Chase Freedom Flex vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred

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Chase is well known for its popular travel and rewards credit cards already, yet consumers were excited when they announced the addition of a new cash back credit card. The Chase Freedom FlexSM maintains the same 5 percent rotating categories as the old Chase Freedom® did, yet with the addition of more bonus points in categories like travel booked through Chase, drugstores and dining.

At the same time, Chase boosted the sign-up bonus on their popular Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which might make it difficult to decide which of these cards to sign up for. And since the Chase Sapphire Preferred lets you qualify for superior travel redemptions and 1:1 transfers to Chase airline and hotel partners, this card can be an especially good deal for consumers who want more ways to cash in their rewards.

If you’re in the market for a new rewards credit card and you’re considering these two Chase credit cards, keep reading to learn how they stack up and why you might want to choose one over the other.

Main details
Chase Freedom Flex Chase Sapphire Preferred
Welcome bonus Earn a $200 bonus when you spend $500 within three months of account opening 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening
Rewards rate Earn 5% back on up to $1,500 spent in quarterly bonus categories after activation (then 1%), as well as 5% back on travel purchased through Chase ultimate rewards, 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases and 1% back on everything else

**Earn 5% on Lyft rides through March of 2022

***Also earn 5% back on grocery store purchases (not including Walmart or Target) on up to $12,000 spent your first year

Earn 2X points on travel and dining and 1X points on all other purchases
Intro APR 0% APR on purchases for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 14.99% to 23.74% Variable APR of 15.99% to 22.99%
Annual fee $0 $95
Chase Freedom Flex vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred highlights

Both of these cards are excellent options if you want to earn rewards on your spending, yet they each stand out in a few different categories. As you compare the Chase Freedom Flex and the Chase Sapphire Preferred, consider how they stack up in the following categories.

Welcome bonus winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred

When it comes to the initial bonus you can earn in the first few months, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the obvious winner. You’ll earn 60,000 points worth $600 in gift cards or $750 in travel through Chase when you spend $4,000 on your card within three months. On the flip side, the Chase Freedom Flex bonus is only worth $200.

The only factor to keep in mind here is the considerably higher minimum spending requirement. You’ll need to spend around $1,334 per month on your card for three months in a row to earn the bonus with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, whereas the Chase Freedom Flex only requires you to spend $500 within three months.

Rewards rate winner: Chase Freedom Flex

The Chase Freedom Flex offers a lot more ways to earn bonus points, which makes it a clear winner in this category. You’ll start off by earning 5 percent back on up to $1,500 spent in a quarterly bonus category after activation (then 1 percent), but you’ll also earn 5 percent back on travel booked through Chase, 3 percent back on dining and drugstore purchases and 1 percent back on everything else. For a limited time, you will even earn 5 percent back on up to $12,000 spent on groceries during your first year as a cardmember (not including Target or Walmart purchases).

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, on the other hand, your only bonus categories are for dining and travel and you’ll only earn 2X points for each dollar you spend.

Annual Fee winner: Chase Freedom Flex

The Chase Freedom Flex doesn’t charge an annual fee, so that makes it the winner in this category. Keep in mind, however, that the Chase Sapphire Preferred only charges $95 per year. That’s pretty reasonable for a card with such a generous bonus offer, so we wouldn’t rule it out based on the annual fee alone.

Foreign transaction fee winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred also comes with no foreign transaction fees, which is pretty standard among travel credit cards. With the Chase Freedom Flex, you’d need to pay an additional 3 percent in foreign transaction fees for every purchase you make outside of the United States.

Which card earns the most?

For most people, the Chase Freedom Flex is going to net them the most rewards over time. The big difference is in how you can actually redeem your rewards, which we’ll go over more in the next sections below.

Chase Freedom Flex vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred spending example

To understand what we mean about earning potential, keep the following example in mind. Let’s say you want to use a credit card for all your regular spending and bills, and that you hope to earn the highest rate of rewards as possible in any given month. On a regular basis, your monthly spending looks like this:

$1,200 spent on gas, utility bills and miscellaneous purchases
$700 spent at the grocery store
$400 spent on restaurants including takeout
$200 spent at the drugstore

With the Chase Freedom Flex, you would earn $65 in rewards on regular spending during this sample month — $12 on miscellaneous purchases, $35 on groceries, $12 on restaurants including takeout and $6 earned at drugstores.

But, if you had the Chase Sapphire Preferred instead, you would only earn 2,900 points worth $29 in cash back or statement credits — 1,200 points on miscellaneous purchases, 700 in points on grocery spending, 800 points on restaurants including takeout and 200 points at the drugstore.

With that being said, this doesn’t take redemption options into account, nor does it take the welcome bonus on each card into account. Since the initial bonus offer on the Chase Sapphire Preferred is worth a minimum of $600, this card could easily leave you with more rewards during the first year.

Why should you get Chase Freedom Flex?

The Chase Freedom Flex is unique in the fact that it’s a World Elite Mastercard. However, this card still maintains many of the same consumer protections and benefits as it did before. Here are some of the reasons you should consider signing up.

Additional benefits

The new Chase Freedom Flex comes with consumer protections like purchase protection against damage or theft, extended warranties, auto rental collision damage waiver, trip cancellation and interruption insurance and travel and emergency assistance services. In terms of its World Elite Mastercard benefits, you’ll get cellphone insurance when you pay your phone bill with your credit card, $10 in Lyft credits each month you take 5 rides in a calendar month, 5 percent in rewards on Boxed.com purchases, a free ShopRunner membership and other perks.

Also keep in mind that this card gives you 0 percent APR on purchases for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 14.99 percent to 23.74 percent. This is a benefit you don’t get with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, and it’s one that could save you considerable amounts of money on interest if you wind up carrying a balance on your card during the first 15 months.

Redemption options

While the Chase Freedom Flex is a cash back credit card at heart, you do have quite a few redemption options to choose from. You can redeem your rewards for cash back, a statement credit on your account, merchandise through places like Amazon.com or Apple, travel through Chase and more.

Recommended credit score

You need good credit or better to qualify for this credit card, which typically means having a FICO score of 670 or higher.

Why should you get the Chase Sapphire Preferred?

While the Chase Freedom Flex is valuable in its own right, many rewards enthusiasts still swear by the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Here are some of the main reasons why.

Additional benefits

The Chase Sapphire Preferred comes with no foreign transaction fees, which makes it a far superior card for consumers who travel abroad often and want to use their credit card. By not having to pay foreign transaction fees, you’re saving around 3 percent in fees on international purchases.

Other benefits to look forward to include trip cancellation and interruption insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, purchase protection against damage or theft and extended warranties.

Further, you’ll get a Chase Sapphire Preferred DoorDash benefit, which includes a complimentary DashPass membership for one year when you activate by December 31, 2021.

Redemption options

The biggest area where the Chase Sapphire Preferred stands out is in the way you can redeem your rewards. While you have all the same options as the Chase Freedom Flex, you get 25 percent more value when you redeem points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

Further, you’ll be able to transfer your points to Chase transfer partners at a 1:1 ratio. This means you can turn your Chase points into rewards points with programs like Southwest Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus, Marriott Bonvoy, World of Hyatt and more.

Transferring points is a huge deal since you may be able to get outsized value with airline partners. This is particularly true when you are able to use airline miles to book premium cabins or unusually expensive itineraries.

Recommended credit score

You need good credit or better to qualify for this credit card, which typically means having a FICO score of 670 or higher.

The bottom line

Picking between the Chase Freedom Flex and the Chase Sapphire Preferred may not be easy, but it all boils down to what you value most. Would you rather earn more bonus points in a broader range of categories, or would you rather have the option to redeem for superior travel redemptions, including point transfers to Chase airline and hotel partners?

Of course, you don’t actually have to choose between these two cards since you could be approved for both at the same time. And with both cards in your wallet, you could take advantage of the best rewards potential and perks each one offers.

You could even add in the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card and score the Chase trifecta. When it comes to earning credit card rewards on all your spending, you’re only limited by your imagination.

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