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Chase’s already popular lineup of credit cards got a little bit bigger on Wednesday, as the issuer launched its new Chase Freedom Flex card.
The new no-annual-fee cash back Mastercard, which is now available for applications, combines a set of rotating bonus categories with an additional trio of fixed bonus categories: 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% cash back on dining (including takeout and delivery) and 3% cash back at drugstores.
Chase Freedom Flex card holders also earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in bonus categories that rotate each quarter. Sample categories include gas, groceries and purchases at Amazon, but each quarter’s categories will be different. The rotating categories must be activated each quarter.
Along with earning 1% cash back on all other purchases, the Chase Freedom Flex also earns 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2022. In addition, card holders can get a complimentary three-month DashPass membership, which is a subscription service that provides unlimited deliveries for no delivery fee on DoorDash orders over $12 (other fees may apply). After the complimentary three-month period, card holders are automatically enrolled in DashPass at 50% off for the next nine months.
Cell phone protection is an additional feature of the new Chase Freedom Flex, as part of the card’s suite of World Elite Mastercard benefits. The coverage provides up to $800 per claim and $1,000 per year against covered theft or damage when the card is used to pay the card holder’s monthly cell phone bill, with a $50 deductible per claim and a maximum of two claims in a 12-month period.
Other World Elite Mastercard perks that are part of the Freedom Flex card include a $10 credit for every five Lyft rides taken in a calendar month, 5% rewards at Boxed for use on future purchases, a free ShopRunner membership for two-day shipping and free return shipping at over 100 online retailers and double VIP+ points for movie tickets purchased via the Fandango app or Fandango.com.
Best of all, right now new card holders can earn a $200 sign-up bonus on the Chase Freedom Flex when spending $500 on purchases in the first three months after opening the account, and also earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year after opening the account.
Cash back earned with the Chase Freedom Flex is awarded in the form of Ultimate Rewards points, which can be redeemed for gift cards, travel bookings, cash as a deposit or statement credit or for purchases made through Chase’s shopping partners such as Amazon and Apple. Cash back doesn’t expire as long as your account is open.
However, Chase Freedom Flex card holders who also have either the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve can combine their Freedom Flex points with their Sapphire card to get even greater value for them by applying the higher-end features of their Sapphire card to Ultimate Rewards points earned from the Freedom Flex.
This means the cash back points earned with the Chase Freedom Flex can be redeemed for travel via Ultimate Rewards at a better redemption rate or transferred to Chase’s airline and hotel partners when combined with either Sapphire card.
The Chase Freedom Flex also offers extended warranty protection, which extends the US manufacturer’s warranty on any items purchased with the card by an additional year on eligible warranties of three years or less, and purchase protection, which covers new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft, up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.
You’ll also find trip cancellation and interruption Insurance on the Freedom Flex, which will reimburse you for prepaid, nonrefundable passenger fares if your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations. The coverage is up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip.
And the Chase Freedom Flex provides an auto rental collision damage waiver, which offers theft and collision damage coverage for most cars rented in the US and abroad when you decline the rental company’s collision insurance and charge the entire rental cost to your card. In the US, coverage is secondary to your personal insurance.
The new Chase Freedom Flex is an intriguing card. The rotating categories that have been offered in the past on the Chase Freedom card — which the Freedom Flex is replacing — were generally well chosen, and could often be utilized to earn a great deal of extra cash back each quarter.
The one-two punch of the fixed and rotating categories on the Freedom Flex makes the card a potential winner. But the card will shine best when you combine it with one of the premium Chase Sapphire cards, especially if you have post-pandemic travel on your radar. Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners include United Airlines, Southwest and Hyatt Hotels, all of which offer plenty of possibilities.
Even if you don’t expect to travel anytime soon, one good strategy could be to pick up a Chase Freedom Flex now to earn the sign-up bonus and start racking up rewards. You can always hold off on redeeming your points for cash back right now — wait to see if you want to use them for travel later, and if you decide you do, you can add a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve card down the line.
Chase has confirmed that customers who have the existing Chase Freedom card with rotating categories can also get a new Chase Freedom Flex and have both cards at the same time. Existing Chase Freedom card holders are not being automatically converted to the new Freedom Flex card at this time, though customers can call and request to be converted if they choose.
In any case, if you’re considering getting the Chase Freedom Flex, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better sign-up bonus on a card with no annual fee. The $200 in bonus cash back after spending $500 in purchases in the first three months after account opening is a nice chunk of extra rewards, and the 5% cash back at grocery stores for the first 12 months is perfectly timed for people who find themselves cooking at home more often than eating out right now.
So if you’re looking for a cash back credit card with the ability to expand into travel rewards down the line, the Chase Freedom Flex may very well fit the bill perfectly.
Read CNN Underscored’s guide to the best Chase credit cards for cash back and travel rewards.