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Chase Freedom Flex Bonus: $200 Cash for New Cardholders

Chase took an already great credit card and somehow made it even better.

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The Chase Freedom® has long been one of the top cash-back credit cards on the market. But the classic Freedom Card recently had a significant product change, and the upgrade makes this new credit card even harder to ignore.

Chase debuted the Chase Freedom Flex℠ in September 2020, which will replace the current version of the Chase Freedom credit card. The new card will have all of the same benefits and rewards as the old one, plus more. Here’s what you should know and why you should consider the Chase Freedom Flex as your next credit card.

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Chase Freedom Flex℠ Review

The Chase Freedom Flex card is an excellent cash-back credit card for people who are looking to maximize rewards. Cardmembers can take advantage of 5% cash back on rotating categories, 5% back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% back on dining, including takeout and delivery, 3% back on drugstore purchases and 1% back on everything else. New cardholders can also take advantage of valuable intro promotions.

Annual Fee

The Chase Freedom Flex has no annual fee, so it’s possible to use it with no costs at all as long as you pay off the balance in full by the due date and avoid certain fee-bearing activity.

Intro APR

New Chase Freedom Flex cardholders can save money with an introductory 0% interest rate on new purchases for the first 15 months with the card.

Variable APR

Beyond the initial intro 0% APR, the Chase Freedom Flex offers a variable regular APR that will be determined based on your creditworthiness.

APR is the interest rate for a whole year, rather than just a monthly rate, as applied to whatever balance you carry from one statement period to the next. Chase will determine your APR during the approval process. However, APRs can fluctuate periodically as credit card issuers adjusts rates to the market.

Credit Score

While the credit card issuer doesn’t publicly disclose the credit score needed to qualify for the Chase Freedom Flex, this card is designed for people with good to excellent credit scores (690-850). Your credit limit will vary based on your credit history and any existing relationship with Chase.

You can check and monitor all three of your credit reports for free and even potentially boost your credit score by several points using this free service.

Chase Freedom Flex Cash-Back Rewards Rate

On the rewards front, the Chase Freedom offers 5% cash back on the first $1,500 spent each quarter in categories that change every three months (you need to activate the offer to get it). These categories include a lot of everyday expenses like groceries, streaming services, gas and more. It also offers 1% unlimited cash back on everything else.

5% back Quarterly bonus categories*
5% back Travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards
3% back Dining, including takeout and delivery services
3% back Drugstores
1% back All other purchases

*Activation of quarterly bonus categories is required.

Chase Freedom Flex Bonus

As a new cardholder, you’ll also earn a $200 sign-up bonus after you spend $500 in the first three months.

Sign-Up Bonus

New cardholders can earn a $200 cash bonus after $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.

Referral Bonus Program

Once you’ve become a Freedom Family Member, you can also earn additional cash bonuses through Chase’s Refer-a-Friend program. Earn up to $500 cash back per calendar year by referring friends for any participating Chase Freedom card. That’s $100 cash back for each friend who gets approved.

Fees: Foreign Transaction Fees, Annual Fee and Other Costs

This card has no annual fee, so there’s no recurring cost to keep this card. Like all credit cards, if you pay it off in full by the due date, you won’t pay any interest.

Annual Fee None
Balance Transfer Fee Yes
Foreign Transaction Fees Yes
Cash advance fees Yes
Late payment fees Yes
Returned payment fees Yes

Interest rates for this card are roughly in line with similar cash-back credit cards. There are fees for balance transfers, cash advances, late payments, returned payments and foreign transaction fees. New customers get 15 months with 0% APR on purchases which is a standard no-interest offer. After that, the variable APR varies based on your creditworthiness.

Chase Freedom Flex Benefits

The Chase Freedom Flex is also the card issuer’s only Mastercard credit card. Additionally, it’s a Mastercard World Elite card, which means it gets the following perks:

  • Cell phone insurance: If you make your monthly phone payment with the card, all the phones listed on the account will be covered against damage and theft, up to $800 per claim and $1,000 per year.
  • Lyft credits: For every five rides you take in a month, you’ll get a $10 credit applied to your next ride.
  • Boxed cash back: When you use the card to shop on, you’ll get 5% cash back from the retailer in addition to your card’s rewards, which you can use for future Boxed purchases.
  • ShopRunner shipping: You’ll get a complimentary ShopRunner membership, which provides free two-day shipping with more than 100 online retailers.
  • Fandango discounts: When you use the card to buy movie tickets through Fandango, get $5 off movie tickets or at-home purchases for every two movie tickets purchased.

Using the Chase Freedom Flex for Travel Rewards

Getting more in cash back is a clear win for anyone who currently has the Freedom or plans to get the new Freedom Flex. But cash back isn’t where the card’s value truly lies — it’s in the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

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.

What’s more, if you have a Freedom card and a Sapphire card, you can transfer points earned with your Freedom card to your Sapphire card account. In other words, if you spend $100 on 5% categories, you’d get $5 in cash back with just the Freedom Flex, $6.25 worth of travel if you transfer the points to a Sapphire Preferred account or $7.50 worth of travel if you transfer to a Sapphire Reserve.

Additionally, the Sapphire cards allow you to transfer points to several airline and hotel rewards programs, giving you a ton of flexibility. This card will be tough to beat.

Note: the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card offers the same bonus rate on travel redemptions as the Sapphire Preferred, so you can also use that if you’re a business owner.

What Happens to the Older Chase Freedom Card?

When the Chase Freedom Flex is officially launched, the old Chase Freedom will no longer be available to new applications. If you currently have the Chase Freedom, you can choose whether or not to convert your account to the new card.

Because the Chase Freedom Flex takes everything you get from the Chase Freedom and adds a boatload more in rewards and benefits, it’s a no-brainer to make that switch.

Chase Freedom Flex vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited®

It’s also important to note that the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is getting some new features. In addition to its unlimited 1.5% base rewards rate, cardmembers will earn:

  • 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3% back on dining
  • 3% back on drugstore purchases.

Similar to the Freedom Flex, the Freedom Unlimited also offers a $200 bonus after you spend $500 in the first three months.

So, which card is better? It primarily boils down to how you plan to use them. If you’re a rewards maximizer, it’s hard to ignore the 5% rotating categories on the Chase Freedom Flex. But if you prefer a higher base rewards rate, 1.5% cash back is impressive. Read our full comparison between the Flex and Unlimited.

Also, keep in mind that the Freedom Flex’s Mastercard World Elite benefits aren’t available with the Freedom Unlimited. So if you want those, the Freedom Flex is the winner.

Comparing Chase Cards

Between awarding one-time bonuses, no annual fees, balance transfers and accelerated cash-back rewards, Chase offers high-value credit cards with positive overall ratings. Below we compare several popular Chase cards including the Chase Freedom Unlimited, Chase Freedom Flex and the travel points-earning Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Chase Freedom Unlimited® card Chase Freedom Flex℠ Card Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Annual Fee $0 $0 $95
APR Variable APR Variable APR Variable APR
Cash Bonus $200 $200 60,000 Points
Bonus Eligibility Spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening Spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening Spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
Rewards Rate
  • 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3% at drugstores & restaurants
  • 1.5% on all other purchases
  • 5% (up to $1,500) in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3% at drugstores & restaurants
  • 1% on all other purchases
  • 2x points per dollar spent on travel and at restaurants
  • 1x on all other purchases
Balance Transfer Fee Yes Yes Yes
Foreign Transaction Fees Yes Yes None
DoorDash 3 month DashPass 3 month DashPass 12 month DashPass
Lyft 5% cash back 5% cash back 5x points per dollar
Cell Phone Protection None Yes None
While we work hard on our research, we do not always provide a complete listing of all available offers from credit-card companies and banks. And because offers can change, we cannot guarantee that our information will always be up to date, so we encourage you to verify all the terms and conditions of any financial product before you apply.

Ben Luthi

Ben Luthi is a personal finance and travel writer and credit card expert. He has a degree in finance from Brigham Young University and worked in financial planning, banking and auto finance before writing full-time for NerdWallet and Student Loan Hero. Ben is now a full-time freelance writer and enjoys traveling and spending time with his two kids. His work has appeared in several publications, including U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, Money, Success and Slickdeals.

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