Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
& Juan Ruiz
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Earning rewards from credit card purchases is an effective way to accumulate miles and points that can be used to offset, or sometimes fully cover, the cost of travel. However, earning cash-back rewards may be preferred for its simpler earning structure and ease and flexibility of redemption options.
The debate as to which type of rewards are better (miles, points, or cash-back) will go on, but there’s no doubt cash-back is a popular choice. Below we will dive into how 2 popular cash-back cards can earn you a ton of rewards.
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card are cards you want to keep ready in your wallet for earning on everyday purchases. The card that might work best for you, however, will depend on a few factors, including your spending mix.
We’ve set out today to compare how these 2 cash-back cards earn rewards, the options you’ll have at redemption time, and the additional benefits you can expect.
We’ll get down to details shortly but first, let’s glance at a quick comparison of the Freedom Flex card and the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card.
Here’s how the cards compare overall.
|Feature or Benefit||Chase Freedom Flex℠||Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card|
|Welcome Offer||Earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months.||Earn $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.|
* Maximum of $2,500 in spending each quarter for 3% and 2% categories combined, then 1% cash-back
|Top Travel Protections and Benefits||
|Shopping Protections and Benefits||Introductory 0% APR on purchases|
|Top Shopping Protections and Benefits||
|Annual Fee and Authorized Users||$0 annual fee, no fee to add authorized users||$0 annual fee, no fee to add authorized users|
While a key component of selecting a cash-back card is its rewards-earning structure, you’ll also want to consider its initial welcome offer. The Freedom Flex card and Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card each have a cash-back welcome offer that can be earned by meeting minimum spending requirements in the months immediately following card approval.
You’ll find the most current welcome offers, and details on how to earn those offers, in the card table overviews below.
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 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.
The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card allows you to maximize your cash-back in your choice category each month.
If you’re looking to the rake in the cash-back rewards, then the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card is a great option. Not only do you get to choose the 3% category for the card, but you can also boost the cash-back you earn by being a member of the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program.
Before selecting a cash-back card, you’ll want to carefully review the bonus-earning categories for each card to determine which one better matches your spending patterns.
Here’s how the Freedom Flex card and Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card earn rewards.
|Earning Category||Freedom Flex Card||Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Card|
|Quarterly Bonus Categories||5% cash-back on select categories that rotate quarterly, up to a maximum of $1,500 in purchases each quarter, then 1%||3% cash-back on the category of your choice from select categories each quarter on a maximum of $2,500 in purchases each quarter for 3% and 2% categories (listed below) combined, then 1%|
||3% cash-back when selected as a choice category (limits as noted above apply)|
|Additional Earnings||3% cash-back at drugstores and dining (including takeout and eligible delivery)||
|All Other Purchases||1% cash-back||1% cash-back|
Both of our featured cards earn cash-back. However, the bonus-earning structures differ greatly on each card.
Here are some important details you don’t want to miss on how rewards are earned:
Each quarter a new set of 5% cash-back bonus categories are announced. Examples of previous quarterly bonus categories have included home improvement stores, Amazon, grocery stores, gas stations, warehouse clubs, PayPal, drugstores, and more. There is a limit of $1,500 in purchases each quarter that will earn 5% back, then 1%. You must activate this bonus-earning feature each quarter.
Choice Categories allow you to select your own bonus-earning category each quarter. Select your preferred 3% cash-back category from these options: gas stations, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores, or home improvement/furnishings. Your Choice Category can be changed once each month.
There is a limit of $2,500 in purchases each quarter for your 3% Choice Category and 2% bonus-earning category combined.
If you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, you can earn additional cash-back on all your purchases. Those cardholders who have $20,000 or more in assets across Bank of America and/or Merrill investments qualify for the Gold Tier which includes a 25% bonus on credit card rewards. Those with $50,000 or more qualify for the Platinum Tier and a 50% bonus and those with $100,000 or more qualify for Platinum Honors and earn a 75% bonus.
This translates to the ability to earn 1.25% to 5.25% in cash-back when spending on the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card, depending on what Preferred Rewards tier you’re in. Here is how much cash-back you would earn depending on your Preferred Rewards status:
|Base Earning Category||Gold||Platinum||Platinum Honors|
|3% cash-back||3.75% cash-back||4.5% cash-back||5.25% cash-back|
|2% cash-back||2.5% cash-back||3% cash-back||3.5% cash-back|
|1% cash-back||1.25% cash-back||1.5% cash-back||1.75% cash-back|
Although both the Freedom Flex card and Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card are cash-back earning cards, the Freedom Flex card actually earns rewards in the form of points that can be redeemed for cash-back. The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card earns cash-back directly.
This is an important difference as it affects how rewards can be redeemed.
|Redemption Option||Freedom Flex Card||Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Card|
|Travel||Redeem cash-back for a statement credit to offset travel purchases; minimum redemption is $25|
|Cash-back||Statement credit, check, transfer to a bank account||Statement credit, check, transfer to a Bank of America bank account|
|Additional Redemption Options||Gift cards, shopping with select retailers, Pay Yourself Back for select charitable contributions||Transfer to eligible 529 accounts or a contribution to an eligible Merrill account|
Travel protections and benefits can save you money and provide protection when your trip is disrupted. Here are the protections and benefits you can expect on our featured cards:
The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card is a Visa Signature card so you’ll find limited related benefits in addition to Bank of America benefits.
Repaying large purchases without incurring interest rate charges can be a money saver. Fortunately, both the Freedom Flex card and Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card offer an introductory 0% APR period for purchases.
The Freedom Flex card comes with a 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49%-29.24%..
The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card comes with a 0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases. Variable rate of 16.24% - 26.24% applies thereafter..
Here are some additional shopping protections and benefits you’ll find on the Freedom Flex card:
Hot Tip: Chase has added Gopuff benefits to dozens of its cards. If you have more than 1 Chase card with a Gopuff benefit, you could receive the statement credit on each card. Here’s a list of eligible cards and how the Gopuff credit works.
The Freedom Flex card and Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card do not charge an annual fee and neither card charges a fee to add authorized users.
To increase your chances of being approved for either the Freedom Flex card or the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card, you’ll need a good to excellent credit score. This translates to a score of at least 670 or above.
Each of our featured cards also comes with an introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers. If you have high-interest credit card debt that you’d like to pay off over time without interest charges, you might be able to save money by transferring the balances during the 0% APR period.
The Freedom Flex card offers a 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49%-29.24%..
The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card comes with a 0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. Variable rate of 16.24% - 26.24% applies thereafter..
Each card charges balance transfer fees, so be sure to consider this cost before completing the transaction.
Both the Freedom Flex card and Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card charge foreign transaction fees of 3% of the total transaction.
Although the no-annual-fee Freedom Flex card and Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card each have robust earning structures for everyday spending, the Freedom Flex card has the edge at rewards redemption time with flexible, and potentially transferrable, points. The card also comes with additional travel and shopping benefits, plus valuable cell phone protection.
If you’re a Bank of America customer and qualify for Preferred Rewards, however, the elevated rewards may prove more lucrative and provide an incentive to select the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card, depending on your asset level with the bank.
Be mindful that there are limits as to how much you can earn each quarter in the 3% and 2% bonus categories on the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card whereas the Freedom Flex card does not have a limit on 3% categories, 5% cash-back on Chase travel portal purchases or Lyft ride purchases. However, the Freedom Flex does have a $1,500 limit on 5% quarterly bonus category purchases.
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 Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The Freedom Flex card is arguably the better choice.
When we compare earning rewards, either card could be a good fit to earn cash-back if the earning structure matches your spending habits. However, the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card does have limits on all of its bonus category spending.
At redemption time the Freedom Flex card offers the additional option of redeeming rewards for travel either via Chase travel portal or transferring points to premium Chase cards for potentially greater redemption value.
The Freedom Flex card also comes with benefits such as cell phone protection, secondary car rental insurance, and trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance.
Cash rewards are earned as a percentage of each purchase. You can select a bonus category from a Choice Category list, receive bonus cash-back earnings at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and receive additional cash-back if you are a Preferred Rewards member.
When you have accumulated at least $25 in cash rewards, you can redeem the rewards for a statement credit, check, or transfer to an eligible Bank of America or Merrill account.
You will need a good to excellent credit score to increase your chances of getting approved for the Freedom Flex card. A good to excellent score is considered 670 to 850.
No, the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card does not charge an annual fee.
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