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Why The Chase Freedom Flex Is Still An Ultimate Rewards Points Powerhouse

Last updated: February 16,2022
Originally Published: February 17,2022
by Sam Helmy

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The Chase Freedom Flex has been one of our favorite chase cards for a long time. The card got even better when Chase added 5% cash back earning on groceries (limited to the first $12,000 per year) during the Covid Pandemic. Sadly, all good things have to come to an end, and earlier this year, Chase removed the 5% earning on groceries. While this is unwelcome news, it does not totally devalue the Chase Freedom Flex, and all the positives the card brought to the table before 2020 remain. Without a doubt, as part of a good Chase Ultimate Rewards Earning strategy, the Chase Freedom Flex remains an Ultimate Rewards earning powerhouse!

Quarterly Bonus categories

Without a shadow of a doubt, the 5% rotating quarterly bonus category has always been the main draw with the Chase Freedom Flex. This remains the case, and the ability to earn 5% cashback on $1,500 worth of spending every quarter is still one of the best deals you can get. Earning $75 cashback every quarter is a real bonus regardless of whether you opt to take it as cashback or decide to convert it to Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

The quarterly bonuses can be varied and lucrative and allow you to earn a bonus multiplier on expenditure that typically would be difficult to earn more than 1X for. Take, for instance, quarter 4 of 2021. The bonus applies to spending at Walmart and PayPal. So any purchase you make and pay for using PayPal would be eligible for the 5% earning, even though if you just paid directly using your card, not via PayPal, you would only earn 1X.

Looking at the current calendar at the time of writing, you will earn 5% on Grocery store purchases (excluding Walmart and Target).

Your Chase Freedom Flex can be a great Earner on a host of different categories around year-round.
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Remember that you need to activate your quarterly bonus, and forgetting to do so will mean you will only earn 1% instead of 5%, which would be a terrible oversight. Fortunately, you do not have to activate to start earning for that quarter. As long as you activate within the registration window, you will earn the 5% bonus for all your eligible spending that quarter up to a maximum of $1,500.

If you have the Chase Freedom Flex, there is no excuse for missing out on activating your bonus. Add the task to your calendar or to-do list and remember to head over to Chase and activate your bonus; it only takes a couple of seconds of your time.

Strong Welcome Bonus

The Chase Freedom Flex comes with a  $200 welcome bonus when you spend $500 in the first 3 months of account opening. If you hold the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve, convert the cashback to Chase Ultimate Rewards points at a ratio of 1:1, yielding a total of 20,000 points.

You can choose to redeem these through the Chase portal for between 1.25cents and 1.5 cents per point, depending on which Chase Sapphire card you hold. Alternatively, you can leverage them for even more value by transferring them to one of Ultimate Rewards airline transfer partners. 

Going this route means your welcome bonus would work out worth substantially more than if you take them as $200.  

Great Earning at Drugstores and Restaurants

When it comes to drugstore purchases, the Chase Freedom Flex is amongst the best cards out there. The Flex, along with The Chase Freedom Unlimited, offer an industry-leading 3% back on drugstore purchases. This rate is pretty unbeatable from a cashback card, especially one that carries no annual fee.

Chase Freedom Flex
The Chase Freedom Flex earns 3% cashback across the board at restaurants and dining.
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In terms of dining out, the Chase Freedom Flex also delivers a respectable 3% earning rate. While it is not the highest you can get, cards that offer a higher rate tend to carry a heavy annual fee. The earning on the Freedom Flex and Freedom Unlimited is actually on par with the Sapphire Preferred and Chase’s premium travel rewards credit card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve. However, you look at it 3X on dining for a card that carries no annual fee is a big win!

Great Travel Earning potential

The Chase Ultimate Rewards points travel portal acts like an online travel agent where you can book various flights, hotels, and much more. While generally you don’t earn points or get the perks of holding elite status with an airline or hotel program by booking via a third party, this is not always bad, especially if you are booking with a travel brand you have no loyalty affiliation with.

Booking your travel awards through Chase Ultimate Rewards using your Chase Freedom Flex can be a great points earner giving you 5% back per dollar. That is an outstanding earning rate for a travel booking, especially for one made via a third-party app or site.

If you regularly book your travels through online travel agents, then using the Freedom Flex through Chase can be a points-earning powerhouse that, alternatively, you would miss out on.

No Annual Fee

The best news about the Chase Freedom Flex is that it will not cost you anything year on year. The card carries a $0 annual fee and yet delivers some outstanding earning rates that you would typically associate with more premium travel reward cards.  

As mentioned, the card offers industry-leading rates at drugstores, excellent rates on travel when booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, and a tremendous quarterly bonus. Delivering all of that for $0 annual fee is a no-brainer.

Final Thoughts

Even though the Chase Freedom Flex has recently lost its 5% earnings at grocery stores, the card remains a powerful performer. We regularly maximize your quarterly bonus and use the Chase Freedom Flex as our go-to card for any drugstore purchases. Every year just by maximizing the quarterly bonus and then converting the cashback to Chase, ultimate rewards points earn an impressive 30,000 points, not to mention those earned from other spending. Despite the loss of groceries, the Freedom flex still remains a powerhouse of any Ultimate Rewards Points earning strategy.

  • Earn 60,000 Bonus Points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • $50 Annual Ultimate Rewards hotel credit
  • 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3x points on dining, online grocery purchases, and select streaming services
  • 2x points on other travel purchases


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