The best Chase credit card for cash back is either Chase Freedom Flex℠ or Chase Freedom Unlimited®. Or, if you’re looking for a business credit card, it’s the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card. Which consumer card is best really depends on whether you’d prefer 5% quarterly bonus categories and a 1% base rate (Chase Freedom Flex℠) or a steady 1.5 - 5% cash back on everything (Chase Freedom Unlimited®). Neither charges an annual fee. You also need good credit to get either of these Chase cash back credit cards.
That’s just the high-level overview though. You’ll need a bit more info to make a wise decision.
- Chase Freedom Flex℠ has quarterly bonus categories, where certain types of purchases earn 5% cash back. Basically, every quarter you “activate” the new categories, and then you earn 5% on the first $1,500 you spend in those categories that quarter. You also get 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
- Chase Freedom Unlimited® is much simpler. It gives you 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
- Ink Business Cash® Credit Card gives you 5% cash back on the first $25,000 that you spend each year at office supply stores and on phone/internet/TV service. You also get 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent at gas stations and restaurants. All other purchases earn 1%.
You’re not earning traditional cash back with these cards. You’re actually earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points. So, 5% cash back really means 5 points per dollar, and 1.5% cash back means 1.5 points per dollar.
So, you’re getting the same rewards you would with normal cash back, but there’s a chance that Chase could devalue your cash back by making each point worth less. Hopefully that doesn’t happen. You should redeem your cash back often just in case.
- Unlike other Ultimate Rewards cards, Chase’s cash back credit cards don’t allow you to transfer your earnings to a partner’s travel loyalty program.
- You can redeem your earnings for a check or statement credit at a rate of 1 cent per point.
In the end, the choice between Chase’s cash back credit cards comes down to whether you’ll be able to take full advantage of Freedom’s bonus categories. But the new quarter’s categories don’t get announced until partway through the current quarter, so it’s not like you can plan that far ahead. For me at least, the consistent 1.5% is more reliable. And, of course, go for Ink Business Cash® Credit Card if you own your own company.
Lastly, it’s useful to note that you’ll always have the option of redeeming Chase points for cash back. But if your card is geared toward travel or a specific company’s merchandise (e.g. Disney), you probably won’t get great value.