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Chase boosts rewards with new Freedom card — and significant upgrades to Unlimited

Posted: 31 August 2020 8:30 am

Customer paying through credit card at counter

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 FlexChase FreedomNew 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 monthsNo
Rewards5% cash back in rotating categories on up to $1,500 combined each quarter, reverting to 1% after5% 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 Rewardscheckmark
3% cash back at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery servicescheckmark
3% cash back at drugstorescheckmark
5% cash back at grocery stores on up to $12,000 in the first year, reverting to 1% after5% cash back at grocery stores on up to $12,000 in the first year, reverting to 1% afterNo
5% cash back on Lyft through March 20225% cash back on Lyft through March 2022No
1% cash back on all other purchases1% cash back on all other purchasesNo
BenefitsCell phone protection checkmark
Three months of DashPass through DoorDashThree months of DashPass through DoorDashNo

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.

Photo: Getty Images

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