can transfer them to airline and hotel loyalty programs for a value of potentially 2+ cents per point (though, as you’ll see, this trick requires that you also hold a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred).
Because of its exceptional return rate, funneling your spending through the Chase Freedom Flex can be one of the most powerful steps you can take to springboard your next free vacation.
Here’s everything you need to know about this super versatile no-annual-fee credit card.
The Chase Freedom Flex currently offers a $200 sign-up bonus after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account.
Honestly, a $200 sign-up bonus for a no-annual-fee cash-back credit card is middle-of-the-road. But remember, you’re earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points—not cash. So you’re actually getting 20,000 Chase points after meeting minimum spending requirements.
With 20,000 Chase points, you could:
- Fly one-way in economy from New York to Barcelona on Iberia
- Spend four nights at the Grand Hyatt Bali
- Book a roundtrip economy flight between Charlotte and Miami on American Airlines
Again, the Chase Freedom Flex doesn’t have the power to transfer its rewards to travel partners on its own. We’ll cover exactly how points transfers work in just a minute.
The main draw of the Chase Freedom Flex is its strong return rate. For most everyday purchases, no other Chase Ultimate Rewards points-earning credit card can keep up—even the ones with large annual fees. Here’s what you’ll get:
- 5% cash back (5X points per dollar) on rotating categories, on up $1,500 in spending per quarter
- 5% cash back (5X points per dollar) on travel reserved through the Chase Travel Portal
- 5% cash back (5X points per dollar) on Lyft purchases through March 2025
- 3% cash back (3X points per dollar) on dining
- 3% cash back (3X points per dollar) at drugstores
- 1% cash back (1X points per dollar) on all other eligible purchases
The card also offers rotating bonus categories that are often very broad and useful.
For example, in the first quarter of 2023, you could earn 5X points (or 5% cash back) at grocery stores (except with Walmart), Target, and fitness clubs on up to $1,500 in combined spending after you activate. From April 1 through June 30, 2023, you can earn 5X points at Amazon.com and Lowe’s on up to $1,500 in spend.
If you can manage to organically spend $1,500 on purchases that fall into the card’s rotating bonus categories each quarter, you’ll earn 30,000 bonus Chase points per year.
Cash-back and gift cards
If the only Chase Ultimate Rewards points-earning card you have is the Chase Freedom Flex, you can really only redeem them for cash and gift cards at a rate of 1 cent per point. You’ll occasionally get a slightly higher return for gift cards, as Chase publishes intermittent discounts of around 10%.
You can also redeem your points to pay for your Amazon cart, but you’ll only get a rate of 0.8 cents each. It’s better to simply pay your Amazon bill with your card and later redeem your points for cash to offset your Amazon purchase.
Transferring to partners
You can transfer the rewards you earn with the Chase Freedom Flex to airline and hotel partners if you also hold one of the following cards:
All you have to do is move the rewards you accrue with the Chase Freedom Flex to one of these cards (it’s as easy as transferring money from a savings account to a checking account), and you’ll immediately unlock the full potential of your points.
You can transfer Chase points to the following airline and hotel programs:
Air Canada Aeroplan
Flying Blue (Air France and KLM)
IHG One Rewards
World of Hyatt
Here are a few examples of what you can do when transferring your points to Chase’s travel partners:
- Transfer 18,000 points to British Airways for a roundtrip economy flight between Miami and St. Thomas on American Airlines ($550+ in value)
- Transfer 19,000 points to Hyatt for two nights at the Hyatt Place Indianapolis Carmel during Indy 500 weekend ($1,000+ in value)
- Transfer 19,000 points to Singapore Airlines for a one-way coach flight to Hawaii from the East Coast on United Airlines ($450+ in value)
These are just examples of things you can accomplish with this card’s 20,000-point welcome bonus. By putting some meaningful spending on the card, you could soon find yourself with enough rewards for free flights to London and Japan—or five-star hotel stays in Paris and Dubai.
Booking through the travel portal
You can book travel through the Chase Travel Portal (Chase’s exclusive online travel agency) at a rate of 1 cent per point with the Chase Freedom Flex. However, your points can be worth considerably more if you’ve got an annual fee-incurring Ultimate Rewards earning card:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred — 1.25 cents per point (25% boost in value)
- Chase Sapphire Reserve — 1.5 cents per point (50% boost in value)
- Ink Business Preferred — 1.25 cents per point (25% boost in value)
This allows you to get a good value for your points without the need to research the intricacies of Chase transfer partners. You can redeem your Chase points at a flat rate toward paid airfare, hotel stays, rental cars, and cruises. You can even book various tours and experiences through the Chase Travel Portal.
Benefits and perks
Cell phone insurance
The Chase Freedom Flex comes with automatic cell phone insurance when you pay your monthly phone bill with the card. That’s something you don’t often find on a no-annual-fee credit card.
You’ll get up to $800 in coverage per claim, with a $1,000 maximum per year. You can file up to two claims per year. You’ll only be subject to a $50 deductible, which is extremely reasonable.
This card offers purchase coverage, making it a good payment option for expensive items. You’ll get purchase protection to cover eligible new items against damage or theft for 120 days. It offers up to $500 per claim, with a maximum of $50,000 in coverage per account.
You’ll also get extended warranty protection, which prolongs any US manufacturer’s warranty of three years or less by one additional year.
While the Chase Freedom Flex isn’t technically a travel-centered card, it still comes with a couple of notable travel insurances:
- Secondary rental car insurance — Your rental car will be covered when you pay for your rental with the Chase Freedom Flex and waive the rental agency’s CDW. The insurance will cover anything your primary insurance provider does not.
- Trip cancellation and interruption insurance — You’ll get up to $1,500 in reimbursement per person (maximum $6,000 per trip) for nonrefundable prepaid travel expenses for things like weather, illness, an evacuation order at your destination, etc.
The card also has travel and emergency assistance services. This is essentially just a phone number you can call any time to help you arrange emergency flights, medical referrals, and other things you may have a hard time figuring out on your own. Not insurance, but still helpful.
Various credits, discounts and memberships
For a no-annual-fee card, you’ll probably be surprised at the amount of value you can squeeze from peripheral benefits that sometimes go entirely unmentioned in many credit card reviews. The Chase Freedom Flex comes with:
- Free three-month Instacart+ membership (worth $9.99 per month). You must activate this benefit by July 31, 2024
- Up to $10 in Instacart credits per quarter after you activate
- Free three-month DoorDash DashPass membership when you activate by December 31, 2024. You’ll then get nine additional months of DashPass at half price
- $10 monthly Gopuff credit when you add the Chase Freedom Flex as your primary payment method with Gopuff. This promotion ends December 31, 2023.
- $5 credit each month you pay for at least three Lyft rides
- One free year of Shoprunner membership (worth $79), which gives you complimentary two-day shipping from over 100 stores
- $5 Fandango reward when you spend $20 at Fandango or its streaming service
All told, you could easily receive hundreds of dollars in value with these perks. That’s excellent for a no-annual-fee credit card
Is the Chase Freedom Flex right for you?
The Chase Freedom Flex is a great credit card for anyone who wants to earn either cash back or travel rewards. Very few credit cards give you such a potent return rate for everyday spending.
However, to unlock the full potential of the Chase points, you’ll earn with the Chase Freedom Flex, you will need an annual fee-incurring credit card that also earns Chase points (such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred).
If you’ve crunched the numbers and you simply cannot justify paying an annual fee—but you still want to earn travel rewards—there are a few no-annual-fee credit cards on the market that allow you to convert your rewards to airline miles and hotel points without the help of any other card.
For example, the no annual fee Capital One VentureOne earns Capital One miles which can be transferred to a whopping 18 travel programs, some of which can be even more valuable than those offered by Chase. This card earns:
- 5X miles per dollar on hotels and car rentals reserved through Capital One Travel
- 1.25X miles per dollar on all other purchases
As you can see, its return rates aren’t nearly as impressive as that offered by the Chase Freedom Flex. But it’s got other merits that make it worth a look. You can read our Capital One VentureOne review to learn how you can powerfully use Capital One miles for free travel.
The big allure of the Chase Freedom Flex is its ability to earn between 3X and 5X points per dollar on many common purchases.
If you’re not completely ready to cannonball into the world of points and miles with fancy travel credit cards that charge annual fees, the Chase Freedom Flex can help you to accrue travel rewards quickly.
You can cash them out at a rate of 1 cent each as soon as you earn them, but a better idea is to save them. Then, if you decide you want to book lie-flat business class seats or five-star hotels a year or two from now, you can open a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and transfer the many thousands of points you’ve earned with this card to airline and hotel programs.
You may immediately have enough rewards for a nearly free vacation!