Why is Freedom always rated ahead of Discover?

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kdm31091
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Why is Freedom always rated ahead of Discover?

Postby kdm31091 » Mon Dec 14, 2015 8:18 am

I noticed this site's blog ranked Chase Freedom above Discover. I notice this is a very common thing. Almost without fail, Freedom is "rated" above Discover. My question is WHY?

Yes, you have the advantage of potentially pairing with CSP (for a $95 AF) but if the 5% categories aren't great, then who cares how much value you can extend out of them? Even if it were 50% off, diapers.com means nothing to me (and many were upset with it), so certainly 5-10% is not going to set the world on fire even with more potential value.

Other than the pair with CSP, I see no advantage to Freedom, whereas with Discover:
-No redemption threshold, redeem any time, plus discounted gift cards to redeem (which technically boosts your rewards rate even further)
-FICO score
-Almost always has broader categories not tied to one merchant (i.e diapers.com or audible). Even Q1 2016, all Chase could manage was to literally copy Discover's categories.
-Double promo (Chase sort of copied with Q4, but only doubled the bonus cash back, not the base, and the categories are still weak other than amazon for many people)
-Discover is more "customer flexible" over time with your limit and APR without requiring a HP for the CLI every time (and Chase will never lower your APR). This may not matter to many people, but with so many getting stuck with $500 Freedoms @ 22.99, you'd think some people would care.

I just don't get it. There are a few cards I just think are really overrated when alternatives that are pretty much plainly better exist. It's just my opinion of course. I know that "overrated" is a subjective term. I'm just confused as to why Freedom is almost always rated as if it's a far and away better card than Discover. The "pair with CSP" thing is positioned as if it eclipses everything, but it means little if the earning categories are weak (and some have hypothesized that Chase has watered down Freedom over time because of the fact that you can move the points to CSP).

I get that it works for some people and they prefer it - and that's totally fine. It just seems someone unsuspecting could read the reviews and be lead to think Freedom is such a better card when I don't see how it is. A lot of the blogs are just slanted about it in general -- with Freedom they say things like "and don't forget, all other purchases earn 1%! as if it's a good thing, but with Discover "all other purchases only earn 1%". I know there's bias with any blog (the travel ones are even worse; CSP is god and nothing else can come close), but come on.

Thoughts? Maybe Chase just pays out a higher price to be rated highly in the blogs?


takeshi
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Re: Why is Freedom always rated ahead of Discover?

Postby takeshi » Mon Dec 14, 2015 8:33 am

kdm31091 wrote:There are a few cards I just think are really overrated when alternatives that are pretty much plainly better exist.

Overrated and better are both highly subjective. If something highly rated doesn't suit you then the rating is irrelevant.

kdm31091 wrote:It just seems someone unsuspecting could read the reviews and be lead to think Freedom is such a better card when I don't see how it is.

...and those that cannot think for themselves and do their own due diligence get what they deserve. No one should ever just blindly follow any given review or ranking. They're just tools for one to use but they are not a replacement for thinking and evaluating.

kdm31091 wrote:Maybe Chase just pays out a higher price to be rated highly in the blogs?

There is also that to consider -- the referral fees.

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Re: Why is Freedom always rated ahead of Discover?

Postby Nixon » Mon Dec 14, 2015 9:14 am

Travel.

Also, Discover didn't always offer 2x rewards.
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kdm31091
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Re: Why is Freedom always rated ahead of Discover?

Postby kdm31091 » Mon Dec 14, 2015 9:23 am

Nixon wrote:Travel.

Also, Discover didn't always offer 2x rewards.


Oh of course not, but even then, the 1%/5% is the same as Freedom (on a cash back basis).

I get the travel thing, but Chase doesn't even really advertise or point out that Freedom can be used with a CSP. All of their marketing is pretty much exclusively "cash back", so I'm trying to compare the two cards on a standalone basis. The CSP angle of course works for some but I wouldn't think it works for everyone to where Freedom is always rated as "better".

yfan
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Re: Why is Freedom always rated ahead of Discover?

Postby yfan » Mon Dec 14, 2015 10:52 am

Nixon wrote:Travel.

Also, Discover didn't always offer 2x rewards.

Neither did Chase.

Anyway, the rationale they gave at the blog here are basically the ability to pair with the CSP and the bonus. Discover has no bonus (well, th ey do - the full year double cashback thing, but it's not a lump sum).

But I agree with kdm that Discover is overall a better card. They have broader categories, a full year of double cash back, the flexibility to redeem in any amount, pretty good gift cards, no FTF (Freedom does - as a 1:1 comparison Freedom definitely loses this one), better customer service (as rated by JD Power) than every other card issuer (Chase is in 3rd place here, behind Discover and Amex), and so on. Discover also has better benefit. Chase and Visa don't have Price Protection at all; Discover will cover any price drop within 90 days of purchase.

Question: Can someone with no UR card (e.g. only the Freedom) even access Chase's shopping portal? If not, on a 1:1 basis, that's another victory for Discover since all cardmembers have access to Discover Deals.

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Re: Why is Freedom always rated ahead of Discover?

Postby Vermonster » Mon Dec 14, 2015 11:44 am

yfan wrote:
Nixon wrote:Travel.

Also, Discover didn't always offer 2x rewards.

Neither did Chase.

Anyway, the rationale they gave at the blog here are basically the ability to pair with the CSP and the bonus. Discover has no bonus (well, th ey do - the full year double cashback thing, but it's not a lump sum).

But I agree with kdm that Discover is overall a better card. They have broader categories, a full year of double cash back, the flexibility to redeem in any amount, pretty good gift cards, no FTF (Freedom does - as a 1:1 comparison Freedom definitely loses this one), better customer service (as rated by JD Power) than every other card issuer (Chase is in 3rd place here, behind Discover and Amex), and so on. Discover also has better benefit. Chase and Visa don't have Price Protection at all; Discover will cover any price drop within 90 days of purchase.

Question: Can someone with no UR card (e.g. only the Freedom) even access Chase's shopping portal? If not, on a 1:1 basis, that's another victory for Discover since all cardmembers have access to Discover Deals.



The Freedom earns URs, so it does have access to the UR portal. Freedom can have price protection, I'm not sure if it is via Chase or Visa Sig benefits. Either way Discover is probably better to deal with in that regard. Discover's no FTF is nice, but I find it of limited value. From my experience, Visa/MC is infinitely more useful when traveling abroad.

I think the only reason to put the Freedom above the It is because of its potential upside. As with all cards, individual needs will always trump advertised features. Overtime there have been significant nerfs to the Freedom and Discover has done a great job making their card into a prime cash back card.
Chase Freedom $9k~~Chase Sapphire Preferred $6.5k~~Amex Blue Cash Preferred $12.4k~~Citi Double Cash $4.7k

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Re: Why is Freedom always rated ahead of Discover?

Postby 4ktvs » Mon Dec 14, 2015 12:02 pm

I don't like Chase at all so the choice was very easy for me. I think they likely just pay off those people to pass there sub-prime trash onto there customers they treat like unsuspecting pray.

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Re: Why is Freedom always rated ahead of Discover?

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Mon Dec 14, 2015 12:14 pm

kdm31091 wrote:Yes, you have the advantage of potentially pairing with CSP (for a $95 AF) but if the 5% categories aren't great, then who cares how much value you can extend out of them? Even if it were 50% off, diapers.com means nothing to me (and many were upset with it), so certainly 5-10% is not going to set the world on fire even with more potential value.
...
Other than the pair with CSP, I see no advantage to Freedom, whereas with Discover:
-No redemption threshold, redeem any time, plus discounted gift cards to redeem (which technically boosts your rewards rate even further)
-FICO score
-Almost always has broader categories not tied to one merchant (i.e diapers.com or audible). Even Q1 2016, all Chase could manage was to literally copy Discover's categories.
-Double promo (Chase sort of copied with Q4, but only doubled the bonus cash back, not the base, and the categories are still weak other than amazon for many people)
-Discover is more "customer flexible" over time with your limit and APR without requiring a HP for the CLI every time (and Chase will never lower your APR). This may not matter to many people, but with so many getting stuck with $500 Freedoms @ 22.99, you'd think some people would care.

One good reason can be enough to have a card. I'm not a fan of nerfing, but it happens on most cards.

You're fixated on the obscure merchants. In addition to diapers and audible, categories included restaurants, groceries, gas, and Amazon. Most people can utilize at least something there.

40k/50k URs and a waived first-year $95 fee buy a fair amount of wiggle room for the occasional quarter with bad categories (like gas for a Costco customer).
Wallet: Prestige CSP SchwabPlat Freedom It Hyatt SallieMae AAPlat
SD: Arrival BrooksBros BCE ED IHG
Letting new accounts cool off since May
Really not sure what I'll add next or when

kdm31091
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Re: Why is Freedom always rated ahead of Discover?

Postby kdm31091 » Mon Dec 14, 2015 12:23 pm

CarefulBuilder14 wrote:
kdm31091 wrote:Yes, you have the advantage of potentially pairing with CSP (for a $95 AF) but if the 5% categories aren't great, then who cares how much value you can extend out of them? Even if it were 50% off, diapers.com means nothing to me (and many were upset with it), so certainly 5-10% is not going to set the world on fire even with more potential value.
...
Other than the pair with CSP, I see no advantage to Freedom, whereas with Discover:
-No redemption threshold, redeem any time, plus discounted gift cards to redeem (which technically boosts your rewards rate even further)
-FICO score
-Almost always has broader categories not tied to one merchant (i.e diapers.com or audible). Even Q1 2016, all Chase could manage was to literally copy Discover's categories.
-Double promo (Chase sort of copied with Q4, but only doubled the bonus cash back, not the base, and the categories are still weak other than amazon for many people)
-Discover is more "customer flexible" over time with your limit and APR without requiring a HP for the CLI every time (and Chase will never lower your APR). This may not matter to many people, but with so many getting stuck with $500 Freedoms @ 22.99, you'd think some people would care.

One good reason can be enough to have a card. I'm not a fan of nerfing, but it happens on most cards.

You're fixated on the obscure merchants. In addition to diapers and audible, categories included restaurants, groceries, gas, and Amazon. Most people can utilize at least something there.

40k/50k URs and a waived first-year $95 fee buy a fair amount of wiggle room for the occasional quarter with bad categories (like gas for a Costco customer).


No doubt Freedom sometimes has broad appeal categories -- my point was that Discover is broader more frequently. And I fully admit that does not mean Discover is always great. Q1's gas is boring for me considering I get gas maybe twice a month. However, Discover doesn't tend to lock you into specific merchants as often as Freedom does.

Your second line is talking about CSP, and again, I understand the attraction and it's a potential advantage for Freedom but trying to compare Freedom to Discover on their own merits. There's also the fact that in order to get both a Freedom and a CSP, you need to have very few new accounts in the past 2 years, which doesn't tend to fit very many people who are interested in rewards. Chase's approval standards for those two cards have gotten very narrow. That may change in the future but for now even a basic Freedom is out of reach for plenty of people.

Like anything else, one has to weigh all of the pros and cons and make an informed decision; I just find it odd that almost every article I read acts as though Freedom is flying colors ahead of Discover. On a cash back basis, I just don't see it. YMMV.

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Re: Why is Freedom always rated ahead of Discover?

Postby yfan » Mon Dec 14, 2015 12:35 pm

Vermonster wrote:The Freedom earns URs, so it does have access to the UR portal. Freedom can have price protection, I'm not sure if it is via Chase or Visa Sig benefits. Either way Discover is probably better to deal with in that regard. Discover's no FTF is nice, but I find it of limited value. From my experience, Visa/MC is infinitely more useful when traveling abroad.

Chase doesn't provide Price Protection, and neither does Visa Signature. They provide Purchase Protection, which consists of a return guarantee and damage coverage within 90 days, but not Price Protection, which is protection against price drops if you already have the item. Yes, you could just "return" an item and buy a new one, but deep discounted sales are often sold out before you can get to it. For Price Protection (Discover, Citi and Mastercard offer this), the cool thing is you still get the difference back even if it turns out you actually couldn't snatch the sale price item in time.

I keep hearing that Discover's foreign use is limited, and perhaps it is if you ask the retailer whether they take Discover. If you just stick your card in the machine without asking them though, I have found that 9 times out of 10 it goes through just fine.



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