Although my Chase Freedom Unlimited has foreign transaction fees and I’m using it for a trip to Europe, the benefits far outweigh the 3 percent charge.
I am a dyed-in-the-wool planner — so much so that I’ve already purchased my cemetery plot.
And when it comes to choosing a credit card, my need to plan is no exception.
I am also a minimalist — for the longest time, I have had only one credit card, the Discover it® Cash Back.
But when I planned a trip to Europe, I knew I’d need another credit card because Discover isn’t nearly as widely accepted there as Visa or Mastercard.
And I got the Chase Freedom Unlimited.
First, I earned the bonus
I received the card a couple of months before my trip and immediately knocked out the $500 purchase required for the $200 sign-up bonus by purchasing my plane tickets through Chase Ultimate Rewards (earn $200 after spending $500 in the first three months), which also earned me 5 percent cash back.
Meanwhile, I’ve been using the 5 percent cash back on Lyft rides (an offer that’s good through March 2025), which means I earned 3.5 percent cash back in addition to the standard 1.5 percent cash back.
I use this card for all drugstore purchases as well to get 3 percent cash back. And, of course, I get my usual 1.5 percent back on everything else I buy.
I am using the heck out of the complimentary three months of DashPass and will definitely use the 50 percent discounted DashPass from DoorDash for the next nine months.
Other things I like about the Chase Freedom Unlimited include no limits on cash back. I can redeem my rewards at any time for cash back, gift cards, travel or Amazon.com merchandise; and my rewards never expire as long as my account remains in good standing.
I can also take advantage of the Chase Pay Yourself Back feature to use my points for my purchases in select categories and get paid back with a statement credit.
And for a limited time, I can redeem points at 1.25 cents per point when I donate to eligible charitable organizations, which works for me since I regularly give to the ASPCA.
I don’t mind paying foreign transaction fees
My Chase Freedom Unlimited does charge a foreign transaction fee of 3 percent, but I also planned for that — I will use the card at restaurants to get 3 percent cash back (takeout and eligible delivery services are included), which will essentially “cancel” the foreign transaction fee.
The 0 percent intro APR on purchases for the first 15 months my account is open is another attractive feature of the Chase Freedom Unlimited (17.24 percent to 25.99 percent variable APR thereafter) — although I rarely carry a balance, it’s nice to know I could for a while without accruing interest.
The variable APR for the card is listed as 17.24 percent to 25.99 percent, and due to my 830 credit score, I scored the 17.24 percent — the late payment fee of up to $40 was not an issue since I didn’t get that credit score by making late payments.
The card’s lack of an annual fee was the cherry on top.
I wanted travel and security perks
Another reason I chose the Chase Freedom Unlimited is because it has comprehensive benefits related to travel.
For example, I get the auto rental collision damage waiver, trip cancellation/interruption insurance and travel and emergency benefits, all of which could come in handy on a European road trip.
The comprehensive security perks also appealed to me: zero liability protection, purchase and extended warranty protections and fraud monitoring.
And finally, the card’s free credit score and identity restoration with Credit Journey sealed the deal.
The protections and insurances will enable me to travel worry-free and I even have a friend lined up to get the card, which will give me a referral bonus of $100.
I really couldn’t ask for much more from a credit card, except maybe that it didn’t have those pesky foreign transaction fees.