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Chase Freedom Flex Card vs. Discover It Cash Back Card [Detailed Comparison]

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Christine Krzyszton
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Christine Krzyszton

Senior Finance Contributor

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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...
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Juan Ruiz

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Juan has extensive experience in writing and editing content related to credit cards, loyalty programs, and travel. He has been honing his expertise in this field for over a decade. His work has been ...
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When you’re looking for a no-annual-fee rewards card, you don’t expect spectacular earnings, flexible redemption options for your rewards, or a long list of premium benefits. You should, however, expect solid rewards earning and value when it’s time to redeem those rewards.

Those latter expectations are not unrealistic and can easily be met with the 2 cards we’ll be comparing today.

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ Card and the Discover it® Cash Back Card each offer earnings of up to 5% cash-back and flexible options at redemption time. And best of all, you won’t pay an annual fee to be a cardholder.

While either of our featured cards could be the appropriate choice for earning and redeeming rewards, we’re going to compare the cards in several categories to assist you in determining which card may have the edge for your specific situation.

Let’s look closer at this pair of cards to see if there’s a winner for you.

Freedom Flex Card vs. Discover Cash Back Card — Overview

Let’s look at how the Freedom Flex card and Discover Cash Back cards stack up side-by-side.

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Benefit

Chase Freedom Flex℠Discover it® Cash Back Card

Welcome Bonus

Earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months.

Earn an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you earned at the end of your first year.

Earning Potential

  • Cash-back welcome bonus
  • 5% cash-back on quarterly bonus categories, up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter
  • 5% cash-back on travel purchased via the Chase travel portal
  • 5% cash-back on Lyft rides through March 2025
  • 3% cash-back on dining and drugstore purchases
  • 1% cash-back on all other purchases
  • Referral bonuses
  • Cash-back bonus equal to first-year earnings
  • 5% cash-back on quarterly bonus categories, up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter
  • 1% cash-back on all other purchases
  • Referral bonuses

Redemption Options

  • Redeem for travel via the Chase travel portal
  • Transfer points to premium Chase cards for greater redemption potential
  • General statement credit
  • Transfer to bank account
  • General statement credit
  • Transfer to bank account

Travel Benefits and Protections

  • Secondary car rental insurance
  • Trip interruption and cancellation insurance

No foreign transaction fees

Shopping Benefits and Protections

  • Cell phone protection
  • Purchase protection, extended warranty
  • 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
  • Shop through Chase
  • 1-year ShopRunner membership
  • 3-month subscription to DoorDash DashPass
  • 3-month subscription to Instacart+ and a $10 quarterly credit after activating your Instacart+ subscription

No foreign transaction fees

Annual Fees and Authorized Users

  • $0 annual fee
  • No charge to add authorized users
  • $0 annual fee
  • No charge to add authorized users

The Value of a Welcome Bonus

When you apply and are subsequently approved for a rewards-earning credit card, you’ll typically have an opportunity to earn a welcome bonus.

The Freedom Flex card offers a nice initial welcome bonus, received as points that can be redeemed for cash-back, that are earned by meeting the minimum spending requirements within the first 3 months after card approval.

Chase Freedom Flex℠
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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.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)
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 Discover Cash Back card does not come with a traditional welcome bonus but offers a unique one-time, cash-back bonus equal to the amount of cash-back you’ve earned during your first year of card membership. This unlimited bonus is paid out after your first card anniversary.

Discover it® Cash Back Card
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.

Learn More(at Discover's secure site)
$0
0% for 15 months from date of account opening.,After the intro APR expires, regular APR will be 11.99% - 22.99% variable.
  • Intro Offer: Get an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Redeem cash back in any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • No annual fee.
  • Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 0% for 15 months from date of account opening.,After the intro APR expires, regular APR will be 11.99% - 22.99% variable.
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Bottom Line: The Freedom Flex card offers a cash-back bonus after meeting minimum spending requirements within the first 3 months after card approval. The Discover Cash Back card offers a bonus paid out after the first card anniversary that is equal to the amount of cash-back earned on the card within the first year. 

Earning Potential

Woman on phone in grocery store
Grocery stores are a frequent bonus category on the Freedom Flex card and the Discover Cash Back card. Image Credit: stokkete via Adobe Stock

Earning on purchases you make every day is a fast way to accumulate rewards. Both the Freedom Flex card and the Discover Cash Back card each offer rotating quarterly bonus earning categories that can include merchants at which you may make purchases on a daily basis.

For example, quarterly merchant categories in the past have included supermarkets, home improvement stores, gas stations, department stores, dining, PayPal, Walmart, warehouse clubs, and many more everyday purchase categories.

Here’s how our featured cards earn rewards on quarterly categories and overall:

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Earning Category

Freedom Flex Card

Discover Cash Back Card

Quarterly Bonus Categories

5% cash-back on quarterly bonus category merchants up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter

Additional Earning Categories

  • 5% cash-back on travel purchased via Chase travel portal
  • 3% cash-back at drugstores and on dining
  • 5% cash-back on Lyft rides through March 31, 2025

1% cash-back unless listed as a quarterly bonus category

Referral Bonuses

$100 cash-back per referral, up to $500 per year

$50 to $100 cash-back depending on your personal offer

All Other Purchases

1% cash-back

Hot Tip: Learn more about the Freedom Flex card’s bonus categories in our detailed guide, plus get tips on how to get the most out of your card!

Redemption Options

Mickey and Friends Disney 50th Anniversary at Magic Kingdom
The Freedom Flex card and Discover Cash Back card each allow your cash-back funds to accumulate in your account until you’re ready to redeem. Image Credit: Disney

The Freedom Flex card earns rewards in the form of Ultimate Rewards points that can be redeemed for travel, cash-back, or transferred to premium Chase cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Once transferred, you’ll have the additional redemption options of redeeming points for up to 50% more value via the Chase travel portal or transferring to the Chase airline and hotel partners for even greater potential value.

The Discover Cash Back card earns cash-back that does not expire as long as you have the card and can be left to accumulate in your account. This makes it easy to utilize your cash-back as an emergency fund, to save up for a major purchase, or to accumulate until you request the amount to be issued to you in the form of a check, statement credit, or sent to your bank account.

Here are the redemption options for each of our featured cards:

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Redemption Option

Freedom Flex Card

Discover Cash Back Card

Travel

  • Redeem points for travel at 1 cent each via the Chase travel portal
  • Transfer points to premium Chase cards for greater redemption value potential

Redeem rewards as a statement credit toward travel purchases

Cash-back

  • Cash sent to a bank account
  • Apply as a general statement credit

Additional Redemption Options

  • Amazon, PayPal, gift cards
  • 25% Pay Yourself Back bonus for charitable donations through December 31, 2023

Amazon, PayPal, gift cards, charitable donation

Bottom Line: Cash-back earned on the Freedom Flex card and Discover Cash Back card can be left to accumulate in your account without expiring as long as your card is active. While both cards allow you to redeem your rewards for a statement credit, or transfer to a bank account, the Freedom Flex card can be used to purchase travel or its points can be transferred to premium Chase cards for potentially greater redemption value.

Travel Benefits and Protections

You might not expect a no-annual-fee card to have any travel benefits or protections, but you’ll find several useful perks on the Freedom Flex card and a key travel feature on the Discover Cash Back card.

Here’s an overview of the travel benefits/protections for each card:

Freedom Flex Card

  • Car Rental Collision Damage Waiver — Use your card for your entire rental, decline the agency’s CDW/LDW coverage and receive secondary coverage for damage or theft to the rental car. Secondary coverage means you must file a claim with any other applicable insurance before card coverage kicks in.
  • Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Insurance — You could receive up to $1,500 per person and up to $6,000 per trip for prepaid non-reimbursed passenger fares if your trip is disrupted for a covered reason.

Discover Cash Back Card

  • No Foreign Transaction Fees — Use your card to make foreign transactions during your travels with no worries about added fees.

Shopping Benefits and Protections

Young women shopping at clothing store
Utilize shopping benefits and protections to save money or have coverage if something goes wrong with your purchase. Image Credit: LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS via Adobe Stock

Shopping benefits and protections that come with a credit card can save you money or provide protection if something should go wrong with an eligible purchase.

Here are the shopping benefits and protections you’ll find on the Freedom Flex card and the Discover Cash Back card.

Freedom Flex Card

  • Cell Phone Protection — Pay your monthly cell phone bill with your card and receive up to $800 if the phone is stolen or damaged. There is a coverage maximum of $1,000 per year, a limit of 2 claims in any 12-month period, and a $50 deductible per claim.
  • Purchase Protection — Purchase an eligible item with your card and receive coverage for damage or theft for up to 120 days from the date of purchase, up to $500 per item, and up to $50,000 per calendar year.
  • Extended Warranty — Qualifying items purchased with your card that have manufacturer’s warranties of 3 years or less will receive 1 additional warranty year.
  • Introductory 0% APR0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49%-29.24%.
  • Chase Offers — Log in to your online Chase card account and select from offers that provide rebates for purchases from select merchants.
  • Shop through Chase — Use your card to shop via the Chase shopping portal and receive bonus earnings on your purchases.
  • ShopRunner Membership — Receive a complimentary 1-year membership that includes 2-day free shipping and special offers at over 100 retailers.
  • DoorDash DashPass — Register your card by December 31, 2024, and receive a complimentary 3-month subscription and 50% off an additional 9 months.
  • Instacart Benefits — Cardholders are eligible for a free 3-month Instacart+ membership plus a $10 quarterly credit when you activate Instacart+. Activate by July 31, 2024.

Discover Cash Back Card

  • No Foreign Transaction Fees — Unlike the Freedom Flex card, the Discover Cash Back card does not charge fees on foreign purchases.

Note that this list of key benefits and protections is not all-inclusive and descriptions are abbreviated. You’ll want to check each card’s benefits guide for a list of all benefits and information on terms, conditions, and limitations.

Bottom Line: The Freedom Flex card comes with a broader collection of travel and shopping benefits and protections compared to the Discover Cash Back card. And, while the Discover Cash Back card does not charge foreign transaction fees, the Freedom Flex card is a Mastercard and may be more widely accepted during your travels. 

Fees and Authorized Users

Neither the Freedom Flex card nor the Discover Cash Back card charges an annual fee. There is also no extra charge for adding authorized users to either card.

One fee you should be aware of, however, is that the Freedom Flex card charges a 3% foreign transaction fee.

Final Thoughts

When comparing the Freedom Flex card and Discover Cash Back card, the Freedom Flex card comes out the winner. The card offers more earning categories, the option to transfer rewards to premium Chase cards for more valuable redemption options, and several additional travel/shopping benefits and protections.

If you’re not a traveler and simply want to accumulate cash-back to save up for a major/emergency purchase, an occasional family trip, or apply the cash-back to your statement each month, the Discover Cash Back card can accomplish that objective.

However, you would have more opportunities to earn rewards and redeem those rewards for potentially greater value with the Freedom Flex card.

The information regarding the Chase Freedom Flex℠ was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Discover it® Cash Back Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which card is better, the Freedom Flex card or the Discover Cash Back card?

The Freedom Flex card has the edge with more earning categories, expanded redemption options with premium Chase cards, and a better collection of travel/shopping benefits and protections.

Does the Discover Cash Back card have a welcome bonus?

The Discover Cash Back card offers a unique welcome bonus that is equal to the amount of cash-back you earn in the first year after card approval.

For example, if you earn $500 in cash-back within the first year you have the card, you will receive a bonus of $500, which is paid out after your first card anniversary.

Does the Freedom Flex card charge foreign transaction fees?

Yes, the card charges a foreign transaction fee of 3% of the total transaction.

Does Walmart count as a grocery store for Discover cash-back?

While Walmart is excluded as a grocery store for bonus category supermarket earnings, it may show up as a stand-alone quarterly bonus category. Walmart, Target, and warehouse clubs are occasionally quarterly bonus categories earning 5% cash-back.

Can I use Discover cash-back for flights?

You can’t use Discover cash-back directly for the flight purchase but you can apply the Discover cash-back in your account as a statement credit after you have made a flight purchase with the card.

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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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