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Chase Freedom® and Chase Freedom Unlimited® – the ultimate cash back combo?

Summary

The Chase Freedom® and Chase Freedom Unlimited® combined can pack a powerful punch.  By making the most of the Chase Freedom card’s rotating categories and the Freedom Unlimited card’s unlimited 1.5 percent rate on every purchase, you can earn $570 of cash back in your first year of membership.

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Editor’s Note: The offer below on the Chase Freedom Unlimited is no longer available as of Oct. 10, 2019. 

There are plenty of rewards credit cards on the market – cards that dole out airline miles or hotel points, flexible travel credit cards that let you transfer points to partners and even cash back credit cards that let you redeem points for statement credits, gift cards and more.

No matter the type of rewards you prefer, sometimes one credit card isn’t enough. To get more rewards over time, it can make sense to have two different credit cards that complement one another.

If you don’t mind having a few different cards, the Chase Freedom® and Chase Freedom Unlimited® combined can pack a powerful punch.  By making the most of the Chase Freedom card’s rotating categories and the Freedom Unlimited card’s unlimited 1.5 percent rate on every purchase, you can earn $570 of cash back in your first year of membership.

Here’s how:

Rotate cards to maximize your earnings

The Chase Freedom card offers an amazing 5 percent bonus category, which changes each quarter. As long as you log into your account to activate the bonus by the activation deadline, you can earn 5 percent back on up to $1,500 spent in the category that quarter (1 percent cash back thereafter). For Q3 of this year (July, August, and September), the 5 percent bonus includes gas stations and select streaming services. Chase has not yet announced the categories for Q4 of this year, but common categories include holiday spending, dining out and gas stations.

Chase Freedom®

Why apply?

With an exceptional 5% cash back on rotating categories each quarter, the Chase Freedom card is both a good cash back earner on its own and a great companion to other cards.

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  • 5% cash back on rotating categories that you must activate each quarter (up to $1,500 in purchases)
  • 1% cash back on other purchases
  • $150 sign-up bonus if you spend $500 in first 3 months
  • No annual fee

See related: Chase freedom bonus categories

For purchases that fall outside Chase Freedom’s quarterly bonus categories, the Chase Freedom Unlimited comes into play. The Freedom Unlimited card is not just a good option for pairing with the Chase Freedom card, it’s currently one of the best flat-rate cards available since it doubles your earning rate in the first year. You earn 3 percent cash back on your first $20,000 in purchases in your first year, and 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase thereafter.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Why apply?

With 3% cash back on your first $20,000 in the first year and unlimited 1.5% cash back thereafter, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card is one of the best flat-rate cards on the market.

Read review

  • 3% cash back on your first $20,000 in purchases in the first year
  • 1.5% cash back on every purchase thereafter
  • No annual fee

With both credit cards in your wallet, it’s easy to rack up $570 or more in cash back in year one.

First, spend at least $500 with the Chase Freedom in the first three months to earn the $150 welcome offer. Then, spend $100 in the bonus category every month to earn a total of $210 cash back your first year.

In the meantime, spend $1,000 per month on your Chase Freedom Unlimited to earn $30 per month  – $360 per year – in additional cash back.

That’s an extra $570 you wouldn’t have otherwise – and all just for using your credit cards in a strategic way.

Cash back strategy


Chase Freedom
Earn $210 in your first year

+


Chase Freedom Unlimited
Earn $360 in your first year
Total cash back earned = $570

Here’s how:

  • 5% x $100/month on rotating categories = $5
  • 3% x $1,000/month on other purchases = $30
  • Total cash back per month = $35
  • $35 x 12 months = $420
  • $420 + $150 sign-up bonus = $570

Redeem points however you want

One of the biggest benefits of cash back credit cards from Chase is the flexibility you get in redeeming your rewards. With either card, you have the option to redeem points for statement credits or at a rate of 1 cent per point. You can also use points to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, or for merchandise from Amazon.com or Apple.

Redemption optionPoint value (cents)
Travel redemption1
Statement credit1
Direct deposit1
Gift cards1
Apple purchases1
Amazon.com purchases0.8

This flexibility ensures you’ll never get stuck with points you can’t use. Everyone can use statement credits that can be applied to any purchase you make with your credit card.

Pay for a large purchase without interest for a limited time

As an additional benefit, both cards offer a 0 percent APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months followed by a variable APR of 16.74  to 25.49 percent. This introductory APR makes it possible to pay for a large purchase with your credit card and use it as a short-term, interest-free loan. If you bought new furniture or new kitchen appliances with the cards, for example, you could earn rewards and pay your purchases down slowly without accruing interest during the introductory period.

You can also transfer a balance to one of these cards during the same introductory period and pay it down over 15 months with no interest – although a balance transfer fee applies.

The bottom line

If your goal is earning cash back rewards, the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited are both solid options. Both cards make it easy to earn cash back, gift cards and more, and neither comes with an annual fee.

But, why not get both? With each of these cards in your wallet, you can maximize your spending all year long. You can even forgo paying interest on your purchases for the first 15 months while earning cash back at a high rate – you can’t beat that.

See related: What type of user is the Chase Freedom Unlimited card best for?Is the Chase Freedom Unlimited card the best no-annual-fee cash back rewards card?Earn more Ultimate Rewards points with the Chase trifecta

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Credit Card Rate Report Updated: October 16th, 2019
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