|Cash Back Rating:||4.5 / 5|
|Annual Percentage Rate:||2.0|
|Issuer Customer Experience||4.0|
In a Nutshell:
The Chase Freedom Unlimited card offers a good sign-up bonus and an impressive average rewards rate, including a 1.5% cash back rate on general purchases, making it a great starter card for collecting Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
Chase Customer Service Ratings
Other Notable Features: Car rental insurance, roadside assistance, extended warranty, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, free credit score updated weekly, free DashPass membership for three months, followed by 50% off next nine months of membership
Chase Freedom Unlimited Review: More Details
A longtime favorite of fans of cash back, the Chase Freedom Unlimited has recently revamped its rewards program and now offers even more opportunity to earn cash back with every purchase. Along with the card’s classic 1.5% cash back rate on general purchases, cardholders will enjoy outsized rewards on Ultimate Rewards travel, dining and drugstore purchases.
Such practical bonus categories and a better-than-average cash back rate on general purchases should make it easy to earn plenty of rewards – no matter how you weigh your spending. Plus, Ultimate Rewards cardholders will enjoy the flexibility to transfer points between cards, allowing points hackers to stockpile enough rewards for their next vacation in no time.
Earning cash back: New bonus categories
With its recent refresh, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is on track to be an ideal choice for cardholders who want the best of both worlds: Not only do you earn 1.5% cash back on general purchases, but you’ll also get 5% back on travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, 3% back on dining and 3% back on drugstore purchases. Through March 2022, you’ll also earn 5% cash back on Lyft purchases.
This new rewards earning scheme is unique, as most cards that offer bonuses in specific spending categories limit you to a 1% cash back rate on general purchases. Indeed, based on the average consumer’s spending habits, we estimate that the Chase Freedom Unlimited now caries a terrific average rewards rate of just over 2% back. Based on an average spend of $15,900 per year, the average person should earn around $328 per year in cash back with the Chase Freedom Unlimited, about $100 more per year than we’d expect with the card’s traditional cash back program. Of course, you could earn even more if you spend heavily in the card’s bonus categories.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited card offers a $200 cash back bonus if you spend $500 in the first three months of card ownership. On top of that you can earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year. Though temporary, that’s an extremely generous cash back rate on grocery store purchases for a no annual fee card.
Redeeming cash back
Once you’ve earned rewards, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is extremely flexible in how you redeem them, giving you plenty of different redemption options. If you want to use your points for cash back, you can redeem them for either a statement credit or direct deposit into your bank account. You also have the option to use Freedom Unlimited points to pay for travel in the Ultimate Rewards portal. Just keep in mind that your points might have a different value depending on how you choose to redeem them.
Chase Freedom Unlimited redemption options
|Redemption option||Point value (cents)|
See Related: Best ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points
You can also use the Chase Pay Yourself Back feature to redeem points to pay for some or all of your purchases in select categories and get paid back with a statement credit. You’ll still earn points on these purchases and your points may be worth more when your redeem in certain categories. For a limited time, Freedom Unlimited cardholders can redeem at a value of 1.25 cents per point when they opt to donate to eligible charitable organizations.
See related: Chase Pay Yourself Back expands to Freedom cards
Intro APR for new purchases
The Chase Freedom Unlimited could also be useful if you need to strategically carry a balance in the short term. The card comes with a 0% intro APR on new purchases for the first 15 months (14.99% to 23.74% variable thereafter), so if you have a big purchase to make that you’d like to pay off over time without incurring hefty interest charges, signing up for this card can be a great strategy. Just be sure to make a plan to pay off your balance before the introductory period ends, as the ongoing APR can be high.
See related: Best credit cards for large purchases
The Chase Freedom Unlimited comes with several perks that make it a valuable choice for frequent travelers. Here’s a quick look at some of the card’s benefits.
- Car rental insurance – For car rentals booked and paid for with your card, you can receive secondary coverage in the case of damage or theft.
- Purchase protection – If you purchase an item with your Freedom Unlimited and it is stolen or damaged in the first 120 days, you can be reimbursed up to $500 per claim (max $50,000 per account).
- Extended warranty – Add an extra year to qualifying manufacturer’s warranties of three years or less.
- Trip cancellation and interruption insurance – If you have to cancel or cut a trip short due to a covered circumstance such as severe weather or illness, you can be reimbursed for any non-refundable fares charged to your card.
To take full advantage of the card’s perks, put all major purchases on the Freedom Unlimited.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited is designed for users with good to excellent credit (above 670), so you’ll want to ensure you meet those qualifications before you apply. If you are worried about your eligibility and want to avoid a hard pull on your credit, you can also take advantage of tools like CardMatch™ to see if you’re matched for the offer.
Additionally, Chase is one of the strictest issuers when it comes to the number of accounts you can have open – holding new applicants to the 5/24 rule. This means if you have opened five or more credit cards with any issuer in the last 24 months, it is likely you won’t be approved for the card.
Among major issuers, Chase has a pretty good customer service reputation. In J.D. Power’s 2020 customer satisfaction survey, the bank scored 809 – fourth out of 11 card issuers. Chase’s mobile app rates well among users, rating 4.4 out of 5 in the Google Play Store and 4.8 out of 5 in the Apple App Store.
One drawback to Chase’s customer service is that the bank does not have an online chat feature on its website, which can make it difficult to get a quick answer to a simple question.
Pairing the Chase Freedom Unlimited with other rewards cards
Because the Freedom Unlimited card comes with a good flat rate of cash back on all purchases, it makes an excellent pair for other rewards cards that earn bonus points or cash back in particular categories. It makes a particularly good pair for other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards – as it is easy to transfer points between them.
Plus, cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card get a higher point value when you redeem rewards for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal – meaning you can stretch your points a bit further by carrying both cards. Simply put all bonus category purchases on the Sapphire Preferred (the card earns 5 points per dollar on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3 points per dollar on dining and 2 points per dollar on other travel purchases) and all other purchases on the Freedom Unlimited. Then, transfer all your points to the Sapphire to get more value out of them.
Additionally, Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders have the option of transferring points to one of Chase’s travel partners. Since many airline and hotel loyalty programs have an average point value higher than 1 cent per point, this can be another way to get more from your rewards.
How does the Chase Freedom Unlimited compare to other cash back cards?
While the Chase Freedom Unlimited card offers a good flat rate of cash back for cardholders seeking simplicity, it does not offer the best rate you can find among cash back cards. Here’s a quick look at a few popular alternatives:
Citi® Double Cash Card
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
Chase Freedom Flex
|Rewards rate||Rewards rate|
1.5% cash back on every purchase
$200 if you spend $500 in first 3 months
$200 if you spend $500 in first 3 months
|Other things to know||Other things to know||Other things to know|
For cardholders who prefer a flat rate of cash back to keeping track of bonus categories, the Citi Double Cash Card offers one of the highest earning rates you can get on every purchase. Cardholders earn 1% cash back on everything they buy, plus an additional 1% cash back as they pay for those purchases – for up to 2% back on every purchase. While the Double Cash Card does not come with a sign-up bonus, it is easy to rack up enough rewards over time to make up for this.
See Related: Citi Double Cash Card vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited
Like the Chase Freedom Unlimited, the Capital One Quicksilver card offers a flat 1.5% cash back on every purchase. If you want to earn a flat rate on all purchases – but prefer Capital One to Chase – this could be a great choice for you.
In addition to a bonus rewards on Ultimate Rewards travel, dining and drugstore purchases, the Chase Freedom Flex awards cardholders 5% cash back in rotating bonus categories that they must enroll in each quarter (on up to $1,500 in purchase per quarter). Users also earn 1% cash back on other purchases. If you don’t mind putting a bit more maintenance into your credit card, this can be a very lucrative earning rate.
See Related: Chase Freedom Flex vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited
The Chase Freedom is also an excellent pair for other Ultimate Rewards cards, as you can transfer points between cards just like you can with the Chase Freedom Unlimited.
Who should get the Chase Freedom Unlimited card?
- Cardholders looking for a good all-purpose cash back card that earns solid cash back on every purchase, plus bonuses in specific categories.
- Cardholders looking for a generous introductory offer.
- Cardholders who want to earn Ultimate Rewards without paying an annual fee.
- Frequent travelers who will take advantage of the card’s protections and insurances.
- You’re a frequent Lyft ride-share user.
How to use the Chase Freedom Unlimited card:
- Spend at least $500 on the card in the first three months to secure the sign-up bonus.
- Use the card as your go-to for general purchases.
- Use the card for all Ultimate Rewards travel bookings and on dining and drugstore purchases.
- Use the card for all Lyft rides.
- Consider pairing the card with another Ultimate Rewards card such as the Sapphire Preferred to get more value out of your Ultimate Rewards points.
- Take advantage of perks like Chase Offers and referral bonuses to earn more rewards.
Is the Chase Freedom Unlimited card worth it?
Thanks to its recent refresh, the Chase Freedom Unlimited should offer most cardholders an impressive average rewards rate and an easy way to earn solid cash back on every purchase. What really sets the card apart is the ability to transfer rewards to other Chase Ultimate rewards credit cards. If you are looking for a good card to pair with other rewards cards to maximize rewards potential, the Freedom Unlimited is a great option.
Need more information on this card? See related articles:
- What type of user is the Chase Freedom Unlimited card best for?
- Is the Chase Freedom Unlimited card the best no-annual-fee cash back rewards card?
- Card Comparison – Citi Double Cash Card vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited
- Card Comparison – Chase Freedom Flex vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited
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