Chase Freedom Flex℠ Review: Rotating Cashback Card with No Annual Fee

Zina Kumok

Writer

If you're considering a cashback card to add to your wallet, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is a no-annual-fee card that has an easy-to-earn welcome offer and earns up to 5% cashback.

For travelers and those who like to dine out, the increased cashback rates on those categories are pretty appealing. And if you're willing to put in the work to activate the rotating categories each quarter, you can earn even more. And all of that with no annual fee!

Of course, this card may not be for everyone (to get the most out of it, you need to be organized with your credit card usage), so you'll want to consider all the factors before applying.

Quick Facts: Chase Freedom Flex℠

  • Rewards rate: 5% cashback on rotating categories each quarter (up to $1,500 in purchases, then 1%; activation required) and travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3% on dining and drugstore purchases; 1% on all other spending
  • Welcome offer: Earn $200 cashback after spending $500 in the first three months
  • Annual fee: $0

. . .

Overview of the Chase Freedom Flex

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is a no-annual-fee rewards card that can earn you a bonus of $200 cashback if you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months of having the card.

This card has several ways you can earn bonus cashback. First off, you can earn 5% cashback with special rotating categories that change every quarter, up to $1,500 in combined spending in these categories. You do need to activate these rewards each quarter to take advantage. You'll also earn 5% cashback on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

You'll earn 3% cashback on restaurants and drugstores and 1% on all other purchases.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Sign-up bonus is easy to earn

Cons

  • Special 5% cashback categories rotate every quarter
  • Must manually activate categories 
  • Limited travel perks

Welcome Offer

As a new cardholder, you can earn a $200 sign-up bonus after spending $500 or more in the first three months. This means spending approximately $166.67 a month. While many cards give you six months to earn the bonus, this is still a fairly reachable goal. 

Note that if you have had this card before, you may not qualify for the welcome offer if you received the bonus within the past 24 months.

And remember, the account opening date is when the countdown starts — not when you receive the credit card. If you’re unsure when your three-month window stops, contact customer service and ask them directly.

Earning Rewards with the Chase Freedom Flex

With the Chase Freedom Flex℠, you earn a straight cashback percentage on everyday purchases and an extra cashback percentage on certain items. 

Here’s how the cashback rate breaks down:

  • 5% on rotating categories that change every quarter, activation required
  • 5% on travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal 
  • 3% on restaurants, including take-out and some delivery services
  • 3% on drugstore purchases 
  • 1% on all other purchases

From now until Mar. 31, 2025, you can also get 5% cashback on Lyft rides.

The 5% cashback rate will apply to special categories that change every quarter. However, you must log onto your Chase.com account and manually activate the rewards. If you don’t, you won’t receive the extra 5% cashback. 

Learn more about the Chase Freedom Flex℠.

Redeeming Rewards

You can convert your cashback into statement credit, which will be applied to your account. You can also have the funds deposited into your bank account, which doesn’t have to be a Chase account.

If you like, you can also redeem the rewards into gift cards from popular retailers or use them for travel-related expenses through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Chase also lets you link your points to your Amazon.com account so you can buy items there with your rewards.

Additional Benefits

Chase Credit Journey

As a cardholder, you get free access to Chase Credit Journey, which shows your credit score. The score will be updated every week. If you’re trying to rebuild your credit, using this service can help you see if you’re on the right track. 

Pay Over Time

Chase has a pay-over-time program called My Chase Plan. If you buy something with a card that costs $100 or more, you can break it down into several payments and avoid interest charges. You’ll still have to pay a fee, but this may cost less than your total annual percentage rate (APR).

Free DashPass

With the card, you can get three free months of DashPass, DoorDash’s membership service. If you have DashPass, you can get $0 delivery fees and lower prices on service fees. DashPass is eligible for the DoorDash and the Caviar app. 

Once the free DashPass promo period is over, you get 50% off a regular DashPass subscription, which normally costs $9.99 per month. The 50%-off deal will last for nine months, but you can cancel this at any point. DoorDash says the typical user saves $4 to $5 per order if they have DashPass.

Free Instacart+

You can also get a free Instacart+ membership. This service includes no delivery fees for subscribers and lower service fees. After the three months have expired, you’ll automatically be subscribed to the paid service.

You'll also get a $10 statement credit per quarter (only through Jul. 31, 2024) if you pay for Instacart with the Chase Freedom Flex. 

Learn more about the Chase Freedom Flex℠.

Who Should Get the Chase Freedom Flex?

If you are new to the credit card game, you might benefit from Chase Freedom Flex. With a modest sign-up bonus and a basic cashback rewards system, it's simple to understand. 

However, if you have excellent credit, you should probably aim for more prestigious credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or even the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Also, the Chase Freedom Flex does come with a 3% foreign transaction fee, so if you’re going abroad, you may want to pick another card.

Alternatives to the Chase Freedom Flex

Chase Freedom Flex vs. Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • Rewards rate: 5% cashback on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; 3% on dining, entertainment, select streaming subscriptions, and grocery store purchases (excluding superstores); 1% on all other purchases; 10% on Uber and Uber Eats purchases (through Nov. 14, 2024); 8% on Capital One Entertainment purchases
  • Welcome offer: Earn $200 after spending $500 in the first three months
  • Annual fee: $0
capital one savorone cash rewards credit card

. . .

Similar to the Chase Freedom Flex, the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card offers 5% on travel booked through its portal, 3% cashback on dining, and 1% cashback on all other purchases.

However, where it differs is that rather than having rotating categories, the SavorOne Cash Rewards offers a few consistent higher-earning categories, such as a steady 3% cashback on entertainment, streaming services, and grocery stores, and 8% on Capital One Entertainment purchases. 

You can earn a $200 sign-up bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months, similar to the Chase Freedom Flex bonus offer. There's also no annual fee. 

If you spend a lot of money on entertainment or don't want to deal with rotating categories, the SavorOne Cash Rewards may be a better option for you.

Get started with the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card.

Chase Freedom Flex vs. Discover it Cash Back Credit Card

  • Rewards rate: 5% cashback on rotating categories each quarter (up to $1,500 in purchases, then 1%; activation required); 1% on everything else
  • Welcome offer: Discover Cashback Match™ will double all cashback earned in the first 12 months
  • Annual fee: $0
Discover it Cash Back Card

. . .

The Discover it Cash Back Credit Card is another rotating cashback card that, like the Chase Freedom Flex, provides 5% cashback on special categories that change every quarter, plus 1% cashback on all other purchases. It also doesn’t charge an annual fee.

However, a bonus with this card is that Discover will match your cashback earned after the first year.

Rewards can be redeemed as statement credit or used at Amazon.com and PayPal.

Chase Freedom Flex vs. Citi Double Cash® Card

  • Rewards rate: Up to 2% on all purchases: 1% when you buy, and another 1% when you pay your balance; limited-time offer of 5% total cashback on hotel and car rentals booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24
  • Welcome offer: Earn $200 cashback after you spend $1,500 in the first 6 months
  • Annual fee: $0
Citi Double Cash

. . .

The Citi Double Cash Card is a unique cashback rewards card because it earns a flat 2% cashback on all purchases — 1% when you make the purchase and 1% when you make your payment. This may be a better option if you don't want to deal with rotating categories every quarter.

Also, if you need some motivation to keep on top of paying off your balance each month, the cashback structure of this card is a good nudge, since that's when you'll earn the other 1% cashback.

Like the other cards listed here, it also has no annual fee.

Final Thoughts

With up to 5% cashback in selected and rotating categories, no annual fee, and an attainable sign-up bonus, the Chase Freedom Flex is a good credit card choice for anyone getting into the world of cashback rewards.

However, if you don't like the idea of tracking rotating categories, or if you're looking for enhanced travel perks, you may want to consider cards with a more standardized cashback program or a premium card with an annual fee.

Learn more about the Chase Freedom Flex℠.


Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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I'm an award-winning lawyer and personal finance expert featured in Inc. Magazine, CNBC, the Today Show, Business Insider and more. My mission is to make personal finance accessible for everyone. As the largest financial influencer in the world, I'm connected to a community of over 20 million followers across TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. I'm also the host of the podcast Erika Taught Me. You might recognize me from my viral tagline, "I read the fine print so you don't have to!"

I'm a graduate of Georgetown Law, where I founded the Georgetown Law Entrepreneurship Club, and the University of Notre Dame. I discovered my passion for personal finance after realizing I was drowning in over $200,000 of student debt and needed to take action-ultimately paying off my student loans in under 2 years. I then spent years as a corporate lawyer representing Fortune 500 companies, but I quit because I realized I wanted to have an impact; I wanted to help real people and teach them that you can create a financial future for yourself.

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Advertiser Disclosure

Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. This in no way affects our recommendations or article content.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. This in no way affects our recommendations or article content.