Chase boosts rewards with new Freedom card — and significant upgrades to Unlimited
Groceries, drugstores and rideshares now earn cash back on all Freedom cards.
Cashback enthusiasts might have a lot more to like come September 15, when Chase launches its newest card in the big bank’s lineup: Chase Freedom Flex by MasterCard. The new card replaces the popular Chase Freedom, with Freedom Unlimited seeing a host of competitive upgrades.
New Freedom card benefits
The new Chase Freedom Flex keeps the 5% quarterly bonus categories of the Freedom card, as well as 1% rewards on all other purchases. You must activate the bonus categories each quarter to receive 5% back, with rewards capped at $1,500 in combined purchases in the same period.
Flex also brings together perks extended earlier in the year to Freedom and Freedom Unlimited cards — including competitive cash back on groceries and rideshares:
- 5% cash back at eligible grocery stores on up to $12,000 in your first year of card membership, reverting to 1% with the Freedom Flex and 1.5% with the Freedom Unlimited
- 5% on Lyft rides through March 2022
- Three-month subscription to DoorDash DashPass, which offers lower service fees and no delivery fees
These other benefits of the upcoming Freedom Flex will newly extend to Chase Freedom Unlimited — significant upgrades — come September 15:
- 3% at restaurants, including takeout and delivery
- 3% at drugstores
- 5% on travel purchased through Chase’s travel portal
New cell phone protection
Cardholders who pay their cell phone bill with the Freedom Flex card are eligible for insurance covering the phone against theft and damage for a maximum benefit of $800 a claim and $1,000 a year. You’re limited to two claims a year and responsible for a $50 deductible each claim.
Chase Freedom vs. Freedom Flex
Here’s how the Chase Freedom Flex compares to the Chase Freedom card it replaces come September 15.
|Chase Freedom Flex||Chase Freedom||New benefit?|
|Signup bonus||$200 cash back after you spend $500 in the first 3 months||$200 cash back after you spend $500 in the first 3 months||No|
|Rewards||5% cash back in rotating categories on up to $1,500 combined each quarter, reverting to 1% after||5% cash back in rotating categories on up to $1,500 combined each quarter, reverting to 1% after||No|
|5% cash back on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards|
|3% cash back at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services|
|3% cash back at drugstores|
|5% cash back at grocery stores on up to $12,000 in the first year, reverting to 1% after||5% cash back at grocery stores on up to $12,000 in the first year, reverting to 1% after||No|
|5% cash back on Lyft through March 2022||5% cash back on Lyft through March 2022||No|
|1% cash back on all other purchases||1% cash back on all other purchases||No|
|Benefits||Cell phone protection|
|Three months of DashPass through DoorDash||Three months of DashPass through DoorDash||No|
Are the new Chase benefits worth it?
With COVID-19 changing the way we spend our money, these Freedom updates appear to align with shifting consumer spending. Many new benefits follow on the heels of upgrades made to the Freedom cards in July and January.
Before the July updates, Freedom Unlimited was a simple 1.5% flat-rate cashback card, while Freedom was a 5% rotating category card. Chase’s new rewards categories make for more complex, lucrative rewards cards than before, helping you to rack up rewards on groceries, dining out, drugstores and travel — all without an annual fee.
Will Chase continue evolving its popular rewards cards to stay current with changing consumer trends in unprecedented times? It’s likely, especially as the New York Fed reports a pandemic-induced decline in credit card balances — which is what keeps issuers in business. We’ll let you know what we hear.
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