The Chase Freedom Flexâ , or the Chase Freedom UnlimitedÂ®? The card names sound the same, and at a glance the rewards are similar.
Not so fast: Though the cards have a lot in common, there are a few key differences to keep in mind when deciding which is the best fit for you.
Both the Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited offer hefty sign-up bonuses, along with bonus cash back on dining and drugstore purchases, as well as travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards. The difference is their rewards structures: The Freedom Flex card offers 5% cash back on rotating quarterly categories, while the Chase Freedom Unlimited offers a flat-rate 1.5% cash back on everything.
Read on to get a rundown on the pros and cons of each card, as well as which card is best suited for you, based on your spending habits.
Chase Freedom Flex versus Chase Freedom Unlimited
Chase Freedom Flexâ
Chase Freedom UnlimitedÂ®
|Sign-up bonus||$200 if you spend $500 in first 3 months||
|Estimated yearly rewards value ($1,325 monthly spend, including sign-up bonus)||$532||$405|
|Who should get this card?||
Chase Freedom Flex overview
The Chase Freedom Flex card offers a combination of year-round and quarterly-rotating bonus cash back categories. Each quarter, you can enroll in a new bonus category from the Chase cash back calendar and earn 5% back on the first $1,500 you spend in that category (then 1% back after you reach the $1,500 threshold). Throughout the year, you’ll also get 5% back on all travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases and 1% back on all other purchases.
Upsides:Â The opportunity to earn bonus cash back in select categories year-round and in a variety of categories each quarter.
Downsides:Â The complex rewards program. To get the most out of the card, cardholders must track their spending, since the 5% rate only applies to certain categories that rotate frequently and is limited to $1,500 per quarter.
Furthermore, cardholders must log in to their Chase account and activate their rewards category by the deadline each quarter to earn the 5% rate. For example, to earn 5% cash back during the first quarter of 2021 (on select streaming services, phone, cable and internet services and at wholesale clubs), you must activate the category by March 14, 2021.
Chase 5% cash back calendar 2021
|January â March||April â June||July â September||October â December|
Chase Freedom Unlimited overview
Like the Freedom Flex, the Freedom Unlimited earns bonus cash back on Ultimate Rewards travel (5% back) and dining and drugstore purchases (3% back). However, instead of rotating cash back categories, the Freedom Unlimited offers 1.5% cash back on general purchases. Thereâs also no annual fee, and no interest on purchases for 15 months from account opening (after which a variable APR of 14.99% to 23.74% applies). The card is currently offering a $200 bonus for spending $500 in the first three months.
Upsides:Â The Freedom Unlimited card offers a straightforward rewards program that allows cardholders to earn at least 1.5% on every purchase they make â with no earning caps or rotating categories.
Downsides:Â Although 1.5% cash back is a substantial amount to earn on general purchases, it’s not the highest rate out there.