Credit card comparison: Chase Freedom Flex vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited - Business Insider - Business Insider

Credit card comparison: Chase Freedom Flex vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited - Business Insider - Business Insider


Credit card comparison: Chase Freedom Flex vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited - Business Insider - Business Insider

Posted: 16 Sep 2020 11:16 AM PDT

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Annual Fee

None

Regular APR

14.99% – 23.74%

Credit Score

Good to Excellent

Editor's Rating

Featured Reward

$200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

Intro APR

0% for the first 15 billing cycles
Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
  • Details
  • Pros & Cons
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.
Pros
  • No annual fee
  • Generous bonus cash-back categories
  • Great welcome bonus
Cons
  • Booking through Ultimate Rewards portal can restrict outside earning potential
  • Varying percentages and rotating calendar categories require extra attention
  • 3% foreign transaction fees

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

14.99%–23.74% variable APR

Credit Score

Good to Excellent

Editor's Rating

Featured Reward

$200 after spending $500 in the first three months from account opening
Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
  • Details
  • Pros & Cons
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
Pros
  • Solid flat cash-back rate
  • You can combine cash-back rewards with Ultimate Rewards points if you have an eligible card
  • No annual fee
Cons
  • Some other cards offer a higher rate of cash back on certain types of purchases
Read Our Review Read Our ReviewA looong arrow, pointing right

Chase offers some of the best rewards credit cards on the market, including the Chase Sapphire Reserve® for travel as well as co-branded credit cards with programs like Southwest Rapid Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy.

The card issuer's cash-back credit card offerings have also remained popular with consumers thanks to their lucrative rewards schemes and lack of annual fees — and these cards just got even better.

As of September 15, consumers can sign up for a new cash-back card called the Chase Freedom Flex℠, which has replaced the Chase Freedom for new cardholders but includes the same rotating quarterly bonus categories for earning up to 5% cash back on up to $1,500 per quarter after activation. Chase has also revamped the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, and both new offerings rack up bonus rewards in categories like dining and travel booked through Chase, as well as drugstore purchases.

 If you're considering a new cash-back credit card, you'll want to compare the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the Chase Freedom Unlimited® to see how they stack up.

We're focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won't be worth it if you're paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it's important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.

  Chase Freedom Flex℠ Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Annual fee $0 $0
Welcome bonus

$200 back after you spend $500 in the first 3 months from account opening

5% cash back on up to $12,000 spent on grocery-store purchases in your first account year*

$200 after spending $500 in the first three months from account opening

5% cash back on up to $12,000 spent on grocery-store purchases in your first account year*

Cash-back earning rate

5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in quarterly bonus categories (then 1%)

5% back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards

3% back on dining and drugstore purchases

1% back on everything else

5% back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards

3% back on dining and drugstore purchases

1.5% back on everything else

Redemption options Redeem rewards for cash back, statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, travel through Chase, and more Redeem rewards for cash back, statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, travel through Chase, and more 
Intro APR offer 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months from account opening, then a variable rate of 14.99% – 23.74% 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months from account opening, then a variable rate of 14.99% – 23.74%
  Learn more Learn more

*not including grocery-store purchases at Target and Walmart

Both the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the Chase Freedom Unlimited® will start new cardmembers off with a $200 cash bonus when they spend $500 on their cards within three months of account opening.

This bonus is very generous compared to what you'll get with many cash-back credit cards from other issuers. It's also easy for most people to earn considering you only have to spend $167 per month for three months in a row to reach the bonus threshold.

Both cards also let you rack up 5% cash back on purchases made with Lyft through March of 2022. Separately, you'll also earn 5% back in the grocery store category (excluding Walmart and Target) during your first cardholder year, on up to $12,000 spent.

The earning rates on each card are where they really set themselves apart.

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is unique because you get 5% back on up to $1,500 spent in quarterly bonus categories (then 1% back) once activated like you did with the old Chase Freedom card, but you also get 5% back on travel booked through Chase, 3% back on dining, 3% back on drugstore purchases and 1% back on everything else you buy.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® maintains the same 1.5% back on regular purchases as it did before, but now you'll also earn 5% back on travel booked through Chase, 3% back on dining and 3% back on drugstore purchases.

Both of these Chase credit cards let you access the valuable and flexible Chase Ultimate Rewards program, which lets you redeem your rewards for cash back, statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, and travel through the Chase portal. You'll get 1 cent per point in value for each of these options.

Also note that, if you pair either of these cards with a Chase travel credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can pool your points in your premium card account and get more value for travel when you book through the Chase portal, or transfer your points to Chase airline and hotel partners like United MileagePlus or Marriott Bonvoy.

Another interesting detail about the new Chase Freedom Flex℠ is that, unlike the old Chase Freedom card, this new card will be offered as a World Elite Mastercard rather than a Visa card. This means you'll get a whole range of new benefits, including:

  • Cell phone insurance — The Chase Freedom Flex comes with cell phone insurance worth up to $800 per claim and up to $1,000 per year. This coverage is good for damage or theft when you pay your cell phone bill with your credit card.
  • Lyft credits — With the Chase Freedom Flex, you'll get a $10 credit for every 5 rides you take with Lyft when you pay with your credit card. This credit is capped at one per month and automatically applied to your next ride.
  • 5% back on Boxed.com — Qualify for 5% back on purchases made with Boxed.com with the Chase Freedom Flex, which you can use toward your next Boxed.com purchase.
  • ShopRunner membership — Qualify for a ShopRunner membership with the Chase Freedom Flex, which helps you qualify for free two-day shipping and free returns at more than 100 retailers.
  • Fandango perks — Earn Double VIP points when you purchase movie tickets through Fandango or the Fandango app using the Chase Freedom Flex.

Several major benefits apply to both the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. These include:

Complimentary three months of DashPass

Both cards come with three months of free DashPass membership. After that, you'll receive 50% off membership for the following nine months.

Purchase protection

Get coverage for new purchases against damage or theft for 120 days. Coverage is good for up to $500 per claim and up to $50,000 per account.

Extended warranties

Eligible items with a manufacturer's warranty of three years or less can receive an additional year of extended warranty coverage.

Auto rental collision damage waiver

Qualify for auto rental coverage when you pay for your rental car with your credit card. Coverage is secondary, rather than primary, to your personal insurance policy.

Trip cancellation and interruption insurance

Receive reimbursement for up to $1,500 per person and up to $6,000 per covered trip when your travel plans are cancelled or interrupted for a covered reason. Coverage is good for prepaid and nonrefundable travel expenses you pay with your credit card.

Travel and emergency assistance services

Call into a hotline for emergency help when you're traveling and need medical or legal referrals or travel and emergency assistance.

Free credit score

Both cards let you access your credit score for free at any time with Chase Credit Journey.

Both the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the newly upgraded Chase Freedom Unlimited® are worth considering if you want to earn cash back on every dollar you spend, but it really boils down to how you want to earn rewards.

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ lets you earn 5% back on up to $1,500 spent in quarterly bonus categories (then 1%) as well as 1% back on regular purchases. Meanwhile, the Chase Freedom Unlimited offers a flat 1.5% back on all purchases that don't fall into the upgraded bonus categories.

Both of these cards can let you rack up a ton of cash back, or even rewards you can pool in a Chase Sapphire account for better travel redemptions. However, the new Chase Freedom Flex℠ does come with some new World Elite Mastercard benefits that can boost its overall value if you use them.

Make sure to think long and hard about how much you would earn in rewards with either card, and also check out some cash-back credit cards from other issuers before you decide.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.

Business Insider may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they're subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.

How to maximize your Amex airline fee credit - Bankrate.com

Posted: 26 Aug 2020 12:00 AM PDT

The industry's most popular travel credit cards offer valuable benefits to make up for their annual fees, but The Platinum Card® from American Express continues to stand out year after year.

This premier credit card offers a combination of the best benefits available, ranging from broad airport lounge access to Gold status with the Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy programs and access to the Amex Platinum concierge.

This card also comes with up to a $200 airline fee credit each year that can help consumers save money when they fly with a specific airline. However, you really need to know how this credit works to make the most of it.

What is the Amex Airline fee credit?

The Amex airline fee credit is good for one airline of your choosing, and you have to commit to that airline once per year in January. You can do so by logging into your Amex account or visiting www.americanexpress.com/airlinechoice. Once you make your selection, you'll receive up to $200 in automatic credits to your credit card when you use it to pay for "incidental travel expenses."

Note that this credit will be applied to your credit card automatically within four weeks of a qualified charge posting to your account. You can also qualify for this credit in any increments you want, meaning you don't have to use all $200 of your credit at once.

Choosing the right airline for you

The first step to maximizing the Amex airline fee credit is making sure you pick your airline strategically. You do get the chance to switch up your chosen airline in January of each year, but you cannot switch your preferred airline in the middle of the year if your travel plans change.

Fortunately, the airlines you can choose from are popular and ones you may already fly. Your options include:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Frontier Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Spirit Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • United Airlines

Your best bet is choosing the airline you'll fly most often during a cardmember year, as well as one where you are more likely to face expenses you could use your Amex airline fee credit to cover. If you fly with Delta a few times per year and get sick of paying their $30 fee for a first checked bag, for example, selecting them for your Amex fee credit could be a smart move.

What is covered by the airline fee credit?

According to the terms and conditions of this offer, the Amex airline fee credit is good for "incidental fees, such as checked bags and in-flight refreshments." In other words, you can use the fee credit to cover expenses you might encounter in the course of flying, but not for any major component of the airfare itself.

Here's part of what American Express says in its fine print:

"Incidental air travel fees must be charged to the Card Member on the eligible Card Account for the benefit to apply. Incidental air travel fees charged by both the Basic and Additional Card Members on the eligible Card Account are eligible for statement credits. However, each Card Account is eligible for up to a total of $200 per calendar year in statement credits across all Cards on the Account. Incidental air travel fees must be separate charges from airline ticket charges. Fees not charged by the Card Member's airline of choice (e.g. wireless internet and fees incurred with airline alliance partners) do not qualify for statement credits."

Also, be aware of all the purchases you cannot use this credit for, which are outlined clearly by American Express. According to the card issuer, "airline tickets, upgrades, mileage points purchases, mileage points transfer fees, gift cards, duty-free purchases, and award tickets are not deemed to be incidental fees."

While there may be others, you can use your airline fee credit for the following:

Checked baggage

Many airlines charge $30 or more for each checked bag, yet this airline fee credit can be used to cover up to $200 of those charges.

In-flight entertainment

Movies, tablet rental fees and other in-flight entertainment options can qualify for this credit. However, in-flight internet access typically does not qualify since it's usually handled by a third party instead of the airline.

Seat selection

Airlines love nickel and diming passengers for preferred seats or even the option to select a seat at all. Fortunately, the Amex airline fee credit will work for seat selection with your chosen airline.

Pet fees

You can also use your Amex airline fee credit for pet fees whenever you fly with your furry friend.

Priority boarding

If you don't have an airline credit card that offers priority boarding as a cardholder perk, using your Amex airline fee credit for this purpose is a smart idea. This is especially true if you choose Southwest Airlines for your fee credit and love paying for early bird seating.

Phone booking fees

In the rare instance where you cannot book your flight online, you can use your airline fee credit to cover fees charged by airlines for booking over the phone.

Best ways to use your airline incidental fee credit

The options above are good ones, but there are a few more ways to use your airline incidental fees to your advantage. Some of the most creative and lucrative options include:

Airport lounge access

As long as you're spending with your chosen airline, you can use your Amex airline fee credit to pay for individual lounge visits or an annual membership. If American Airlines is your chosen airline, for example, you could use the $200 airline fee credit toward an Admirals Club visit or membership.

Change fees

In instances where you wind up having to change your flight, airlines will charge a change fee that can easily be upward of $150 or more. If you're changing a flight with the airline you chose for your Amex airline fee credit, you can see all or part of the charge wiped from your credit card statement.

How to use the Amex fee credit when you can't travel

While it was possible to use your Amex airline fee credit for gift cards several years ago, this is no longer the case. In the event you cannot travel, however, you can use up your airline fee credit in the following ways:

  • Buying 500-mile upgrades if your chosen airline is American
  • Paying for airfare memberships when you cannot fly, such as the $9 Fare Club with Spirit Airlines or Frontier's Discount Den

Other Amex cards with airline fee credits

Several other American Express credit cards offer an airline fee credit you could take advantage of. If you're considering multiple travel credit cards or getting a separate card for your business, these options are worth considering.

Note that some of the cards that offer airline fee credits also let you earn points in the valuable American Express Membership Rewards program. This program lets you rack up points good for travel, gift cards, transfers to Amex airline and hotel partners and more.

The information about the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

The bottom line

Airline fee credits can help you save on incidental charges but don't forget to read the fine print. American Express makes you choose an airline for your credit at the beginning of each year, which makes their credits considerably less valuable than flexible credits like the $300 annual travel credit offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

You'll get the most out of this credit if you choose your airline strategically and know which purchases apply. If you don't have a plan to use your Amex airline fee credit throughout the year, $200 in value could easily go to waste.

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