I don’t often get too enthusiastic about cash-back bank cards. See, I’m a rewards optimizer and journey hacker keen to place within the effort to get essentially the most worth out of my bank card factors. And although cash-back bank cards could be actually rewarding, I get extra thrill from the potential for outsized worth with journey rewards.
Why the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is exclusive as a rotating class bonus card
The primary draw of the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is that it earns a powerful 5% money again on quarterly rotating bonus classes on as much as $1,500 in mixed spending (activation is required). However it’s not precisely distinctive. A number of different cash-back playing cards provide comparable rewards, together with the Uncover it® Money Again whose rewards are almost similar.
The primary distinction? With Uncover, all different spending will solely earn 1% again. The Chase Freedom Flex℠, alternatively, presents a set of everlasting bonus classes:
5% again on journey booked by Chase Final Rewards®.
3% again on drugstore purchases.
1% again on every part else.
And it was considered one of these classes that first drew me in.
On the peak of the COVID pandemic in 2020, I hardly ever went inside grocery shops. As a substitute, I received meals delivered or picked it up curbside. However generally, I couldn’t wait till my subsequent order to choose up extra ibuprofen or hand sanitizer. As a substitute of battling the crowds on the grocery retailer, I most popular to sprint in to choose up last-minute remedy and home items at my native CVS. I had a card that earned bonus rewards on grocery retailer purchases, however all my drugstore purchases have been going unbonused. For the reason that Chase Freedom Flex℠ supplied a strong 3% again on drugstore purchases, plus a bonus for brand spanking new cardholders, I added it to my pockets (at the moment: Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.)
I figured that the Chase Freedom Flex℠ could be a pandemic-era card that I’d finally retire as soon as I ended social distancing. However though I’m spending much less at CVS, it’s nonetheless considered one of my greatest bank cards as a result of these 5% rotating classes are extraordinarily helpful.
When you maxed out the $1,500 spend each quarter, you’d get $300 again per yr. Even for those who do not spend that a lot, you will doubtless nonetheless earn a good quantity. Classes are very broad and sometimes embrace grocery shops, fuel stations, streaming providers, Amazon.com, Walmart and purchases made by PayPal. In 2022, I solely spent round $2,800 in eligible spending on rotating classes. However that’s nonetheless $140 in rewards on a card with no annual price.
It’s nice for vacationers, too
Now that borders have opened up, and I’m wholesome and quadruple vaxxed, I’m hoping to take some worldwide journeys in 2023. Pre-pandemic, I used to be a price range traveler who was completely content material touring to Europe behind a airplane. However I now worth my sleep greater than I used to, so I attempt to keep away from sitting in financial system on in a single day flights. Since enterprise class tickets aren’t within the price range, I’m phasing out my cash-back playing cards and specializing in journey rewards to subsidize my ticket.
The nice half in regards to the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is that it may be the most effective of each cash-back and journey worlds. As a substitute of incomes money, the cardboard earns Final Rewards® factors that you could redeem for money at a fee of 1 cent per level. However for those who additionally maintain sure different Chase playing cards, like the favored Chase Sapphire Most popular® Card that I’ve, you possibly can unlock the power to make use of your Final Rewards® factors for much more worth in the direction of journey — both by reserving instantly with Chase or by transferring factors to a bunch of airline and resort journey companions. I desire that as a result of I do know I can usually redeem rewards at a worth larger than the 1 cent per level I would get if I redeemed them for money. And that is simply what I must get a lie-flat seat on my subsequent worldwide flight.
Straightforward additional factors from on-line procuring
Social distancing made me understand that I actually don’t like procuring in shops. I is perhaps much less afraid of catching COVID now, however I even have a lot much less endurance for the cart-wielding crowds at Goal than I as soon as did. And don’t even get me began on having to go to a mall.
Since Amazon and PayPal are sometimes bonus classes, it’s a secure wager that some online-shopping purchases will earn 5% again for six months out of the yr. However your incomes alternatives don’t finish there. The Chase Freedom Flex℠ additionally offers you entry to Store Via Chase, a procuring portal that offers you additional rewards at lots of of shops for those who make a purchase order utilizing the hyperlink within the portal. Since huge field shops typically don’t earn additional rewards, utilizing the portal would possibly take slightly extra effort than rotating classes. However it’s effectively definitely worth the effort, particularly since something you earn is stacked with different rewards that buy would possibly get you.
For instance, I’m a giant fan of Costa Rican espresso from Cafe Britt, and I purchase it from their on-line retailer. In December 2022, I seen that the shop earned 8 factors per greenback if I clicked to it from the Store Via Chase portal. Cafe Britt additionally lets you pay with PayPal, one of many quarterly classes on the time. By buying Cafe Britt espresso by the portal and paying with PayPal, I earned 13 factors per greenback on my morning espresso.
To seek out the Store Via Chase portal, log into your Chase card account and click on “Earn Bonus Factors” within the high menu part. You’ll see completely different presents listed there and every retailer can have its personal bonus level provide. When you discover a retailer you wish to store at, click on “Store Now.” When you make a qualifying buy, it’s best to see your factors submit to your Chase account inside 3-5 enterprise days.
Lengthy 0% APR interval is an added bonus
Because the pandemic raged, I didn’t have a lot use for journey rewards since I wasn’t getting on a airplane anytime quickly. As a substitute, I used to be about to take a month of unpaid incapacity depart introduced on by lingering signs from the “delicate” case of covid I had months earlier. Since I didn’t know the way lengthy it could take me to get better, I wished to maintain as a lot cash as potential within the financial institution.
As a substitute of dipping into my financial savings, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ ‘s introductory 0% annual proportion fee provide helped to cowl a month of misplaced wages with out worrying about curiosity. The cardboard presents 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and steadiness transfers, after which the continuing APR of 19.24%-27.99% Variable APR. If you might want to carry a steadiness for an prolonged interval, think about a card with a longer 0% introductory APR or one with low curiosity. However for me, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ had the successful mixture of stellar bonus rewards and respiratory room on curiosity.