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Chase Freedom Flex Card Review

Dayana Yochim

Written by Dayana Yochim
Edited by Carolyn Kimball
Fact-checked by Andrea Coombes

April 02, 2024

Why trust us? has no financial relationship with any of the credit card providers whose products we analyze and review. Our opinions are based solely on data and our own extensive independent research — that means unbiased guidance for consumers. Rewards cards in our cashback credit card calculator are listed in descending order according to how much money they pay out annually based on the inputs.

Managing the Chase Freedom Flex card requires putting in a little elbow grease. In exchange, you'll earn a killer 5% cash back on a rotating quarterly roster of bonus categories and 3% on dining and drugstore purchases.

The Freedom Flex card is not for hands-off cardholders. Earning the 5% cash back rate requires activating the featured bonus categories four times per year, and the rate ghosts you and reverts to 1% after you hit a $1,500 quarterly spending cap. (We know, it's a lot to keep track of.)

The Chase Freedom Flex Card is worth it if your shopping plans align with the quarterly Chase-selected 5% bonus spending categories. And the permanent 3% unlimited cash back on dining and drugstores purchases, and 5% on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal, are competitive with similar no-annual-fee rewards cards, But I don't like the 1% default rewards rate it pays on everything outside of the bonus categories, which is sure to shortchange many cardholders.

If you're mainly interested in Chase's travel rewards, I recommend the Chase Freedom Unlimited card over the Chase Freedom Flex card. Freedom Unlimited pays 1.5% back on all non-bonus-category purchases, and the same unlimited 3% back on dining and drugstore spending you can get with its sibling card. (For more see Chase Freedom Flex vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited.)

» Compare other 5% cash back cards: See our picks for the Best 5% Cash Back Cards for gas, groceries, dining, travel and more.

The basics: Earn 5% cash back on different Chase-selected bonus categories (like gas stations, grocery stores and select online merchants) on up to $1,500 in total combined purchases each quarter you activate. Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3% on dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery services) and drugstores, earn 1% on all other purchases. New cardmember offer: Earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Oh, and there's a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. And, no, we don’t get paid by the word around here.

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Chase Freedom Flex

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Cashback Per Year
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Want to compare more cards? Use our full calculator.

Chase Freedom Flex pros and cons

thumb_up_off_alt Pros

  • Multiple rotating 5% cash back categories each quarter
  • 3% unlimited cash back on dining and drugstores
  • Unlimited 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase
  • Sign-up bonus and 0% intro APR on purchases/balance transfers
  • No annual fee
  • Travel/cell phone coverage

thumb_down_off_alt Cons

  • 5% bonus categories requires quarterly activation
  • $1,500 quarterly combined cap on 5% bonus categories
  • The 1% default cash back rate
  • Rotating bonus categories = extra thinking at checkout
  • 3% foreign transaction fee

Chase Freedom Flex cashback rewards spending categories

The following table shows the cashback rewards rate per $1 spent in the six most common spending categories. The “Bonus Rate” refers to the amount you can earn in excess of the card’s standard rewards rate.

Some cashback cards limit the spending amount eligible for the bonus rate (aka the “Spend Cap”). Once you hit that cap (e.g., $1,500 spending in a particular category during a defined time period), the rewards rate on future purchases in that category reverts to the lower “Default Rate.”

Category Default Rate Bonus Rate Bonus Spend Cap Bonus Spend Period (Months)
Gas 1.00% 5.00% $1,500 3
Travel 1.00% - - -
Dining 3.00% - - -
Entertainment 1.00% - - -
Pharmacy 3.00% - - -
Groceries 1.00% - - -
Other Purchases 1.00% - - -

Note: In addition to the permanent dining and pharmacy bonus categories, the Chase Freedom Flex card an elevated 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in different spending categories each quarter. (Quarterly bonus category activation is required.) We update the cash back rates in the credit card rewards calculator each quarter to reflect the rewards rates. Not all of the potential bonus categories are reflected in the table above.

The Chase Freedom Flex Card also pays an unlimited 5% cashback on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

What we like

Universally applicable 5% cash back categories. Chase features multiple bonus categories each quarter with at least one that applies to a wide swath of cardholders. (An example of one recent quarter's offerings: Groceries, fitness clubs and gym memberships, self-care spa services.)

Good offers for new cardholders. The Freedom Flex card consistently has offered a welcome bonus and 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers, both of which make it easier to face the pain-in-the-tuchus rewards management chores. On top of that ...

Travelers get 5% unlimited cash back on travel-related spending booked through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program (, which includes airfare, hotel, car rentals, cruises and activities.

A nice extra: Freedom Flex’s trip cancellation/interruption insurance up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip on covered situations.

Same deal if you’re clumsy with your phone: Pay your cell bill with the card and you’re covered on two claims a year up to $1,000 total after the $50 deductible.

Offers multiple reward redemption options, including getting your cash back as a statement credit or direct deposit, gift cards, or using it for travel redemptions or towards purchases on

Option to transfer points to your other Chase cards (of the Sapphire variety, for example) to increase their value from 1 to up to 1.5 cents per point.

What we don't like

5% cash back is limited. Be mindful of the $1,500 quarterly — quarterly! — spending cap on purchases in the 5% bonus categories. Because the cap applies to the combined total of purchases across all the bonus categories, you could hit the rewards ceiling quickly.

Requires activating rewards bonus category 👏 every 👏 three 👏 months. That said, Chase offers a grace period if you miss the deadline and will apply the bonus rate to qualifying purchases that date back to the beginning of the quarter.

Pays just 1% cash back on all purchases that don't qualify for the higher rewards tiers compared to 1.5% on the similar Chase Freedom Unlimited card. (For other points of difference, see Chase Freedom Flex vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited.) If a lot of your spending falls outside of the designated bonus categories, you could be missing out on earnings. (It can pay to also have a flat-rate cash back credit card in your wallet to up your overall rewards.)

Like so many rewards cards, groceries from Target and Walmart aren’t eligible for any supermarket cashback bonuses. What’s up with the hatin’ on our big-box go-tos?

The 3% foreign transaction fee means the Chase Freedom Flex isn't the best travel companion if you're venturing outside of the U.S.

Balance transfers incur a 3% ($5 minimum) fee on the amount transferred during the first 60 days of card ownership. After that, it jumps up to to 5%.

The bottom line

Is the Chase Freedom Flex the best rewards card for your wallet? The answer depends entirely on your spending patterns. Let the numbers speak for themselves: Use the Cashback Credit Card Calculator to see which credit card pays back the highest rewards based on how much you spend each month.

Chase Freedom Flex fine print

Here’s the lowdown, straight from the source, on the Chase Freedom Flex with Ultimate Rewards Card’s rewards program and the card’s fine print.

Does the Chase Freedom Flex charge an annual fee?

No, there is no annual fee for the Chase Freedom Flex.

tips_and_updates Trivia time!

How common are annual fees? Roughly 17% of the consumer cash back cards we review charge an annual fee. They range from $39 to $99, with an average annual fee of $67.

Does the Chase Freedom Flex offer a welcome bonus?

Yes, the Chase Freedom Flex has a welcome bonus of $200.

tips_and_updates Fun fact

More than half (55%) of the consumer cash back credit cards we track in the database offer a welcome bonus, ranging from $30 up to $300. The average sign-up bonus for new cardholders is $197, with the median being $200.

How much cash back can I earn with the Chase Freedom Flex?

The average American that spends $1000 per month will earn $225.60 in cash back per year using the Chase Freedom Flex. For comparison, the average annual rewards payout from the cashback credit cards in the database is $191.26, and $180 is the median.

These calculations are based on average consumer spending data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the reward payout rates from the providers we track. Of course, you’re so much more than an average data point (aka “consumer unit,” in BLS parlance). The amount you can earn in cashback rewards using the Chase Freedom Flex depends entirely on your unique spending habits.

Find out exactly how much you’ll rake in with the Chase Freedom Flex by tailoring the spending inputs in the calculator above.

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The results of the Credit Card Rewards Calculator are based on the monthly spending amounts you enter and the annual dollar value of the rewards each credit card program pays per $1 spent. Credit card companies often express this payout amount as a percentage (e.g., 1.5% of every dollar spent) or on a points basis (e.g. ,1.5 points for every dollar spent). We converted all of them to a dollar amount (“Cash Back Per Year”) to make comparing offers easier.

To calculate the amount of cash back you could earn per year, we factored in:

  • Spend category inputs: The default dollar values for each “Spend Category” in the Best Cashback Credit Cards tool — gas, groceries, travel, restaurant, entertainment, pharmacy, other — are based on average American spending data from the Consumer Expenditure Surveys from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. We also include additional spend categories (such as streaming services, online shopping, utilities, transit, Amazon and more) to help you see which rewards cards are most closely aligned with your actual spending patterns. We encourage you to customize the monthly spend inputs for the most accurate results.
  • Tiered rewards rates: If a rewards credit card pays higher cashback rates on certain spending categories (also called “Bonus Rewards”), that difference is reflected in the total “Cash Back Per Year” tally.
  • Rewards spending caps: Some cards impose category- or time-based limits (monthly, quarterly, annually) that affect the amount of rewards you can earn. For example, a card may pay 3% cash back on groceries on up to $1,000 of spending each quarter, then revert to the base/default rewards rate until the following quarter. We accounted for bonus spending caps and timeframe in the calculations.
  • Default rewards rates: Purchases that exceed a spending cap are usually subject to a lower default rewards rate (e.g., 1% or 1.5%). We mathed that out too.
  • Annual fees: If a rewards card charges an annual fee, we deducted that amount from the “Cash Back Per Year” total to provide a true accounting of a card’s annual rewards payout.

What’s not included in the “Cash Back Per Year” total is the cash value of any sign-up/introductory bonus. We highlight any Welcome Bonus separately. While sign-up bonuses can be the most lucrative part of getting a new cashback rewards credit card, not everyone will want or be able to do what it takes to earn the extra cash. (It usually requires spending a certain amount in a specified time period after the card is activated.)

About the Editorial Team

Dayana Yochim
Dayana Yochim

Dayana Yochim has been writing (articles, books, podcasts, stirring speeches) about personal finance and investing for more than two decades, focusing on bringing clarity and the occasional comedic aside to what is often a murky, humorless topic. She’s written for NerdWallet, The Motley Fool,, Woman’s Day, Forbes, Newsweek and others, and been a guest expert on "Today," "Good Morning America," CNN, NPR and wherever they’ll hand her a mic.

Carolyn Kimball
Carolyn Kimball

Carolyn Kimball is Managing Editor for Reink Media Group and the lead editor for content on Carolyn has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience at major media outlets including NerdWallet, the Los Angeles Times and the San Jose Mercury News. She specializes in coverage of personal financial products and services, wielding her editing skills to clarify complex (some might say befuddling) topics to help consumers make informed decisions about their money.

Andrea Coombes
Andrea Coombes

Andrea Coombes has 20+ years of experience helping people reach their financial goals. Her personal finance articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, MarketWatch, Forbes, and other publications, and she's shared her expertise on CBS, NPR, "Marketplace," and more. She's been a financial coach and certified consumer credit counselor, and is working on becoming a Certified Financial Planner. She knows that owning pets isn't necessarily the best financial decision; her dog and two cats would argue this point.