Reviews Chase Freedom Unlimited card review

Chase Freedom Unlimited card review

Published: September 26, 2017
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Ratings Policy
Cash Back Rating:
4 rating
4 rating
4 / 5
Rewards Value: 4.0
Annual Percentage Rate: 2.0
Rewards Flexibility: 3.7
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

Casual users of the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card may appreciate its simplicity and high general rewards rate, but the card’s real sweet spot lies in pairing it with other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards.

Learn more about this card

Rewards Rate
1.5% cash back on all purchases

Sign-up Bonus

  • $150 if you spend $500 in first 3 months
  • $25 if you add authorized user and make a purchase in first 3 months

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$296

APR
15.99-24.74% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Rewards don’t expire
  • No limits on cash back
  • Redeem any amount any time
  • Redeem for gift cards, travel, or Amazon.com merchandise
  • Transfer rewards as Ultimate Rewards points to other Chase cards

Cons

  • No bonus categories

Other Notable Features: Car rental insurance, roadside assistance, price protection, extended warranty, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, lost luggage reimbursement

No Annual Fee Rating:
3.9 rating
3.9 rating
3.9 / 5
Rewards Value: 3.7
Annual Percentage Rate: 2.1
Rewards Flexibility: 4.4
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card beats out similar cards with a flat 1.5 percent cash back rate by offering rewards points that extremely versatile and valuable.

Learn more about this card

Rewards Rate
1.5% cash back on all purchases

Sign-up Bonus

  • $150 if you spend $500 in first 3 months
  • $25 if you add authorized user and make a purchase in first 3 months

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$296

APR
15.99-24.74% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Rewards don’t expire
  • No limits on cash back
  • Redeem any amount any time
  • Redeem for gift cards, travel, or Amazon.com merchandise
  • Transfer rewards as Ultimate Rewards points to other Chase cards

Cons

  • No bonus categories

Other Notable Features: Car rental insurance, roadside assistance, price protection, extended warranty, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, lost luggage reimbursement

Rewards Rating:
3.4 rating
3.4 rating
3.4 / 5
Rewards Value: 2.8
Annual Percentage Rate: 2.7
Rewards Flexibility: 4.3
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card offers a good sign-up bonus and a flat 1.5 percent cash back rate on general purchases for cardholders who want to keep things simple, plus it’s a great starter card for collecting Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Learn more about this card

Rewards Rate
1.5% cash back on all purchases

Sign-up Bonus

  • $150 if you spend $500 in first 3 months
  • $25 if you add authorized user and make a purchase in first 3 months

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$296

APR
15.99-24.74% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Rewards don’t expire
  • No limits on cash back
  • Redeem any amount any time
  • Redeem for gift cards, travel, or Amazon.com merchandise
  • Transfer rewards as Ultimate Rewards points to other Chase cards

Cons

  • No bonus categories

Other Notable Features: Car rental insurance, roadside assistance, price protection, extended warranty, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, lost luggage reimbursement

The recent release of the Chase Freedom Unlimited card is a part of some great new updates to Chase’s superb line of Ultimate Rewards cards. For rewards card enthusiasts, Chase’s Sapphire Preferred card and the original Chase Freedom bonus category cash back card have long been a prized pair. Since Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred between cards, card owners can use the 5 percent bonus categories on the Freedom card to contribute extra points to their Sapphire Preferred card.

The Freedom Unlimited card adds another option to combine with Sapphire Preferred or the new Chase Reserve, and one that doesn’t require tracking and opting in for bonus categories.

Freedom Unlimited offers a large $150 sign-up bonus and a high general rewards rate of 1.5 percent back – a rewards rate that can be better – and simpler – than managing and making the most of Freedom card’s rotating bonus categories.

In short, Chase Freedom Unlimited is both a great general cash back card and a must-have addition to the Ultimate Rewards family.

Large sign-up bonus
The Chase Freedom Unlimited offers a nice sign-up bonus of $150 if you charge at least $500 in the first three months of card ownership. This is one of the larger bonuses available with cash back cards, and it takes a relatively low spending amount to earn the award.

High general rewards rate
The Chase Freedom Unlimited card comes with a flat rate of 1.5 percent cash back for all purchases, which beats the standard 1 percent rate that most cards offer.

A flat-rate card also has advantages and disadvantages. Cardholders who don’t want to keep track of spending categories and spending limits, may prefer the card’s simplicity. However, with bonus categories, there is a possibility to earn more cash rewards. There are several cards on the market that can give you a better cash back rate than 1.5 percent through the bonuses they offer in categories such as grocery and gas station purchases. Moreover, you can juggle these cards with a flat-rate card to maximize your rewards earnings.

We should also note that there are a few flat-rate cards with a 2 percent rate. Even when you factor in the large sign-up bonus that comes with the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, a 2 percent cash back card would probably give you more cash rewards in the long run.

Flexible redemption options
Redeeming your cash rewards with the Freedom Unlimited card is as seamless as earning them. Chase allows you to redeem any amount at any time, and gives you have a variety of redemption options – as a statement credit, a deposit into most checking and savings accounts, or for gift cards, travel and merchandise on Amazon.com.

Maximize your Chase Ultimate Rewards points
Ultimate Rewards earned on the Freedom Unlimited card can be transferred to other Chase cards, including the Sapphire Preferred and the new Sapphire Reserve card. This is where the card gains the most value.

While cash back is valued at 1 cent per point, Chase Ultimate Rewards points carry a value as high as 1.5 cents per point and transfer to a large number of airline partners at a 1:1 ratio. If you factor in the high value of Ultimate Rewards points, the Freedom Unlimited card comes out ahead of almost every other cash-back card on the market.

Furthermore, cardholders with multiple Chase Ultimate Rewards cards can combine the 1.5 percent rate that they earn on general spending on the Freedom Unlimited card with the 2 to 3 percent that they earn on travel and dining from their Chase Sapphire cards and the 5 percent that they earn on the rotating categories on the Chase Freedom card, to earn an even larger number of Ultimate Rewards points.

Good travel and purchase benefits
Freedom Unlimited comes with a solid list of features for a cash-back card. Cardholders who travel will benefit from car rental insurance, trip cancellation and interruption insurance and lost luggage reimbursement. The card also affords purchase protections including extended warranty, price protection and return protection.

On the down side, Chase Freedom Unlimited charges a 3 percent foreign transaction fee. If you are searching for a card to use for international travel, you may want to consider adding one of Chase’s premium travel cards – such as the Sapphire Preferred or Reserve – to your wallet.

Reasons to get it:

  • You want a cash back card with a large sign-up bonus.
  • You want to earn cash back on your regular purchases at a higher rate than 1 percent.
  • You prefer a low-maintenance rewards card with no special categories to enroll in or track.
  • You prefer to keep all of your spending on one card.
  • You prefer cash back over travel rewards.
  • You want to spend a lot on one card without reaching a limit on your rewards.
  • You’re looking for a cash-back card with valuable travel and purchase benefits.
  • You want to pair this flat-rate card with other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards to earn extra points on purchases not covered by the bonus categories on the other cards.

How to use it:

  • Be sure to spend at least $500 in the first three months to earn the $150 sign-up bonus.
  • Use Chase Freedom Unlimited as your main card for all of your general purchases.
  • Combine this card with a Sapphire card or the original Freedom card to maximize your Ultimate Rewards points.

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