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Card Comparisons

Chase Freedom Flex vs Chase Sapphire Preferred

Which is better for you?

Summary

The Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Sapphire Preferred cards have some overlap when it comes to rewards categories, but each offers unique advantages.

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Two of Chase’s most popular credit cards, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card*, have both earned high praise from savvy rewards hunters who like to squeeze as much value as possible from their spending.

Here we take a look at each card’s value and help you decide which is the best fit for you.

Freedom Flex vs. Sapphire Preferred: At a glance

Chase Freedom Flex card
Chase Freedom Flex
Chase Sapphire Preferred card
Chase Sapphire Preferred card
Rewards rate
  • 5% cash back on rotating categories (upon enrollment, on up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter, then 1%)
  • 5% cash back on Chase Ultimate Rewards travel
  • 3% cash back on dining and drugstore purchases
  • 1% cash back on general purchases
  • 2 points per dollar on travel and dining
  • 1 point per dollar on general purchases
Sign-up bonus$200 when you spend $500 in the first 3 months60,000 points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months
Annual fee$0$95
Estimated yearly rewards value (for someone who spends $15,900 and maxes out the Freedom Flex rotating categories)$532$408
Card benefits
  • Cell phone protection
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty coverage
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Free DashPass membership for 3 months, followed by 50% off next nine months of membership
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Points worth 1.25 cents when redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards portal
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Free DashPass membership for one year

Which should you choose?

It depends on how you plan to use it.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is best known as a premium travel card with one of the cushiest sign-up bonuses you can get without paying more than $100 on an annual fee. The card charges a yearly fee of $95 and offers 2 points per dollar on travel and restaurant purchases.

The Chase Freedom Flex card, by contrast, offers a wide array of bonus categories and no annual fee. Though it’s best known for its 5% cash back rate in everyday spending categories that rotate each quarter, such as gas and online shopping (upon enrollment, on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter, then 1%), it also offers an outsized rewards rate on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal (5% back) and on dining and drugstore purchases (3% back).

While the Freedom Flex will likely be a better deal for most cardholders since it charges no annual fee and offers a wide range of rewards categories, including a better rate on travel if you book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, there are still good reasons to consider the Sapphire Preferred, including its enormous sign-up bonus.

If you travel regularly and want to maximize your spending, consider applying for both credit cards. Chase lets you pool rewards from different card accounts, and you can get a higher point value when you redeem for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal with the Sapphire Preferred.

Best for beginning travelers: Chase Freedom Flex

It may surprise you to learn that when it comes to travel rewards, the Freedom Flex holds its own against the Sapphire Preferred, a dedicated travel card with a $95 annual fee.

That’s because the Freedom Flex beats out the Sapphire Preferred in key bonus categories like travel (5 points per dollar when booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards versus 2 points per dollar). Indeed, based on the average person’s spending habits, the Freedom Flex earns an average rewards rate of 1.68 points per dollar in its year-round bonus categories, compared to the Sapphire Preferred card’s 1.27 points per dollar on average.

While having the Sapphire Preferred gets you 25% more value for your points when you redeem for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, this doesn’t make up for the fact that the card earns points on travel at less than half the rate available on the Freedom Flex (assuming you book through the Ultimate Rewards portal).

That said, booking through the Ultimate Rewards portal means you’ll have to forgo hunting for deals on airline, hotel and third-party travel websites. You also won’t be able to transfer your points to one of Chase’s travel partners and potentially squeeze more value out of your points, as you can with the Sapphire Preferred.

Chase Freedom Flex card
(travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards)
Chase Sapphire Preferred card
(any travel purchases)
$5,000 x  5 points x 1 cent average point value = $250$5,000 x 2 points x 1.26 cents average point value = $126

See related: How to calculate the value of Chase Ultimate Rewards points

Best for flexible travel: Chase Sapphire Preferred

If you want more control over how you use your points, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the clear winner. The Sapphire Preferred not only offers a huge sign-up bonus (worth multiple round-trip domestic flights), but also a more flexible transfer policy that lets you transfer points on a one-to-one basis to a number of Chase travel partners.

For example, frequent flyers of Southwest Airlines, British Airways, Air France, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, United and Virgin Atlantic can apply their Sapphire Preferred points to their travel loyalty programs. Frequent guests of Marriott, Marriott Bonvoy, IHG and Hyatt can do the same. And along with the Sapphire Preferred card’s 25% travel redemption bonus when you book through the Ultimate Rewards portal, the card features a long list of travel partners to which you can transfer points and get even higher point values.

For example, 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points are worth around $750 when redeemed for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal, but if you transferred to United at a 1:1 ratio, your points would be worth $912, as we value United miles at 1.52 cents each. You could get even more value transferring to Singapore Airlines ($1,416 at a point value of 2.36 points per dollar) or World of Hyatt ($1,200 at a point value of 2 points per dollar).

For heavy travelers, this perk alone can help make up for the card’s annual fee.

That said, since the Freedom Flex earns 5% back on Ultimate Rewards travel and 3% back on dining, it still has the edge overall in terms of value. As a tradeoff for more flexible points with the Sapphire Preferred, you’ll need to sacrifice some earning potential versus the Freedom Flex.

Rewards on $5,000 annual air travel spend
Chase Freedom Flex card
(travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards)
Chase Sapphire Preferred card
(any travel purchases, transferring points to World of Hyatt)
$5,000 x  5 points x 1 cent average point value = $250$5,000 x 2 points x 2 cents average point value = $200

Best for earning an influx of rewards quickly: Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card also stands out because of its eye-popping sign-up bonus. New cardholders who spend at least $4,000 in the card’s first three months will receive 60,000 bonus points. Chase points are worth 1.25 cents when redeemed for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal, making this bonus worth approximately $750. The Freedom Flex card, by contrast, offers a $200 bonus (20,000 Ultimate Rewards points, worth 1 cent each).

Of course, the Freedom card’s sign-up bonus requires a much lower spend threshold than the Sapphire Preferred card, making it a better fit for cardholders on a budget. Sapphire Preferred cardholders must spend $4,000 in three months to earn the sign-up bonus, while Freedom cardholders only have to spend $500 in the card’s first three months.

Best for everyday purchases: Chase Freedom Flex

For cardholders who want to earn rewards on both travel spending and everyday expenses, such as dining, groceries, clothing and gas, the Chase Freedom Flex card is a clear winner. As long as cardholders don’t mind tracking the Chase cash back calendar and enrolling in rotating spending categories, they can earn a significant amount using their Freedom Flex card each time a purchase qualifies for a 5% bonus.

Let’s say, for example, that you average $300 per month on gas. If you use your Freedom Flex card to earn 5% cash back during the first three months that gas qualifies for a bonus and 1% cash back the rest of the year, you’ll earn $72 by the end of the year. By contrast, if you use a Sapphire Preferred card for the same purchases, you’ll earn around $45 worth of rewards on your gas purchases by the end of the year.

Rewards earned on $300 monthly gas spend
Chase Freedom Flex cardChase Sapphire Preferred card
($300 x 5% x 3 months) + ($300 x 1% x 9 months) = $72$300 x 1 point x 12 months x 1.26 cent average point value = $45

Similarly, if you average $500 spend on groceries and use your Freedom Flex to earn 5% cash back during the bonus period and 1% cash back the remainder of the year, you’ll earn $44 more than what you’d earn with the Sapphire Preferred card.

Rewards earned on $500 monthly grocery spend
Chase Freedom cardChase Sapphire Preferred card
($500 x 5% x 3 months) + ($500 x 1% x 9 months) = $120$500 x 1 point x 12 months x 1.26 cent average point value = $76

Pro tip: Use them both

While the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom Flex rewards programs overlap when it comes to travel and dining, the cards can still make a great pairing if you want to maximize the value of your Ultimate Rewards points. You can use the Freedom Flex for much of your everyday spending and travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards and save the Sapphire Preferred for one-off travel purchases outside of Chase’s portal.

Because Chase lets you pool your rewards from different accounts, you can transfer earnings from your Chase Freedom Flex card to your Sapphire Preferred card and buy travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards with a 25% bonus. You can also transfer your Freedom Flex points to other travel loyalty programs once you’ve transferred the points to the Sapphire Preferred card.

Pairing the Chase Sapphire Preferred with the Chase Freedom Flex ($15,900 annual spend)
Chase Freedom card
(with maxed-out 5% bonus categories)
+
Chase Sapphire Preferred card
Average rewards rateAverage point valueRewards earned minus $95 annual fee
  • 5 points per dollar on rotating categories, such as groceries, gas and department store spending
  • 5 points per dollar on Ultimate Rewards travel
  • 3 points per dollar on dining and drugstore purchases
  • 2 points per dollar on general travel purchases
1.68 points per dollar1.26 cents$493

Bottom line

Savvy card users will benefit the most from using both cards. But cardholders who want to stick to just one card shouldn’t have much trouble squeezing value out of either card.

Unless you’re a heavy traveler, though, the Freedom Flex card has more to offer longtime cardholders – particularly since it doesn’t charge an annual fee and offers a better rate on both travel and dining purchases than the Sapphire Preferred. But the Sapphire Preferred card’s plush sign-up bonus and flexible redemption policy make it an ideal choice for cardholders who want to earn a free trip quickly.

See related: Sapphire Reserve vs. Sapphire Preferred, Freedom Flex vs. Freedom Unlimited

*All information about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer. This offer is no longer available on our site.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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