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What type of user is the Chase Freedom Unlimited card best for?

Ultimate Rewards enthusiasts and rewards card jugglers can get great value out of the card’s flat rate

Summary

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a great rewards card for certain kinds of users – but who can get the most out of the offer?

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The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card recently revamped its introductory offer, allowing users to earn 3 percent cash back on up to $20,000 in purchases in the first year of card ownership (1.5 percent on all purchases thereafter). This has great potential value, and it is certainly enticing to jump at such a lucrative offer.

But is the Chase Freedom Unlimited the best card for you in the long run? Its flat cash back rate is competitive for users who don’t want to keep up with rotating bonus categories, but it might not always earn the most in rewards.

There are a few kinds of users we think can get the most value out of this card. Read on to see if it makes sense for you.

Ultimate rewards cardholders

If you currently own a Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is a great card to add to your rotation to maximize points earning. Not only does it have a competitive flat rate of cash back that make it a great pair to any card with bonus categories, but transferring points between Ultimate Rewards cards is simple – and can potentially increase your point value.

See Related: Earn more Ultimate Rewards points with the Chase trifecta

For example, imagine you are already a Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholder. The Reserve earns 3 points per dollar on travel and restaurant purchases (excluding those covered by the $300 annual travel credit). Plus, points redeemed for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal are worth 50 percent more.

By combining the bonus category earnings on the Chase Sapphire Reserve with the better general purchase rate on the Chase Freedom Unlimited, you can rack up Ultimate Rewards points faster. Then, you can transfer all the rewards you earn to the Reserve card to get a higher point value out of them. We estimate the cards’ combined rewards rate at about 1.83 points per dollar based on average spending in these categories (as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Potential yearly rewards value: Chase Freedom Unlimited + Chase Sapphire Reserve

$15,900 annual spend x 1.83 points per dollar = 29,097
29,097 points x 1.5 cent point value = $436.46 (when redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards)
$436.46 – $450 annual fee (Sapphire Reserve) + $300 travel credit = $286.46

Since the Chase Freedom Unlimited doesn’t have an annual fee, it is a no brainer to add to your Ultimate Rewards collection.

Cardholders seeking simplicity

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card is also a great option for users who want a simple, flat cash back earning card. For those who don’t want to focus on weighing spending to a particular bonus category – or even enrolling in rotating options each quarter – it is a top-tier flat-rate card, thanks to a generous introductory offer and flexible redemption options.

Rewards card jugglers

Even if you don’t have another Chase Ultimate rewards card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited makes a great addition to the wallet of any rewards card juggler. With a high flat cash back rate, you can pair the card with another rewards card that offers bonus categories where you do a lot of spending. This boosts your overall rewards rate.

For example, you could combine the Chase Freedom Unlimited with the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card to earn a top-tier rate on dining and entertainment while still earning competitive rewards on everyday spending.

Potential rewards rate: Chase Freedom Unlimited + Capital One Savor

  • 8% cash back on tickets through Vivid Seats (offer ends May 2020) (Savor)
  • 4% cash back on dining and entertainment (Savor)
  • 2% cash back at grocery stores (Savor)
  • 1.5% cash back on general purchases (Freedom Unlimited after first year)

We estimate the average spender can earn 2.21 percent cash back with this pairing based on average spending in these categories. If you spend $15,900 a year, that means you’ll earn around $256 per year after the Savor card’s $95 annual fee (which is waived the first year).

Potential yearly rewards value: Chase Freedom Unlimited + Capital One Savor

$15,900 spend x 2.21% cash back = $351.39
$351.39 – $95 annual fee (Savor after first year) = $256.39

Bottom line

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a great card for many different users. It has a simple reward structure, doesn’t come with an annual fee and makes a great addition to the wallet of any rewards card juggler. Plus, the new introductory bonus makes it easy to rack up plenty of cash back in the first year to get you started.

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Published: April 26, 2019

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Credit Card Rate Report Updated: June 12th, 2019
Business
15.61%
Airline
17.54%
Cash Back
17.68%
Reward
17.57%
Student
17.79%

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