As with most advice we dispense on this blog, the answers to such questions vary from person to person. Not everyone’s budget, travel goals, and spending habits are the same. (Not to mention, 5/24 status plays a big factor when deciding which credit cards to get.)
Also, there’s no law — as far as I know — stating you can’t carry both. So it doesn’t necessarily have to be an either/or situation. But when 5/24 comes into play, you might have to decide which card is better for you.
The cards overlap in many areas. Neither has an annual fee. Both have several of the same bonus categories. Their welcome bonuses are the same.
But there are three significant differences between the two.
Below is a table comparing and contrasting the two cards. Their differences are highlighted in red. And we’ll discuss each in a couple of minutes.
|Chase Freedom Flex (Learn how to apply)||Chase Freedom Unlimted (Learn how to apply)|
|Visa or Mastercard?||Mastercard||Visa|
|Current Welcome Bonus||Receive $200 Cashback (awarded as 20,000 Ultimate Rewards points) when you spend $500 in eligible purchases within three months of being approved.||Receive $200 Cashback (awarded as 20,000 Ultimate Rewards points) when you spend $500 in eligible purchases within three months of being approved.|
|Quarterly 5% Categories||Yes||No|
|5% Cashback on Travel Purchased Through Chase Ultimate Rewards||Yes||Yes|
|5% Cashback on Lyft Rides||Yes, through March 2022||Yes, through March 2022|
|3% Cashback on Drugstore Purchases||Yes||Yes|
|3% Cashback on Dining Purchases (Restaurants and Eligible Delivery Services)||Yes||Yes|
|All Other Purchases||1% cashback||1.5% cashback|
|Complimentary DoorDash DashPass Subscription (Read More About Activating the DashPass Benefit)||3 months||3 months|
Here’s the meat-and-potatoes (sorry vegetarians and carb-watchers) of how the two cards are different — and why you might pick one over the other.
Visa vs. Mastercard
This is sort of a big deal for people who want to use their card in person at someplace like Costco — which only Visa credit cards. (Costco.com, FWIW, accepts Mastercard.)
The Chase Freedom Flex‘s Mastercard Signature benefits include cell phone protection:
“Get up to $800 per claim and $1,000 per year in cell phone protection against covered theft or damage for phones listed on your monthly cell phone bill when you pay it with your eligible credit card. Maximum of 2 claims in a 12 month period with a $50 deductible per claim.”
5% Bonus Cashback Category
Here’s a biggie. The Chase Freedom Flex offers cardholders 5% cash back in rotating categories each quarter. The feature is similar to one offered by the Discover it Cash Back card (see more cashback cards now).
This quarter, the Flex’s bonus categories are Walmart and PayPal. From January through March 2021, they’re streaming services, wholesale clubs, and cable, Internet & phone services.
Rewards are capped at $1,500 in spending (or $75 cashback) each quarter. So if you max out that benefit, you get yourself $300 back (or 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points) each year — for a no-annual-fee card.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited does not offer this special feature.
1.5% Cashback vs. 1% Cashback
The Chase Freedom Unlimited gives cardholders 1.5% back on purchases. That can be handy if you do a lot of traditionally un-bonused spending (tuition, car repairs, etc.). The Flex bottoms out at 1% back.
Which One Should Delta Flyers Get?
So this is my practice. It may or may not work for you.
My spending is split across cards with good bonus categories. The rest goes on my Delta Reserves until I hit my MQM Status Boost goals.
For example, regular readers know that my wife and I swear by our Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express for 6X% cashback on up to $6,000 in annual spending at grocery stores. When we max that out, we switch to our Chase Sapphire Reserve (for the Pay Yourself Back feature) and American Express Gold Card (4X at US supermarkets, up to $25,000 in annual spending).
Purchases that usually are not bonused and earn only 1X on most cards (utilities, taxes, computer supplies, bourbon and red wine from my local liquor store…) are made on my Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express or Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card from American Express.
The Chase Freedom Flex or the Chase Freedom Unlimited are similar — yet a few differences may impact your decision as to which one is better for your needs. For my goals and budget, the Chase Freedom Flex packs more punch.
Is there one you prefer? Why? Please share your thoughts in the below Comments section!
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