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TravelWhy I got the Chase Freedom Flex and how I'm getting max...

Why I got the Chase Freedom Flex and how I’m getting max cash back this quarter


As a TPG staffer, I have a pretty solid credit card portfolio. I love using The Platinum Card® from American Express to earn bonus points on flights, Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express for bonus cash-back on grocery and transit purchases and American Express® Gold Card to earn bonus points when I dine out.

However, I’m always looking for ways to make my money work harder to accomplish my goals. Recently, I decided to add the Chase Freedom Flex℠ to my arsenal.

Here’s why I landed on that card and how I’m already working to get maximal value from its cash back categories.

Why I decided to apply for a Chase Freedom Flex card

With an upcoming move this summer, I have a few big purchases on the horizon. I’d looked at buy-now-pay-later options like Affirm but also realized these options wouldn’t give me any points or cash back on my purchases. Plus, they aren’t always interest-free.

Then, I researched cards with 0% intro APR offers.

One of TPG’s 10 commandments of credit is “Thou shalt pay thy balance in full.” But, the idea of putting my big furniture purchase on a 0% interest card and leaving my money to grow in a money market was pretty attractive.

THE POINTS GUY

I wanted a card that I thought would be a useful and complementary addition to my other cards for some time, not just a short-term account. The Freedom Flex card checked off all the boxes on my wish list:

  • 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (variable APR of 20.49% – 29.24% after that; balance transfer fee applies)
  • No annual fee
  • Quarterly bonus categories that would earn me 5% cash back when I activate — a value of $300 per year alone.

How Freedom Flex quarterly bonus categories work

Each quarter, Chase announces a few categories where Freedom Flex cardholders earn 5% cash back that quarter on up to $1,500 in purchases when they activate. All your purchases on the Freedom Flex earn 1%, so cardholders earn a bonus 4% to get to the quarterly 5% earnings.

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For example, Amazon and Whole Foods purchases typically earn 1% cash-back, but since they’re part of the Q2 bonus categories, cardholders can earn an additional 4% on these purchases for a total of 5% back.

PEKIC/GETTY IMAGES

However, I didn’t realize at first that Chase is doing something new this quarter. It has added two categories to the quarterly bonus list that earn more than 1% year-round — hotels through Chase Travel (typically earns 5%) and restaurants (typically earns 3%). To keep the quarterly bonus-earning rate even, Chase simply added 4% on top of these year-round bonus earnings rates.

This means that after activating, I’m earning an impressive 9% on hotels through Chase Travel and 7% on dining my Freedom. Once I realized this, I started to put together my plan to maximize these bonus categories. (Thanks to my TPG colleagues for helping me wrap my brain around them.)

Related: Freedom Flex bonus categories

7% cash back on dining

Enjoying good food is a passion of mine, whether it be learning how to make a new dish or exploring a hot restaurant.

While I have other cards with dining rewards, this quarter’s 7% back on dining means I’ll pull out the Freedom Flex when the check comes to maximize cash back.

D3SIGN/GETTY IMAGES

I’ll keep an eye on my total spending, as that 7% reverts back to the 3% total after the first $1,500 bonus category spending. Then, I’ll switch back to my dining default, my American Express® Gold Card, to earn 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar on my dining purchases.

5% back at Whole Foods Market

Another of this quarter’s Freedom Flex bonus categories is Amazon; I was glad to see that Chase also includes purchases at Whole Foods Market stores in this cash back category.

SCOTT OLSON/GETTY IMAGES

If I didn’t also have an Amex Blue Cash Preferred® Card, which offers 6% back on supermarkets, the 5% back at Whole Foods Market would be enticing. But since I already have a card that earns more at Whole Foods, I’m focusing my Flex spending on restaurants.

Up to 9% back on hotels

Finally, this quarter, you get up to 9% back on hotels with Freedom Flex, but you’ll have to book through Chase Travel℠ to reach that maximum level.

While 9% is pretty tempting, I usually prefer to book hotels directly. I selected travel as my bonus-earning category on my Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card, so I can book directly and still earn 3% using that card.

Bottom line

Between the 0% introductory APR offer and the chance to earn 7% cash-back on my dining purchases this quarter, adding the Freedom Flex to my wallet was a no-brainer. If I decide to get the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, I’ll get even more value from the rewards I earn on my Freedom Flex.

For more details, check out our full review of the Chase Freedom Flex.


Apply here: Chase Freedom Flex


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