Blue Cash Everyday Card vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited Card [Detailed Comparison]

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It’s difficult to argue that cash-back isn’t the most liquid form of credit card rewards you can earn. Additionally, many cash-back credit cards do not charge an annual fee. This combination can be appealing when you’re just starting out and looking for a rewards-earning card.

Keeping this desirable combination in mind, we’ve selected 2 popular credit cards for our comparison today. Both offer nice earning potential for everyday purchases, lack the expense of an annual fee, yet have good-value redemption options, and benefits you can use.

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express and the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card are similar in that both offer the ability to earn rewards via cash-back. When it comes time to redeem those rewards, however, you’ll find differences that could affect which card is more appropriate for your situation.

In our article today, we’ll cover all of the earning and redemption details, plus give you an overview of the benefits you can expect to receive on each card.

If you’re interested in the combination of a cash-back earning card that doesn’t charge an annual fee, you’ll find our comparison useful.

Welcome Bonuses

Welcome bonuses fluctuate but you can expect to receive somewhere between $150 to $200 in cash-back after meeting minimum spending requirements within the first 3 months after card approval on either of our featured cards.

Blue Cash Everyday Card

Freedom Unlimited Card

Earning Rewards

Rack of Jeans
Earn rewards on every purchase you make with either of our featured cash-back credit cards. Image Credit: lan deng via Unsplash

Cash-back is earned on each of our featured cards first in the form of a specific rewards currency. The Blue Cash Everyday card earns cash-back in the form of Rewards Dollars and the Freedom Unlimited card in the form of Ultimate Rewards points.

The Blue Cash Everyday card offers elevated earning on select bonus categories while the Freedom Unlimited card has a flat-rate earning structure (with 1 exception) where every purchase earns a flat rate of cash-back. Here’s how the cards compare.

CardEarnings
Blue Cash Everyday card
  • 3% cash-back at U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 in purchases each year
  • 2% cash-back at U.S. gas stations and select department stores
  • 1% cash-back on all other purchases
Freedom Unlimited card
  • 1.5% cash-back all purchases
  • 5% cash-back on qualifying Lyft purchases (until March 2022)

Let’s look at some spending examples to see which might be the better card when it comes to earnings.

Spending Scenario #1 — High Spending at U.S. Supermarkets

Spending Breakdown:

  • $12,000 at U.S. supermarkets
  • $2,000 at restaurants worldwide
  • $2,400 dining out
Blue Cash Everyday card — $304 total earnings

  • U.S. Supermarkets – 3% on $6,000 and 1% on the remaining $6,000
  • U.S. Gas Stations – 2% on $2,000
  • Dining Out – 1% on $2,400
Freedom Unlimited card — $246 total earnings

 

  • Flat Rate – 1.5% on $16,400

 

 

Spending Scenario #2 — Moderate Spending at U.S. Supermarkets & Lyft Travel

Spending Breakdown:

  • $7,200 at U.S. supermarkets
  • $1,800 on Lyft
  • $3,000 at restaurants worldwide
  • $1,200 at eligible department stores
Blue Cash Everyday card — $264 total earnings

  • U.S. Supermarkets – 3% x $6,000 and 1%  on the remaining $1,200
  • Lyft – 1% x $1,800
  • Dining Out – 1% x $3,000
  • Eligible Department Stores – 2% x $1,200
Freedom Unlimited card — $261 total earnings

 

  • Flat Rate – 1.5% x $11,400
  • Lyft – 5% x $1,800

 

 

The Blue Cash Everyday card offers elevated bonus earnings on common purchases such as those at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations, and select department stores. If you spend heavily in these categories, the Blue Cash Everyday card could offer better earnings.

The Freedom Unlimited card earns bonus cash-back only on Lyft purchases and a flat rate on every other purchase. The actual mix of your spending will determine the total earnings for each card.

Redeeming Rewards

Disney Tokyo
Accumulate your Amex Rewards Dollars or Chase Ultimate Rewards points to fund an annual family vacation. Image Credit: Roméo [email protected] via Unsplash

While reward-earning rates are important, the value of the rewards at redemption time is equally, if not more, important.

CardRedemption Options
Blue Cash Everyday card
  • Statement credits at 1 cent per point (minimum redemption is $25)
  • Gift cards, shopping at Amazon, and merchandise
Freedom Unlimited card
  • Statement credits, travel, and cash at 1 cent per point
  • Transfer to premium Chase credit cards for potentially greater value with the option to transfer to hotel/airline partners
  • Gift cards, shopping at Amazon and Apple, experiences

The Blue Cash Everyday card has higher earning potential on everyday spending, however, the ability to transfer Ultimate Rewards points earned on the Freedom Unlimited card to Chase premium cards results in Ultimate Rewards points having more potential value.

Transferring Ultimate Rewards points to cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card offer redemption values of up to 1.5 cents per point for travel and the additional option to transfer to airline and hotel partners for even greater potential value.

Additionally, Ultimate Rewards points are also more flexible in that you can redeem for cash at 1 cent per point.

Bottom Line: If your priority is to use your points for statement credits, both featured cards offer the same 1 cent value per point. However, if you have a premium Chase Ultimate Rewards earning card, you’ll receive far better value transferring your points to one of those cards and redeem for travel. You can receive up to 1.5 cents per point for travel via the Chase travel portal or even greater potential value through travel transfer partners. 

Annual Fees and Authorized Users

Neither card charges an annual fee and there is no cost to add authorized users.

Travel Benefits and Protections

While each of our featured cards come with several of its own travel benefits and protections, both cards share some common perks.

The following benefits come on both the Blue Cash Everyday card and the Freedom Unlimited card:

  • Secondary Car Rental Insurance — Pay for the entire car rental with your card, decline the rental car agency’s CDW or LDW coverage, and receive secondary car rental coverage for damage and theft. Secondary car rental coverage means that you must file a claim with your own insurance company before coverage kicks in.
  • Emergency Travel Assistance
    • The Blue Cash Everyday card provides assistance while traveling with its Global Assist Hotline.
    • The Freedom Unlimited card also provides services with its Travel and Emergency Assistance Services dedicated line.

Both cards provide access to assistance 24/7 when you’re traveling, including medical and legal referrals, help with a stolen or lost passport, emergency transportation assistance, and more. Cardholders are responsible for the cost of actual services received but referrals are complimentary.

Each card also offers an additional set of unique benefits.

Blue Cash Everyday Card

  • Access to Premium Car Rental Protection — For 1 low fee that covers the entire car rental period, you’ll have premium car rental coverage that will be primary coverage with no need to file a claim with your own insurance. Rates for Premium Car Rental Protection range from $12.95 to $24.95 per rental period.
  • Best Rate Hotel Guarantee — Book your prepaid hotel room via Amex Travel and pay with your card. If you find the same room advertised online, you could receive the difference in price.

Freedom Unlimited Card

  • Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Insurance — Purchase your trip with your eligible card or rewards earned on your eligible card and if a covered loss disrupts your trip, you could receive up to $1,500 per person, $6,000 per trip.
  • Roadside Dispatch — Receive roadside assistance with just 1 call 24/7. The cardholder is responsible for the cost of actual services.

Shopping Benefits and Protections

Broken phone
Shopping protections such as purchase protection can provide coverage if a qualifying item is damaged or stolen. Image Credit: iCracked.com

Both of our featured cards offer an introductory 0% APR on purchases for 15 months from the date of card approval. After that, regular APR as listed in the tables above will apply.

Additional shopping benefits and protections offered by each card include the following:

Blue Cash Everyday Card

  • Amex Offers — Enjoy offers that provide statement credits for specific merchant purchases which can save you hundreds of dollars each year.
  • American Express Car Purchasing Program — Receive discounted pricing on your new car purchase and have the option to charge at least $2,000 of the purchase price to your eligible card.
  • Purchase Protection — Pay for the eligible item with your card and receive 90 days coverage from the date of purchase if the item is stolen or damaged. Coverage limits are $1,000 per item, $50,000 per account.
  • ShopRunner Membership — enjoy free 2-day shipping and returns with select retailers with your complimentary membership that normally would cost $79 per year.

Freedom Unlimited Card

  • Chase Shopping Portal — Earn more cash-back when you utilize the shopping portal to purchase with your card.
  • Purchase Protection — Receive coverage up to 120 days from the date of purchase for eligible items purchased with your card. Coverage is provided for damage or theft, up to $500 per claim, $50,000 per account.
  • Extended Warranty — This coverage extends the manufacturer’s warranty of 3 years or less, on an eligible item, for 1 additional year. Coverage limits are $10,000 per item, $50,000 per card account.
  • DoorDash DashPass Membership — receive 3 months of complimentary membership and 9 months at a 50% discount. Members receive free delivery and discounted fees.

Our list is not a fully inclusive list of every benefit and the descriptions have been abbreviated. You’ll want to access each card’s guide to benefits for full information and terms/conditions.

Bottom Line: While neither of our featured cards charges an annual fee, the cards still offer plenty of travel and shopping benefits/protections. To explore alternative credit cards that do not charge annual fees, check out our list of recommendations. 

Additional Benefits

If you currently have credit cards with high-interest balances, the introductory 0% APR on balance transfers that comes with one card could save you money.

Transferring high-interest balances to either of our featured cards allows you to pay back the balance over time without incurring interest charges. Here’s how the cards compare in providing this benefit.

Freedom Unlimited Card

Balance transfers to the Freedom Unlimited card qualify for the 0% APR period which extends for 15 months from the date of card approval. After that, regular APR as listed in tables above applies. 

For balance transfers that are made within the first 60 days after card approval, a 3% fee based on the total transfer amount or $5 (whichever is greater) will apply. For balance transfers made after 60 days from card approval, the fee will be the greater of 5%, or $5.

Bottom Line: A 0% APR period for balance transfers can save you money. High-interest credit card balances transferred to either of our featured cards can be paid back over time while no interest charges are incurred. 

Blue Cash Everyday Card vs. Freedom Unlimited Card — Summary

Washer and Dryer Sears
Need to pay back a large purchase over time? A 0% APR period for purchases can help you do that while not incurring interest charges. Image Credit: Sears

We’ve covered a lot of information on our featured cards so now it’s time to summarize and compare all the attributes of the cards, side-by-side.

Feature or BenefitBlue Cash Everyday CardFreedom Unlimited Card
Annual Fee and Authorized User Fee
  • $0
  • $0
Earnings
  • 3% cash-back at supermarkets, up to $6,000 in purchases each year
  • 2% cash-back at U.S. gas stations and select department stores
  • 1% cash-back on all other purchases
  • 1.5% cash-back on all purchases
  • 5% cash-back on qualifying Lyft purchases
Redemption Options
  • Statement credits at 1 cent per point
  • Gift cards, shopping at Amazon, and merchandise
  • Statement credits, travel, and cash at 1 cent per point
  • Transfer to premium Chase credit cards for potentially greater value with the option to transfer to hotel/airline partners
  • Gift cards, shopping at Amazon and Apple, experiences
Travel Benefits and Protections
  • Secondary car rental insurance
  • Access to Premium Car Rental Protection
  • Global Assistance Hotline
  • Secondary car rental insurance
  • Travel Emergency Assistance
  • Roadside Dispatch
Shopping Benefits and Protections
  • Amex Offers
  • Amex auto purchasing program
  • Purchase protection up to 90 days, $1,000 per item
  • Best rate hotel guarantee
  • ShopRunner Membership
  • Chase Shopping Portal
  • Purchase protection up to 120 days, $500 per claim
  • Extended Warranty
  • Complimentary 3-month DoorDash DashPass Membership

Bottom Line: While the Blue Cash Everyday card may have the earning edge on everyday purchases, the Freedom Unlimited card offers greater redemption flexibility, especially if you have a premium Chase credit card to facilitate transferring Ultimate Rewards points and receiving greater potential value. 

Final Thoughts

For those consumers who spend mostly at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations, and department stores, the better choice for this spending mix may be the Blue Cash Everyday card with its bonus earning categories that align with those purchases.

If you spend a lot on travel, and categories other than supermarkets, gas, and department stores, you may find greater potential in leveraging Freedom Unlimited card rewards with a premium Chase partner card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Doing so allows you to redeem for up to 1.5 cents per point on travel and to transfer points to travel partner loyalty programs.

Additionally, with both of our featured cards lacking annual fees, you can keep either card indefinitely and add to the longevity of your credit history.


The information regarding the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, please click here.


Frequently asked questions

Which card is better, the Blue Cash Everyday card or the Freedom Unlimited card?

If you spend a lot on everyday purchases such as shopping at supermarkets, gas, and department stores, the Blue Cash Everyday card has the edge on earnings in those categories.

If you don’t want to be bothered with keeping track of bonus categories, prefer a more simple earning structure, or if your preference is to use your rewards for travel, the Freedom Unlimited card may be a better fit.

If you currently have a premium Chase Ultimate Rewards earning card, the Freedom Unlimited card is a wise choice to leverage the rewards earned on the card by using the transfer option for greater potential value.

How does cash-back work?

Every purchase you make on our featured cards earns cash-back first in the form of an associated rewards currency. For example, the Blue Cash Everyday card earns cash-back in the form of Rewards Dollars and the Freedom Unlimited card earns cash-back as Ultimate Rewards points.

Each statement period, the Dollars or Points you earned are deposited into your rewards account and can then be redeemed for cash-back statement credits and more. Terms and conditions apply to each rewards program.

How does the introductory 0% APR period for purchases work?

An introductory 0% APR period is a specific length of time from the date of your card approval during which you can purchase items using your applicable card, carry a balance between statement periods for those purchases, and pay back the purchase over time without incurring interest charges.

Once the 0% APR period expires, however, you will be charged the normal APR charges. The interest rate charged at that time is based on your creditworthiness as determined by the card issuer — normally variable and quite high.

It’s therefore prudent to be sure to pay off any purchases prior to the expiration of the 0% APR period.

How does the introductory 0% APR period for balance transfers work?

If you have balances on credit cards that are charging high interest rates, a 0% APR period for balance transfers allows you to transfer those balances to either of our featured cards and then pay back those balances over time without interest charges.

There is normally a fee of 3%-5% of the amount of the transfer (or a minimum of $5, whichever is greater) for the transfer transaction. Even with the fee, the savings can be significant since you will not be charged interest for the entire 0% APR period.

Some cards require that the balance transfer be made within the first 60 days after card approval. Additionally, when the 0% APR period ends, normal interest rates apply.

For that reason, you should be sure your transferred balance is paid off prior to the expiration of the 0% APR period.

Christine Krzyszton

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine, who lives in Northern Michigan, travels about 300,000 miles a year despite her remote location. Her expertise is traveling the world on a weekend with no pre-determined destination in mind, letting the cost of the airfare determine where she will go. She has over four million flown miles and elite status on all three major domestic carriers.

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