2021 Chase Freedom Flex Card Q3 Bonus Categories Have Been Announced!

Freedom Flex card with shopping items
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The Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card is a simple card that could easily get overlooked in your wallet. But that would be a mistake because it has tremendous earning potential! Each quarter, the Freedom Flex card has bonus categories that will earn 5% cash-back (or 5x points — see below for details).

The key to this card’s power is knowing how to use the bonus categories for maximum benefit.

In this post, we’ll go over the bonus categories for 2021, plus tips to get the most out of your Freedom Flex card.

New 2021 Q3 Bonus Categories Announced

Chase announced the bonus categories for Q3 will be grocery stores and select streaming services. That means any qualifying purchases made at grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart) or from select streaming services (including Apple Music, Disney+, ESPN+, Fubo TV, Google Play, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, SiriusXM, Sling, Spotify, Vudu, and YouTube) from July 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021 (up to $1,500) will earn 5% cash-back. Any purchases made in these categories over $1,500 plus all purchases at non-bonus stores will earn 1% cash-back.

Chase Freedom Flex 5x categories Q3 2021
Chase Freedom Flex card 5x categories. Image Credit: Chase

Benefits of the 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

The Freedom Flex card is a simple but powerful credit card. This no-annual-fee card offers bonus categories that rotate quarterly. Any purchases in the specified category will earn 5% cash-back (up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter). There are also additional categories that earn 3% to 5% cash-back. All other purchases will earn 1% cash-back.

  • Earn 5% cash-back in quarterly rotating categories (up to $1,500)
  • Earn 5% cash-back on travel purchased through the Chase travel portal
  • Earn 5% cash-back on Lyft rides (through March 2022)
  • Earn 3% cash-back on dining (including food delivery services)
  • Earn 3% cash-back at drugstores
  • Earn 1% cash-back on all other purchases

In addition to these great bonus categories that help you earn tons of cash-back, the Freedom Flex card also has some great additional benefits including trip cancellation and interruption insurance, purchase protection, and cell phone protection.

Welcome Bonus

The Freedom Flex card is currently offering a $200 bonus after spending $500 in purchases in your first 3 months of having the card.

Hot Tip: The Freedom Flex card is not the same as the Chase Freedom® card. The Freedom Flex card has replaced the Freedom card, which is no longer available for new applicants. If you already have a Freedom card, you can still get a Freedom Flex card.

How Your 5% Cash-Back Works

Each quarter, your Freedom Flex card will feature a different bonus category that will earn 5% cash-back (up to $1,500) instead of the standard 1% cash-back. Any purchases over $1,500 in the bonus category plus all other non-bonus category purchases will earn 1% cash-back.

If you max out your bonus, you will earn $75 cash-back (or 7,500 Ultimate Rewards points) each quarter or $300 cash-back (or 30,000 points) per year. Not a bad earning potential for a card with no annual fee!

How To Activate Your Bonus

Each quarter, you must activate your bonus categories. You will be able to activate the next quarter’s bonus categories about 2 weeks before the start of that quarter. Starting June 15, 2021, you will be able to activate your Q3 bonus for 2021.

Activating your bonus only takes a few clicks.

1. Log on to your online Chase account and select your Freedom Flex card from the selections on the left-hand side of your screen.

2. If your bonus needs to be activated, you will see Not Activated at the right-hand side of the Freedom Flex card dashboard. Click on the blue Activate button to continue.

Chase Freedom Flex dashboard
View your Freedom Flex card dashboard by selecting the Freedom Flex card at the left of the screen. Then, you can activate your bonus by clicking the blue Activate button at the right of your screen. Image Credit: Chase

3. You will see a detailed description of the bonus categories you’re activating. Click on the big green Activate now button to complete the activation. That’s all there is to it!

How To Activate The Chase Freedom Flex Bonus Categories
Click on the green Activate now button to complete the activation so you can start earning 5% cash-back! Image Credit: Chase

Chase offers 4 other ways to activate your bonus:

  • Set up an email reminder and activate with 1 click
  • Call 800-524-8200
  • Visit a Chase branch
  • Activate via an ATM

Each quarter has a deadline for activating your bonus. As long as you activate by the deadline, any qualifying purchases from the entire quarter will earn the bonus points.

Once your bonus categories are activated, you will be able to see that they are activated in your online dashboard for your Freedom Flex card.

How To Check Your Progress on the $1,500 Maximum

Maxing out your bonus each quarter is key to making the most of your Freedom Flex card.

  1.  To check your progress, click on the blue Details button in your online account. This button will take you to the Freedom Flex card details page where you can keep track of your progress. Unfortunately, Chase only shows you a general idea of your progress, not an exact dollar amount.

    Freedom Flex dashboard
    Image Credit: Chase

2. If you want to know how much you have spent down to the penny, you will need to use the Search feature right above the list of your transactions.

Freedom Flex online account search
Image Credit: Chase

3. Under Time Period, select Specific date range. Next, input the start date of the current quarter with the end date being the current day. Then, click on the blue Search button.

This selection will bring up a list of all transactions on your Freedom Flex card in the current quarter. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to select only the purchases in the bonus categories, so you might have to do some manual math.

How to search Freedom Flex transactions
Image Credit: Chase

2021 Freedom Flex Card Bonus Categories

Q1: January-March

  • Wholesale Clubs: Not including gas and specialty services like travel, insurance, cell phone, or home improvement
  • Select streaming services: Apple Music, Disney+, ESPN+, Fubo TV, Google Play, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, SiriusXM, Sling, Spotify, Vudu, YouTube
  • Internet, cable, and phone services

Q2: April-June

  • Gas stations
  • Home improvement stores

Q3: July-September

  • Grocery Stores: Not including Target and Walmart
  • Select streaming services: Apple Music, Disney+, ESPN+, Fubo TV, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, SiriusXM, Sling, Spotify, Vudu, YouTube TV

Q4: October-December

  • TBD

Bottom Line: The new bonus categories for the Freedom Flex card for 2021 Q3 are grocery stores and select streaming services. Purchases made in these categories (up to $1,500) from July 1, 2021, to September 30, 2021, will earn 5% cash-back.

Past Bonus Categories

If you’re on the fence about getting a Freedom Flex card, you might be interested to know some of the past bonus categories as these can be repeated.

These are the categories we have seen on the Freedom card over the past few years (the Freedom Flex card has replaced the Freedom card).

How To Maximize the Value From Your Freedom Flex Card

Max Out the Bonus Categories Each Quarter

The key to making the most of this card is to max out your bonus category each quarter. You will earn 5% cash-back on the first $1,500 in purchases in the bonus category, which results in $75 cash-back (or 7,500 points) each quarter. Here are a few tips to help you reach that $1,500 mark without buying a bunch of stuff you don’t need.

  • Gas Stations: This one might be hard to max out entirely on gas, but many gas stations sell more than just gas. You can earn 5% cash-back on basic groceries and gift cards at gas stations.
  • Grocery Stores: This is one of the easiest categories to maximize because most grocery stores sell gift cards to just about anywhere. If you won’t spend the full $1,500 on groceries, purchase gift cards to stores that you frequent often. Many grocery stores even sell airline and other travel gift cards.
  • Mobile Wallets (Chase Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay): This is another easy category to max out. Many stores are now taking these forms of payment.
  • PayPal: More and more websites are accepting PayPal as a form of payment now. Just be sure to link your Freedom Flex card account to your PayPal account.
  • Walgreens: You can purchase basic groceries, health, and beauty items, and even prescriptions at Walgreens. Check for gift cards, one of the easiest ways to get the most out of the 5% bonus category!

Can I Turn My Cash-Back Into Points?

The cash-back you earn on the Freedom Flex card comes in the form of points that are each worth 1 cent. You can redeem these for cash-back or you can book travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal.

However, they can be worth more if you transfer them to a premium card.

Hot Tip: For some more information about how this all works, check out our in-depth guide to Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Pair With a Premium Card

If you hold a premium card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, Chase Sapphire Preferred card, or Ink Business Preferred card, you can maximize the value of your Freedom Flex card.

Instead of taking cash-back, you can choose to transfer the points earned on your Freedom Flex card to a premium Chase Ultimate Rewards card (one that charges an annual fee). Transferring points will increase their value when you use them to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

For example, your 7,500 points are worth $75 in travel through the Freedom Flex card. However, if you transfer them to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, they would be worth $93.75. If you transfer them to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, they would be worth $112.50!

Even better, when you also hold a premium card, you’ll have the option of transferring your points to any of Chase’s hotel and airline partners. Transferring your points to Chase’s travel partners is the best way to get maximum value from your points. You could get 2, 3, or more cents per point!

Bottom Line: You can get the most value out of your Freedom Flex card by pairing it with a premium card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, Chase Sapphire Preferred card, or Ink Business Preferred card.

Final Thoughts

The Freedom Flex card is a great no-annual-fee card that has enormous earning power! This card offers 5% cash-back in bonus categories that rotate quarterly. The new 2021 Q3 categories are gas stations and home improvement stores. Maxing out your bonus each quarter is a great way to earn tons of Chase Ultimate Rewards points!


The information for the Chase Freedom® Card, Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card, Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card, and Ink Business Plus® Credit Card has been collected independently by Upgraded Points. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.


Frequently asked questions

What are the current Freedom Flex card bonus categories?

Now through June 30, 2021, the Freedom Flex card bonus categories are grocery stores and gas stations. From July 1, 2021, to September 30, 2021, the bonus categories will be grocery stores and select streaming services.

Is the Freedom Flex card a cash-back card or an Ultimate Rewards-earning card?

The Freedom Flex card is advertised as a straight cash-back card. And while you can absolutely take the cash-back, you can get more value by using earned rewards as Ultimate Rewards points instead.

With Ultimate Rewards points, you can book travel directly through the Chase travel portal. If you have a premium Chase card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or Ink Business Preferred card, you can transfer those points to hotel and airline partners for even more value.

How is the Freedom Flex card different from the Freedom Unlimited card?

While these 2 cards have similar names, they are indeed very different! The Freedom Flex card offers 5% cash-back in rotating categories every quarter. The Freedom Unlimited card offers a flat 1.5% cash-back on all purchases.

When do I need to activate the Freedom Flex card bonus categories?

You can start activating each quarter’s bonus categories about 2 weeks before the start of the quarter. You can activate the bonus anytime in the specified period to earn bonus points for the entire quarter.

  • Q1: Activate anytime between December 15, 2020, and March 14, 2021
  • Q2: Activate anytime between March 15, 2021, and June 14, 2021
  • Q3: Activate anytime between June 15, 2021, and September 14, 2021
  • Q4: Activate anytime between September 15, 2021, and December 14, 2021

I already have the Freedom Unlimited card. Can I still apply for the Freedom Flex card?

Yes! You can absolutely have both of these cards in your wallet, and that’s a great strategy to earn tons of Ultimate Rewards points! However, your application could be denied if you have opened too many cards recently. Chase operates by the 5/24 rule. That means if you have opened up 5 or more credit cards (from any bank, not just Chase) in the last 24 months, you will most likely be denied.

What's the difference between the Freedom card and the Freedom Flex card?

The Freedom Flex card is an updated version that has replaced the Freedom card. If you already have a Freedom card, you CAN get a Freedom Flex card since they are different (but similar) products. The Freedom card is no longer open to new applications, but the card is eligible for the same bonus categories as the Freedom Flex card.

Katie Seemann

About Katie Seemann

Katie is an Ohio native who caught the travel bug after spending a semester in college in Nottingham, England. In addition to exploring England, she visited Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands during that time and loved every minute of it (everything except the hostel in Scotland – that’s an experience she doesn’t intend on repeating!) In 2015, Katie discovered the world of points and miles, and since then she’s earned countless points and has an embarrassingly large number of credit cards in her wallet (which she needs a spreadsheet to keep track of!)

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5 comments

  1. Love it!

    I get the most benefits out of gas stations/grocery stores/phone/internet/drug stores!
    I wish they would bring back Amazon for September-December!!

    MG

    Reply

  2. I pay my rent with PayPal to my landlord. Does this qualify?

    Reply

  3. How does the Chase Freedom Flex’s first year 5% grocery bonus (max $12000 grocery purchase) work with the 3rd quarter’s 5% grocery bonus (max $1500 grocery purchase)? Do they add up to 10% during the 3rd quarter or just 5%. If just 5%, is $1500 grocery purchase considered part of the quarter’s $1500 or part of the first year’s $12000 or part of both?

    Reply

    • Hi SK,

      I cannot say definitively as we are not Chase. But my guess would be that the 5% bonus will not stack for this quarter, and that you’ll continue to receive the 5% back from your welcome bonus.

      Reply

Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

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