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
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
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
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?