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Credit cards offer really great welcome bonuses for new cardholders, however, it’s also very important to maximize your everyday spending.
I previously wrote about the Chase Sapphire credit cards, which earn 2x or 3x points on travel and dining. Those are great bonuses, but what about credit card spending on everything else? There’s gas, groceries, utilities, Amazon purchases, doggy daycare (or maybe actual human daycare)… the list goes on.
Luckily, there’s a way to earn additional credit card points for these kinds of purchases, too. At first glance, they may look like run-of-the-mill cash back credit cards, but I wouldn’t do that to you. 🙌
Please note signup offers and bonus categories are subject to change.
Chase Freedom Flex
The Chase Freedom Flex is one of the latest additions to the Chase credit card line, although it’s not entirely new but more of an upgrade to the old Chase Freedom credit card.
It retained most of its predecessor’s perks and benefits such as the no-annual-fee feature but there are a few changes to it.
Here are the Chase Freedom Flex’s benefits:
- 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter (needs activation)
- Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
- Get 5% cashback on travel purchases made on Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Get 3% cashback on dining (includes takeout and eligible delivery)
- Get 3% cashback on drugstores
- 5% cashback on Lyft rides until March 2022
- Earn 1% on all other purchases
- Negative: does not waive foreign transaction fees, which add about 3% to charges made abroad 👎
The old Chase Freedom card only had the 5% cashback on the rotating categories and did not have the additional 5% and 3% cashback categories.
The main takeaway with the Chase Freedom Flex is the 5x bonus (1 point = 1%) on the quarterly spending categories and its new cashback categories. Even if the rotating categories need activation, it’s a very valuable card because it doesn’t have any annual fee.
Used alone, the cashback from Chase Freedom Flex card probably won’t be sending you abroad on some crazy awesome trip. Still, the 5x points on quarterly bonus categories and the additional cashback categories can add up in the long run which you can use to redeem some decent awards.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
One of the most popular Chase cards is the Chase Freedom Unlimited. It has zero annual fees and offers an additional 1.5% cashback on all your purchases (up to $20,000) in your first year. That’s about $300 worth of bonus cashback if you max out the 20k spending limit
Here are the card’s rewards categories:
- Earn 5% on travel purchases on the Ultimate Rewards portal.
- Earn 3% on dining (includes takeout and eligible delivery services)
- Earn 3% on drugstore purchases
- Unlimited 1.5% cashback on all other purchases
Chase Freedom Flex Vs Chase Freedom Unlimited
Aside from the Chase Freedom Flex’s quarterly rotating categories, the main difference between the two credit cards is the cashback you’ll earn on “other purchases.”
The Chase Freedom Flex only gives you 1% cashback while the Chase Freedom Unlimited gives you various cashback rates between 1.5% to 5% on select categories. There’s a big difference when it comes to points earnings which is why people would sometimes choose the Chase Freedom Unlimited.
Again, used alone, you probably won’t be booking a business class flight on Emirates, but it’s another way to maximize your points earning through credit card spending. If you spend at least a thousand dollars per month, that’s almost $50 worth of cashback.
Can you have both of these cards? The answer is YES, however, we don’t really recommend it as it doesn’t really make sense having both cards that only earn cashback. We’d recommend pairing it with another Chase credit card that earns airline miles: Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred. We’ll explain why below.
Read More: How To Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
Chase “Freedom to Double Dip”
If you have one of the Chase Sapphire cards AND one of the Chase Freedom cards, you can combine ALL of your points together and transfer them to one of the Chase airline partners.
So rather than being simple cash back credit card, the Chase Freedom cards have the ability to earn “real” points. And not just any “real” points, but one of the best airline credit card currencies: Ultimate Rewards points.
Even both of the cards’ $200 sign-up bonus will effectively become 20,000 Ultimate Rewards points, making a pretty sweet deal even sweeter.
For example, if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve you could earn 3x points on dining and travel. Meanwhile, the Chase Freedom Unlimited will let you earn 5% back on travel purchased on the Ultimate Rewards portal, 3% on dining, 3% on drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases. That sure beats earning 1 point/dollar on your average airline credit card.
Take note that the two Chase Sapphire cards, as well as the two Chase Freedom cards, are impacted by the Chase 5/24 rule. So if you intend to sign up for multiple cards, you’ll want to take Chase’s rule into consideration to properly time your credit card applications.
Alternatively, you could downgrade your Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve card to a Chase Freedom Flex card. While you won’t earn 80,000 or 50,000 bonus points, this may be a better option because:
- There are no annual fees.
- You can acquire a Freedom card without actually “applying” for an additional credit card, which would count against the Chase 5/24 rule.
This is exactly what I did when I switched from the Sapphire Preferred card to the Sapphire Reserve card. First I downgraded my Sapphire Preferred card to the no-annual-fee Chase Freedom Unlimited card. This kept me under the 5/24 limit since Chase does NOT consider downgrades as new credit card applications.
I then signed up for the Sapphire Reserve card, which allowed me to pool Ultimate Rewards points from both my Sapphire and Freedom credit cards. So I went from earning 2x points to 3x points on travel and dining, and then 1.5x points on all other purchases. Perhaps we’ll have enough points for another beach vacay in business class soon…🤔
The Chase “Freedom to Double Dip” is our go-to method to maximize credit card spending. And unlike George Constanza, you can double-dip this chip all you want.
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