Major Chase Freedom Revamp: New ‘Freedom Flex’ Mastercard & Freedom Unlimited Will Earn 3% Dining & Drugstores, 5% Travel Bookings

[Small update 9/2/20: Chase is sending out an email to Freedom Unlimited cardholders with the news. It states that the new benefits will actually kick in already on September 13th. Also, some reports indicate that product changes from old Freedom to Freedom Flex will be available starting the 13th as well. Some reports indicate that new applications will become available on the 14th.]

Chase announced today a major revamp of the Freedom and Freedom Unlimited cards. All of the changes will take effect on September 15th. I’ve included the list of changes below, along with my commentary.

Press Release | Direct Link

General Changes

Both cards continue to have no annual fee.

New Categories

The Freedom Flex card will get the 5% rotating categories that the Freedom card has. Also, both Freedom Flex and Freedom Unlimited will have the following categories added to them:

  • 3% cash back on Drugstores.
    • Hmm…nice…
  • 3% cash back on Dining, including takeout and eligible delivery servies.
    • Wow, huge addition. This devalues the Sapphire Reserve since you can get the 3x dining on CFF/CFU and still maintain transferrable ability with one of the lower annual fee cards, such as Sapphire Preferred or INK Preferred.
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards including vacation and car rentals.
    • Sweet addition. This will give you even more than the 3x Travel that Sapphire Reserve offers.

Here’s the full list of Freedom and Freedom Unlimited reward earnings:

  • Freedom Flex:
    • 5% on Quarterly Categories 
    • 5% on Travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
    • 3% on Dining 
    • 3% on Drugstore 
    • 5% on Lyft through March 2022
    • 1% unlimited cash back 
  • Freedom Unlimited: 

The new Freedom Flex card will also have the 3-month DoorDash benefit.

Other Notes

A few other miscellaneous notes:

  • Applications for the Freedom Flex will go live on September 14, 2020.
  • Signup bonus on both Freedom Flex and Freedom Unlimited will remain – for the time being – at $200 after spending $500, plus 5% back at grocery stores on up to $12,000 in purchases during the first year.
  • The Freedom Flex is being touted as a new card while the Freedom Unlimited is being promoted as a revamp.
  • The current Chase Freedom will no longer be available to new customers.
  • Existing Freedom cardholders can choose to keep their current card or give Chase a call to request a product change to the new Freedom Flex.
    • Obviously everyone should be calling in to product change and get the additional categories and benefits, unless you have some need for Visa, specifically (e.g. Costco).
    • Readers have pointed out that if you have both the Freedom and Freedom Unlimited, you can just use your Unlimited for drugstores/dining/booking, and you won’t really gain much by making the product change. (Also note, if you are under 5/24, you might want apply for the Flex card directly in order to get the signup bonus. If you plan on doing so, then you won’t want to product change your existing Freedom card since Chase does not allowing holding two Flex cards, see below.)
    • Readers have also pointed out that if you recently applied for the Freedom card during the 5% grocery signup bonus promotion, you don’t want to product change to the Flex since you might lose the 5% grocery offer.
  • Existing Freedom Unlimited cardholders will automatically get access to the new categories on September 15, 2020. No need to call in.
  • Chase allows customers to hold both the Freedom Flex and Freedom Unlimited cards, the same way they now allow us to hold both Freedom and Freedom Unlimited cards.
  • The landing page FAQ states that you can not hold two Freedom Flex cards. That would appear to be a new limitation given that many of us have more than one Freedom vanilla cards. More likely, they just mean you can’t apply for two Freedom Flex cards, but it might still be possible to get more than one through product changes – that’s how  it works currently with the old Freedom card.
  • The FAQ states that you can have both the old Freedom card and the Freedom Flex cards. Someone who is a Freedom cardholder (or even if you hold multiple Freedom and Freedom Unlimited cards) can still apply for the new Flex card. And – if you get approved for the card – you’ll get the signup bonus as well.
    • Seemingly that would mean you can get the signup bonus on the Flex card even if you got the signup bonus on the Freedom card within the past 24 months, given that the Flex card appears to be a new product.
    • As before, Freedom Flex and Freedom Unlimited are clearly separate products: if you were approved for the Freedom Unlimited within the past 24 months, you can still apply for the Freedom now or the Freedom Flex card when it becomes available and get the signup bonus.
  • Points from the Freedom Flex card will transfer to over to other cards like Sapphire Reserve, similar to the way the old Freedom worked.

Final Thoughts

These categories to the Freedom Flex and Freedom Unlimited cards are huge additions. Pretty awesome that they are giving the 3x Dining categories on a no-fee card (previously you needed the Sapphire Reserve for that). And the 3x Drugstores category is a major addition, as well as the 5x on Chase Ultimate Rewards Booking – both of these categories gives the fee-free Freedom line an edge over their premium Sapphire line.

You still need Sapphire Reserve or Preferred or INK Preferred/Plus for the ability to transfer to travel partners. And the Reserve also offers 3x on all travel, not offered by the no-fee cards; plus, it offers the 1.5 cents Payback option. And of course there are other benefits on those cards too. I wouldn’t be surprised if you we see some of these categories added to the Sapphire, especially the 5x Chase UR travel booking category.

Follow-up posts:

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CK
CK

I have converted my Freedom to a Flex but am waiting for the replacement card. If I use the original Freedom card will I get the category bonuses while I wait for the replacement?

Eric
Eric

I know Amex lets you use the old card when you upgrade from BCE to BCP. Since this is changing from Visa to MC it may not work. Do the old Freedom cards even work still? The Chase website makes it seem like the old cards are disabled.

Raymes
Raymes

Would you be able to PC CFF to the Sapphire family?

Zalmy

Looks to me like at least for the time being the Freedom Unlimited just became the hands down best all-around credit card for most people

zhongyi yan
zhongyi yan

The current Chase Freedom will no longer be available to new customers.
Where the official announcement? The chase representative ask me where the information get? They told they didn’t know it…

b
b

When is paying cash with Chase UR portal better than booking directly on travel company’s website? Maybe for rental cars (though I only rent for business travel, therefore have to use my corp card)

Bus/train/parking – I never book these – just buy ticket at POS
Airfare – usually better off using my United card to purchase United ticket, right? Isn’t branded card payment still required for free checked bag? Definitely a better benefit than 5% points.
Hotels – I can use a corp code or AAA to get a better rate AND use my Hyatt card/Marriott card, or Hilton card for bonus points when booking on hotel website – can’t get the discounted rates on the UR portal, plus they claim you don’t get your status benefits since its an expedia booking. Is this true?

b
b

I’m guessing the 3% at drugstores will specifically exclude Walmart/Samsclub pharmacies, just because…?

Ferris
Ferris

Because they are at Walmart and Sam’s Club so they code as Walmart and Sam’s Club. It’s like saying you bought a gallon of milk at a gas station and of course it codes as a gas station, even though milk is a grocery.

OC Native
OC Native

Anyone else see the timing of this taking direct aim at some ticked off Capital One cardholders since they just did massive AA on credit lines?

robertt
robertt

Just did a product change from Freedom to Freedom Unlimited. So what’s the point of having a CSP or even a CSR? Chase hase 3 months to up those cards’ earnings as my CSR renews in December. I also have an Ink Preferred card so I don’t need CSR to keep the Ultimate Rewards account alive. Frankly I think Chase shot itself in the foot for the 2nd time this year in regards to CSR.

DP
DP

I ended up just getting a Freedom card replacement to change the card number and get a later expiration. Will use the 2nd Freedom to change to Freedom Flex.

Z
Z

Hmm isn’t it somewhat worrisome that the Freedom Flex will end up being a better value than CSR? I wonder if this is the first step where Chase will stop the pooling of freedom points where freedom points != CSR points?…

Eric
Eric

Isn’t the best value the Flex + CSR so you can get 4.5X on all Drug Store purchases and 7.5X on the 5% categories?