Our comparison of the Bank of America Cash Rewards card and the Chase Freedom help you determine which card has more value for you.
The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card and 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. They also both have the ability to get an additional 25% or even more value from your cash back if you have an additional relationship with either 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. You’re able to choose your 3% cash back category with the Bank of America Cash Rewards card, while 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 Cash Rewards vs. Chase Freedom Flex
Here is a comparison of some of the features of the Bank of America Cash Rewards vs Chase Freedom Flex cards.
|Bank of America® 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|
|Other things to know||Bank of America Cash Rewards cardholders who also have a checking or savings account can enroll in the Preferred Rewards program to get 25% to 75% more value from their cash back||Chase Freedom Flex cardholders who also have a premium Chase card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card can combine their cash back as Ultimate Rewards for 25 to 50% more value|
When comparing the Bank of America 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 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 it actually is issued as Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
If the Chase Freedom Flex is the only credit card that you have that earns Ultimate Rewards points, then these points are valued at 1 cent per point. This makes the Freedom Flex equivalent to a true cash back card. But if you have a premium Chase credit card like the Ink Preferred or Sapphire Reserve, you can combine your Ultimate Rewards points to get 1.25 or 1.5 cents per point for each dollar you spend with your Freedom Flex.
If you look at the Bank of America Cash Rewards versus Chase Freedom Flex cards 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 that these two cards earn is slightly different.
With the Bank of America 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 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 get 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 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 a rate of 5.25% cash back on up to $2,500 of spending each quarter (if you focus in on your chosen bonus category).
The Chase Freedom Flex also has changeable bonus categories, but they are set by Chase and rotate each quarter. Unlike with the Bank of America Cash Rewards card, you have no ability to control the 5% quarterly bonus categories with the Chase Freedom Flex.
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, 3% on dining at restaurants as well as drugstores and 1% on all other spending.
The rewards that you earn with the Bank of America 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 both for your initial 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 this a true cash back card.
See related: Chase Ultimate Rewards points value
However, if you have a premium Chase card, you can combine your Ultimate Rewards points into one account. When combined with the Ultimate Rewards from a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Ink Preferred or Sapphire Reserve card, you can then redeem the Ultimate Rewards you earn from the Freedom Flex with a 25% or 50% bonus if you redeem for travel or via Chase Pay Yourself Back.
Bank of America Cash Rewards: Best for those who like to choose their own bonus categories or have existing Bank of America accounts
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 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.
Others that might be interested in the Bank of America Cash Rewards card are people who like to set their own bonus categories. Rather than be reliant on the whim of Chase to set bonus categories that you may or may not be able to use, you can set your own bonus category and earn 3% wherever you spend the most.
Chase Freedom Flex: Best for people that have other Chase credit cards and like to travel
The Chase Freedom Flex really shines along with the Freedom Unlimited and Sapphire Reserve as part of the Chase trifecta. That lets you earn up to 5% cash back on spending and then redeem it for up 1.5 cents per point. That means in the rotating bonus categories or on 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.
Both the Chase Freedom Flex and Bank of America 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 that you’ll pay no fee to ear 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 bonus categories to see which better aligns with your spending.