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

A photo to accompany a story about the Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Sapphire Preferred cards Illustration/NextAdvisor
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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 opening60,000 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) and on up to $12,000 in grocery spending your first year

5% back on travel booked through Chase and on Lyft rides (through March 2022)

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 2022)

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% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 14.99% to 23.74%

• 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 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases within three months of account opening, worth $750 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 Dec. 31, 2021)12 months of DashPass membership (activation required by March 31, 2022)
Cell phone protection worth up to $800 per claim and up to $1,000 per yearUp to $60 on Peloton Digital or All-Access membership through Dec. 31, 2021
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 if you carry a balance. With the Chase Freedom Flex, you’ll pay a variable rate of 14.99% to 23.74%. The Chase Sapphire Preferred charges 15.99% to 22.99%.

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% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, followed by the standard variable rate. 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 balance transfer offer, make sure to transfer other debts within 60 days of account opening. This will help you secure a 3% balance transfer fee. After 60 days, the fee goes up to 5%.

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 balance transfer offer, you’ll owe a 3% (minimum $5) balance transfer fee on balances transferred within the first 60 days after account opening. After that, the balance transfer fee goes up to 5% (minimum $5).

  • Intro bonus:
    60,000 points
  • Annual fee:
    $95
  • Regular APR:
    15.99% – 22.99% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site.
  • Intro bonus:
    $200
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    14.99 – 23.74% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site.
  • Intro bonus:
    $200
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    14.99% – 23.74% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site.

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.