The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card is a fantastic addition to its family of fantastic cards. Plus, it’s already a major contender, not only in the cash back category, but also in the overall market.
Initially, it presents itself as a very simple, straightforward card offering a flat cash back rate as opposed to the Chase Freedom®. However, as we begin to analyze further, we can understand why it’s already such a popular card.
Cardholders can enjoy earning 3% cash back on all purchases in the first year up to $20,000 spent. After that earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. In addition, enjoy 0% introductory APR, no annual fee, and the opportunity to increase the value of rewards.
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by HustlerMoneyBlog and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
Table of Contents
- 1 Chase Freedom Unlimited Bonus
- 2 Cash Back & No Annual Fee
- 3 Unlimited 1.5% Cash Back
- 4 Convert to Ultimate Rewards Points for More
- 5 Other Chase Freedom Unlimited Card Features
- 6 Chase Freedom Unlimited Benefits
- 7 Chase Freedom Unlimited Pitfalls
- 8 Maximizing Travel Rewards
- 9 Maximizing Cash Back Rewards
- 10 Is Flat-Rate Cash Back Better?
- 11 Bottom Line
- 12 What's the Competition?
Chase Freedom Unlimited Bonus
|Bonus Available||Earn 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent (that’s up to $600 in cash back)|
|Ongoing Rewards/Benefits||Unlimited 1.5% cash back rewards on every purchase. (additional value when paired with other select Chase cards.|
|Foreign Transaction Fees||3%|
Cash Back & No Annual Fee
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® offers 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent. After that earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no annual fee.
Unlimited 1.5% Cash Back
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® offers an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases after your first year earning 3% cash back. In comparison to the Chase Freedom®, it's a flat-rate card with no rotating categories to keep up with. Therefore, it's perfect for those who are occupied with family, work, or just life in general.
Cash back will appear in the form of Ultimate Rewards points. But no worries, each point is worth 1 cent apiece. Thus, 15,000 points is worth $150 when redeemed for straight up cash back. Redeem your cash back rewards for any amount at anytime. They don't expire as long as you have your card.
Convert to Ultimate Rewards Points for More
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® alone is a fantastic cash back card compared to its competitors based on just the return rate alone. However, when complimented with the Chase Sapphire cards -- the Chase Sapphire Preferred® or Chase Sapphire ReserveSM -- it overtakes the competition and may quite possibly be the best cash back card.
To increase the Chase Freedom Unlimited card's rewards value, transfer the points earned to Chase Sapphire cards to convert to Ultimate Rewards points. Then, redeem them through Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
- 20% Travel Discount - In terms of points, you'll be earning 1.5 points for every dollar. Redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards for travel and the value of those points are worth 20% more. For example, the 15,000 points is worth $180 towards flights, hotels, and car rentals.
- 1:1 Point Transfer - Compile your cash back rewards with either Chase Sapphire card. Then, transfer to other Chase partner reward programs at a 1 to 1 ratio. By doing this, you can enjoy greater flexibility out of your points. This is highly valuable, especially when you need a few more points to redeem a reward flight or hotel night.
Other Chase Freedom Unlimited Card Features
There's a lot said about this card's rewards and value. However, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® has more key features and benefits that makes it a such a versatile card.
- 0% Intro APR for 15 Months - With 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (then a variable APR will apply), get an extended break from having to pay interest. Save even more money and pay off debt when you transfer balances from other high interest credit cards. A balance transfer fee of 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum, applies.
- No Annual Fee - Because Chase Freedom Unlimited® has no annual fee, it's even more enticing. Pay off monthly balances in full.
- Travel & Purchase Benefits - The Chase Freedom Unlimited® also includes purchase protection, price protection, zero liability protection, auto rental collision damage waiver and chip-enabled security. When making purchases outside the U.S., avoid the 3% foreign transaction fee by using the Chase Sapphire Preferred® or another card that doesn't charge a fee.
Chase Freedom Unlimited Benefits
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card is the go-to card for these reasons:
- Earn 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent. After that earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
- Cash back on every purchase. Most credit cards allow you to earn just 1% on all purchases made. However, you get unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase automatically with this card.
- Transfer points. With your Freedom Unlimited points, you can pool them with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Ink Business PreferredSM Card which earn Ultimate Rewards points. Earn even more value if you like to travel or go on a lot of business trips. You can transfer the points 1:1 to a travel partner. Or, even get 20% off travel when you redeem your points travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
- Introductory APR. Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR will apply. The balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum. If you need to make a large purchase soon or are trying to pay off another card, this is a great card to do so.
- No minimum redemption. No need to hit a required threshold to start redeeming your rewards. With the Freedom Unlimited, you can redeem for cash back in any amount — even for as little as 1 cent. It's a pretty rare benefit among cash back cards.
- Cash back rewards don't expire. No need to worry about losing rewards if you forget to redeem them. Points will never expire as long as your account is kept open and it stays in good standing.
- Accepted worldwide. Not all cards are accepted everywhere. However, if you're out of the U.S., the Freedom Unlimited is accepted almost all over the world. This will serve you well if this is the credit card you choose to carry. Plus, get peace of mind when you travel because you're protected with $0 fraud liability, purchase protection, and auto rental collision damage waiver.
- No annual fee.
Chase Freedom Unlimited Pitfalls
You may not like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card due to these reasons:
- A foreign transaction fee. Unfortunately, if you are traveling, the Freedom Unlimited will charge a foreign transaction fee of 3% for each transaction in U.S. dollars every time you make a purchase in another country. For frequent travelers, check out a card with no foreign transaction fee, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. If you travel but don't want to play the points and airline miles game, consider the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® Card, which earns you 2x miles on every purchase.
- A balance transfer fee. Balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum.
- Potentially earn better cash back. The Chase Freedom Unlimited® has a cash back rate of 1.5% which is better than your standard credit cards. However, you could earn more cash back if you apply for other cards.
- No bonus categories. The point of a flat-rate cash back card is to increase your rewards earnings across the board not just in one category. However, for those who spend a lot in one area, a card with bonus categories may offer better value, like the Chase Freedom® Card. Of course, you'd have to keep up with the categories and register to get this benefit. With the Freedom Unlimited, there's nothing to keep track of every quarter. However, that certainly doesn't mean you can't use both types of cards. Get a flat-rate card for everyday purchases and a card with tiered rewards for purchases within a certain category.
- High credit requirement. If you have low or don't have good credit, you may not be able to qualify for this card. Chase usually requires good to excellent credit for their cards.
Maximizing Travel Rewards
By itself, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card is a pretty decent card with a flat 1.5% reward rate, but it isn't the best. In addition, this card will only reward you cash back.
To get the most out of this card and redeem towards travel with more reward options and at a higher redemption rate, you should consider pairing it up with one of the premier Ultimate Rewards cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire ReserveSM Card, or the Chase Ink Business PreferredSM Card.
By doing so, you can pool your points onto your Ultimate Rewards account. Then, use them on a card that'll give you the highest redemption value.
Redeem rewards through Chase’s travel portal, for a value of 1.25 - 1.50 cents per point. You also have the option to transfer them at 1:1 to your favorite major loyalty program to potentially get even more value.
Maximizing Cash Back Rewards
If you're looking to maximize cash back, the Chase Freedom® Card offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 on purchases in select purchase categories that rotate on a quarterly basis throughout the year, plus 1% on everything else. Previously exhibited categories include gas, grocery stores, restaurants, and select retailers.
To get the most cash back possible, I recommend using the Freedom Unlimited as your primary card for 1.5% cash back on all your purchases. Then, use the Freedom when you're purchasing something that falls within the 5% bonus categories.
With this option, you also have the option of transferring rewards from one account to the other and redeeming them all at once.
Is Flat-Rate Cash Back Better?
Here’s how the Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card stacks up against the Chase Freedom® Card, a cashback Chase card with different reward percentages.
With the Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card:
• New Offer! Double Cash Back: Earn 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent. After that earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
• 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 17.24-25.99%. Balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
• No minimum to redeem for cash back
• Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
• Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit JourneySM
• No annual fee
The Chase Freedom® Card offers only 1% cash back on most purchases compared to the Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card at 1.5%.
However, the Freedom rotating bonus categories offer 5% back when you make a purchase in that category. Keep in mind that there's a $1,500 per quarter limit and the bonus requires activation.
If you're thinking about getting just one credit card and earning another 3.5% back on specific quarterly purchases is more beneficial to you, you might want to opt for Chase Freedom® Card instead.
Though the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is Chase's crowd-pleaser, it's important to note Chase's 5/24 rule. Essentially, you're limited up to five credit card applications within two years with most Chase-branded credit cards.
If you already own the Chase Freedom® but feel that the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a better fit, request to switch and avoid a hard credit pull.
If you like your Chase Freedom® card, you can open up a Chase Freedom Unlimited® card today.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is great alone, but is more dynamic and remarkably valuable when accompanied with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
If you're interested, review our complete list of credit card promotions for other cards to compare.
(Visit Chase for more details)
What's the Competition?
With the HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card:
• Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on all purchases.
• Earn an Introductory 3% Cash Back on all purchases in the first 12 months from Account opening, up to the first $10,000 in purchases
• 10% Anniversary Bonus on all Cash Rewards earned once a year.
• No Annual Fee.
• 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a 15.24%, 19.24% or 25.24% variable APR.
• No Foreign Transaction Fees.
• $0 liability for unauthorized purchases.
• Terms Apply.
• See Rates & Fees
See our review of the HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card
With the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card:
• Earn a $150 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months
• Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases
• Enjoy 1.8% cash rewards on qualified digital wallet purchases, like Apple Pay® or Google Pay™, during the first 12 months from account opening
• No category restrictions or sign ups and cash rewards don't expire as long as your account remains open
• Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
• $0 Annual Fee
See our review of the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
See our review of the American Express Cash Magnet® Card
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