Our comparison of the Bank of America Cash Rewards card and Chase Freedom Flex help you determine which card has more value for you.
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The Bank of America content was last updated on 01.07.2021.
The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit cardand Chase Freedom Flex℠ credit cards share several different features. They are both cash back cards that come with no annual fee, a healthy welcome offer and an introductory APR option on initial purchases. You may also glean an additional 25% or more value from your cash back if you have other cards with Bank of America or Chase.
There are also a few important distinctions that you’ll want to be aware of if you’re considering applying for one of these two cards. Although they both have categories where you can earn bonus cash back, the way you earn that cash back is quite different. With the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card, you may choose your 3% cash back category, whereas with the Chase Freedom Flex, your rotating quarterly bonus categories are set by Chase.
Let’s take a closer look to see which one might make the most sense for you.
Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards vs. Chase Freedom Flex
|Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card||Chase Freedom Flex℠|
|Sign-up bonus||$200 online cash rewards if you spend $1,000 in first 90 days||$200 if you spend $500 in first 3 months|
When comparing the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards versus Chase Freedom Flex in terms of their introductory bonus, both cards offer a healthy bonus amount. This is especially true when you compare them to other no annual fee cash back cards, like the Citi® Double Cash Card, which doesn’t offer a welcome bonus at all.
With the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card, you can earn a $200 welcome bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases on your card in the first 90 days of having your account open. This welcome bonus comes in the form of rewards that can be applied as a statement credit to your account.
The bonus on the Chase Freedom Flex is also $200 – this time after spending $500 in the first three months of having the account. When considering both the introductory bonus and ongoing rewards that you earn with the Freedom Flex, it’s important to know that they’re actually issued as Chase Ultimate Rewards points. The Chase Ultimate Rewards points are actually quite valuable, depending on if you have additional Chase cards or travel frequently. We’ll touch on this more later.
If you look at the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards versus the Chase Freedom Flex card in terms of their rewards earning rates, they have a similar structure. Both cards have bonus categories that can change, additional fixed bonus categories and a flat 1% rate that they earn on all other purchases. But the way these two cards earn is slightly different.
With the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card, you will earn 3% cash back in a category of your choice (gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores or home improvements and furnishings). You can change your 3% bonus category once each calendar month. You will also earn 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. The bonus categories (both 2% and 3%) are limited to the first $2,500 in spending each quarter. All other spending earns 1% cash back.
Another important thing to realize is that with the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card, you can also join the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program. Depending on the amount of money you have deposited or invested with Bank of America and Merrill Lynch, you can qualify for a Preferred Rewards tier and receive a 25% to 75% bonus on the rewards that you earn.
This applies only to ongoing rewards that you earn and not the $200 introductory bonus on the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card. Still, this can be an amazing perk for this card. With enough deposited to earn the Platinum Honors level of Preferred Rewards, you’d earn 5.25% cash back on up to $2,500 of spending each quarter in your chosen bonus category.
The Chase Freedom Flex also has changeable bonus categories, but they’re set by Chase and rotate each quarter. Unlike with the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card, you cannot control the 5% quarterly bonus categories with the Chase Freedom Flex.
Other than the lack of customization, the Chase Freedom Flex offers an array of bonus categories where you can earn a good amount of cash back through a variety of purchases. You’ll earn 5% cash back on the first $1,500 spent in the bonus category each quarter, upon enrollment, and 1% on those categories after you reach the spend cap. You’ll also earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 5% on Lyft purchases (through March 2025), 5% on groceries (not including Target or Walmart) on up to $12,000 in the first year, 3% on dining as well as drugstores and 1% on other spending.
The rewards you earn with the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card do not expire and you can redeem them at any time. You can redeem them for any amount via statement credits, deposits made directly into a Bank of America checking or savings account or for credit to an eligible account with Merrill.
Redemptions with the Chase Freedom Flex can be a bit more complicated – but also potentially more lucrative. With the Freedom Flex, the cash back you receive for your welcome offer, as well as ongoing spending, is given in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards points. If you only have the Freedom Flex, then those points are equivalent to 1 cent each, making the card function like a true cash back card.
However, if you have a premium Chase credit card like the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can combine your Ultimate Rewards points to redeem for a 25% to 50% bonus if you redeem for travel at the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
If you don’t plan on traveling anytime soon but would still like to enjoy that increased point redemption, you could also redeem your points via Chase Pay Yourself Back.
Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards: Best for those who like to choose their own bonus categories
The main aspect that differentiates the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card is its customizable bonus categories. Rather than relying on the whim of Chase to set bonus categories you may or may not be able to use, you can set your own bonus category and earn 3% wherever you spend the most. And, as we mentioned previously, you can change your chosen bonus category once per month. If you find yourself spending more on dining than on gas, don’t hesitate to switch.
If you have a significant amount of money deposited with Bank of America and are already a member of the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program, then adding the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards is a no-brainer. When you add the BoA Preferred Rewards program on top of solid earning options, all with no annual fee, it makes it easy to rack up a ton of cash back.
Chase Freedom Flex: Best for people who have other Chase credit cards and like to travel
The Chase Freedom Flex really shines when used along with the Chase Freedom Unlimited® and Sapphire Reserve, as part of the Chase trifecta. That lets you earn up to 5% cash back on most of your spending and then redeem it for up 1.5 cents per point. That means on rotating bonus categories or travel booked through Chase, you’re getting a 7.5% rebate on your spending. That’s hard to beat and a great reason to pick up the Chase Freedom Flex card.
If you don’t like having too many cards crowd your wallet, the Freedom Flex will still bring you great value. Rotating categories aside, the cash back on the card’s year-round bonus categories applies to many everyday purchases. Even if you don’t travel often, the card will slowly but surely rack up Ultimate Rewards points so you can splurge when it’s finally time to book your next vacation.
Both the Chase Freedom Flex and Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card are very solid credit cards with no annual fee. Offering cash back that you can stack with other programs is a very attractive value proposition, especially considering you’ll pay no fee to earn these competitive rates.
A big factor in deciding between the two might be whether you already have existing relationships with Bank of America or Chase. If not, then you can’t go wrong with either card – just take a look at the bonus categories to see which better align with your spending.
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