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Capital One Platinum Card vs. Chase Freedom Cards [Detailed Comparison]

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Christine Krzyszton
Christine Krzyszton's image

Christine Krzyszton

Senior Finance Contributor

311 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 98U.S. States Visited: 45

Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, deta...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

35 Published Articles 3236 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 47U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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It’s important for a good credit card to have a robust rewards-earning structure, but it may not be the only thing that’s considered when evaluating what card is right for a person. Things like the ability to build credit or a 0%-intro-APR period may also be a major benefit that consumers are seeking.

We’re going to be looking at an example of a card that works well for building or rebuilding credit but doesn’t earn rewards and 2 cards that do earn rewards but require good, or better, credit.

If you have good credit and are looking at the Capital One Platinum Credit Card, we’ll show you how you might do better with a rewards-earning card. Or, if you’ve had the Capital One Platinum card for a while and managed it well, you might be ready for the next level of rewards-earning cards, including something like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the Chase Freedom Flex℠.

With this perspective as a foundation, let’s look at how our 3 featured cards stack up against each other, and under which circumstances you would want to consider each option.

Capital One Platinum Card vs. Chase Freedom Cards — Overview

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Feature or BenefitCapital One Platinum Credit CardChase Freedom Unlimited®Chase Freedom Flex℠
Welcome BonusNo welcome offer is available.Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back. That's 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.Earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months.
Annual Fee$0 (rates & fees)$0$0
Earning PotentialThe card does not earn rewards
  • 5% cash-back on travel purchased through Chase Travel portal
  • 3% cash-back on dining and at drugstores
  • 1.5% cash-back on all other purchases
  • 5% cash-back on travel purchased through Chase Travel portal
  • 5% cash-back on quarterly bonus categories, up to $1,500 in purchases
  • 3% cash-back on dining and at drugstores
  • 1% cash-back on all other purchases
Redemption OptionsN/A
  • Redeem points for 1 cent each for travel via Ultimate Rewards, cash-back, or statement credits
  • Redeem points for gift cards, shopping, and experiences; values vary
  • Transfer points to premium Chase cards for up to 50% more in value, and from premium cards to travel partners for even greater potential value
Travel Benefits/Protections
  • Secondary car rental insurance
  • Roadside assistance
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Travel assistance hotline
  • Secondary car rental insurance
  • Roadside assistance
  • Trip cancellation, trip interruption
  • Travel and emergency services hotline
Shopping Benefits/Protections
  • Extended warranty
  • Price protection
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Extended warranty
  • Purchase protection
  • Freedom Unlimited card: 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24%.
  • Freedom Flex card: 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49%-29.24%.
Additional Benefits
  • Available to no-credit or fair-credit applicants
  • Free 6-month membership to The Cultivist that includes free museum admission
Visa Signature access to Luxury Resort & Hotel Collection benefits
  • Cell phone protection
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits

Hot Tip: Trying to decide which Freedom card to apply for? See our detailed comparison of the Freedom Unlimited card vs. Freedom Flex card.

The Value of a Welcome Bonus

While the Capital One Platinum card does not offer a welcome bonus, the Freedom Unlimited card and Freedom Flex card come with welcome bonuses that can be earned after meeting minimum spending requirements within the first few months after card approval.

Check out these card snapshots, including the welcome bonus offering (where available) and a summary of the cards’ features:

Capital One Platinum Credit CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The Capital One Platinum card is great for those looking to build up their credit score and credit history, without paying a deposit or annual fee.

The Capital One Platinum card is great for those looking to build up their credit score and credit history, without paying a deposit or annual fee.
None
$0
29.99% (Variable)
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Fair to Good (580-739)

If you’re ready to get serious about building or rebuilding your credit, you’ll want a credit card for which approval is probable, one that has a simple structure and is easy to manage, and ideally, has some benefits you can use. This is where the Capital One Platinum Credit Card really shines.

Pros
Cons
  • Does not earn rewards
  • The high APR can be costly if you carry a balance
  • No annual or hidden fees. See if you're approved in seconds
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
  • Help build your credit through responsible use of a card like this
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won't be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Monitor your credit score with CreditWise from Capital One. It's free for everyone
  • Get access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with online banking from your desktop or smartphone, with Capital One's mobile app
  • Check out quickly and securely with a contactless card, without touching a terminal or handing your card to a cashier. Just hover your card over a contactless reader, wait for the confirmation, and you're all set
  • Pay by check, online or at a local branch, all with no fee - and pick the monthly due date that works best for you
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 29.99% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

This all-purpose cash-back card offers great bonus categories, including bonus points for every purchase you make!

This all-purpose cash-back card offers great bonus categories, including bonus points for every purchase you make!
Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back. That's 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.
Up to $300 cash back
$0
0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24%.
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is easily one of the best cash-back credit cards on the market. There aren’t many no-annual-fee credit cards that offer multiple great bonus categories like 5% back on travel purchased through Chase, 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% back on all other purchases.

When paired with other Chase cards in the Ultimate Rewards family, you can transfer that cash back into points if you wish – making it one of the most lucrative cards in your wallet.

Pros
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24%.
  • 5% back on travel purchased through Chase Travel
  • 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases
Cons
    • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • INTRO OFFER: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!
  • Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).
  • After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24%.
  • No annual fee – You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Unlimited® card
  • Keep tabs on your credit health, Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, alerts, and more.
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24%.
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
Rewards Center

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Chase Freedom Flex℠
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The Freedom Flex card is an excellent no-annual-fee card that still earns big with 5% cash-back on travel and other bonus categories.

The Freedom Flex card is an excellent no-annual-fee card that still earns big with 5% cash-back on travel and other bonus categories.
Earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
$200
$0
0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49%-29.24%.
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ sure does pack quite a punch — especially for a no-annual-fee card.

The Freedom Flex card is an incredible option for those looking for a well-rounded cash-back card, or a powerful point-earner when paired with a premium card in the Ultimate Rewards family.

Pros
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49%-29.24%.
  • Powerful cash-back earner: 5% back on quarterly categories and travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1% back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee
Cons
    • 3% foreign transaction fees in U.S. dollars
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49%-29.24%.
  • No annual fee - You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Flex℠ card
  • Keep tabs on your credit health - Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, real-time alerts, and more.
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49%-29.24%.
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

Chase Ultimate Rewards

The welcome bonus that is offered on the Freedom cards is marketed as cash-back. This cash-back, however, is initially earned as Ultimate Rewards points, which can subsequently be redeemed for cash, or for 1 cent each towards travel. If you have a premium Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning card in addition to a Freedom card, points can be worth much more (we’ll cover that shortly).

Earning Potential

couple with luggage on beach looking at an airplane
Freedom cards offer elevated earnings on travel via Chase Travel. Image Credit: Patrick Foto via Shutterstock

Freedom cards earn cash-back on every purchase and bonus rewards in specific purchase categories. Note that this cash-back is actually given in the form of Ultimate Rewards points. These Ultimate Rewards points can then be redeemed for cash-back, travel, statement credits, gift cards, and more.

The Capital One Platinum card is not a rewards-earning card. Its primary purpose is for building or rebuilding credit. 

Here’s how the cards’ rewards-earning categories compare:

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CardRewards Earning
Freedom Flex Card
Freedom Unlimited Card
  • 5% cash-back on travel purchased through the Chase Travel portal
  • 3% cash-back on dining and at drugstores
  • 1.5% cash-back on all other purchases
Capital One Platinum Card
  • The card does not earn rewards

Bottom Line: With good credit you can qualify for cards that earn rewards and offer greater value. Starting with a card for the purpose of building or rebuilding credit, like the Capital One Platinum card, can be a step towards achieving this objective.

Redemption Options

Ultimate Rewards points earned on the Freedom cards are some of the most flexible rewards currencies you can earn, and therefore quite valuable. Here’s how our featured cards compare when it’s time to redeem rewards.

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CardRedemption Options
Freedom Unlimited Card

Freedom Flex Card

  • Points are worth 1 cent each towards travel in the Chase Travel portal, for statement credits, and for cash
  • Points can be redeemed for gift cards, shopping, and experiences; the value of your points for these redemptions vary
  • Points can be transferred to a Chase premium card and redeemed for up to 50% more value for travel via the Chase Travel portal or transferred from premium cards to travel partners for even greater potential value
Capital One Platinum Card
  • N/A

Bottom Line: Both Freedom cards earn valuable Ultimate Rewards points that can be redeemed for travel, statement credits, and cash. You can also redeem for gift cards, shopping, and experiences or transfer the points to premium Chase cards for greater potential value at redemption time.

Travel Benefits and Protections

Travel benefits and protections can add significant value to a card, especially when you’re not paying an annual fee. Here are some of the most useful benefits and protections that come with our featured cards.

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BenefitCapital One Platinum CardFreedom Unlimited Card and Freedom Flex Card
Car Rental InsuranceSecondary coverage in the U.S. (primary coverage outside of the U.S. if you have no other insurance) on 15-day or fewer rentalsSecondary coverage for car rentals in your country of residence up to 31 days in length and primary coverage outside the country of residence
Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, and Trip Delay CoverageNo coverage$1,500 per person, up to $6,000 per trip, for a covered event
Roadside AssistanceNo coveragePay 1 low pre-negotiated flat fee for each service call and receive towing, jump-start service, tire changing, gas delivery, lock-out service, and more; terms and limitations apply
Travel Accident InsuranceUp to $100,000 for severe injury or death via common carrierN/A
Travel Assistance Hotline24/7 assistance when more than 50 miles from home; cardholder is responsible for actual services received24/7 assistance when traveling “away from home;” cardholder must pay for actual services received

In addition to the benefits above, the Freedom Unlimited card has access to benefits at the Luxury Resort & Hotel Collection. These benefits include daily breakfast for 2, room upgrades when available, free Wi-Fi, early check-in, late checkout, and a unique property-specific amenity.

Bottom Line: Although the Capital One Platinum card does not earn rewards, you’ll find a few useful travel benefits on the card. Freedom cards, however, come with a longer list of travel benefits and protections.

Shopping Benefits and Protections

Shopping couple
Eligible items purchased with your card may qualify for shopping benefits and/or protections. Image Credit: Ivanko80 via Shutterstock

When making purchases with any of our featured cards, it’s good to know you’ll have shopping benefits and protections that can save you money or provide coverage should something go wrong with your purchase.

Here’s a sampling of the benefits and protections you can expect from our featured cards:

Capital One Platinum Card

  • Extended Warranty — For eligible items purchased with your card that have manufacturer’s warranties of 12 months or less, an additional 12 months will be added. There is a maximum limit of $10,000 coverage per item and purchases with more than 12-month warranties do not qualify.
  • Price Protection — Eligible purchases made entirely with your card receive 60 days of protection if you find a lower advertised price. You could receive up to $250 per item for the difference in price.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees — Foreign purchases will not be charged a transaction fee (rates & fees).

Freedom Unlimited Card and Freedom Flex Card

  • Purchase Protection — Eligible items purchased with your card receive up to 120 days of protection against theft, damage, and “involuntary and accidental parting.” Coverage is limited to $500 per item and $50,000 per account.
  • Extended Warranty — Receive 1 additional year of protection for eligible items purchased with your card that have manufacturer’s warranties of 3 years or less. Coverage limits are $10,000 per item and $50,000 per account.
  • Introductory 0% APR Period on Purchases and Balance Transfers
    • Freedom Unlimited Card: 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24%.
    • Freedom Flex Card: 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49%-29.24%. 
  • Chase Offers — Find these offers on the home page of your Chase online card account, add the offer to your card, and receive cash-back after making your purchase at an eligible merchant.
  • Shop through Chase — Earn up to 25x points per dollar when shopping through Chase’s online shopping portal.

Freedom Flex Card

  • Cell Phone Protection — In addition to the above shopping protections and benefits, the Freedom Flex card also offers cell phone protection. Receive up to $800 per claim for damage or theft of your eligible phone when you pay your monthly bill with your card. There is a limit of 2 claims per 12-month period and a $50 deductible per claim.
  • World Elite Mastercard Shopping Benefits — Receive additional benefits such as ShopRunner membership, Lyft credits, Fandango movie ticket discounts, 5% cash rewards on Box wholesale purchases, and more. Minimum purchases may apply and there are limits and conditions.

Bottom Line: Freedom cards come with several shopping benefits and protections. The Capital One Platinum card does not have as many benefits but the card does not charge foreign transaction fees. Freedom cards charge 3% on foreign purchases. 

The Power of Approval

If you have just fair credit or no credit history at all, you’ll find the Capital One Platinum card the only card of our 3 featured cards for which you’d potentially qualify. If, however, you have good credit, or better, you may qualify for the Chase Freedom cards.

Regardless of which position you’re in, you’ll find value in learning about these entry-level credit cards and how you might transition between the options.

Determine Your Credit Score

The first step in determining where you currently stand is to order a copy of your credit report and check it for accuracy. You can order a free credit report from each of the major credit bureaus at annualcreditreport.com.

credit report is not the same as a credit score, and your report may or may not show your score. To view your credit score for free, we recommend using either Credit Karma or Credit Sesame.

Find Your Qualifying Offers

For a risk-free way to find out if you might have card offers waiting for you, you can try using the CardMatch tool. No hard inquiry is done on your credit report and the process takes just a minute to complete.

Our guide to how to find the best prequalified and preapproved credit card offers online details more about Capital One’s risk-free approval tool and offers from Chase. You’ll need to enter your name, address, and last 4 digits of your Social Security number, but your credit report will not be hit with a hard inquiry by using the form.

Neither option is an actual credit card application, just simply a tool to find out if you have card offers waiting.

Learn more about the minimum approval requirements for Chase cards.

Bottom Line: If you have no credit or less-than-perfect credit, your choices are limited for rewards-earning credit cards. However, there are plenty of options still available to build or rebuild your credit. And, once you’ve improved your credit, entry-level rewards-earning cards such as the Freedom Unlimited card and Freedom Flex card are both great cards worth considering. 

Final Thoughts

As we mentioned earlier, the Capital One Platinum card is designed for those who wish to build or rebuild their credit. If you have good or better credit, this card is not the best option for your situation, and a rewards-earning card would give you much more in return.

If you’ve had the Capital One Platinum card for more than a year, managed it well, and improved your credit score, you’ll receive more benefits with a rewards-earning card, making the Freedom cards well-worth considering. With the Freedom cards, you’ll earn cash-back on every purchase and a welcome bonus in addition to having access to more shopping and travel benefits. To dive deeper into rewards-earning Chase cards, you’ll want to review our article that compares the best Chase cards.

Since Chase does not offer a card for bad credit or no credit, the Capital One Platinum card can serve as a good starting point to improve your credit and subsequently qualify for a rewards-earning card. Unlike secured cards that are widely available for bad or no credit, the card does not require a security deposit. And while the card is issued with a low $300 credit limit, after 5 on-time payments you may receive a higher credit limit.

The card also has no annual fee and does not charge foreign transaction fees.

The information regarding the Capital One Platinum Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Chase Freedom Flex℠ was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Chase Freedom card is best?

The Freedom Unlimited card and the Freedom Flex card offer very similar benefits, so it’s hard to wrong with either one. The Freedom Flex card does offer a cell phone protection benefit that the Freedom Unlimited card does not have.

Both cards offer bonus category earnings but the Freedom Flex card offers 5% cash-back on rotating quarterly bonus categories, up to $1,500 in purchases. However, the Freedom Unlimited card offers 1.5% cash-back on all other purchases while the Freedom Flex card offers just 1% cash-back on all other purchases.

Neither card charges an annual fee.

Can I have more than 1 Chase Freedom card?

Yes, you can have more than 1 Freedom card. You may not receive a welcome bonus, however, if you have received a welcome bonus on the same card within the past 24 months.

Is the Capital One Platinum card a secured card?

No. The Capital One Platinum card is not a secured credit card and does not require a security deposit.

Do Chase Freedom cards charge foreign transaction fees?

Yes, both the Freedom Unlimited card and Freedom Flex card charge a foreign transaction fee.

What is the credit limit on the Capital One Platinum card?

The initial credit limit on the Capital One Platinum card is $300. After as little as 6 months, you may qualify for a higher credit limit.

Christine Krzyszton's image

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, detailed content for UP.

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