Chase Freedom Unlimited Card vs. Freedom Flex Card [Detailed Comparison]

DoorDash Chinese food delivery

We may be compensated when you click on links from one or more of our advertising partners. Opinions and recommendations are ours alone. Terms apply to offers below. See our Advertiser Disclosure for more details.

While there is really no such thing as a fun credit card, spending on the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card or the Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card comes as close to fun as you can have with a credit card.

No, the cards don’t come with fancy lounge access or luxury department store purchase credits, but there’s a lot to love each time you pull either card from your wallet to make a purchase.

We’ll talk about how these cards can fit perfectly into your daily routine and also how the cards partner well with premium Chase cards to elevate the value you receive.

Warning — it may be difficult to select just one of these cards but we’ll attempt to lay out all the facts so you can ultimately determine if there’s a winner, or if perhaps both cards are winners.

Let’s find out.

The Value of a Welcome Bonus

Freedom Unlimited Card

Freedom Flex Card

Credit CardBenefits & Info

Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card


Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card
Learn More
(at Chase's secure site)

  • 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 Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
  • 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.
  • Good to Excellent Credit Recommendation (670-850)
  • Annual Fee: $0

A welcome bonus is a unique opportunity to jumpstart your rewards earning. And, while these welcome bonuses can fluctuate, it’s always a good opportunity to meet minimum spending requirements in the first 3 months after card approval and earn this initial bonus.

Currently, both of these no-annual-fee cards are offering a $200 welcome bonus after spending $500 within the first 3 months. A $200 welcome bonus is obviously worth $200, but if you have a premium Chase credit card, the bonus could be worth much more. We’ll explain how that works when we cover redemption options shortly.

The card with the best welcome bonus may differ depending on when you apply. Be sure to check for current welcome bonuses, pricing, and terms and conditions at the time of application.

Bottom Line: If a welcome bonus is important to you, be sure to check each card’s current offering before applying as amounts do fluctuate. A common welcome bonus for each of our featured cards is around $200 after spending $500 within the first 3 months after card approval. 

Earning

Both of our featured cards earn cash-back in the initial form of Ultimate Rewards points that can be redeemed for cash-back, travel, and other options we’ll tell you about momentarily.

Right now, let’s look at how the cards compare when it comes to earning potential.

Earning CategoriesFreedom Unlimited CardFreedom Flex Card
Travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards travel5% cash-back
Quarterly bonus categoriesN/A5% cash-back, up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter
Dining3% cash-back
Drugstores3% cash-back
Lyft ride purchases5% cash-back through March 2022
All other purchases1.5% cash-back1% cash-back

If you were to maximize the quarterly bonus earnings, you would receive $300 in earnings each calendar year with the Freedom Flex card. It would take $20,000 in annual spending at 1.5% cash-back to equal that amount with the Freedom Unlimited card — less if your spending mix includes the 3% and 5% categories.

If your spending mix is more in non-bonus categories, you may fare better earning 1.5% on all purchases with the Freedom Unlimited card.

It’s also worthy to consider having both cards in order to take advantage of both quarterly bonus category earnings and earning 1.5% on all other purchases.

Bottom Line: The card that wins in the earning category will depend on your spending mix and whether you are able to utilize quarterly bonus categories. Sample quarterly bonus categories in the past have included home improvement stores, gas stations, grocery stores, drugstores, warehouse clubs, restaurants, Amazon, and streaming services

Redemption Options

United Polaris 767 300
Ultimate Rewards points can receive elevated value when transferred to premium Chase cards. Image Credit: Chris Hassan

Redeeming rewards may seem simple as you’re earning cash-back, right? Actually, both of our featured cards do earn cash-back but it is earned in the form of Ultimate Rewards points.

The Ultimate Rewards points you earn on either card can then be redeemed in several ways, including cash-back or statement credits.

Redemption options for your points include:

  • Statement credits, travel, and cash at 1 cent per point
  • Gift cards, Amazon and Apple shopping, experiences

Note that some redemption options could result in less than 1 cent per point in value and may not be a good choice.

The Power of Pairs

While the redemption value of Ultimate Rewards points earned on our featured cards is generally around 1 cent each (you may receive more when redeeming for gift cards), you can leverage those same points into a greater value with a premium Chase credit card.

Transferring points to either of these premium Chase cards could deliver value for your Ultimate Rewards far beyond 1 cent per point.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card

When redeeming points for travel via the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you will receive 1.25 cents per point via the Chase travel portal. The Chase Sapphire Reserve card allows you to redeem for travel via the portal at 1.5 cents per point.

Also, once transferred to either of these premium cards, Ultimate Rewards points can then be transferred to airline and hotel partners where you may receive even greater potential value. For examples of some of the best ways to redeem your Ultimate Rewards points with transfer partners, we’ve put together some inspiring redemption options.

Hot Tip: While it’s common to transfer Ultimate Rewards points between personal Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning cards, you can also transfer points between Chase personal and Chase business cards, and vice versa. 

Travel Protections & Benefits

You’ll receive these benefits with both the Freedom Unlimited card and the Freedom Flex card.

  • Car Rental Insurance — Both cards come with secondary car rental insurance. Secondary coverage means that you must first file a claim with any other insurance that applies before the card coverage kicks in.
  • Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Coverage — Receive up to $1,500 per person, $6,000 per trip if a covered loss prevents you from traveling or interrupts your trip.
  • Travel and Emergency Services — Receive assistance 24/7 when you’re traveling for services such as medical/legal referrals, translation services, and more. The cardholder pays the cost of all actual services provided.
  • Roadside Dispatch — Get help with just 1 call when you need towing, a flat tire changed, emergency fuel, or other roadside assistance. You’ll pay just 1 low fee for the service call.

Bottom Line: Both cards carry equal travel protections and benefits including secondary car rental coverage, trip cancellation/interruption coverage, travel and emergency services, and roadside dispatch services. 

Shopping Protections & Benefits

TSA Airport Security Cellphone Bin
Shopping protections and benefits can save the day when theft or damage occurs. Image Credit: Monkey Business Images via Shutterstock

Both of our featured cards come with several of the same shopping protections and benefits:

  • Purchase Protection — Pay for an eligible item with your card and receive up to 120 days of protection against theft, accidental damage, or “involuntary and accidental parting.” Coverage is limited to $500 per item, $50,000 per account.
  • Extended Warranty — Eligible items with a manufacturer’s warranty of 3 years or less will receive 1 additional year. Coverage is limited to $10,000 per claim, $50,000 per account.
  • Chase Offers — Save money on your purchases by adding Chase shopping offers to your account. Examples of offers have included spending $35 at AT&T to receive $35 back and save $5 on a $10 purchase at Panera.
  • Chase Shopping Portal — Earn up to 25 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent when shopping via the Chase Shopping Portal. Access the portal by logging into your online card account and select Ways To Earn, then Shop Through Chase.
  • Introductory 0% APR on Purchases — Enjoy 15 months without any interest charges on purchases made with your card. After that normal flexible interest rates apply.
  • DoorDash DashPass — Receive a complimentary 3-month membership plus 50% off continued membership for an additional 9 months (normally $10 per month). Membership includes free food delivery and reduced service fees on orders of $12 or more. Register by December 31, 2021.

In addition to the above protections and benefits, the Freedom Flex card offers cell phone protection. Pay for your monthly wireless bill with your card and receive up to $800 for theft or damage. Claims are limited to 2 each year and a $1,000 maximum annual benefit. There is a $50 deductible for each claim.

Bottom Line: Both of our featured cards come with the same level of shopping protections and benefits, including purchase protection, extended warranty, and elevated earnings and savings when shopping through the Chase Shopping Portal and with Chase Offers. You’ll also find a 0% APR on purchases and complimentary DoorDash DashPass membership with both cards. The Freedom Flex card has the edge here, however, with the addition of cell phone protection.

Freedom Unlimited Card vs. Freedom Flex Card — Summary

While our featured cards are very similar, let’s see how they stack up when we look at the features and benefits side by side.

Here’s how the cards compare in each category:

Card Feature or BenefitFreedom Unlimited CardFreedom Flex Card
Earnings
  • 5% back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases
  • 5% cash-back on qualifying Lyft purchases (through March 2022)
  • 1.5% back on all other purchases
  • 5% back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 5% back on up to $1,500 in purchases for rotating quarterly bonus-category purchases
  • 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases
  • 5% cash-back on qualifying Lyft purchases (through March 2022)
  • 1% back on all other purchases
Redemption Options
  • Statement credits, travel, and cash at 1 cent per point
  • Transfer to premium Chase credit cards for potentially greater value when redeemed for travel and the additional option to transfer to hotel/airline partners
  • Gift cards, Amazon and Apple shopping, experiences
Travel Protections and Benefits
  • Secondary car rental insurance
  • Trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage, $1,500 per person, $6,000 per trip
  • Travel emergency assistance
  • Roadside dispatch
Shopping Protections and Benefits
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty
  • Chase Offers
  • Chase Shopping Portal earnings
  • 15-month 0% APR on purchases
  • 3-month DoorDash DashPass membership
Cell Phone ProtectionN/AUp to $800 per claim/$1000 per year with a $50 deductible per claim

Everything Else You Need To Know

Our featured cards count toward Chase’s 5/24 rule that states you cannot have 5 or more credit cards opened from any issuer in the past 24 months. You will be denied a new card if you are in this situation.

For this reason, you’ll want to plan your card applications accordingly.

It’s also worth noting that both of our featured cards charge 3% foreign transaction fees on all foreign purchases.

The Freedom Unlimited card utilizes the Visa network while the Freedom Flex card is a Mastercard.

Final Thoughts

Expectations might be low for a no-annual-fee card, but the Freedom Unlimited card and Freedom Flex card bust that myth with robust earning potential, flexible redemption options, and travel/shopping benefits that can save you money.

And, when paired with a premium Chase rewards card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or Chase Sapphire Reserve card, Ultimate Rewards earned on either Freedom card are worth up to 50% more for travel. Plus, once Ultimate Rewards are in your Sapphire card account, transferring to a travel partner can yield even more potential value.

If you’re just getting started or want to add to your Chase card portfolio, either of our featured cards could be a good choice for earning lots of additional Ultimate Rewards points.


The information regarding the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card and Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 


Frequently asked questions

Which is better, the Freedom Unlimited card or the Freedom Flex card?

Both the Freedom Unlimited card and Freedom Flex card do not charge an annual fee, have the same flexible redemption options, and have similar travel and shopping protections and benefits.

The Freedom Flex card, however, has rotating quarterly 5% bonus categories that could potentially deliver faster earnings if you can maximize spending in these categories.

Additionally, the Freedom Flex card offers cell phone protection which is not offered by the Freedom Unlimited card.

The better card for you will depend on your spending mix and whether you value cell phone protection.

Can you have more than 1 Chase card?

Yes, you can have several Chase-issued credit cards, including both the Freedom Unlimited card and the Freedom Flex card.

Chase has a rule, however, that you will not be approved for a card if you have obtained 5 or more cards from any issuer within the past 24 months.

How does cash-back work on the Freedom Unlimited card and Freedom Flex card?

Both cards earn Ultimate Rewards points on every purchase you make. These points are deposited into your account at the end of each statement period and are then available to be redeemed for cash-back, statement credits, for travel via the Ultimate Rewards travel portal, gift cards, shopping at Amazon and Apple, and for experiences.

Points do not expire as long as you have an Ultimate Rewards earning card active. Points can also be transferred to premium Chase credit cards and redeemed for more value toward travel or transferred to airline or hotel partners.

Does the Freedom Unlimited card or Freedom Flex card have primary car rental insurance?

Neither card has primary car rental insurance. Both cards come with secondary car rental insurance that kicks in only after you have first submitted a claim to other insurance that would apply to the loss.

Christine Krzyszton

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine, who lives in Northern Michigan, travels about 300,000 miles a year despite her remote location. Her expertise is traveling the world on a weekend with no pre-determined destination in mind, letting the cost of the airfare determine where she will go. She has over four million flown miles and elite status on all three major domestic carriers.

Travel prices are about to surge from pent-up demand.

Use this points strategy to lock in pennies-on-the-dollar pricing in 2021, all without being a frequent flyer...

How do I only pay $30 to go to Hawaii, $200 for business class to Asia or just $150 to Europe?

Discover the real-life strategies that anyone can use to enjoy limitless travel (even on a limited budget!)

Just sign up below and I’ll send you the Limitless Travel Playbook instantly:

We respect your privacy. Please view our privacy policy here.

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

Advertiser Disclosure

Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which we receive financial compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). However, the credit card information that we publish has been written by experts who know these products inside out, and what we recommend is what we would (or already) use ourselves. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers that are on the market. Click here to see a list of advertisers that we work with.