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If you're in the market for a cash-back credit card, you may have already come across the Chase Freedom Flex℠ Card and Chase Freedom Unlimited® credit cards. These two no-annual-fee cards are among the best options for cash back, and with the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, you could squeeze even more value with the right strategy.

For the most part, the two cards are identical. However, there's one key difference that can help you decide which one is better for you: How you'll earn rewards.

Compare the Chase Freedom Flex vs. the Chase Freedom Unlimited

Credit Card Intro Bonus Annual Fee Rewards Rate Learn More

Chase Freedom Flex℠

$200Cash Bonus More Info

Receive a $200 bonus after you spend $500 in the first three months.

$0 1% - 5%Cashback More Info

Earn 5% back on up to $1,500 spent each quarter in rotating categories (when you activate), 5x back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x back on dining, including takeout and delivery, 3x back at drugstores and 1x back on everything else.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

1.5%Extra Cash Back More Info

Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back. That's 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.

$0 1.5% - 5%Cashback More Info

Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

Rewards Differences: Chase Freedom Flex vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Freedom cards are tough to beat, especially with some new upgrades Chase added in 2021. And because they're mostly identical, you really only need to think about the rewards program as you try to decide which one to choose.

Chase Freedom Flex Rewards

The Chase Freedom Flex is a new version of the original Chase Freedom® card, which is no longer available to new applications. On the rewards front, the card offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent on rotating categories each quarter you activate.

2024 Freedom Flex Bonus Categories

Quarter Bonus Categories

January to March

Grocery stores (excluding Walmart and Target)
Fitness clubs and gym memberships
Self-care and spa services

April to June

Coming soon

July to September

Coming soon

October to December

Coming soon

In addition to these rotating bonus categories, cardholders also earn:

  • 5% back on travel booked through Chase Travel
  • 3% back on dining, including takeout and delivery
  • 3% back on drugstore purchases
  • 1% back on other purchases

The only drawback to the Freedom Flex's rewards program is that non-bonus spending earns just 1% back. But if you can structure your spending to maximize the card's rotating bonus categories without overspending, it may be easy to make up for that downside.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Rewards

The Chase Freedom Unlimited's rewards program doesn't offer as much upside in terms of bonus categories, but its base rewards rate is 50% higher.

The card offers:

  • 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase
  • 3% back on drugstore purchases and dining, including takeout and delivery
  • 1.5% back on all other purchases

Additionally, new Freedom Unlimited cardholders enjoy an extra 1.5% cash back on all purchases (up to $20,000 spent) for the first year. This brings up to $300 in additional value to an already helpful card.

Another reason to pick the Freedom Unlimited over the Freedom Flex is that it provides more certainty. Rotating categories on the Freedom Flex change each year, so it's difficult to plan ahead, and if you don't spend much in the categories you're given, you may be stuck getting 1% back on most of your purchases. With the Freedom Unlimited, you don't have to keep track of ever-changing bonus categories or worry about earning a mediocre rate on a lot of your spending.

Bonus Offers: Freedom Flex vs. Freedom Unlimited

The Flex and the Unlimited offer new cardholders notably different sign-up bonuses; in fact, the Freedom Unlimited's takes the form of a special offer.

Chase Freedom Flex℠

  • Our Rating 4.5/5 How our ratings work
  • APR20.49%-29.24% (Variable)
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Sign-Up Bonus $200Cash Bonus More Info

    Receive a $200 bonus after you spend $500 in the first three months.

The Chase Freedom Flex card expands on the already lucrative Chase Freedom card. The Freedom Flex also gives cardholders access to Chase Ultimate Rewards, which is arguably the most versatile rewards platform, and you’ll get plenty of redemption options at good rates. Plus, if you have one of the program’s travel cards, you can transfer points from your Freedom Flex to your travel card account and get even more value and flexibility with how you redeem.

Overview

Getting more in cash back is a clear win for anyone who is considering the Freedom Flex card. This card is ideal for anyone who want to maximize cash-back rewards with the option to get more value with travel redemptions.

Pros

  • Generous earnings on select rotating categories each quarter
  • Cellphone and trip insurance coverage
  • No annual fee
  • Ability to convert rewards to transferable Ultimate Rewards points

Cons

  • Can't transfer Chase points to travel partners unless paired with select products

With the Freedom Flex, new cardholders can earn a $200 cash bonus after making $500 in purchases in the first three months. That’s a great sign-up bonus for purchases you probably would have made anyway. If you want to do the math, that’s a 40% cash-back rate on your first $500 in purchases with the card. And keep in mind that while it’s technically a cash-back credit card, you’re really earning Ultimate Rewards points, so $200 in cash back is worth 20,000 points.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Apply Now

Secure application on issuer’s website

  • Our Rating 4.5/5 How our ratings work Read the review
  • APR20.49% - 29.24% (Variable)
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Sign Up Bonus 1.5%Extra Cash Back More Info

    Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back. That's 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.

We like that the card offers a high flat rewards rate but also provides accelerated rewards on some common everyday spending categories. You’ll also get access to the Chase Travel portal, which allows you to use your cash-back earnings for travel rewards, gift cards and more. If you make this your primary card for most purchases you can quickly rack up a lot of rewards.

Overview

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card is unique for a couple of reasons. First, it comes with purchase protection and extended warranty protection you don’t see with some other cash-back cards. Second, you earn cash back in the form of points (Chase Ultimate Rewards) and when paired with another annual-fee earning Chase product, you can get even more value if you love to travel by transferring to partners.

That’s because while the Freedom cards are marketed as cash-back credit cards, they actually offer points. You can use those points to book travel through Chase at a rate of 1 cent per point. But if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you’ll get 25% and 50% more value on those travel redemptions, respectively. (Plus, the ability to transfer your points, too.)

Pros

  • No category bonuses to remember; earn at least 1.5% back on everything
  • No annual fee
  • Generous travel and purchase protection benefits

Cons

  • Can't transfer Chase points unless paired with another annual-fee Chase product

The Freedom Unlimited card doesn't offer an immediate cash bonus. Instead, new cardholders earn an extra 1.5% cash back on all purchases (up to $20,000 spent) during the first year they have the card. If you have the patience – and if your spending habits align with the Freedom Unlimited card's regular bonus categories – this bonus could very well pay off for you more in the long run.

Benefits Comparison: Chase Freedom Flex vs. Freedom Unlimited

Chase Freedom Flex℠

  • 5%

    5% Back on Rotating Categories

    Earn 5% back on the first $1,500 spent each quarter in categories that change every three months (activation required)

  • 5%

    5% Back at Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel

    Earn 5% back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel

  • 3%

    3% Back on Dining

    Earn 3% back on dining, including eligible takeout and delivery services

  • 3%

    3% Back at Drugstores

    Earn 3% back at drugstores

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

  • 3 Months

    Complimentary DashPass

    Activate by December 31, 2024, and get a complimentary 3 months of DashPass.

  • 3 Months

    Complimentary Instacart+

    Enroll by July 31, 2024, and get a complimentary 3 months of Instacart+ membership.

  • 5%

    Cash Back on Chase Travel

    Earn 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase Travel.

  • 3%

    Cash Back on Dining

    Earn 3% cash back on dining, including eligible takeout and delivery services.

  • 3%

    Cash Back at Drugstores

    Earn 3% cash back at drugstores.

  • 1.5%

    Cash Back on Other Purchases

    Earn 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

  • 5%

    Cash Back on Lyft

    Earn 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 31, 2025.

On the benefits side of things, the two cards are identical. There are two major benefits for purchases that both cards offer that every user should know about:

  • Purchase protection: Eligible new purchases are protected for 120 days against theft and accidental damage. You can get a reimbursement or replacement up to $500 per claim. If you got a new smartphone with your card and drop it the day you brought it home, the card’s benefits should cover repairs, for example.
  • Extended warranty: New eligible purchases get an extra year of warranty protection above what you get from the manufacturer. This covers most items with a warranty of three years or less.

Neither card has any major travel benefits. If you are interested in a card with more hefty benefits for purchases and travel, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® or Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Compare the Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. the Chase Sapphire Reserve

Credit Card Intro Bonus Annual Fee Rewards Rate Learn More

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

60,000Chase Ultimate Rewards Points More Info

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $1,380 (60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points * 0.023 base)

$95 1x- 5xPoints More Info

The card offers 5x points per dollar on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on dining (including eligible takeout and delivery services), as well as 3x points on select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs). This card earns 2x points on all other travel spending and 1x point per dollar everywhere else. Chase broadly defines travel to include not just airfare, hotels and rental cars, but expenses like parking, tolls and public transit too.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

60,000Chase Ultimate Rewards Points More Info

Earn 60,000 bonus points after using your card to spend $4,000 within three months of account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $1,380 (60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points * 0.023 base)

$550 1x - 10xPoints More Info

The card offers 10x points per dollar spent on hotels and rental cars as well as 5x points on air travel booked directly through Chase Ultimate Rewards immediately after you spend $300 on travel purchases annually. Additionally, earn 3x points per dollar spent on all other travel and dining purchases and 1x everywhere else.

Introductory 0% APR

Both cards currently feature 0% APR for the first 15 months after opening a new account. Once this period elapses, the Freedom Flex features an APR of 20.49%-29.24% (Variable), whereas the Freedom Unlimited features an APR of 20.49% - 29.24% (Variable).

This introductory zero-interest period applies to both new purchases and balance transfers. Just make sure you pay down your balance before the introductory 0% APR period is up in order to avoid interest. Also, be aware that both cards feature a balance transfer fee. You'll be charged either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater in the first 60 days, then either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater, once the 60-day intro period has elapsed.

Redeeming Points

Both Freedom cards give you cash back that’s easy to redeem. The best value for most people is to redeem for a statement credit that lowers your account balance or a direct deposit into any bank account in the U.S.

If you also hold one of the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel cards, including the Sapphire cards mentioned above or the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, you can transfer your Freedom card points to one of those cards. All three offer more value when you use rewards to book travel through Chase and also allow you to transfer your points to a handful of airline and hotel loyalty programs.

Compare Chase Ink Business Credit Cards

Credit Card Intro Bonus Annual Fee Rewards Rate Learn More

Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

$750Cash Bonus More Info

Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

$0 1.5%Cashback More Info

Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business. The advertised rewards type is cash back, but it’s important to note that you’re technically earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points (which can then be converted to cash back).

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

$750Cash Bonus More Info

Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

$0 1% - 5%Cashback More Info

Earn 5% cash back on your first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year. It also offers you 2% cash back on your first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year.

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

100,000Chase Ultimate Rewards Points More Info

Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $8,000 in the first three months Dollar Equivalent: $2,300 (100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points * 0.023 base)

$95 More info

This fee includes extra cards for authorized users, such as employees, at no additional charge.

1x - 3xPoints More Info

Earn 3x points on the first $150,000 of combined spending in a number of key business categories

Ink Business Premier℠ Credit Card

$1,000Cash Bonus More Info

Earn $1,000 bonus cash back after you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

$195 Up to 2.5%Cashback More Info

Earn unlimited 2.5% total cash back on purchases of $5,000 or more and unlimited 2% cash back on all other business purchases.

Deciding Between Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited

Both the Freedom Flex and Freedom Unlimited cards offer great value for no annual fee, but depending on your spending habits and desire to maximize rewards, one may be the clear winner for you.

If you prefer simplicity, the Freedom Unlimited's 1.5% cash-back rate will help you avoid dealing with unpredictable and potentially hard-to-remember bonus categories. But if you're a credit card rewards enthusiast and your goal is to maximize your rewards, the Freedom Flex provides more potential.

For most people, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card is probably a better choice. Power users might want both cards, as they allow you to layer together 5% back on the bonus categories and 1.5% everywhere else. But if you just want to keep things simple, Freedom Unlimited is probably a better card for most people.

Both cards have virtually identical benefits and fees. The big difference to focus on is how they earn rewards, which ultimately comes down to personal preference. If neither card meets your needs, check out a wider range of rewards credit cards to compare more options.

Recommended Rewards Credit Cards

Credit Card Rewards Rate Annual Fee Intro Bonus Learn More

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

1x- 5xPoints More Info

The card offers 5x points per dollar on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on dining (including eligible takeout and delivery services), as well as 3x points on select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs). This card earns 2x points on all other travel spending and 1x point per dollar everywhere else. Chase broadly defines travel to include not just airfare, hotels and rental cars, but expenses like parking, tolls and public transit too.

$95 60,000Chase Ultimate Rewards Points More Info

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $1,380 (60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points * 0.023 base)

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

1x - 3xPoints More Info

Earn 3 points for every $1 on Southwest Airlines® purchases, 2 points for every $1 on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners, 2 points per $1 on local transit and commuting (including rideshare), 2 points per $1 on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming, and 1 point for every $1 on all other purchases.

$99 Companion Pass®Southwest Rapid Rewards Points More Info

Limited-time offer: earn Companion Pass® good through 2/28/25 plus 30,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening Dollar Equivalent:

Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card

1x - 3xPoints More Info

Earn unlimited 3X points on the things that really add up - like restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, popular streaming services, and phone plans. Plus, earn 1X points on other purchases.

$0 20,000Points More Info

Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $200 cash redemption value. Dollar Equivalent: $200 (20,000 Points * 0.01 base)

Citi Premier® Card

1X-10XPoints More Info

10X total ThankYou® Points per $1 spend on hotel, car rentals and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through June 30, 2024. 3X -- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Other Hotels 3X -- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets 1X -- Earn 1 Point on All Other Purchases

$95 60,000Citi ThankYou Points More Info

Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou Points after making $4,000 worth of purchases during the first three months of account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $1,080 (60,000 Citi ThankYou Points * 0.018 base)

ER

Eric Rosenberg

Eric Rosenberg is a finance, travel, and technology writer in Ventura, California. He is a former bank manager and corporate finance and accounting professional who left his day job in 2016 to take his online side hustle full-time. He has in depth experience writing about banking, credit cards, investing, business, and other financial topics. When away from the keyboard, Eric enjoys exploring the world and spending time with his wife and little girls. You can connect with him at Personal Profitability or EricRosenberg.com.