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% 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 in summer 2021 (betting against the pandemic preventing it), 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 bonusI 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 3 months), which also earned me 5% cash back.
Meanwhile, I’ve been using the 5% cash back on Lyft rides (an offer that’s good through March 2022), which means I earned 3.5% cash back in addition to the standard 1.5% cash back.
I use this card for all drugstore purchases as well to get 3% cash back. And, of course, I get my usual 1.5% back on everything else I buy.
I am using the heck out of the complimentary three months of DashPass (activate by 12/31/21) and will definitely use the 50% 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%, but I also planned for that – I will use the card at restaurants to get 3% cash back (takeout and eligible delivery services are included), which will essentially “cancel” the foreign transaction fee.
The 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 15 months my account is open is another attractive feature of the Chase Freedom Unlimited (14.99% to 23.74% 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 14.99% to 23.74%, and due to my 830 credit score, I scored the 14.99% – 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 Chase Freedom Unlimited is a great all-purpose cash back card with a decent sign-up bonus and great APR intro offer.
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.