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Compare the Features and Benefits of Chase Freedom Flex Review and
United℠ Explorer Card

Detailed Comparison Overview

Key Facts
Annual Fee
Avg. Min. Credit Score
APR on purchases
APR on balance transfers
Ongoing APR
Balance transfers fees
Best Multiplier
Avg. Point Value
(Learn More)
Bonus Offer
Rating
Review
Key features
Unique Card Benefits
Purchase Protection
Extended Warranty
Trip Protections
Free Access to Credit Score
0% Intro APR on Purchases
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers
Secondary Car Rental CDW Waiver
Free Checked Bags
Airport Lounge Access
Priority Boarding
Global Entry / TSA PreCheck Reimbursement
Primary Car Rental CDW Waiver
No Foreign Transaction Fees
Concierge Services
Travel and Emergency Assistance Services
Annual Fee
$0
Avg. Min. Credit Score
670-850 *
APR on purchases
0% Intro APR (on purchases for 15 months, 19.24%-27.99% thereafter)
APR on balance transfers
0% Intro APR (on balance transfers for 15 months, 19.24%-27.99% thereafter)
Ongoing APR
19.24%-27.99% (Variable)
Balance transfers fees
-
Best Multiplier
5x Airfare

Earn this multiplier when you purchase via the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. If you purchase any other way, you will earn 1X points.

5x Hotels

Earn this multiplier when you purchase via the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. If you purchase any other way, you will earn 1X points.

5x Car Rentals

Earn this multiplier when you purchase via the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. If you purchase any other way, you will earn 1X points.

5x Lyft
3x Dining Out / Food Delivery
3x Drugstores
1x Everything Else
Avg. Point Value
(Learn More)
$0.01 - $0.0175
Bonus Offer
Get $200 (20,000 Ultimate Rewards points) when you spend $500 in your first 3 months. PLUS Earn 5% cash back on combined gas station and grocery store purchases (not including Target® and Walmart®) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
Rating
YBCC Card Rate Stars Filled
YBCC Card Rate Stars Empty
(4) Our Review

Our ratings are determined by the authors and editors on our team. Each individual card feature is compared against all other cards we offer and the total score is an average of those 4 ratings.

Review

This is a primary card in the Chase Trifecta, which includes a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve, a Chase Freedom Unlimited, and this card, the Chase Freedom Flex. You’ll earn 3% on dining and drugstore purchases with the Freedom Flex. But whereas the Freedom Unlimited gives you 1.5% cash back on other spend categories, The Flex earns only 1%. That is because it has the rotating 5% bonus categories.

The rotating bonus categories each quarter can be fantastic. Amazon is a popular choice, meaning you’d earn 7,500 Ultimate Rewards points ($75) if you spent $1,500 during that quarter.

amazon-chase-freedom-flex

Since the Chase Freedom Flex is a pure cash back credit card unless you also have a Chase Sapphire Preferred®, Sapphire Reserve®, or Ink Business Preferred® with which to combine your Chase Ultimate Rewards points, it’s ideally used as part of a combo.

When you hold one of these premium Ultimate Rewards-earning credit cards, you can transfer points earned on the Freedom Flex to the premium card. Once you’ve moved the Ultimate Rewards over to the premium credit card, you can take advantage of points transfers to 12 Chase airline and hotel partners or book travel through the travel portal.

Best of all, you can accrue cash back on this card and decide to add a Chase Sapphire Preferred®, Sapphire Reserve®, or Ink Business Preferred® later on – if you suddenly decide that you’d like to delve into the world of credit card rewards that transfer to frequent flyer and hotel programs to book free award flights and hotel nights.

If you book through the travel portal and have a Sapphire Reserve, your points redeem for 1.5 cents each, meaning that you earn 1.5X points or cash back per dollar and redeem them for 1.5X, giving you an effective 2.25% return on your spend.

If you book through the travel portal and have a Sapphire Preferred, or Ink Business Preferred, your points redeem for 1.25 cents each, meaning that you earn 1.5X per dollar and redeem for 1.5X, giving you an effective 1.875% return on your spend.

But our absolute favorite way to redeem is always via airline and hotel transfer partners. The easiest high-value redemption is usually Hyatt. We often get better than 2 cents per World of Hyatt point. Keep in mind that Hyatt doesn’t charge any resort fees when you stay on a free night award. So let’s say you are looking at a hotel with a cash price of $259 and a $25 a night resort fee and 8% tax. That would come to $307 a night. But if that same room costs 8,000 or 12,000 Hyatt points, you could be using your points (which transfer at an even 1:1 ratio to all airline and hotel partners) with a rate of return of 3 – 4 cents.

To be clear, if you don’t also have a Chase Sapphire Preferred®, Sapphire Reserve®, or Ink Business Preferred®, the rewards earned with the Chase Freedom Flex are purely cash back rewards.

That said, even without a card combo, it’s still a solid card to earn cash back, including 3% on dining , including takeout and eligible delivery services, and drugstores) since it has no annual fee.

The Chase Freedom Flex credit card comes with a solid range of benefits for a card with no annual fee. You’ll get Purchase Protection and Extended Warranty on the shopping side and you’ll be taken care of on canceled or shortened pre-paid trips if a covered reason arises. with the included Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance.

Read more
Unique Card Benefits
yes
Purchase Protection
yes
Extended Warranty
yes
Trip Protections
yes
Free Access to Credit Score
yes
0% Intro APR on Purchases
yes
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers
yes
Secondary Car Rental CDW Waiver
yes
Free Checked Bags
no
Airport Lounge Access
no
Priority Boarding
no
Global Entry / TSA PreCheck Reimbursement
no
Primary Car Rental CDW Waiver
no
No Foreign Transaction Fees
no
Concierge Services
no
Travel and Emergency Assistance Services
no
Annual Fee
$0 Introductory Annual Fee for the first year, then $95
Avg. Min. Credit Score
670-850 *
APR on purchases
-
APR on balance transfers
-
Ongoing APR
21.99%-28.99% (Variable)
Balance transfers fees
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Best Multiplier
2x Airfare

On United flights only; otherwise earn 1X

2x Dining Out / Food Delivery
2x Hotels
1x Everything Else
Avg. Point Value
(Learn More)
$0.012
Bonus Offer

Earn 60,000 United MileagePlus Miles after spending $3,000 on qualifying purchases in the first three months of opening an account, plus Annual Fee waived for the first year. Offer ends March 13, 2024.  

Rating
YBCC Card Rate Stars Filled
YBCC Card Rate Stars Empty
(4.05) Our Review

Our ratings are determined by the authors and editors on our team. Each individual card feature is compared against all other cards we offer and the total score is an average of those 4 ratings.

Review

The United Explorer is one of the best credit cards out there for occasional United flyers. That’s because you’ll get useful perks, such as free first checked bags, priority boarding privileges, a 25% food and beverage discount on board United operated flights, and even get a taste of airport lounge access with two anniversary United Club passes. Plus. the annual fee is waived the first year, then just $95 thereafter.

Consider this scenario: Even if you only fly United a couple of times per year, the Explorer Card is worth it for the free checked bag benefit alone. Keep in mind, this applies to the primary card holder and one companion on the same reservation, as long as you use the card to pay for your ticket. At $35 for one checked bag, and $140 for a round-trip flight for two people, it’s easy to get value that exceeds the card’s annual fee.

In addition to the sign-up bonus earned after account opening, the United Explorer card earns a decent 2X miles on United Airlines purchases, 2X miles on dining, including eligible delivery services, 2X miles on hotel stays when booked with the hotel and 1x miles on all other purchases. Also, the card helps to fast track your United elite status goals with 500 Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs) for every $12,000 you spend on purchases (up to 1,000 PQPs in a calendar year). These PQPs can be applied toward your Premier status qualification — up to the Premier 1K level.

And don’t forget the ability to earn PQPs towards elite status from spend. You’ll earn 25 Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs) for every $500 you spend on purchases – up to 1,000 PQPs per year.

If you’re in need of extra miles besides flying on United flights, keep in mind that Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to the United Mileage Plus program at a 1:1 ratio to help you top up your miles balance.

While the United Explorer card is a fantastic option for the occasional United flyer, those that travel more often with the airline might want to consider other options, including United’s other, more premium, credit cards.

In more simple terms, the Explorer card fits the “occasional United flyer” once or twice per year mold, while the $250-per-year United Quest fits the “semi-frequent United flyer.” Then, there’s the United Club Infinite Card for the “frequent United flyer.” If you’re looking for a United Club membership and need more than just two one-time passes, you’ll probably be better off with the United Club Infinite Card, which comes with a full United Club membership but also charges the highest annual fee of the United cards at $525.

Read more
Unique Card Benefits
yes
Purchase Protection
yes
Extended Warranty
yes
Trip Protections
yes
Free Access to Credit Score
yes
0% Intro APR on Purchases
no
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers
no
Secondary Car Rental CDW Waiver
no
Free Checked Bags
yes
Airport Lounge Access
yes
Priority Boarding
yes
Global Entry / TSA PreCheck Reimbursement
yes
Primary Car Rental CDW Waiver
yes
No Foreign Transaction Fees
yes
Concierge Services
yes
Travel and Emergency Assistance Services
yes

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