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How I plan to use my Chase Freedom Unlimited

I did my research and this was the right card for my upcoming travel plans

Summary

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.  

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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.

I shopped.

I compared.

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 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.

See related: Select Chase cards offering free DashPass membership for cheaper food delivery

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 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.

Bottom line

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a great all-purpose cash back card with a decent sign-up bonus and great APR intro offer.

I can use it to earn Ultimate Rewards without paying an annual fee and I am even considering pairing it with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card to get more value out of those Ultimate Rewards.

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.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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Business
14.16%
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15.46%
Cash Back
16.23%
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15.94%
Student
16.78%

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