Chase Freedom Flex vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred: Best Paired Together for Maximum Savings

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Good for Rotating Cash Back
Editor’s Score: (4.7/5)
Chase Freedom Flex℠
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Chase Freedom Flex℠
Editor’s Score: (4.7/5)
Rewards rate:

5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter! 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Apply Now externa link icon At Chase’s secure site
Good for Travelers
Editor’s Score: (4.5/5)
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Editor’s Score: (4.5/5)
Rewards rate:

5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. 3x on dining. 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.

Apply Now externa link icon At Chase’s secure site
  • Intro offer:
    $200
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    15.24% – 23.99% Variable
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Rewards rate:

    5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter! 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

  • Intro offer:
    80,000 points
  • Annual fee:
    $95
  • Regular APR:
    16.24% – 23.24% Variable
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Rewards rate:

    5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. 3x on dining. 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.

Pros and Cons
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Extensive tiered rewards structure
  • Rotating bonus rewards categories every quarter
  • Valuable welcome bonus offer
  • 0% introductory APR for purchases and balance transfers
  • No annual fee
Cons
  • High ongoing APR after intro period
  • Rotating quarterly bonus categories capped after $1,500 in spending
  • Keeping track of rewards categories may be more complex than some other cash back cards
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Generous welcome offer
  • Tiered bonus points categories
  • 25% points boost when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 1:1 point transfer at airline and hotel partners
  • No foreign transaction fee
Cons
  • $95 annual fee
  • High APR
  • Need to spend within bonus categories to maximize rewards
  • Other cards have similar bonus categories with higher rewards rates
Additional Card Details
Additional Card Details
  • 0% introductory APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers (15.24% – 23.99% variable APR thereafter) ; intro balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater in the first 60 days
  • 5% cash back on qualifying Lyft rides through March 2025
  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Cell phone protection
  • Free credit score and monitoring
  • Access to Chase Offers savings
Additional Card Details
  • 25% redemption boost on points redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards or eligible statement credits via Pay Yourself Back
  • Get 10% value of annual purchases back in points every account anniversary
  • $50 in annual hotel credits toward hotel stays booked through Chase
  • Primary auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Travel protections
  • Purchase protections
NextAdvisor’s Take

The Chase Freedom Flex and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card are both excellent card choices and offer access to Chase’s flexible Ultimate Rewards program. The Chase Freedom Flex is more geared toward everyday spending with rotating 5% bonus categories, and doesn’t charge an annual fee. But the Sapphire Preferred is more geared toward travelers, with a $95 annual fee, rewards on dining and travel, and a 25% points boost when you redeem for travel through Chase. But if it fits your spending, we like these cards best when paired together — you can maximize a range of bonus categories and pool your points when you’re ready to redeem.

Chase boasts some of the most popular rewards credit cards on the market today, each geared toward a different type of consumer and budget. The issuer offers flexible travel credit cards and co-branded airline and hotel cards perfect for jetsetters, as well as cards for business owners and cash back credit cards with no annual fee. 

Chase has so many good card options that it can be hard to pick, and that’s especially true if you’re not entirely sure how you want to use your rewards. To help you decide, we’re taking a closer look at two of the most popular rewards credit cards from Chase — the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card — which are also both among our favorite rewards cards available today. 

Side by Side Comparison

Chase Freedom FlexChase Sapphire Preferred Card
Annual Fee$0$95
Welcome Offer$200 bonus cash when you spend $500 within three months of account opening80,000 points when you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening
Rewards Rate5% back on up to $1,500 spent in quarterly bonus categories (then 1% back)

5% back on travel booked through Chase and on Lyft rides (through March 2025)

3% back on dining and drugstore purchases 

1% back on other purchases
5x points on travel booked through Chase and on Lyft rides (through March 2025)

3x points on dining (including takeout and delivery), online grocery purchases, and select streaming services

2x points on travel not booked through Chase

1x points on other purchases
Other Benefits• 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 15.24% to 23.99%, intro balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater in the first 60 days

• Points can be redeemed for cash back, statement credits, gift cards, merchandise and more

• Consumer protections and travel insurance benefits
• $50 annual hotel credit for stays purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards

• Anniversary bonus worth 10% of overall spending the previous year

• Points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through Chase

• Points can be redeemed for cash back, statement credits, gift cards, merchandise and more

• Consumer protections and travel insurance benefits

• No foreign transaction fees

Bonus Comparison

The welcome offer on the Chase Sapphire Preferred is hard to beat. You can earn 80,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases within three months of account opening, worth $1,000 when you redeem for travel through Chase. 

The Chase Freedom Flex offers just $200 in bonus cash, albeit with a much lower minimum spending requirement of $500 within three months.

If you can spend $4,000 on purchases within three months — or $1,334 per month on your card for three months in a row — the Chase Sapphire Preferred sign-up bonus can be much more valuable. In fact, you’ll still be hundreds of dollars ahead even after accounting for the $95 annual fee.

Rewards and Benefits Comparison

In terms of the rewards you can earn, both the Chase Freedom Flex and the Chase Sapphire Preferred have some solid bonus categories that align with common everyday spending. The Freedom Flex’s most notable offering is its 5% cash back in rotating quarterly categories — in the past, these have included wholesale clubs, streaming services, gas stations, PayPal, and more. The Sapphire Preferred, on the other hand, has static bonus categories including dining and travel, which you don’t have to track or activate quarterly.

The cards vary greatly in terms of how you can redeem your rewards. Both cards let you redeem your rewards for cash back, statement credits, gift cards, merchandise and travel through Chase. However, points earned with the Chase Sapphire Preferred are worth 25% more when redeemed directly for travel.

Not only that, but the Chase Sapphire Preferred lets you transfer points to Chase Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel partners at a 1:1 ratio. These partners include Southwest Airlines, United MileagePlus, World of Hyatt, Marriott Bonvoy and more.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred also has a few more benefits overall than the Freedom Flex — especially if you’re looking for travel protections — and offers higher limits where similar coverage is offered. The chart below shows the major travel perks each card offers and how much they’re worth.

Chase Freedom Flex Travel BenefitsChase Sapphire Preferred Travel Benefits
Trip cancellation and interruption insurance worth up to $1,500 per person and up to $6,000 per covered tripTrip cancellation and interruption insurance worth up to $10,000 per person and up to $20,000 per covered trip
Secondary auto rental coveragePrimary auto rental coverage
Travel and emergency assistance servicesTravel and emergency assistance services
Baggage delay insurance worth up to $100 per day for up to 5 days
Trip delay reimbursement worth up to $500 per ticket

Both of these cards also come with some purchase protections and non-travel benefits that can offer additional savings:

Chase Freedom Other BenefitsChase Sapphire Preferred Other Benefits
3 months of DashPass membership (activation required by December 31, 2024)Complimentary DashPass membership (through December 31, 2024)
Cell phone protection worth up to $800 per claim and up to $1,000 per year
Purchase protection worth up to $500 per claim and up to $50,000 per accountPurchase protection worth up to $500 per claim and up to $50,000 per account
One additional year of warranty protection on purchases that come with a manufacturer’s warranty of three years or lessOne additional year of warranty protection on purchases that come with a manufacturer’s warranty of three years or less

APRs

Like most credit cards, both of these cards charge a high variable APR after the intro APR period ends. With the Chase Freedom Flex, you’ll pay a variable rate of 15.24% to 23.99%. The Chase Sapphire Preferred charges 16.24% to 23.24%.

However, the Chase Freedom Flex does have an excellent introductory 0% APR offer on purchases and balance transfers, which the Sapphire Preferred lacks. When you sign up for the Freedom Flex, you’ll earn 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, followed by the standard variable rate 15.24% – 23.99%. There is an intro balance transfer fee of  $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater in the first 60 days. This feature is great for people who want to pay down large purchases over time, or consolidate high-interest debts from other cards.

Pro Tip

If you sign up for the Chase Freedom Flex to take advantage of its intro balance transfer offer, make sure to transfer other debts within 60 days of account opening. This will help you secure a 3% or $5 balance transfer fee, whichever is greater in the first 60 days. After that, the fee goes up to 5% or $10 of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

Fees

The Chase Freedom Flex charges no annual fee. On the other hand, you’ll have to pay $95 per year to carry the Sapphire Preferred. If you travel internationally often, you won’t take on any tforeign transaction fees with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, whereas the Chase Freedom Flex tacks on a 3% charge to overseas purchases.

And if you decide to use the Chase Freedom Flex’s intro balance transfer offer, you’ll owe a 3% or $5 balance transfer fee, whichever is greater in the first 60 days. After that, the balance transfer fee goes up to 5% or $10, whichever is greater.

Deciding Between Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Sapphire Preferred

Both of these cards are an excellent choice if your goal is earning rewards, but your individual budget can make a big difference in your decision to pick one over the other. 

You may want to pick the Chase Freedom Flex if:

  • You are looking for a credit card with no annual fee
  • You mostly want to redeem rewards for cash back, merchandise, or gift cards
  • You don’t travel often, and especially not out of the country
  • You’re willing to track and activate quarterly bonus categories

The Chase Sapphire Preferred might make a better option if: 

  • You want more ways to redeem your rewards, including point transfers and boosted travel
  • You want a more robust selection of perks and added benefits
  • You spend a lot on credit and can earn the generous sign-up bonus
  • You travel internationally and want a card with no foreign transaction fees

There’s also a third option. If you are able to qualify based on the Chase 5/24 rule, and you’re willing to put some space in between applications, you may want to add both cards to your wallet. Like its sister card the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, the Freedom Flex makes a great pair for the Sapphire Preferred. Plus, you can pool your rewards together in your Sapphire Preferred account, and redeem at the 25% boosted rate for travel booked with Chase.

With both cards in your wallet, you could have the best of all worlds — bonus rewards in plenty of everyday categories, an excellent selection of cardholder perks, and the best travel redemption options out there.

Editorial Independence

As with all of our credit card reviews, our analysis is not influenced by any partnerships or advertising relationships.