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New no-annual-fee Chase Freedom Flex credit card allows you to maximize cash back and World Elite Mastercard perks

The Chase Freedom Flex credit card provides you with a generous cash-back program, industry-leading welcome bonus and World Elite Mastercard benefits. Here are all the details you should know about this new card.

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Many Chase credit cards are known for competitive rewards programs and the ability to transfer Ultimate Rewards between cards. Whether you're an existing Chase cardholder or someone looking for a new way to maximize cash back, you should consider Chase's newest no-annual-fee credit card, the Chase Freedom Flex℠.

The Freedom Flex card builds upon the rotating bonus category rewards structure of the Chase Freedom® card (which is no longer open to new applicants). It adds above-average rewards for travel, dining and drug store purchases. The new rewards can help you earn more cash back on your next road trip or every day errands.

And Flex takes the benefit of a Chase card to a higher level by incorporating high rewards on dining that equal or outpace the more costly Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® cards ($95 and $550 annual fees, respectively). With the Flex card, you earn 3% cash back on dining, compared to 2X points with the Preferred and 3X points with the Reserve.

CNBC Select takes a close look at the new Chase Freedom Flex credit card and breaks down the rewards, additional perks and fees, so you can decide if this card is right for you.

Chase Freedom Flex℠

On Chase's secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year, 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate (then 1%), 5% cash back on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on dining and at drug stores, 1% cash back on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    $200 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 15 months on purchases

  • Regular APR

    14.99% to 23.74% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Generous welcome bonus
  • Opportunity to earn up to 5% cash back in select categories upon activation
  • Rewards can be transferred to a Chase Ultimate Rewards card

Cons

  • Bonus categories must be activated each quarter
  • 3% fee charged on foreign transactions
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $814
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,647

Rewards totals incorporate the cash back earned from the welcome bonus

Chase Freedom Flex credit card review

Chase Freedom Flex credit card rewards

The Chase Freedom Flex credit card offers the same base rewards as the Chase Freedom credit card: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate (then 1%) and 1% cash back on other purchases. Then it adds three more categories that earn 3% or 5% cash back: eligible travel, dining and drug store purchases.

Here are the rewards you earn with the Freedom Flex card:

  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate (then 1%)* 
  • 5% cash back on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal
  • 3% cash back on dining
  • 3% cash back at drug stores
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

*The bonus categories for October through December are Walmart and PayPal. Check out the full Chase Freedom cash-back calendar for more rewards information.

This card also comes with a welcome bonus: Earn $200 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months from account opening.

CNBC Select calculated how many rewards the average American can earn if they optimize the way they use their Chase Freedom Flex card. We worked with the location intelligence firm Esri, who provided us with a sample annual spending budget of $22,126.

The budget includes six main categories: groceries ($5,174), gas ($2,218), dining out ($3,675), travel ($2,244), utilities ($4,862) and general purchases ($3,953).

Here’s a breakdown of how much cash back you can earn in each category, annually:

  • Groceries: $259 (first year with 5% back), then $103 in subsequent years
  • Gas: $44
  • Dining out: $110
  • Travel: $112
  • Utilities: $49
  • General purchases: $40
  • Total: $614 first year, $458 subsequent years

Based on the annual spending budget from Esri, the average American can earn an estimated $814 in the first year of card membership, assuming you earn the $200 welcome bonus, and $2,647 over five years. This assumes that cardholders are redeeming cash back for a typical value of 1 cent each. Extreme optimizers might be able to achieve more value, and you may earn a higher or lower return depending on your spending habits.

Cardholders receive cash back in the form of Ultimate Rewards points which can be redeemed for a statement credit, gift card, travel and more. You can even transfer points between other Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

Additional benefits

The Freedom Flex card is backed by Mastercard and offers the top-tier World Elite Mastercard benefits, including:

  • Boxed rewards: Earn 5% cash rewards on Boxed orders that you can redeem for future Boxed purchases.
  • Lyft credit: When you take five Lyft rides in a month, you get a $10 credit (maximum of $10 credit per month).
  • Fandango credit: Each time you buy two movie tickets, you’ll receive $5 off future movie tickets.
  • World Elite concierge: Complimentary 24/7 concierge service that helps you plan vacations, book dinner reservations, find gifts and more.
  • Cell phone protection: If you drop your phone or it’s stolen, you may get reimbursed for up to $800 per claim and $1,000 in yearly coverage. There's a maximum of two claims per 12-month period and a $50 deductible per claim.

Cardholders can also take advantage of Standard and World Mastercard benefits, such as price protection, a Postmates discount and a complimentary ShopRunner membership. (Learn more about World Elite Mastercard benefits.)

And like other Chase cards, you can benefit from these limited-time promotions:

  • Earn 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2022.
  • Receive a complimentary three months of DashPass, which provides free delivery and lower service fees from hundreds of restaurants on DoorDash orders of $12 or more. After that, you're automatically enrolled in DashPass at 50% off for the next nine months, unless you cancel. Activate by December 31, 2021.

Fees

In addition to generous rewards and perks, you can benefit from no annual fee. Plus, this card offers no interest on purchases for the first 15 months your account is open (then a 14.99% to 23.74% APR). There is currently no balance transfer offer and all transfers incur a 5% fee (minimum $5).

Bottom line

The Chase Freedom Flex credit card is a competitive no-annual-fee card that outmatches the other two Freedom cards. You’ll receive lucrative cash-back rewards and an industry-leading welcome bonus that make this card a great asset.

Plus this card pairs great with either the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card since you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points between cards. This makes your points worth 25% (Preferred) or 50% (Reserve) more.

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Our methodology

To determine which credit cards offer the best value, CNBC Select analyzed popular credit cards available in the U.S. We compared each card on a range of features, including rewards, welcome bonus, introductory and standard APR, balance transfer fee and foreign transaction fees, as well as factors such as required credit and customer reviews when available. We also considered additional perks, the application process and how easy it is for the consumer to redeem points.

CNBC Select teamed up with location intelligence firm Esri. The company's data development team provided the most up-to-date and comprehensive consumer spending data based on the 2019 Consumer Expenditure Surveys from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can read more about their methodology here.

Esri's data team created a sample annual budget of approximately $22,126 in retail spending. The budget includes six main categories: groceries ($5,174), gas ($2,218), dining out ($3,675), travel ($2,244), utilities ($4,862) and general purchases ($3,953). General purchases include items such as housekeeping supplies, clothing, personal care products, prescription drugs and vitamins, and other vehicle expenses.

CNBC Select used this budget to estimate how much the average consumer would save over the course of a year, two years and five years, assuming they would attempt to maximize their rewards potential by earning all welcome bonuses offered and using the card for all applicable purchases. All rewards total estimations are net the annual fee.

While the five-year estimates we've included are derived from a budget similar to the average American's spending, you may earn a higher or lower return depending on your shopping habits.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.