Chase Freedom Unlimited®
vs. Chase Freedom Flex®

Updated: June 21, 2024

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Both the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Freedom Flex cards offer compelling cash back rewards and no annual fee, which is why you're likely considering them. The Chase Freedom Unlimited edges ahead with a higher cash back rate on everyday purchases, making it the better card for straightforward earning. However, the Chase Freedom Flex is still a strong contender, with its rotating bonus categories. Neither card is co-branded, ensuring their rewards are versatile for any shopper.

Credit Card logo for Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Credit Card logo for Chase Freedom Flex®
Chase Freedom Flex®
MoneyGeek Rating
4.4/ of 5
MoneyGeek Rating
4.4/ of 5

  • Regular APR
    20.49%–29.24% variable
    20.49–29.24% variable
    0% APR Offer
    0% intro APR for 15 months
    0% intro APR for 15 months
    Intro Offer
    Earn an additional 1.5% cash back
    Earn a $200 bonus
    Rewards Summary
    Earn 1.5% – 6.5% cash back
    Earn 1– 5% cash back
    Balance Transfer Offer
    0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months
    0% intro APR for 15 months
    Balance Transfer Fee
    Intro fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater, on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that, either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
    3% of the amount of each transfer (minimum $5)
    Annual Fee
    $0
    $0
    Recommended Credit
    670–850 (Good to Excellent)
    670–850 (Good to Excellent)
    Penalty APR
    Up to 29.99% (variable)
    Up to 29.99% (variable)
    Not sure?

Which Card Is Better for You?

You might prefer the Freedom Flex if you want to maximize your cash back by actively managing your spending categories. With rotating 5% cash back categories each quarter, you can earn significant rewards on travel, dining and drugstore purchases. This card suits those who can track the changing categories to take full advantage of the cash back offers.

You might prefer the Freedom Unlimited if you value simplicity and consistent rewards on every purchase. With a higher overall cash back score, you'll earn a steady 1.5% back on all purchases outside of the bonus categories of travel, dining and drugstores. This card is ideal for those who prefer a straightforward rewards program without having to keep up with rotating categories.

Head-to-Head Comparison: Card Details and Features

Evaluating APRs, fees, credit requirements, rewards and other features will clarify which card, Freedom Flex or Freedom Unlimited, aligns with your financial habits. Use this section to compare each aspect, such as the Freedom Flex's rotating rewards categories versus the Freedom Unlimited's flat-rate cash back on all purchases.

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    Regular APR: Tie

    Both the Freedom Flex and Freedom Unlimited offer a variable APR range of 20.49% to 29.24%, making them equally competitive in terms of interest rates for purchases.

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    Annual Fee: Tie

    Both the Freedom Flex and Freedom Unlimited offer the benefit of no annual fee, making them equally appealing to those looking to save on costs.

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    Introductory 0% APRs: Tie

    Both the cards offer a 0% intro APR for 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers. The key difference lies in the balance transfer fee: Freedom Unlimited offers an introductory fee for transfers made within the first 60 days, while Freedom Flex maintains a standard fee. This makes Freedom Unlimited marginally better for those planning immediate balance transfers.

    coins icon

    Rewards: Chase Freedom Unlimited

    For consistent rewards across all purchases, Freedom Unlimited is better, offering 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Freedom Flex offers 5% on rotating categories and travel through Chase Travel℠, but Unlimited's 1.5% on everything else provides broader earning potential.

    rewards icon

    Welcome Offers: Tie

    Both the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Freedom Flex Card offer compelling welcome bonuses. The Freedom Unlimited provides an additional 1.5% cash back on up to $20,000 spent in the first year, potentially worth up to $300 cash back. In contrast, the Freedom Flex offers a $200 bonus after spending $500 in the first three months.

    creditApproved icon

    Recommended Credit Score: Chase Freedom Unlimited

    Both the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Freedom Flex Card are targeted towards users with good to excellent credit (670 to 850). However, the Freedom Unlimited is slightly more accessible due to its lower internal rating for recommended credit, making it the better choice for a broader range of credit scores.

    autopay icon

    Penalties and Fees: Tie

    Both Freedom Flex and Freedom Unlimited have similar penalties and fees, including up to $40 for late fees and up to 29.99% for penalty APRs. Both cards charge a 3% foreign transaction fee. The main difference lies in the cash advance fee structure, but this alone does not make one card significantly better than the other in terms of penalties and fees.

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    Issuer Satisfaction: Tie

    Since both cards come from Chase, they have the same issuer satisfaction scores.

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    Other Features & Perks: Tie

    The two cards offer unique perks that cater to different preferences. The Freedom Unlimited provides an additional 1.5% cash back on all purchases in the first year and free access to your credit score, making it appealing for those looking to maximize cash back across all spending. The Freedom Flex offers a $200 bonus after spending $500 in the first three months and 5% cash back in rotating categories, ideal for those who can maximize their spending in those categories. Both cards offer 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and cash back rewards do not expire.

Rewards Comparison

The Freedom Unlimited card leads with a higher overall expected reward value, making it a strong contender for those who prefer a straightforward rewards program. With an average reward rate of 1.8% across all categories, it's a solid choice for everyday spending. The Freedom Flex, while not as robust in general spending, offers 5% cash back in rotating categories, which can be rewarding for those who plan their spending around these bonuses.

For the Freedom Flex, the rotating categories offer a chance to earn significant cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter. These categories have included gas stations, grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart) and select online merchants. Cardholders must activate these categories to earn the bonus rate.

Following this section, you'll find a table detailing the bonus categories for both cards, allowing you to compare them at a glance.

Category
Freedom Unlimited
Freedom Flex

Dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services

3%

3%

Drugstore purchases

3%

3%

Rotating categories (e.g., gas stations, grocery stores)

1.5%

5% for the first $1,500 in total combined purchases each quarter you activate, then 1%

Travel purchased through Chase Portal

5%

5%

All other purchases

1.5%

1%

Redeeming Rewards

Moving from how you earn rewards to how you can use them, both the Freedom Flex and Freedom Unlimited offer versatile redemption options. With neither card imposing an expiration date on points as long as the account remains open, you have the freedom to redeem rewards when it suits you best. Options include cash back, gift cards, and travel, with the added flexibility of using points for purchases at Amazon.com with the Freedom Unlimited. It's worth noting that while redemption values can vary, there's no minimum redemption threshold for cash back with the Freedom Unlimited, ensuring even small rewards balances are usable.

Methodology

MoneyGeek evaluates credit cards like Freedom Unlimited and Freedom Flex using a tailored scoring system for various use cases, such as cash back and balance transfers. In this comparison, both cards are assessed based on their highest-scoring use case, which is cash back.

The most significant factors in determining their scores are the effective reward rate, which carries the most weight, and the return on investment for offers. For a detailed understanding of our evaluation process, you're welcome to explore our ranking methodology.

FAQ: Freedom Unlimited vs. Freedom Flex

What are the main differences in rewards between Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Freedom Flex?
Do either of the Chase Freedom cards have an annual fee?
Can I earn a welcome bonus with either the Chase Freedom Unlimited or Chase Freedom Flex?
What is the APR after the introductory period for both cards?
Are there foreign transaction fees for either card?

About Doug Milnes, CFA


Doug Milnes, CFA headshot

Doug Milnes is a CFA charter holder with over 10 years of experience in corporate finance and the Head of Credit Cards at MoneyGeek. Formerly, he performed valuations for Duff and Phelps and financial planning and analysis for various companies. His analysis has been cited by U.S. News and World Report, The Hill, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and many other outlets.

Milnes holds a master’s degree in data science from Northwestern University. He geeks out on helping people feel on top of their credit card use, from managing debt to optimizing rewards.


*Rates, fees or bonuses may vary or include specific stipulations. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting/last updated date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. We recommend visiting the card issuer’s website for the most up-to-date information available.
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