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Earn $150 cash back bonus with the Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited cards

Summary

If you are you looking for an inexpensive way to get a large influx of Ultimate Rewards points, the Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited cards offer large bonuses with low spending thresholds.

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Are you looking for an inexpensive way to get a large influx of Ultimate Rewards points? The Chase Freedom® and Chase Freedom Unlimited® cards are Ultimate Rewards cards that offer a large bonus with a low spending threshold and no annual fee: You get a $150 cash back bonus when you spend $500 in first three months.

If you are thinking of applying for the bonus on one of these cards, your should note that Ultimate Rewards points are one of the most flexible and valuable rewards currencies on the planet. You have a plethora of options to redeem your points, including transferring them to other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards to get more than $175 worth of value (more on that below).

Which Chase Freedom card is better in the first year?

Since the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited cards offer the same exact bonus, it comes down to which card offers the better earnings rate. Our calculations show that the average cardholder is likely to earn more rewards with the flat 1.5 percent cash back rate on the Chase Freedom Unlimited card than with the 5 percent bonus categories on the Chase Freedom card:

Comparing the Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited cards

Chase Freedom
Chase Freedom
Chase Freedom Unlimited
Chase Freedom Unlimited
Rewards rate
  • 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories (up to $1,500 per quarter)
  • 1% cash back on other purchases
  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases
Annual fee$0$0
Introductory offer$150 if you spend $500 in first 3 months$150 if you spend $500 in first 3 months
Estimated earnings in first year ($15,900 spend)$330$389

That said, there’s nothing to stop you from applying for both cards and potentially earning both cards’ sign-up bonuses. Actually, the Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited cards go nicely together – you can use the Chase Freedom card to earn 5 percent cash back on its quarterly bonus categories and the Chase Freedom Unlimited card to earn 1.5 percent cash back on everything else. See the Chase Freedom bonus categories for 2019.

Recent changes to the Chase Freedom cards’ sign up bonus

While some rewards cards frequently update their sign-up bonuses, the offers on the Chase Freedom cards are very consistent. The Chase Freedom Unlimited card has kept the same sign-up bonus since it was introduced in 2016, and we haven’t seen any recent changes to the sign-up offer on the Chase Freedom card:

CHASE FREEDOM CARD RECENT CHANGES
There have been no changes to the Chase Freedom card sign-up bonus this year.

 

CHASE FREEDOM UNLIMITED CARD RECENT CHANGES
There have been no changes to the Chase Freedom card sign-up bonus this year.

Who is eligible to apply for the sign-up bonus?

New cardholders who have not received a sign-up bonus for the same card within the past 24 months are eligible to earn the bonus with the Chase Freedom cards. Of course, you have to qualify for the cards first, which means you have to have a credit score in the good to excellent range (at least 680).

Chase doesn’t appear to have a hard limit on how many cards you own, though they may deny your application if you have too large of a credit limit across your other Chase cards. Also, while there is no strict rule on how many Chase cards you can apply for within a certain timeframe, many applicants report a limit of one to two new cards per month.

Chase has come down hard recently on applicants who have opened several credit cards at once. Though it’s not an official policy, Chase appears to be enforcing a “5/24” rule on new credit card applications. What this means is – if you have opened at least five credit card accounts in the past 24 months with any issuer (not just Chase) – your application will likely be denied. The rule seems to apply to any credit card account that shows up on your credit report, including co-branded store cards and authorized user accounts. (On the plus side, business credit cards that don’t report to your personal credit report do not affect your chances of being approved.)

Bonus tip: If the sign-up bonus increases within 90 days after you’ve been approved, you can ask to be matched to the higher offer.

Best ways to use the Chase Freedom cards’ sign-up bonus

The Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited cards are flexible point cards that offer a wide array of options for redeeming or transferring your points. You can redeem points as statement credits, as direct deposits into a bank account, for gift cards or travel or to purchase merchandise through Amazon.com or the Chase Pay app.

As cash back cards, the Chase Freedom cards offer a flat 1 cent value on most redemption options. However, there are a few options that you want to avoid. Our table below shows that Amazon.com and Chase Pay purchases are valued at only 0.8 cents per point:

Redemption options for Chase Freedom cards

Redemption optionPoint valueBonus value
Statement credit1 cent$175
Direct deposit1 cent$175
Gift cards1 cent$175
Ultimate Rewards portal travel1 cent$175
Amazon.com purchases0.8 cent$140
Chase Pay purchases0.8 cent$140

You can also transfer points from the Chase Freedom cards to certain Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve cards. As you can see from the table below, transferring your points to one of these cards will allow you to get more value out of your sign-up bonus. You get a 25 to 50 percent bonus on your points if you redeem through travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, depending on which card you own.

Also, you can transfer your points at 1:1 value to one of Chase’s many travel partners to get even higher values on your points. For instance, we value Southwest Airlines points at 1.57 cents on average (note the value can vary widely on the ticket that you purchase), which means your $175 bonus can net you $275 of value on average when used for Southwest airfare:

Redemption options for Chase Sapphire cards

Redemption optionPoint valueBonus value
Singapore Airlines transfer2.36 cents$1,180
British Airways transfer2.26 cents$1,130
Southwest Airlines transfer1.6 cents$800
Jetblue transfer1.53 cents$765
United Airlines transfer1.52 cents$760
Hyatt Gold Passport transfer1.43 cents$715
Ritz-Carlton transfer1.22 cents$610
Air France transfer1 cent$500
Virgin Atlantic transfer0.8 cent$400
Marriott Rewards transfer0.8 cent$400
IHG transfer0.65 cent$325

An extra $500 per year

In addition to a sign-up bonus, the Chase Freedom cards offer a referral bonus worth up to $500 each year. Chase’s “Refer-a-Friend” program gives Freedom cardholders $100 cash back for each person they refer who is approved for the Freedom card – up to five people per year. To take part in the promotion, enter your last name, zip code and last four digits of your credit card on Chase’s refer-a-friend page. On the following page, enter the first name and email address of each person you wish to invite. You also have the option to post an invitation link to Facebook or Twitter or refer friends through the Chase app.

See related: Chase Freedom vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited: Which is best?, Chase launches its bonus category for Q1 2019Chase Ultimate Rewards guide: The best ways to earn and use Ultimate Rewards points

The editorial content below is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. However, we do receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners. Learn more about our advertising policy

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Published: November 15, 2017

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Credit Card Rate Report Updated: March 26th, 2019
Business
15.24%
Airline
17.50%
Reward
17.55%
Cash Back
17.58%
Student
17.79%

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