The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of our favorite travel rewards credit cards. Right now, it has a welcome bonus offer of 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first three months. But that big bonus doesn’t mean it should be your go-to card forever. Just the opposite.
Once you’ve earned that welcome bonus, you’d be better off putting some of your grocery shopping and many other everyday expenses on a different credit card that earns you more points. And that’s where the Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited® cards come in.
These two Chase credit cards have no annual fee and typically earn cashback. But pair them with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or even the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, and it forms a powerful tandem that can help you earn even more Chase Ultimate Rewards points on your everyday spending.
We’ll walk you through why you may want to pair one of these cards alongside your Chase Sapphire Preferred Card – and how you can earn a quick 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (and then some). It’s a powerful duo for your wallet.
Chase Freedom Flex vs. Freedom Unlimited
What’s the difference between these two Chase credit cards?
Chase introduced the Freedom Flex Card as a replacement for the wildly popular Chase Freedom Card, which is no longer available for new applications. At the same time, Chase updated the benefits of the Chase Freedom Unlimited to make that card even stronger.
So let’s take a look at what each card offers.
Chase Freedom Flex
- Welcome Offer Bonus: Earn a $200 bonus after spending $500 in the first three months of card membership.
- Earn 5% cashback on rotating quarterly categories on up to $1,500 of spending which could include:
- Grocery stores, gym memberships, streaming services, gas stations, etc. See our guide of the rotating Chase Freedom bonus categories.
- Earn 5% cashback on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
- Earn 5% cashback on Lyft rides through March 2022.
- Earn 3% cashback on dining, including takeout and delivery services
- Earn 3% cashback at drugstores
- No Annual Fee!
Click Here to learn more about the Chase Freedom Flex Card.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
- Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) – worth up to $300 cash back!
- After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
- Earn 5% cashback on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal starting Sept. 15, 2020.
- Earn 5% cashback on Lyft rides starting Sept. 15 through March 2025.
- Earn 3% cashback on dining
- Earn 3% cashback at drugstores
- Earn an unlimited 1.5% cashback on all other purchases.
- No Anual Fee!
Click Here to learn more about the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card.
These cards clearly have a lot of overlap. They’re designed to be a mainstay in your wallet, a smart way to pay for many of your everyday expenses. And while the Chase Sapphire Preferred is worth keeping longterm, it’s not the right card to keep swiping day in and day out.
The biggest difference is that the Chase Freedom Flex earns 5% back (on up to $1,500 of spending each quarter) on a set of rotating quarterly bonus categories. Stay up-to-date on the latest Chase Freedom Flex bonus categories!
Meanwhile, the Chase Freedom Unlimited earns an unlimited 1.5% cashback on all other spending. That makes it a good catch-all card for your other spending – especially if you feel you can’t max out the Chase Freedom Flex bonus categories.
One other critical difference: Unlike the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card, the new Freedom Flex card isn’t from Visa. It’s a World Elite Mastercard. That may seem like a meaningless change, but it opens up even more benefits like cell phone insurance, earning free Lyft credits, discounts on Postmates deliveries, and more. See all the World Elite Mastercard benefits.
While Chase technically allows you to hold both the Freedom Unlimited and the Freedom Flex, you only need one to pair with your Chase Sapphire Preferred (or Reserve) Card.
Why You Should Pair a Freedom with a Sapphire Card
The one-two punch of holding a Chase Freedom card with a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve credit card is undeniable.
When you’ve got a Chase Sapphire card, the cashback your Freedom card earns can be turned into Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Every cent you earn equals 1 Chase point. Therefore, earning 5% cashback could also mean 5x Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
Let’s say you’ve got the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. Just for spending $500 in the first three months of card membership on the Freedom Unlimited, you’ll earn a $200 cash bonus. And if you hold the Sapphire Preferred, that $200 can be turned into 20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to use towards travel.
That’s 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points right off the bat. But you can do better.
Both Freedom cards will earn more points in certain categories than you would earn with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card on its own. Holding one of the Freedom cards is a great way to make sure you squeeze the most value out of your everyday spending.
And critically, you can open a Freedom card and also take advantage of the 60,000 point offer on the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card to earn 80,000 points total after spending only $4,500 in the first three months and paying one $95 annual fee (on the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card).
Those points work out to at least $1,000 in free travel. Not bad for paying just $95 in annual fees.
Click Here to get more information about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
How to Responsibly Earn the Bonus on Chase Credit Cards
Let’s be clear about something: Spending $4,500 in three months to earn these bonuses is no small task. And spending the full $4,500 in the first year to earn the full 100,000 points can be even more difficult. If you don’t think you can do it responsibly, you shouldn’t try.
Credit cards are serious business, and debt is a major problem in this country. If you charge expenses you can’t pay off immediately, paying back high-interest rates will negate the value of whatever points you earn and also harm your credit score.
But if you can meet the spending requirement responsibly, this is a fantastic strategy to earn two big Chase bonuses – and then keep earning Chase points on your everyday spending. If spending $4,500 in three months sounds like a stretch, keep in mind that there are creative ways to responsibly hit those minimum spending requirements.
Pairing one (or both) of the Chase Freedom cards with a Chase Sapphire Card is a powerful points-earning duo. You’ll unlock more points upfront, and maximize more of your everyday spending from thereon out.
Because of the Chase 5/24 rule, we always suggest prioritizing Chase credit cards as you work to earn points to fuel your future travels. And with this many potential points on the table, the time is ripe.