Get a $695 credit card annual fee waived in my Ultimate Military Credit Cards Course
The Platinum Card® from American Express card is annual fee waived for military.
Military Money Manual has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Military Money Manual and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Thank you for supporting my independent, veteran owned site.
In this article we will compare the Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card vs Chase Freedom Unlimited® Credit Card. Both of these cash back credit cards have no annual fees and offer great cash back options on travel, dining, drugstores, and all other purchases.
These are both great starter credit cards for beginners to military travel hacking and credit card rewards. These two Chase cash back credit cards that should be part of your Chase 5/24 lineup. These cards are two of the best cash back credit cards for military families.
You can also upgrade the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Freedom Flex cards to have additional Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card and earn an extra $300 annual travel credit.
Chase Freedom Unlimited vs Chase Freedom Flex
Chase Freedom Unlimited
Chase Freedom Unlimited® Credit Card
Learn how to apply on our partner's secure site
- Intro offer: earn an additional 1.5% on everything you buy up to $20,000 in the first year – worth $300 cash back!
- 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
- 4.5% on dining at restaurants, takeout, and delivery
- 4.5% back on drugstore purchases
- 3% on all other purchases
- After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards(R), 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
- No annual fee
- Compare the Chase Freedom Unlimited vs Chase Freedom Flex
Chase Freedom Flex
Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card
Learn how to apply on our partner's secure site
- Earn $200 cash back (20,000 Ultimate Reward points) when you spend $500 in 3 months
- 5% cash back on travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
- 3% on dining at restaurants, takeout, and delivery
- 3% back on drugstore purchases
- 1% back on all other purchases
- 5% on up to $1500 of purchases in specific bonus categories each quarter
- No annual fee
- Compare the Chase Freedom Flex vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited
Both Freedom cards offer many other benefits. These benefits include:
- Cash back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
- Zero liability protection – you do not pay for fraudulent charges
- Free credit score through Chase Credit Journey
The Chase Freedom Flex has a special feature that the Chase Freedom Unlimited does not: cell phone insurance. You can get up to $800 per claim (maximum 2 claims in a 12 month period) with a $50 deductible per claim.
This benefit is worth up to $1000 per year in cell phone protection against theft or damage for any phone listed on your monthly phone bill you pay with the card.
Note that both cards have a 3% foreign transaction fee. There are much better travel rewards cards out there without foreign transaction fees, like the The Platinum Card® from American Express or Chase Sapphire Reserve. Both of these cards have no annual fee for military servicemembers or their spouses. Compare the Sapphire Reserve vs. the Amex Platinum in this article.
Freedom Unlimited vs Freedom Flex Bonus Categories
Both Freedom cards earn cash back at the following rates: 5% on travel and 3% on drug stores and dining.
5% Cash Back on Travel
Both Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited offer 5% back on all travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. You should always shop around and compare your travel options on sites like Google Flights. I always start my flight search on Google Flights.
If the tickets on the Chase UR Portal are about the same price, it may be worth buying them on the portal and collecting the 5% cash back.
3% Cash Back on Dining
This is a broad category that includes cafes, restaurants, coffee shops, ice cream parlors – basically anywhere you buy food that's not a grocery store. It includes takeout from the restaurant and delivery services like GrubHub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash.
3% Cash Back on Drugstores
This is a great category that is not very common. You can now earn 3% cash back at places like Walgreens, CVS, Long's Drug, and Rite Aid.
If your purchase doesn't fall into one of the bonus categories above or into the Chase Freedom Flex 5% quarterly rotating bonus categories, then you can earn 1% cash back with the Flex and 1.5% cash back with the Unlimited.
This is why having both the Unlimited and the Flex makes sense, as you can always earn at least 1.5% cash back with the Unlimited and don't have to settle for 1% with the Flex.
Transfer Points from Freedom Flex or Unlimited to CSR
You can transfer UR points from your Freedom Flex or Freedom Unlimited to the Chase Sapphire Reserve. This is a great way to get up to 7.5% cash back on travel, as UR points can be redeemed for 1.5 cents for travel by using the Sapphire Reserve.
Upgrade Chase Freedom to Chase Sapphire Reserve
Both of these cards can be upgraded to additional Chase Sapphire Reserve cards as well, which is an easy way for military servicemembers to double or triple dip the annual recurring benefits of the powerful Sapphire Reserve card. Check out the features and benefits of the CSR below.
Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card
Learn how to apply on our partner's secure site
- $550 annual fee waived to $0 for US military + spouses with Chase MLA policy
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
- $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
- Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually.
- 3x Points on other Travel (airfare, hotels) after earning the $300 travel credit
- 3x Dining restaurants, takeouts, delivery
- Chase Ultimate Reward Points redeemed through the Chase travel portal are worth 1.5 cents, a 50% bonus.
- Priority Pass lounge and restaurant access with over 1300+ airport lounges worldwide
- Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry every 4 years
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Primary coverage with Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
- No foreign transaction fees
- Learn more in the Chase Sapphire Reserve review
The easiest way to upgrade your Chase Freedom Unlimited or Chase Freedom Flex to a Chase Sapphire Reserve is to have the Chase Freedom card open for at least 1 year and then call the number on the back of your card. Ask the customer service rep to upgrade your card to a Chase Sapphire Reserve and you should be all set.
As long as you are in the MLA database correctly, you should have no issues getting multiple Chase Sapphire Reserve cards with the annual fees waived.
A Chase Freedom Flex + Chase Freedom Unlimited + Chase Sapphire Reserve let's you build the Chase Trifecta. You will always earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases and can combine points across all 3 cards.
So which Chase Freedom card should you get? I recommend getting both the Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited. Both have no annual fees so there's no risk there. Plus, they have complementary bonus categories. Use the Chase Freedom Flex to earn up to 5% in the quarterly rotating bonus categories and the Chase Freedom Unlimited to earn 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
Learn how to apply for the Chase Freedom Flex and how to apply for the Chase Freedom Unlimited.
Freedom Flex vs Freedom Unlimited FAQ
Freedom Flex and Freedom Unlimited are really complementary credit cards. If I had to pick one, I would pick the Freedom Flex since it gives you 5% on up to $1500 of purchases in specific bonus categories every quarter. The Freedom Flex also comes with $800 cell phone protection for any cell phone bill paid with the card. My cell phone insurance is currently $8 per month, so this will save me $96 per year!
Yes, you can have both the Freedom Flex and Unlimited cards. Both cards offer their own features and benefits which makes having both cards valuable.
Yes, there are a few differences between the Freedom Flex and Freedom Unlimited. The Chase Freedom Flex has 5% quarterly rotating bonus categories and up to $1000 per year cell phone insurance. The Freedom Unlimited earns a minimum of 1.5% on all purchases not in a bonus category.
Chase Freedom Flex is fine if you are travelling in the states, but if you are in the military you really should get a better travel rewards credit card. The Chase Sapphire Reserve is my top choice and then the Amex Platinum. Both cards have the annual fee 100% waived for military servicemembers and spouses.
No, the Chase Freedom Flex is a relatively easy credit card to get. This card establishes a financial relationship between you and Chase bank which makes getting the premium travel rewards cards easier.
Yes, my oldest credit card was a Chase Freedom card! The Chase Freedom Flex has simple but powerful bonus categories, allowing you to earn points quickly. And it has no annual fee, so very little risk to you.
The Freedom Flex is a Mastercard, which is an update from the Chase Freedom card, which used to be a Visa.
7 thoughts on “Chase Freedom Flex vs Chase Freedom Unlimited | Which Card is Best?”
Unless things have changed, I don’t think you can have more than one Sapphire product. Historically, Chase has only allowed one per person including product changes. I hope I’m wrong, but I haven’t heard otherwise anywhere else.
I’ve got multiple data points of people upgrading Freedom cards to additional CSR cards. I haven’t done it personally, but I know of lots of people who have successfully done it.
Hey Spencer, can you write more about how they did this? Is it a matter of dropping the CFF to a different login and then calling for a product change? When I called, they didn’t allow me to carry multiple CSR’s. Thank you!
Chase waives foreign transaction fees for Freedom Visas under SCRA or MLA. I haven’t confirmed this for the Flex yet.
I did not know this, thanks for the data point!
Confirmed for the Flex, including spouses’ cards opened after entering service. Side note: Citi does waive under SCRA, but not under MLA, so only for a card opened before active duty.
I’ve seen MLA waivers on Citi cards if you have a balance greater than $0 on the statement when you are charged the annual fee. Have you seen this? Citi Card was opened on active duty.
I forgot to put a balance on my card the second year and the annual fee was not wavied on my Citi Prestige card.
I do have a data point from a reader that had the fee waived first year, he remembered to have a balance the second year, and the fee was waived again. Opened the card while on active duty and the fee waiver mentioned MLA FEE/INT CREDIT.