7 Credit Cards That Complement The Chase Freedom Flex - Forbes

7 Credit Cards That Complement The Chase Freedom Flex - Forbes


7 Credit Cards That Complement The Chase Freedom Flex - Forbes

Posted: 15 Sep 2020 06:58 PM PDT

On September 14, 2020, Chase launched an entirely new card: the Chase Freedom Flex℠. This credit card offers a lucrative earning structure and surprising benefits, especially considering it doesn't charge an annual fee. While a solid card on its own, the true value of the Freedom Flex is unlocked when it's paired with other credit cards.

There are three main ways that you can go: Boosting the value of your Freedom Flex earnings, boosting the return on everyday spending, and/or boosting your cash back earnings in additional categories. Let's take a look at this brand new credit card and which cards best complement it.

Chase Freedom Flex Earning Structure

At its root, the Chase Freedom Flex earns 1% cash back on all purchases. There are plenty of cash back credit cards that offer a better return on everyday spending. However, the Chase Freedom Flex shines in four bonus categories:

  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined spending each quarter in a rotating category
  • Earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • Earn 3% cash back on dining purchases (dine-in, takeout, and eligible delivery services)
  • Earn 3% cash back on drugstore purchases

All of the bonus categories are uncapped, except for the rotating bonus category. That means cardholders will earn unlimited 5% cash back on travel purchases through the Chase Travel Portal and 3% cash back on dining and drugstores. Additionally, cardholders will earn 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2022. Simply put, that's an incredible earning structure for a no-annual-fee credit card.

Plus, cardholders that sign up for the Chase Freedom Flex—rather than converting another card to it—will get an additional bonus category for the first year. As part of the welcome bonus, new cardholders will earn 5% cash back on up to $12,000 in grocery store purchases in the first year.

Boost the Value of Your Freedom Flex Earnings

The best way for travelers to boost their Freedom Flex earnings is by pairing it with a Chase credit card that earns Ultimate Rewards points. That's because you can combine the earnings from your Freedom Flex with earnings from one of these three cards to boost their value.

After combining these points, you'll be able to transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to 13 airline and hotel partners—such as Southwest, United, Hyatt, and JetBlue. Alternatively, you can redeem points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal at a bonus. Here are three cards to choose from if you decide to go this route.

Pair with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the least-expensive personal credit card that unlocks the ability to transfer rewards to travel partners. The Sapphire Preferred card charges a $95 annual fee, earns 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar spent on travel and dining purchases and 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar spent on all other purchases.

That means you'll want to use your Freedom Flex for most purchases. The only time you'll want to use your Sapphire Preferred instead is when you're making travel purchases other than through the Ultimate Rewards portal.

However, when you combine your Freedom Flex earnings with the Sapphire Preferred, you'll be able to transfer points to partners or redeem points at 1.25 cents per point toward certain purchases rather than having your points be worth only one cent each.

Pair with the Chase Sapphire Reserve

Similarly, pairing the Freedom Flex with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® unlocks the ability to transfer points to partners. However, this option offers a higher 1.5 cents per point redemption rate for select purchases but comes with a steeper annual fee.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve charges a $550 annual fee. While that's pricey, the annual fee is more than half offset by the card's $300 annual travel credit. Plus, cardholders can utilize premium perks like access to over 1,300 airport lounges through Priority Pass and reimbursed Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fees.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve earns 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on travel and dining and 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar spent on all other purchases. That means you'll still want to use the Freedom Flex for travel purchased through the Ultimate Rewards portal, rotating bonus category merchants, drugstores, and grocery stores during the first year. However, you'd use your Chase Sapphire Reserve for other travel purchases. Dining earnings are equal on both cards.

Points earned through the Chase Sapphire Reserve—as well as points combined with the Chase Sapphire Reserve—can be redeemed at 1.5 cents per point. You can get this rate either by booking travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal or by using Pay Yourself Back to wipe out purchases at grocery stores, dining at restaurants (including takeout & eligible delivery services), home improvement stores, and select charitable organizations. Categories are subject to change over time.

Pair with the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card*

If you are a small business owner, it's hard to beat the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card. The card earns 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on the first $150,000 per year in combined purchases on travel; shipping purchases; internet, cable, and phone services; and on advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines and 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar spent on all other purchases.

That diverse set of bonus categories makes the card a natural complement for the Chase Freedom Flex. The only overlap is the travel category. You'll want to use the Freedom Flex for travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal and the Ink Preferred for all other travel.

When it comes time to redeem your points, you'll want to combine your Freedom Flex earnings with the Ink Preferred's Ultimate Rewards. Points can then be transferred to any of the 13 Ultimate Rewards partners or redeemed at 1.25 cents per point through the Chase Travel Portal.

Boost Your Cash Back on Everyday Purchases

The Chase Freedom Flex only earns 1% cash back on non-bonus purchases. There are plenty of cards that offer a higher return on everyday spending. By pairing the Freedom Flex with one of these cards, you can boost your total return on purchases. Let's look at two no annual fee cards to pair with the Freedom Flex to boost your cash back earnings on everyday purchases.

Pair with the Chase Freedom Unlimited

Simultaneous with the launch of the Chase Freedom Flex, Chase is revamping its existing Chase Freedom Unlimited® credit card. The refreshed Freedom Unlimited credit card will offer many similar spending bonus categories—including 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% cash back on dining, and 3% cash back on drugstore purchases. The Chase Freedom Unlimited will not have the rotating 5% cash back category.

However, there's one way that the Chase Freedom Unlimited® stands out from the Freedom Flex: everyday spending. The Chase Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5% cash back on all non-bonus purchases, compared with the Chase Freedom Flex's 1% cash back. If you have significant non-bonus spending, that difference can add up. You may want to get the Chase Freedom Unlimited to be your everyday spending card.

Another key difference between the two cards is that the Chase Freedom Unlimited is a Visa credit card while the Chase Freedom Flex is a MasterCard. Most merchants will take most types of credit cards, but there are some notable exceptions.

For example, Costco accepts Visa but not MasterCard. So, you wouldn't be able to swipe your Chase Freedom Flex at Costco. Not only is the Freedom Unlimited accepted at Costco, but you'll also earn 0.5% more cash back than if you could use the Freedom Flex.

Pair with the Citi Double Cash

If you don't mind working with a different credit card issuer, the Citi® Double Cash Card is a valuable cash back complement to the Chase Freedom Flex. While the Chase Freedom Flex offers several bonus category offerings, the Citi Double Cash shines in its return on everyday spending. Citi Double Cash cardholders earn 2% cash back—1% cash back when you make your purchase and 1% cash back when you pay your balance.

That means you'll want to use your Chase Freedom Flex on rotating category purchases (5% cash back), travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards portal (5%), drugstores (3%), and dining (3%). Then, use the Citi Double Cash to earn 2% cash back on all other purchases.

This guarantees that you'll earn at least 2% cash back on all purchases. Plus, you'll earn up to 5% cash back in certain categories.

Boost Your Cash Back in Additional Categories

If you're focusing on cash back earnings, there are a couple of other cards that complement the Freedom Flex's cash back earnings with bonus categories of their own.

Pair with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

To really boost your cash back earnings, consider pairing the Freedom Flex with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. Blue Cash Preferred cardmembers earn 6% cash back on purchases at U.S. supermarkets and select U.S. streaming subscriptions, plus 3% cash back on gas and transit—which includes taxis, rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses, and more. All other purchases earn 1% cash back.

That means the Blue Cash Preferred earns more in all four of its bonus categories than the Freedom Flex. After all, the Freedom Flex earns 5% on travel, but only when booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. The Freedom Flex card only earns 1% cash back on gas, transit and streaming services.

New Chase Freedom Flex cardholders will earn 5% cash back on up to $12,000 in grocery store purchases in the first year of being a cardholder. The Blue Cash Preferred Card offers a slightly higher 6% return on grocery store purchases, but only on up to $6,000 per calendar year in purchases at U.S. supermarkets. If you have both cards, you'll want to max out your 6% earnings on the Blue Cash Preferred before switching over to the Chase Freedom Flex's 5% earnings on grocery stores. The Blue Cash Preferred charges a $95 annual fee (See Rates & Fees).

Pair with the Discover it® Cash Back Credit Card*

In addition to the permanent bonus categories, the Freedom Flex offers 5% cash back in a rotating category. Similarly, the Discover it® Cash Back Credit Card also offers a rotating 5% cash back category, on up to $1,500 in spending each quarter when activated.

As we've seen in the past, Discover's rotating category is usually different from Chase's rotating category. By getting the Discover it Cash Back in addition to the Freedom Flex, you're likely to get two different categories each quarter where you can earn 5% cash back.

Even better, Discover will double your cash back earnings in the first year that you hold the card. That means you'll effectively get 10% cash back in the rotating categories for the first year.

Bottom Line

The Chase Freedom Flex is a best in class card on its own. However, by pairing the Chase Freedom Flex with one (or more) of these credit cards, you'll be able to ramp up the return on your spending.

Some of these cards will help you turn cash back earnings into even more-valuable airline miles or hotel points. Others will let you earn even more cash back on everyday purchases. And even others will let you earn a higher return in certain purchases. No matter which way you choose to go, you'll come out further ahead than if you just hold the Chase Freedom Flex.

Click here to see Rates & Fees for the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Window for Small Businesses to Apply for PPP Funding Closes Saturday - Bay News 9

List of Easy Approval Net 30 Accounts for 2020 - Nav

This new business index offers a more accurate way to forecast recessions - MIT Sloan News