Chase Freedom Flex Vs. Freedom Unlimited: Which Is Best?

Chase Freedom Flex Vs. Freedom Unlimited: Which Is Best?

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Chase has a great portfolio of credit cards that can potentially earn Ultimate Rewards points, and two of my favorites are the Chase Freedom FlexSM Credit Card and Chase Freedom Unlimited®. In this post I wanted to take an in-depth look at the two cards, and which makes the most sense based on your situation. If you want to learn more about the individual cards:

Let’s first talk about the card similarities, then about the card differences, and then about which card makes the most sense.

What Chase Freedom cards have in common

The truth is that the Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited have a lot in common, from their lack of annual fees, to some of their bonus categories, to their World Elite Mastercard benefits. Let me cover a few of the key similarities between the two cards.

Overlapping bonus categories

Both the Freedom Flex and Freedom Unlimited offer the following overlapping bonus categories on spending:

  • 5x points on travel purchased through the Chase Travel portal
  • 3x points on dining, takeout, and eligible delivery services
  • 3x points on drugstores

Flexibility to earn cash back or Ultimate Rewards points

Both the Freedom Flex and Freedom Unlimited accrue the same types of rewards:

Earn Ultimate Rewards points with Chase Freedom cards

Differences between Chase Freedom cards

There is one primary area where the Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited differ, and that’s one aspect of the bonus categories. Both cards offer:

But each card has one unique bonus category:

The Freedom Unlimited offers a better return on everyday spending

Which Chase Freedom card is better?

Deciding whether the Chase Freedom Flex or Chase Freedom Unlimited makes more sense comes down to one very simple question — would you rather earn 1.5x points on all purchases (with the Freedom Unlimited), or would you rather earn 5x points in rotating quarterly categories and 1x points on non-bonused purchases?

The math will work out differently for everyone, but here are a few general considerations:

  • What card do you otherwise use for non-bonused spending, and how much do you spend in categories that don’t otherwise qualify for bonus points? If you don’t have a great card, you spend a lot in non-bonused categories, and you’re in the Chase ecosystem, then the Freedom Unlimited is the obvious choice
  • Do you have another great card for non-bonused spending but think you could get value from the 5x points categories on the Freedom Flex? Then the Freedom Flex is the obvious choice

The good thing is that you don’t have to choose — you can get both the Freedom Flex and Freedom Unlimited, and that’s a great way to maximize your rewards, especially since neither card has an annual fee. Personally, that’s my approach, but I also get that lots of people want a simpler credit card strategy than that.

Build up a portfolio of Chase cards to maximize your points

Bottom line

Both the Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited are great no annual fee cards that can help you maximize the Ultimate Rewards points that you earn. For savvy consumers, they’re an essential complement to a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Which Freedom card makes more sense depends on your circumstances. Personally, I think the Freedom Unlimited is the all-around more rewarding card, given that it offers one of the best returns of any card for non-bonused spending. But some may get more value out of the Freedom Flex’s 5x points categories.

The good thing is that you don’t have to choose, as you can always pick up both cards.

What’s your take — which of the two Chase Freedom cards do you prefer?

Conversations (6)
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  1. Tommy Rock Guest

    I mostly max out the quarterly bonuses on the Flex, so, let’s say $5000 annual 5x spend, yielding 25,000 Chase points worth OMAAT $425. I also have CSP and Ink Bus Cash, so I rake up bonus Chase points in several categories. I now only use the Unlimited for maybe $3000 a year (4500 points, $76.50 value). The same spend on my CSP gets 1.1x due to the annual 10% anniversary spend bonus: $3000 spend...

    I mostly max out the quarterly bonuses on the Flex, so, let’s say $5000 annual 5x spend, yielding 25,000 Chase points worth OMAAT $425. I also have CSP and Ink Bus Cash, so I rake up bonus Chase points in several categories. I now only use the Unlimited for maybe $3000 a year (4500 points, $76.50 value). The same spend on my CSP gets 1.1x due to the annual 10% anniversary spend bonus: $3000 spend > 3300 pts > $56.10 value.

    To the point, I only get about $20-$25 annual value from the Unlimited. I acknowledge that it’s still fine value for a free card, but I also feel saturated and crave a return to simplicity in my wallet. To that end, I recommend prioritizing the Flex. Circle back to Unlimited if you have unfilled 5/24 options and aren’t interested in Cap 1 or Citi cards.

  2. Anthony Diamond

    I do think that with Venture/Venture X and Double Cash both now earning 2 transferrable points per dollar spent, Chase Freedom Unlimited's earn looks a bit weaker (unless you only transfer to Hyatt or redeem in the Chase portal). My spending on my Chase Freedom Unlimited has dropped quite a lot.

  3. alex Guest

    Can you product change from the Unlimited to Freedom Flex?

    1. snic Diamond

      Why would you want to? Better to have both, as Ben points out.

  4. John Guest

    Have the reserve , freedom flex and venture x ( amongst a myriad of others )
    I currently use the venture x for everyday spending and flex for bonus. The one drawback is that the flex has a $1500 cap per quarter.
    I may switch to the unlimited and alternate my everyday spending between the unlimited and the venture x. I can’t get both because I’m over 5/24

  5. James Guest

    Lucky, I think your inadvertently mention "World Elite Mastercard benefits".

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Tommy Rock Guest

I mostly max out the quarterly bonuses on the Flex, so, let’s say $5000 annual 5x spend, yielding 25,000 Chase points worth OMAAT $425. I also have CSP and Ink Bus Cash, so I rake up bonus Chase points in several categories. I now only use the Unlimited for maybe $3000 a year (4500 points, $76.50 value). The same spend on my CSP gets 1.1x due to the annual 10% anniversary spend bonus: $3000 spend > 3300 pts > $56.10 value. To the point, I only get about $20-$25 annual value from the Unlimited. I acknowledge that it’s still fine value for a free card, but I also feel saturated and crave a return to simplicity in my wallet. To that end, I recommend prioritizing the Flex. Circle back to Unlimited if you have unfilled 5/24 options and aren’t interested in Cap 1 or Citi cards.

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snic Diamond

Why would you want to? Better to have both, as Ben points out.

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Anthony Diamond

I do think that with Venture/Venture X and Double Cash both now earning 2 transferrable points per dollar spent, Chase Freedom Unlimited's earn looks a bit weaker (unless you only transfer to Hyatt or redeem in the Chase portal). My spending on my Chase Freedom Unlimited has dropped quite a lot.

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