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Chase Sapphire Preferred Card vs. Freedom Flex Card [Detailed Comparison]

Christine Krzyszton's image
Christine Krzyszton
Christine Krzyszton's image

Christine Krzyszton

Senior Finance Contributor

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: Juan Ruiz
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Juan Ruiz

Compliance Editor & Content Contributor

Countries Visited: 40U.S. States Visited: 27

Juan has been involved in credit cards, loyalty, travel, and personal finance for more than 10 years. He has worked for several outlets including The Points Guy and Forbes and was previously Editor-in...

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As a leading financial institution, Chase’s expertise extends far beyond its credit card offerings. For this reason, establishing a relationship with Chase and having access to the Chase portfolio of products can prove to be valuable over the long term.

Securing and managing a rewards-earning Chase credit card, however, can be an excellent tool for establishing a foundation with Chase, though this decision does beg the next question of which card would be an appropriate first card.

Today, we’re going to focus on that exact question and provide you with 2 excellent card recommendations.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Freedom Flex℠ are both good choices for a first-time rewards-earning card, especially if you’re a traveler. Even occasional travelers will find value in either card.

Up next, we’re ready to dive into the details, compare the attributes of these popular cards, and see how each measures up as a valuable travel rewards card.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card vs. Freedom Flex Card — Summary

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BenefitChase Sapphire Preferred® CardChase Freedom Flex℠
Welcome BonusEarn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.Earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months.
Earning Potential
  • 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 5x points on Lyft through March 31, 2025
  • 5x points on select Peloton purchases over $250 (through March 31, 2025)
  • 3x points on dining
  • 3x points on online groceries
  • 3x points on select streaming services
  • 2x points on other travel
  • 1x points on other purchases
  • 5% cash-back on rotating bonus categories, up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter you activate
  • 5% cash-back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 5% cash-back on Lyft through March 31, 2025
  • 3% cash-back on dining
  • 3% cash-back at drugstores
  • 1% cash-back on other purchases
Redemption Options
  • Transfers to airline and hotel partners
  • Chase travel portal bookings (25% redemption bonus)
  • Pay Yourself Back (25% redemption bonus)
  • Statement credits/cash-back
  • Gift cards
  • Amazon.com
  • Chase travel portal bookings
  • Transfer points to premium Chase cards for greater redemption potential
  • Pay Yourself Back
  • Statement credits/cash-back
  • Gift cards
  • Amazon.com
Travel Benefits and Protections
  • Primary rental car insurance
  • Trip interruption and cancellation insurance
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Trip delay reimbursement
  • Travel and emergency assistance services
  • Secondary rental car insurance
  • Trip interruption and cancellation insurance
  • Travel and emergency assistance services
Shopping Benefits and Protections
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty
  • Complimentary subscription to DoorDash DashPass for at least 1 year when you activate by December 31, 2024
  • 6-month subscription to Instacart+ and a $15 quarterly credit after activating your Instacart+ subscription
  • Zero liability protection
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Cell phone protection
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty
  • 3-month subscription to DoorDash DashPass
  • 3-month subscription to Instacart+ and a $10 quarterly credit after activating your Instacart+ subscription
  • Zero liability protection
Annual Fees and Authorized Users
  • $95 annual fee
  • No charge to add authorized users
  • $0 annual fee
  • No charge to add authorized users

The Value of a Welcome Bonus

You can expect to receive a welcome bonus after meeting minimum spending requirements within the first 3 months after card approval with either the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or the Freedom Flex card. Welcome bonuses allow you to accumulate a large number of points or cash-back quickly.

While the Chase Sapphire Preferred card welcome bonus is generally much larger than the Freedom Flex card, the card does charge an annual fee and has a higher minimum spending requirement.

The value of your welcome bonus will vary depending on your redemption choice, but we estimate the value of Ultimate Rewards points at approximately 2 cents each.

Welcome offers change, as well as the spending requirements, so it’s essential to check out the most recent offer before applying. This is a prudent step for any credit card you’re considering.

Here are the most recent offerings for our 2 featured cards:

POPULAR FIRST CARD
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® 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.

A fantastic travel card with a huge welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

A fantastic travel card with a huge welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
60,000 points
$1,200
$95
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 Sapphire Preferred® card is one of the best travel rewards cards on the market. Its bonus categories include travel, dining, online grocery purchases, and streaming services, which gives you the opportunity to earn lots of bonus points on these purchases.

Additionally, it offers flexible point redemption options, no foreign transaction fees, and excellent travel insurance coverage including primary car rental insurance. With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why this card is an excellent choice for any traveler.

Pros

  • 5x points on all travel booked via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • 5x points on select Peloton purchases over $150 (through March 31, 2025)
  • 5x points on Lyft purchases (through March 31, 2025)
  • 3x points on dining purchases, online grocery purchases, and select streaming services
  • 2x points on all other travel worldwide
  • $50 annual credit on hotel stays booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • 6 months of complimentary Instacart+ (activate by July 31, 2024), plus up to $15 in statement credits each quarter through July 2024
  • Excellent travel and car rental insurance
  • 10% annual bonus points
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs like United MileagePlus and World of Hyatt

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • No elite benefits like airport lounge access or hotel elite status
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, and $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
  • Member FDIC

Financial Snapshot

  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Chase Freedom Flex℠

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.

Chase Freedom Flex℠

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
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
  • Excellent cell phone insurance
  • Ability to pool points
  • Mastercard World Elite benefits

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

  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Bottom Line: Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Freedom Flex card offer a welcome bonus that can be earned by meeting minimum spending requirements within the first 3 months after card approval. The value of the welcome bonus will vary depending on the card and how you ultimately redeem your rewards. 

Earning Potential

Vacation Pool and View
The Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal is a key purchase category for earning bonus points with either of our featured cards. Image Credit: Konstantinos Eleftheriadis via Pexels

A key factor to receiving value from a specific card is that its bonus-earning categories match up with your spending mix. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Freedom Flex card offer similar bonus-earning categories, but you’ll want to pay attention to the differences to determine if your biggest expenses will be earning big rewards.

The Freedom Flex card, for example, has quarterly bonus categories that rotate. These categories can include supermarkets, warehouse clubs, PayPal, Amazon, home improvement, and many more. You’ll also find 5% cash-back earnings at gas stations in the first year. Maximizing spending in these categories could give the card an edge.

Here are the earning categories for both of our featured cards:

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Earning CategoryChase Sapphire Preferred CardFreedom Flex Card
Travel Purchased via Chase Travel Portal5x points per dollar spent5% cash-back
Lyft Rides5x points through March 31, 20255% cash-back through March 31, 2025
Restaurants, Eligible Takeout, and Delivery3x points3% cash-back
Select Streaming Services and Online Grocery Store Purchases3x points1% cash-back
Drugstores1x points3% cash-back
Quarterly Rotating Bonus CategoriesN/A5% cash-back on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter you activate
Grocery Store Purchases (excluding Walmart and Target)1x points5% cash-back on up to $12,000 in purchases during the first 12 months after card approval
All Other Purchases1x points1% cash-back

Bottom Line: The Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Freedom Flex card both offer the same level of earnings on travel via the Chase travel portal, dining, takeout, food delivery, and on Lyft rides. The extra earnings on quarterly bonus categories, drugstores, and at grocery stores with the Freedom Flex card could add significant extra earnings if your spending matches these categories. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card has the edge on streaming services and at online grocery stores. 

Redemption Options

Greece seaview
Both earning on travel purchases and redeeming rewards for travel are sweet spots for these Chase cards. Image Credit: Pixabay via Pexels

You’ll have plenty of flexibility at redemption time with either the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or the Freedom Flex card.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns Ultimate Rewards points, while the Freedom Flex card, marketed as a cash-back card, actually first earns its rewards as points. Those points can subsequently be redeemed for cash-back, travel, and the additional options listed below.

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Redemption OptionChase Sapphire Preferred CardFreedom Flex Card
Travel via Chase Travel Portal1.25 cents per point1 cent per point
Transfer Points to Chase Travel PartnersTransfer to airline and hotel partners to redeem for award flights and free hotel nightsN/A, points earned on the card must be transferred to a premium card in order to then transfer to travel partners
Pay Yourself Back for Charitable ContributionsReimburse yourself for select charitable contributions at the rate of 1.25 cents per point through December 2023
Pay Yourself Back — Rotating CategoriesReimburse yourself at the rate of 1.25 cents per point (categories vary)N/A
General Statement Credits1 cent per point
Additional Redemption OptionsCash-back, gift cards, Amazon and Apple shopping, Chase Experiences

Bottom Line: The Chase Sapphire Preferred card has broader redemption options than the Freedom Flex card as its Ultimate Rewards points can be redeemed for travel via the Chase travel portal for 1.25 cents each or transferred to airline and hotel partners to purchase flights and free hotel nights. The Freedom Flex card can only redeem points for 1 cent each for travel and points cannot be transferred to travel partners directly. 

Travel Benefits and Protections

Man with unique suitcase
Travel protections can provide you with peace of mind during your travels. Image Credit: Danila Hamsterman via Unsplash

Travel benefits and protections can save you money and provide coverage when your trip is canceled or disrupted for a covered reason.

Here are the travel protections you’ll find on both the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and the Freedom Flex card:

  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver — Pay for your entire car rental with your card, decline the rental agency’s CDW/LDW coverage, and receive coverage for damage or theft. Coverage provided with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is primary while coverage with the Freedom Flex card is secondary, meaning you would first need to file a claim with any other applicable insurance before card coverage kicks in.
  • Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Insurance — If your trip is canceled or interrupted for covered reasons, you could receive up to $10,000 per person, $20,000 per trip with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, or up to $1,500 per person, $6,000 per trip with the Freedom Flex card.
  • Roadside Assistance — With 1 call and paying just 1 flat, pre-negotiated fee, you can receive standard towing (up to 5 miles), tire changing, jump-starting, lockout service, and fuel delivery (cost of fuel not included).

Beyond the travel protections these 2 cards have in common, you’ll find these additional benefits/protections on the individual cards:

Additional Travel Benefits and Protections — Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

  • $50 Hotel Statement Credit — Book your hotel via the Chase travel portal and receive a statement credit once each card anniversary year.
  • Visa Signature Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection Benefits — Enjoy an upgraded room (when available), daily breakfast for 2, late checkout (when available), a $25 food and beverage credit, plus VIP status.
  • Trip Delay Reimbursement — For trips that have a delay of more than 12 hours, or overnight, you could receive up to $500 for eligible incidental expenses.
  • Baggage Delay — Receive up to $100 per day with a maximum of $500, for eligible incidental expenses, if your baggage is delayed more than 6 hours.
  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement — Receive up to $3,000 if your luggage is lost or stolen.

Additional Travel Benefits and Protections — Freedom Flex Card

  • World Elite Mastercard Hotel Benefits — Enjoy early check-in and late checkout (subject to availability) and an upgraded room at Mastercard Luxury Hotels and Resorts, including all-inclusive properties. You’ll also receive breakfast for 2 and an on-site amenity (value up to $100). Additional benefits at all-inclusive properties include an on-site experience (value of up to $250), an in-room amenity, and VIP service.

Bottom Line: The Chase Sapphire Preferred card with primary car rental insurance (versus secondary), higher trip cancellation/interruption benefits, a $50 Ultimate Rewards hotel credit, and baggage insurance is clearly the better card for travel benefits and protections over the Freedom Flex card. 

Shopping Benefits and Protections

Since both the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Freedom Flex card are issued by Chase, you’ll find similar benefits and protections.

Here are some of the shopping benefits and protections you’ll find on both cards:

  • Purchase Protection — Purchase an eligible item with your card and receive coverage for theft, accidental damage, or “involuntary or accidental parting” for 120 days from the date of purchase. Coverage is limited to $500 per item, $50,000 maximum per account.
  • Extended Warranty — Eligible items with manufacturer’s warranties for 3 years or less will receive 1 additional year of coverage.
  • Chase Offers — Log in to your Chase card account and receive money-saving offers from select retailers.
  • Shop through Chase — Utilize the Chase shopping portal to earn additional Ultimate Rewards points on your purchases. Select Ways to Earn, then Shop through Chase in your online Chase account.
  • DoorDash DashPass — Receive a complimentary that includes reduced fees and free delivery with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card through December 31, 2024. If the DashPass is activated in 2024, it will expire 1 year from the date of activation. The Freedom Flex card comes with a complimentary 3-month membership and the option to receive an additional 9 months at a 50% discount. Must activate by December 31, 2024.
  • Instacart Benefits — Cardholders are eligible for a free 3- or 6-month Instacart+ membership plus a $10 or $15 quarterly credit.

Additional Shopping Benefits and Protections — Freedom Flex Card

  • Cell Phone Protection — Pay for your monthly cell phone service with your card and receive up to $800 per claim if your phone is damaged or stolen. There is a $50 deductible for each claim and a limit of 2 claims per 12-month period, for a total of $1,000 maximum.
  • Introductory 0% APR on Purchases and Balance Transfers — Enjoy an interest-free period for eligible balance transfers and purchases for up to 15 months after card approval. After that, normal interest rates as stated in the card table at the beginning of this article will apply.

Bottom Line: The Chase Sapphire Preferred card and the Freedom Flex card offer similar shopping benefits and protections. The Freedom Flex card, however, offers cell protection and an introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers, both of which are not found on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. 

Annual Fees and Authorized Users

To balance the benefits you’ll receive with any costs incurred for holding a rewards-earning credit card, you’ll want to consider annual fees and any charges for adding authorized users to your card.

Here’s how the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Freedom Flex card compare in this category:

Annual Fees

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card charges a $95 annual fee, which is actually modest for a travel rewards-earning card. The Freedom Flex card does not charge an annual fee.

Adding Authorized Users

There is no charge to add authorized users to either the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or the Freedom Flex card.

Bottom Line: The Chase Sapphire Preferred card packs plenty of earning potential, flexible redemption options, and benefits into its card for just a $95 annual fee. The Freedom Flex card does not have an annual fee but has great earning power, good-value redemption options, and useful benefits such as cell phone protection. Neither card charges a fee to add authorized users. 

Everything Else You Need To Know

Chase has an unwritten rule that if you have been approved for 5 cards (or more) within the past 24 months (from any issuer), you will not be approved for a Chase card (known as Chase’s 5/24 rule).

While the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Freedom Flex card both offer earnings on every purchase you make, the Freedom Flex card charges a 3% foreign transaction fee. This makes the card a poor choice for international travel.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is issued as a Visa Signature card and the Freedom Flex card is a World Elite Mastercard.

Final Thoughts

You may have difficulty deciding which of our featured Chase rewards-earning cards is right for you, when actually, the combination of both cards could offer the greatest value. Having the bonus-earning categories on everyday purchases with the no-annual-fee Freedom Flex card and transferring those points to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card for increased redemption value allows you to benefit from the best of both cards.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card, compared to other travel rewards cards, offers a lot of value for a lower $95 annual fee.

Additionally, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card would make a better travel companion if you’re a frequent international traveler as it does not charge foreign transaction fees.

And if you consider the route of applying for both cards, you’ll want to read up on Chase’s 5/24 rule.

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 card is better, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or the Freedom Flex card?

The better card for you will depend on which card matches your largest purchases, how you wish to redeem your rewards, and if you can use the benefits offered on the card.

If you are a frequent traveler and don’t mind paying an annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card comes with an excellent package of travel insurance benefits and elevated redemption options.

The $0 annual fee Freedom Flex card has more bonus-earning categories for everyday purchases. If your spending will be in these categories, you may earn more rewards.

If you have both cards, you may be able to maximize the strengths that come with each of the cards.

Does the Freedom Flex card earn Ultimate Rewards points?

While the Freedom Flex card is marketed as a cash-back card, the card first earns its rewards in the form of points that can be redeemed for cash-back.

These points can also be redeemed for travel, gift cards, statement credits, and more.

Do Ultimate Rewards points expire if I cancel the card?

Any Ultimate Rewards points that have not been redeemed prior to canceling the card will be forfeited. You can transfer points, however, to any other active Ultimate Rewards-earning cards prior to canceling.

If you have a Chase premium card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you may also transfer Ultimate Rewards points to airline or hotel partners prior to canceling the card.

Can Ultimate Rewards points be used for shopping?

You can redeem Ultimate Rewards points when shopping via Amazon or at checkout with PayPal. However, you will receive a value that is less than 1 cent per point.

Typically, your points are worth 1 cent each when shopping at Apple.

There are occasional bonus promotions that can offer greater value in the ballpark of 1.1 cents per point, but generally, these options do not offer good value for your points.

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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