Chase Freedom Flex: Product Change Or Apply?

Filed Under: Chase, Credit Cards
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We recently saw the introduction of the spectacular new Chase Freedom FlexSM Credit Card, and I’ve received quite a few reader questions about the best way to acquire this card. Specifically, are you better off product changing another Chase card to this, or applying outright?

In this post, I wanted to look at the pros and cons of each option, though I think there’s a clear winner.

Why you should get the Chase Freedom Flex Card

The Chase Freedom Flex is essentially the new version of the Chase Freedom Card. While the Freedom Card continues to be available for existing cardmembers, it’s no longer open to new applicants.

The reason you want the no annual fee Freedom Flex is because of its rewards structure. The card offers:

  • 5x points (or 5% cash back) in rotating quarterly categories, on up to $1,500 of spending per quarter
  • 3x points (or 3% cash back) at drugstores
  • 3x points (or 3% cash back) on dining
  • 1x points (or 1% cash back) on all other purchases

If you have this card in conjunction with one earning premium Ultimate Rewards points — the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (review), Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card (review), or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card (review) — then these rewards can also be transferred to Chase’s airline and hotel partners.

Two ways to get the Freedom Flex Card

There are two ways that you can acquire the Chase Freedom Flex — you can either product change an existing Chase card, or you can apply for the card outright.

You may assume that you’re not eligible for the Freedom Flex bonus if you already have the Freedom Card, and you may also think it’s logical to product change from the Freedom to the Freedom Flex, given that the latter is objectively better. But there’s a better method for many…

Benefits of applying outright for the Freedom Flex

It’s worth understanding that you’re eligible to apply outright for the Chase Freedom Flex, even if you already have the Freedom Card and/or Chase Freedom Unlimited® (review).

Personally I already have the Freedom and Freedom Unlimited, and I absolutely intend to apply outright for the Freedom Flex. Why?

  • If you apply outright you get the welcome bonus of 20,000 points (or $200 cash back) after spending $500 within three months
  • If you apply outright you get the other part of the welcome bonus, which is 5x points (or 5% cash back) at grocery stores, not including Target or Walmart, for the first $12,000 of spending in the first 12 months
  • If you have both the Freedom Card and Freedom Flex Card, you can earn 5x points in rotating quarterly categories on both cards; in other words, this increases your 5x points quarterly limit from $1,500 of spending to $3,000 of spending
  • Having as many no annual fee cards long term as possible is great for your credit score, since it’s a great tool to increase your average age of accounts; I consider it a huge win anytime I can pick up a no annual fee card that’s also rewarding

Benefits of product changing to the Freedom Flex

While there are compelling reasons to apply for the Chase Freedom Flex outright, what are the benefits of product changing?

  • There’s no hard inquiry on your credit report when you product change cards, while there is if you apply outright
  • If you’re at or above Chase’s 5/24 limit, you may not be eligible to be approved for the Freedom Flex, meaning that a product change is the only option available to you, and in that case you’re ultimately better off having the Freedom Flex than having the Freedom

If you are going to product change to the Freedom Flex, there are a few things to be aware of:

  • You can generally only product change from an account that has been open for at least 12 months
  • You can typically only product change from one personal card to another (so you couldn’t product change a business card to the Freedom Flex), and often only from other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards
  • The best way to product change is to just pick up the phone and call the number on the back of your Chase card, and a representative can help you

Bottom line

The Chase Freedom Flex is a phenomenal new no annual fee card that’s a key part of the Ultimate Rewards ecosystem. While this is essentially an updated version of the Freedom Card, you are still eligible for the card even if you have the Freedom and/or Freedom Unlimited.

You absolutely should apply for the card outright if you can, so that you can get the sign-up bonus (20,000 points, plus 5x points on groceries for a year), so you can increase the amount of spending on which you can earn 5x points in rotating quarterly categories, and so that you can have another no annual fee card that helps you improve your credit score long-term.

And for the record, this is exactly what I’ll be doing in my situation — I already have the Freedom and Freedom Unlimited, and will soon be applying outright for the Freedom Flex.

If you’re getting the Freedom Flex, are you product changing or applying outright?

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Comments
  1. Won’t be under 5/24 until next year, so I product changed. Even if i were under 5/24, some of the other Chase bonuses may be a bit more appealing (especially for someone that has Amex Gold and therefore already gets 4x on groceries).

  2. 5% Grocery is a really good deal for Covid times, but I could only product change. Hoping more credit cards offer Grocery in the coming quarters.

  3. Just to be clear –

    The Freedom Unlimited has updated perks. Got it.
    Does the Freedom now have the same perks as the Freedom Flex?
    If we apply for the Freedom Flex and keep the Freedom, do we have two identical cards with a different name, or is the Freedom only maintaining the rotating quarterly categories benefit?

    That’s my confusion, and I haven’t seen anything in my email except for the Freedom Unlimited updates.

  4. So if I don’t already have the Freedom Unlimited, why would I apply for the Flex instead of the Freedom Unlimited? Seems like the Chase Freedom Unlimited earns the same bonus categories but 1.5% on everything else, not just 1%? Am I missing something? If I don’t have any of the Chase Freedom cards, wouldn’t it benefit me to get the Freedom Unlimited instead?

  5. I logged into my Chase account and sent an invitation to my wife to apply. She was accepted and she will get the 20K bonus and I will get a 10K bonus. Cha Ching!!!

  6. If I product change to the Flex won’t I keep my credit history intact on the old credit card. That would be more important to me than the bonus.

  7. Stu – The Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5 on non-bonused spend, but it doesn’t include the 5x rotating categories, so there’s a trade-off.

  8. Don’t forget about the free cell phone insurance with the Flex card (up to $800 per phone, $1,000 max per 12 months). I think that’s the #1 reason to product change from current Freedom card.

  9. Discover card usually has quarterly 5 percent cash back on groceries and so does chase freedom. Plus if you have citi premier that gives 3 points per dollar for groceries and dining throughout the year, it makes you wonder if it’s worth the hard pull, with this combo I would pass and wait for better times

  10. I wish Chase would up the SUB on the Flex or Unlimited. It’s hard to waste a Chase slot for 20K UR points when so many others have much higher. I get it’s no AF but maybe increase the MSR a bit with that to make up for it. Personally, I am going to PC the CSP after a year to Flex for the 3x dining since I got the 3x travel covered on the CIP already.

  11. It’s worth noting which is not included in the article that if you hold the Freedom Unlimited card, it is providing the same benefits as Flex at the moment, so there is no real rush to upgrade your regular Freedom card.

  12. @ iamhere — It offers the same 3x points categories, but as of October 1 the Freedom Flex will offer a 5x rotating points category, while the Freedom Unlimited won’t. Also, if you didn’t recently apply for the Freedom Unlimited then you’d get the benefit of 5x points on groceries for 12 months with the Freedom Flex, if you applied outright.

  13. @ Stan — Absolutely. But the way I view it you’d be better off keeping whatever card you’d product change (the Freedom?) so you can keep building credit history there, and then get the Freedom Flex and use that to build credit history as well.

  14. So just to be 100% clear, the Freedom Flex is a brand new card rather than a rebranding and anything having to do with an existing Freedom card (except for the +1 against 5/24) should have no bearing on eligibility for the Freedom Flex right? I got the Freedom card last December so have not had it for 12 months yet and also earned the bonus on it. I should nevertheless be eligible for the Freedom Flex right?

  15. Lucky, I read elsewhere that Chase was only accepting product changes to the Flex from the Freedom, not from the Freedom Unlimited or The Sapphire cards. Do you know if this is true?

  16. @Ben

    The Cardmatch tool site has shown Chase “currently unavailable – check back soon” for the past week or so. I assume that this is due to the recent changes in the chase offerings. Any idea as to how long this limited availability will last?

  17. @ karl — We generally only recommend the Cardmatch tool when they have a dramatically better offer (such as for the Amex Platinum, which sometimes happens). There isn’t really an advantage otherwise, and it’s not a truly “neutral” resource. If a bank isn’t showing up, it might just be because they aren’t interested in paying Cardmatch to promote their cards right now.

  18. I converted my Chase Freedom card to Freedom Flex on the first day it was available (9/15).

    Though I am ineligible for the first year 5% grocery cashback, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the dining and drugstore 3% bonuses stack on top of the 5% quarterly bonus.

    To clarify, this is how the rewards appear on a recent transaction:

    1% (1 Pts)/$1 on all purchases
    + 2%(2 Pts)/$1 addl. on Dining purchases
    + 4% Bonus from 4Q 5% category: PayPal

    So in Q4 2020, if you link your Starbucks card balance reload to Paypal, or make all Seamless/Grubhub payments with Paypal, you can get 7% points back on all of these. And that’s before any 50% bonus via pairing with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

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