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Earn an impressive 5x points on rotating Chase Freedom Flex category bonuses
Rewards credit cards may be a dime a dozen now but the Chase Freedom Flex simple proves to be the opposite of that. The card was first introduced as Chase Freedom almost 15 years ago, and it was among the first consumer credit cards with a flexible points award structure.
They recently renamed the card to “Chase Freedom Flex” and the renaming also came with additional perks and benefits.
The Freedom Flex did retain some of its predecessor’s features such as the rotating categories and zero annual fees but there are more perks added to the card which makes it very valuable to points and travel hackers.
Here are some of the card’s latest features:
- Get 5% cashback of up to $1,500 on combined purchases in bonus categories for every activated quarter.
- Get 5% cashback on travel purchases made on Chase Ultimate Rewards.
- Get 3% cashback at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services.
- Get 3% cashback on drugstores.
- 5% cashback on Lyft rides through March 2022
- Earn 1% on all other purchases.
- $200 bonus Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $500 on the card within three months
- Negative: does not waive foreign transaction fees, which add about 3% to charges made abroad 👎
But wait… there’s more! Chase is offering a special, extra perk. Not only will you receive 5x points on Amazon purchases through September, but you can also earn 5x points on all grocery store spending for the first year up to $12,000 (offer ends on January 13, 2021).
Previously, the old Chase Freedom card did not have these extra 5% and 3% cashback categories which makes earning points with this card very slow.
Chase Freedom Flex Sign-Up Bonus
The Chase Freedom Flex’ current sign-up bonus is worth 20,000 points ($200) after spending $500 on the card within the first three months. In addition, part of the sign-up bonus is the potential to earn 5% cash back at grocery stores for the first year.
Both are very generous offers, especially with a credit card without an annual fee. This is the same sign-up bonus as the Freedom Flex’s closely related cousin, the Freedom Unlimited card.
There are three caveats to the grocery spending bonus. The first caveat is that spending at Walmart and Target are specifically excluded from the bonus. Probably because they are not just grocery stores but more like superstores where you can buy almost anything.
Buying a new big-screen TV and earning 5x points would be nice, but no such luck. The other caveat is that the grocery spending bonus is limited to $12,000 in spending, which equates to $1000/month.
Also please keep in mind this extra award was most likely given due to the Coronavirus pandemic and is unlikely to be renewed after the first year. Still, that leaves the possibility to earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points from grocery store spending alone. That’s enough points for a one-way business class to Europe.
That’s a lot of grocery spending… but keep in mind that you could also purchase gift cards (such as Amazon gift cards) at the grocery store and effectively earn 5x points on your Amazon order. So maybe you could get 5x points on that new TV…
Cash Back, But Potential for Points
One of the best parts of the Chase Freedom Flex card is that when it is paired with a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Ink Business Preferred card, all of the “cash back” earned with the Chase Freedom Flex card can converted into Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
From there, the points can be redeemed for business class travel on some of the best airlines in the world, including Emirates, Singapore Airlines, ANA, and Lufthansa. So while 5% cash back is nice, 5x Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be much more lucrative. For example, those Chase points can be redeemed for over 7 cents/point, an effective value of 7% cash back!
Chase Freedom Flex Bonus Categories – The Ultimate Sweet Spot
But you don’t sign up for the card for the sign-up bonus. You apply for the card because of the rotating Chase Freedom Flex bonus categories. These rotating categories change every three months, and when you make qualifying purchases in the appropriate category, you will earn 5x points.
And yes, Amazon is currently one of the Chase Freedom Flex bonus categories. So all of your Amazon purchases (well, up to $1500 each quarter) will earn 5x points.
That alone is incentive enough. Being mostly stuck at home, we’re all ordering Amazon A LOT more. But it’s not just Amazon; previous bonus categories include streaming services, grocery stores (which is a temporary perk for 12 months now!), gas stations, and internet/cable/telephone services.
These are all very practical categories that will apply to almost everybody – which means everybody could be earning 5x points on purchases they’re likely going to make no matter what. After all… you’ve got to pay your phone bill each month, right?
For example, if you make a $100 Amazon purchase this month with your card, you could earn 500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. However, if you use your Chase Sapphire or Sapphire Reserve card, you’d only earn 100 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. This is exactly why the Chase Freedom Flex card is such a great compliment to the Sapphire/Sapphire Reserve cards!
Low Intro APR
Another great feature of the card’s current welcome offer is 0% introductory interest (APR) for the first 15 months. That’s a very generous APR, especially as we face a recovery (and more uncertainty) with the ongoing pandemic. This means that you don’t have to pay any interest on carrying a balance for the first 15 months.
It’s important to note that the APR after this introductory period has ended will to the regular rate which can be higher than 20% in some cases. Clearly, this isn’t the best card if you’re planning to carry a balance from month to month. That kind of APR can decimate the value of the points you’re earning, so be sure to avoid interest entirely before jumping into the credit card points world.
Also keep in mind that this 0% interest rate does NOT apply to balance transfers. The balance transfer fee for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card is $5 or 5% of the amount transferred to the card (whichever is larger). Since other cards offer 0% balance transfer fees, it’d be best to look elsewhere if you’re planning to transfer a balance to a new credit card.
While we’re on the subject of the card’s downsides, you’ll also need to use a different card when traveling overseas. The Chase Freedom Flex card is subject to foreign transaction fees, which adds 3% a fee for any purchase in foreign currency. Not ideal. But since card is most effectively paired with one of the Chase Sapphire cards or Ink Business Preferred card, you could use one of those to avoid the foreign transaction fees.
- 20,000 point sign-up bonus (or $200 cash back)
- Ability to earn 5x points on rotating bonus categories
- 5x on groceries (an easy category to hit during Covid-19)
- No annual fee
- 0% introductory interest / APR for 15 months
- Foreign transaction fees when you go abroad
- High interest rate after introductory period
- Balance transfer fee
- Only 1x on spending outside of quarterly bonus category
The Chase Freedom Flex credit card is a fantastic way to maximize your points earning among Chase Ultimate Rewards cards. Even without an annual fee, cardholders can earn an impressive 5x points on rotating category bonuses, which currently includes Amazon. This is a great way to compliment your Chase Sapphire or Sapphire Reserve cards and make the most of your spending. For being among the oldest points-earning credit cards, it is still a worthy addition to your wallet!