Advertiser Disclosure

Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which we receive financial compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). However, the credit card information that we publish has been written and evaluated by experts who know these products inside out. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers that are on the market. See our advertising policy here where we list advertisers that we work with, and how we make money. You can also review our credit card rating methodology.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Card vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve Card [Detailed Comparison]

Christine Krzyszton's image
Christine Krzyszton
Christine Krzyszton's image

Christine Krzyszton

Senior Finance Contributor

311 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 98U.S. States Visited: 45

Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, deta...
Edited by: Nick Ellis
Nick Ellis's image

Nick Ellis

Editor & Content Contributor

156 Published Articles 770 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 35U.S. States Visited: 25

Nick’s passion for points began as a hobby and became a career. He worked for over 5 years at The Points Guy and has contributed to Business Insider and CNN. He has 14 credit cards and continues to le...
& Kellie Jez
Kellie Jez's image

Kellie Jez

Director of Operations & Compliance

6 Published Articles 1178 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 10U.S. States Visited: 20

Kellie’s professional experience has led her to a deep passion for compliance, data reporting, and process improvement. Kellie’s learned the ins and outs of the points and miles world and leads UP’s c...

We may be compensated when you click on product links, such as credit cards, from one or more of our advertising partners. Terms apply to the offers below. See our Advertising Policy for more about our partners, how we make money, and our rating methodology. Opinions and recommendations are ours alone.

Upgraded Points: Expertise You Can Trust

Our seasoned and experienced team brings years of expertise in the credit card and travel sectors. Committed to integrity, we offer data-driven guides to help you find the card(s) that best fit your requirements. See details on our intensive editorial policies and card rating methodologies.

  • Content by Leading Industry Experts
  • Routine Updates and Fact-Checks
  • First-Hand Credit Card Experience
  • Shared Across 200+ Top Outlets
  • Methodical “U.P. Rating” System
  • 1040+ Expert Credit Card Guides

Chase stands out as a highly-respected card issuer that continually enhances its credit card products to reflect the demands and preferences of today’s consumers.

When shopping habits shifted to everyday purchases, for example, Chase responded by adding bonus categories for everyday purchases to a number of its products.

Additionally, to acknowledge the need for and encourage charitable giving, Chase added the ability to redeem points earned on several cards for statement credits for eligible charitable donations.

As the issuer’s portfolio of cards continues to evolve, so do your choices. You can select an everyday no-annual-fee card that still earns well on every purchase you make or a premium Chase card that comes with all the travel benefits you’ll ever need.

No 2 Chase cards illustrate your range of choices much better than the Chase Freedom Unlimited® and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. And, while you might feel you have to decide which card is better for you at this moment in time, keep your mind open to the possibility that these cards may work best in tandem.

Let’s take a look at these 2 popular Chase credit cards, how they earn rewards, redemption options you can expect, benefits and protections that come with each card, and how the cards can complement each other.

Freedom Unlimited Card vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve Card — Overview

Before we dig deeper into the key attributes of the Freedom Unlimited card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, let’s glance at a high-level overview of the 2 cards.

Here’s an abbreviated comparison of the key features and benefits of both of our featured cards.

SCROLL FOR MORE
Feature or BenefitFreedom Unlimited CardChase Sapphire Reserve Card
Welcome Offer
  • Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back. That's 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.
  • Earn 75,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
Earning Potential
  • 5% cash-back on travel via the Chase Travel portal and Lyft (through March 31, 2025)
  • 3% cash-back on dining and drugstore purchases
  • 1.5% cash-back on all other purchases

 

  • 10x points per dollar spent on car rentals, hotels, and dining booked via the Chase Travel portal and Lyft (through March 31, 2025)
  • 5x points for flights booked through Chase Travel
  • 3x points on all other travel and dining
  • 1x points on all other purchases
Redemption Options
  • Redeem for travel via Chase Travel
  • Transfer points to premium Chase cards
  • Statement credits, Pay Yourself Back, Gift cards, shopping at select retailers
  • Redeem for travel via Chase Travel
  • Transfer points to hotel and airline partners
  • Statement credits, Pay Yourself Back, Gift cards, shopping at select retailers
Statement Credits
  • Up to $300 annual travel credit
Top Travel Benefits and Protections
  • Secondary car rental insurance
  • Trip cancellation, trip interruption, travel emergency assistance
  • Primary car rental insurance, car rental program benefits
  • Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance, trip delay, travel emergency assistance, baggage insurance, evacuation and limited emergency medical/dental coverage
  • Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or NEXUS fee reimbursement
  • No foreign transaction fees
Top Shopping Benefits and Protections
  • Chase Offers
  • Purchase protection, extended warranty
  • Chase Offers
  • Return protection, purchase protection, extended warranty
Annual Fees and Authorized Users
  • $0
  • No additional fee to add authorized users
  • $550
  • $75 fee per year to add each authorized user

The Value of a Welcome Offer

Immediately after approval for either the Freedom Unlimited card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you’ll have an opportunity to earn a welcome bonus.

Here are the current welcome offers:

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

This all-purpose cash-back card offers great bonus categories, including bonus points for every purchase you make!

This all-purpose cash-back card offers great bonus categories, including bonus points for every purchase you make!
Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back. That's 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.
Up to $300 cash back
$0
0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24%.
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is easily one of the best cash-back credit cards on the market. There aren’t many no-annual-fee credit cards that offer multiple great bonus categories like 5% back on travel purchased through Chase, 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% back on all other purchases.

When paired with other Chase cards in the Ultimate Rewards family, you can transfer that cash back into points if you wish – making it one of the most lucrative cards in your wallet.

Pros
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24%.
  • 5% back on travel purchased through Chase Travel
  • 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases
Cons
    • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • INTRO OFFER: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!
  • Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).
  • After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24%.
  • No annual fee – You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Unlimited® card
  • Keep tabs on your credit health, Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, alerts, and more.
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24%.
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
Rewards Center

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Chase Sapphire Reserve®
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

A top player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points on travel and dining while offering top luxury perks.

A top player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points on travel and dining while offering top luxury perks.
Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's worth $1,125 when redeemed through Chase Travel℠.
75,000 points
$1,500
$550
22.49%-29.49% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Excellent (740-850)

If you’re looking for an all-around excellent travel rewards card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the best options out there.

The card combines elite travel benefits and perks like airport lounge access, with excellent point earning and redemption options.  Plus it offers top-notch travel insurance protections to keep you covered whether you’re at home or on the road.

Don’t forget the $300 annual travel credit which really helps to reduce the annual fee!

Pros
  • 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase TravelSM immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually
  • 10x points on Lyft purchases March 31, 2025
  • 10x points on Peloton equipment and accessory purchases over $250 through March 31, 2025
Cons
  • $550 annual fee
  • Does not offer any sort of hotel elite status
  • Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,125 toward travel when you redeem through Chase TravelSM.
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase TravelSM immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase TravelSM. For example, 75,000 points are worth $1125 toward travel.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority PassTM Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 22.49%-29.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: $0
Rewards Center

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Earning Potential

Each of our featured cards earns rewards on every purchase you make and bonus earnings on specific category purchases.

Here’s how the earning potential compares between our featured cards:

SCROLL FOR MORE
Earnings CategoryFreedom Unlimited CardChase Sapphire Reserve Card
Flights Purchased via Chase Travel Portal
  • 5% cash-back
  • 5x points per dollar spent
Car Rentals, Hotels, and Dining Booked via Chase Travel Portal
  • 5% cash-back
  • 10x points per dollar spent
All Other Travel
  • 1.5% cash-back
  • 3x points per dollar spent
Restaurants Worldwide, Takeout, and Eligible Delivery Services
  • 1.5% cash-back
  • 3x points per dollar spent
Lyft Rides
  • 5% cash-back
  • 5x points per dollar spent
Select Peloton Purchases
  • 1.5% cash-back
  • 10x points per dollar spent
All Other Purchases
  • 1.5% cash-back
  • 1x points per dollar spent

A key strength of the Freedom Unlimited card is its elevated earnings on non-bonus category purchases, but you’ll also earn well when using the Chase Travel portal to book travel. The Chase Sapphire Reserve card functions more as a premium travel rewards card, delivering strong earnings on travel purchases and restaurants worldwide.

Redemption Options

Traveler reading newspaper on plane
Transferring Ultimate Rewards points to airline partners may result in the best value for your rewards points. Image Credit: cottonbro via Pexels

Both the Freedom Unlimited card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve card earn points that can be redeemed in several ways. Here are the choices you’ll have at redemption time with each of our featured cards.

SCROLL FOR MORE
Redemption OptionFreedom Unlimited CardChase Sapphire Reserve Card
Redeem for Travel via Chase TravelYes, at a value of 1 cent per pointYes, at a value of 1.5 cents per point
Transfer Points to Hotel and Airline PartnersNo, only when paired with a premium Ultimate Rewards-earning cardYes
Pay Yourself BackYes, on select charity donations at a value of 1.25 cents per pointYes, on various rotating categories at a value of 1.25 to 1.5 cents per point
Statement Credits/CashYes, at a value of 1 cent per point
Gift Cards, Merchandise, Shopping at Select RetailersYesYes

Bottom Line: The Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers greater flexibility and better value at redemption time. One notable point, however, is that if you have both cards, you can transfer points earned on the Freedom Unlimited card to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card to take advantage of the higher value at redemption time and to have the ability to transfer to the Chase travel partners for even greater potential value. 

Travel Benefits and Protections

friends at airport looking at departure board
Travel insurance benefits can deliver peace of mind during your journey. Image Credit: leungchopan via Adobe Stock

Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver

Rental car insurance can be secondary (you must first file a claim with other applicable insurance) or primary insurance that kicks in right away at the time of loss. The Freedom Unlimited card comes with secondary car rental insurance while the Chase Sapphire Reserve card comes with primary car rental insurance.

With either card or coverage level, you must pay for the entire rental with your card and decline the rental agency’s CDW/LDW coverage. You’ll then be eligible for rental car coverage for damage, theft, loss of use, and towing. Terms and conditions apply.

Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, and Trip Delay

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

If your covered trip needs to be canceled or is interrupted due to a covered reason, you could receive up to $10,000 per covered person, up to $20,000 per covered trip. If your trip is delayed more than 6 hours or results in an overnight stay, you could receive up to $500 per ticket for lodging and covered incidentals.

Freedom Unlimited Card

You could receive up to $1,500 per covered person, up to $6,000 per coverage trip, if your trip needs to be canceled or is interrupted due to a covered reason. The Freedom Unlimited card does not offer trip delay coverage.

Travel Emergency Assistance

Have access 24/7 to emergency assistance should something go wrong during your travels. Services include translator, legal, and medical referrals, assistance with emergency transportation, help with ticket replacement, lost luggage, and more.

Additional Travel Benefits and Protections — Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

In addition to the travel benefits and protections listed above, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers these additional benefits/protections:

Worldwide Lounge Access

With complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, you’ll have access to over 1,400 locations worldwide. You’ll also be able to bring 2 additional guests. This benefit also applies to authorized users on the card.

Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection Benefits

Enjoy elite-style benefits such as room upgrades, early check-in/late checkout when available, daily breakfast for 2, a special onsite amenity worth up to $100, and complimentary Wi-Fi with each Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection stay. Reservations and payment must be made with your eligible Chase card.

Relais & Chateaux Hotel Benefits

Receive a VIP welcome and complimentary breakfast each day for each member of your party, for up to 7 days. Offer valid at 180 Relais & Chateaux properties.

Car Rental Program Benefits

Enjoy National Emerald Club Executive membership with National, plus discounts and elite-style benefits with Avis and Audi on demand. Log in to your Chase card account and register to receive the benefits.

Emergency Evacuation and Transportation

Pay for your common carrier trip with your card and receive emergency evacuation services, up to $100,000.

Emergency Medical and Dental Coverage

Receive up to $2,500 in coverage for emergency medical or dental coverage and $75 per day for a hotel if recovery is needed (up to 5 days). There is a $50 deductible per claim.

Roadside Assistance

Never worry when you’re stranded roadside — help is on the way. You’ll receive up to 4 service calls each year, for a maximum of up to $50 each. Any remainder will be charged to your card. Services include limited towing, tire changing, lockout service, emergency fuel, and more.

Lost and Delayed Baggage Insurance

If your baggage is lost, you could receive up to $3,000 per covered person. For baggage that is delayed greater than 6 hours, you could receive up to $100 a day for up to 5 days for necessary incidentals.

No Foreign Transaction Fees

While the Freedom Unlimited card is perfect to use while traveling domestically, the card does charge a foreign transaction fee. The Chase Sapphire Reserve card does not charge these fees, making it the card you’ll want to take with you for international travel.

Bottom Line: While the Freedom Unlimited card does offer secondary rental car coverage, trip cancellation/interruption, and travel emergency services, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is superior with its long list of travel benefits and protections. The card does, however, come with a much higher annual fee. 

Shopping Benefits and Protections

Woman opening package
Save money and enjoy limited protection if something should go wrong with your eligible purchase. Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels

Shop through Chase and Chase Offers

Earn rewards faster and save money with both the Freedom Unlimited card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve card by making purchases via the Chase shopping portal and using Chase Offers.

The Shop through Chase shopping portal offers additional earnings at select retailers that are over and above what you’d normally earn by shopping with your card. Just log in to your Ultimate Rewards online account to see the list of hundreds of stores.

Chase Offers are located in your online card account. Log in to your Chase card account, add the offers to your eligible card, and make the associated purchase to receive the statement credit offer.

DoorDash DashPass

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you’ll receive at least 1 full year of complimentary DoorDash DashPass membership when you activate your membership by December 31, 2024. You’ll receive a $5 monthly DoorDash credit, free delivery, and reduced service fees with your free membership.

Freedom Unlimited cardholders receive the same free delivery and reduced service fees with a complimentary 3-month membership but do not receive the $5 monthly credit. After the 3-month membership, cardholders can continue membership for 50% off for the next 9 months, then at full price. Just like the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you need to activate your membership by December 31, 2024.

Purchase Protection

If an eligible item purchased with your card is damaged or stolen within the first 120 days after the purchase date, you could receive up to $500 per claim with the Freedom Unlimited card or up to $10,000 per claim with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Each card has a limit of $50,000 per account.

Extended Warranty

Eligible items with manufacturer’s warranties of 3 years or less will receive 1 additional year of coverage.

Additional Shopping Benefits and Protections

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

  • Return Protection — If a merchant will not accept the return of an eligible item purchased with your card within 90 days from the date of purchase, you could receive up to $500 per item, up to $1,000 per year.
  • Instacart Benefits — Cardholders are eligible for a free 12-month Instacart+ membership plus a $15 monthly credit.

Freedom Unlimited Card

  • Instacart Benefits — Cardholders are eligible for a free 3-month Instacart+ membership plus a $10 quarterly credit. Activate by July 31, 2024.

Bottom Line: The Freedom Unlimited card and Chase Sapphire Reserve card offer similar shopping benefits and protections. The Chase Sapphire Reserve card, however, offers a broader DoorDash benefit, increased limits for purchase protection, and return protection. If you have a large upcoming purchase or need to transfer a high-interest credit card balance, the Freedom Unlimited card could save you money with the introductory 0% APR period. 

Annual Fees and Adding Authorized Users

The Freedom Unlimited card does not charge an annual fee. The Chase Sapphire Reserve card charges an annual fee of $550.

You can add authorized users to the Freedom Unlimited card for no additional charge. There is a fee of $75 for each authorized user added to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

Bottom Line: While the Chase Sapphire Reserve card does come with a high annual fee and a charge to add each authorized user, the card offers a long list of premium travel benefits for the primary cardholder and authorized users. Worldwide lounge access is an example of the added value offered with the card. 

Final Thoughts

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card comes with far more benefits than the Freedom Unlimited card but it also has a higher annual fee. If you’re not ready — or comfortable with — paying a higher annual fee, or you won’t use enough of the benefits on the Chase Sapphire Reserve card to validate the expense, the Freedom Unlimited card can still deliver plenty of value.

We mentioned at the beginning of this article that it wasn’t necessary to select from either of these 2 cards because the cards can work very well in tandem. If you can utilize the benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card (and don’t mind the annual fee) but still want to earn at least 1.5% on every purchase, there’s value in having both cards.

For example, you can use the Freedom Unlimited card for purchases that don’t fall within the bonus categories on the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. You can then transfer those points to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card and redeem them for travel for 50% more in value. You’ll also be able to then take advantage of the ability to transfer points to hotel and airline partners for potentially even greater value.

Before considering any Chase credit card, however, you should be aware of Chase’s (unwritten) rule that affects whether you can be approved for any of the issuer’s credit cards. Chase’s 5/24 rule states that you can only have a maximum of 5 credit cards issued from any source in the past 24 months to qualify for approval.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which card is better, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card or the Freedom Unlimited card?

If you travel frequently, value premium travel benefits, and don’t mind paying an annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card could offer better value.

However, the Freedom Unlimited card works well as an everyday card and has no annual fee.

The better card for you will depend on the mix of your spending, which redemption options work best for you, and whether you value premium travel benefits.

How do Ultimate Rewards Points work?

Both the Freedom Unlimited card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve card earn rewards in the form of points, on each eligible purchase. Rewards earned on the Freedom Unlimited card can be redeemed directly for cash-back, so the card is marketed as a cash-back card.

Rewards earned on the Chase Sapphire Reserve card are earned as Ultimate Rewards points that offer greater options and value at redemption time compared to the Freedom Unlimited card.

Points, however, can be transferred between the 2 cards (with limitations), allowing you to take advantage of the greater value offered on the Chase Sapphire Reserve card at redemption time.

Can I transfer points from the Freedom Unlimited card to airlines?

You can redeem points earned on the Freedom Unlimited card for flights via Chase Travel, but you cannot transfer points to airline (or hotel) programs.

To do so, you must first transfer points to a Chase premium card that has the ability to transfer to travel partners.

How does Chase cash-back work on the Freedom Unlimited card?

Each purchase you make on the Freedom Unlimited card earns a percentage of the purchase price back in the form of points. These points can then be redeemed in several ways, including cash-back.

The points can also be transferred to Chase premium cards to be redeemed for potentially even greater value.

Christine Krzyszton's image

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, detailed content for UP.

INSIDERS ONLY: UP PULSE

Deluxe Travel Provided by UP Pulse

Get the latest travel tips, crucial news, flight & hotel deal alerts...

Plus — expert strategies to maximize your points & miles by joining our (free) newsletter.

We respect your privacy. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA. Google's privacy policy  and terms of service  apply.

Deluxe Travel Provided by UP Pulse
DMCA.com Protection Status