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Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Chase Slate Edge [Detailed Comparison]

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Christine Krzyszton
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Christine Krzyszton

Senior Finance Contributor

318 Published Articles

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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: Stella Shon
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Stella Shon

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With a degree in media and journalism, Stella has been in the points and miles game for more than 6 years. She most recently worked as a Corporate Communications Analyst for JetBlue. Find her work in ...

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If you’re just starting out and looking for a credit card that you can keep in your wallet indefinitely, you’ll be up for today’s card comparison. We’re going to talk about 2 interesting cards — both issued by Chase — and each has a compelling reason for consideration.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® and the Chase Slate Edge℠ do not charge an annual fee, making each card a good choice for not only starting out but for holding on to long-term. Selecting a card you can keep indefinitely contributes to increasing the average age of your credit over time and can subsequently affect your credit score positively.

There is a twist in our comparison today, as the Slate Edge card does not earn rewards. Since there are very few reasons you might select a card that doesn’t earn rewards over a card that does, we’ll also address the reason the Slate Edge card fits firmly into this category for consideration.

Join us as we take a look at the popular Freedom Unlimited card and the Slate Edge card as a contender, to see if the latter can hold its own as a potential option.

Freedom Unlimited Card vs. Slate Edge Card — Overview

Before we get into the details for both the Freedom Unlimited card and Slate Edge card, let’s glance at a side-by-side comparison of how our featured cards compare overall.

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Feature or Benefits

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Slate Edge℠ Credit 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.

No welcome offer available

Earning Potential

  • 5% cash-back on travel purchased via the Chase travel portal
  • 5% cash-back on qualifying Lyft rides (through March 2025)
  • 3% cash-back on dining and at drugstores
  • 1.5% cash-back on all other purchases

The Slate Edge card does not earn rewards

Redemption Options

  • Book travel via the Chase travel portal
  • Transfer points to premium Chase cards for greater potential value
  • Cash-back, statement credits, gift cards, shop with select retailers

N/A

Travel Protections and Benefits

  • Secondary auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Roadside dispatch
  • Trip cancellation/trip interruption interruption
  • Secondary auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Roadside dispatch

Shopping Protection and Benefits

  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty
  • Chase Offers
  • Shop through Chase
  • DoorDash DashPass, and Instacart+ benefits
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty

Credit Management Tools

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24%.
  • My Chase Plan
  • Chase Credit Journey
  • 0% Intro APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers. Variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24% applies after the introductory period ends.
  • My Chase Plan
  • Chase Credit Journey
  • Opportunity for a reduced APR
  • Account review for an increased credit limit

The Value of a Welcome Bonus Offer

Most rewards credit cards come with a welcome offer that you can start earning as soon as you’re approved for the card. You won’t want to miss out on this window of opportunity to earn additional rewards, typically worth hundreds of dollars, on all your purchases.

You’ll find the current Freedom Unlimited card’s welcome offer here, along with a snapshot of each of our featured cards. The Slate Edge card does not currently have a welcome offer available.

UP TO $300 BACK
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!

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)
This all-purpose cash-back card offers great bonus categories, including bonus points for every purchase you make!
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!
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 Slate Edge℠ Credit Card
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.

The Chase Slate Edge card is a great option for those looking to build their credit.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)
The Chase Slate Edge card is a great option for those looking to build their credit.
None
$0
0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers; variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24% applies thereafter.
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)

Chase revamped the Chase Slate Edge℠ in 2021. It’s a no-annual-fee card designed for those looking to build their credit or those who need a low-interest APR card for a large purchase or balance transfer.

While the Chase Slate Edge card does not offer the opportunity to earn any rewards, it is a great option for those who are just beginning their credit journey, and the card still offers lucrative benefits that any cardholder would find value in.

Pros
  • No annual fee
  • Lower your interest rate by 2% each year
  • Raise your credit limit when you pay on time
Cons
    • Does not earn any credit card rewards
  • Start off strong with 0% Intro APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers. A variable APR of 20.24% – 28.99% on balance transfers and purchases after the introductory period ends.
  • Lower your interest rate by 2% each year. Automatically be considered for an APR reduction when you pay on time, and spend at least $1000 on your card by your next account anniversary.
  • Raise your credit limit. Get an automatic, one-time review for a higher credit limit when you pay on time, and spend $500 in your first six months.
  • All for no annual fee – You won’t have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Slate EdgeSM card
  • Keep tabs on your credit health – Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, real-time alerts, and more
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers; variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24% applies thereafter.
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: 3% of the amount of each transaction in U.S. dollars.

Bottom Line: The Freedom Unlimited card has a welcome offer that earns additional cash-back on qualifying purchases. Welcome bonus offers can vary, so be sure to check the most current offer before applying. The Slate Edge card does not currently come with a welcome offer. 

Earning Potential

The Freedom Unlimited card earns rewards first as points that can be easily redeemed for cash-back, therefore the reason it is marketed as a cash-back card.

Additionally, it’s not uncommon for most rewards cards to earn just 1% in categories in non-bonus categories. The Freedom Unlimited card earns 1.5% on every purchase, which is not a bonus category. This means that if you have high expenses that don’t fall within common bonus categories (think tuition, repairs, medical bills, etc.) you’ll earn 50% more.

Let’s take a look at how the Freedom Unlimited card earns rewards:

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Bottom Line: The Freedom Unlimited card earns bonus cash-back on travel via the Chase travel portal, on dining, at drugstores, and on Lyft rides (through March 2025). On all other purchases, you’ll earn unlimited 1.5% cash-back. The Slate Edge card does not earn rewards. 

Redemption Options

Family smiling on Disney cruise
Rewards earned on the Freedom Unlimited card can be used for memorable family vacations. Image Credit: Disney

Chase credit card rewards are known for their flexible options at redemption time. The Freedom Unlimited card is a fine example of how even a $0 annual fee card can deliver value-added choices, redeemable for various travel opportunities.

Here are your options for redeeming points earned on the Freedom Unlimited card:

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Redemption Options

Freedom Unlimited Card

Slate Edge Card

Travel

  • Redeem points for 1 cent each via the Chase travel portal
  • Transfer points to premium Chase credit cards* and redeem for up to 1.5 cents each for travel via the Chase travel portal
  • Transfer points to premium Chase credit cards* then transfer to airline and hotel partners for greater potential value
  • Redeem your points for 1 cent each as a statement credit to offset previous travel purchases

N/A

Additional Redemption Options

Cash, a statement credit, shopping at select retailers such as Amazon or PayPal

* Premium Chase cards include those with an annual fee, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve®, and Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

The Freedom Unlimited card earns flexible rewards points that can be redeemed for cash-back and so much more. One of the best redemption options is to transfer points earned on the card to premium Ultimate Rewards-earning Chase cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. You will then be able to redeem points for up to 1.5 cents each for travel via the Chase travel portal.

Combining your points with these premium Chase cards also opens up the potential for even greater value when subsequently transferring points to airline and hotel partners.

Bottom Line: Points earned on the Freedom Unlimited card can be redeemed for a statement credit for a value of 1 cent each, or up to 1.5 cents each when transferred to premium Chase credit cards to purchase travel via the Chase travel portal. For even greater potential value, points can then be transferred once again to airline or hotel partners. 

Travel Protections and Benefits

The Freedom Unlimited card and Slate Edge card do not come with a long list of travel protections and benefits, but you will find a few that you may find useful.

Here are the travel protections and benefits you’ll find on both cards:

  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver — Reserve and pay for your entire rental car reservation with your card, decline the rental agency’s CDW/LDW coverage, and receive secondary coverage for damage and theft. Secondary coverage means that you must first file a claim with any other applicable insurance that may apply before the card coverage kicks in.
  • Roadside Dispatch — Make just 1 call 24/7 if you’re stranded roadside and receive limited towing, standard winching, emergency fuel delivery, jumpstart services, lockout service, or changing a flat tire with your inflated spare. The fee for service is a pre-negotiated flat fee.

Freedom Unlimited Card

You’ll find the following additional coverage on the Freedom Unlimited card:

  • Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance — Pay for your trip with your card, and you could receive up to $1,500 per covered person, up to $6,000 per covered trip, if your trip needs to be canceled or is interrupted for a covered reason. Trip interruption coverage also includes up to $250 for emergency medical ground transport.

Shopping Protections and Benefits

Man with luxury watch
Shopping protections can offer limited coverage for eligible items purchased with your card. Image Credit: Jonathan Francisca via Unsplash

Shopping protections can provide limited protection for eligible purchases made with either the Freedom Unlimited card or the Slate Edge card, potentially saving you money.

Here are the shopping protections and benefits you’ll find on both of our featured cards:

  • Purchase Protection — Purchase an eligible item with your card and receive coverage for 120 days from the date of purchase for accidental damage, theft, or “accidental parting.” You could receive up to $500 per item, up to $50,000 per account, per year.
  • Extended Warranty — Eligible items purchased with your card that have U.S. manufacturer’s warranties of 3 years or less will receive 1 additional year of coverage.

Freedom Unlimited Card

Here are the additional shopping benefits that come with the Freedom Unlimited card:

  • Chase Offers — Sign in to your online card account and select from a list of offers that provide statement credits for purchases made with select retailers and service providers.
  • Shop Through Chase — Visit the Ultimate Rewards shopping portal and make your purchase to earn additional rewards.
  • DoorDash DashPass — Enroll before December 31, 2024, and receive 3 months of free membership plus an additional 9 months at 50% off.
  • Instacart+ Benefits — Activate the offer and receive 3 months of free membership.

As an added bonus, the Freedom Unlimited Card offers up to $10 in Instacart+ statement credits each quarter through July 31, 2024.

Credit Management Tools

It’s easier to manage your credit with useful tools that help you modify monthly payments and monitor your credit activity. Taking advantage of 0% introductory APR periods can also save you money on interest charges.

Here are the credit management tools you’ll find on both the Freedom Unlimited card and the Slate Edge card:

  • Introductory 0% APR on Purchases and Balance Transfers —
    • With the Freedom Unlimited card, get a 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24%..
    • On the Slate Edge card, get a 0% Intro APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers. Variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24% applies after the introductory period ends.
    • There is also a 3% fee of the transaction or a $5 fee, whichever is greater, that applies to balance transfers to either card made in the first 60 days after card approval. After 60 days, a 5% or $5 fee, whichever is greater, applies.
  • My Chase Plan — Split purchases of $100 or more into manageable monthly payments with no interest charges, and instead a monthly service fee. The monthly service fee is waived if your purchases fall within the 0% APR period.
  • Chase Credit Journey — Monitor your credit, set alerts for unusual activity, and receive free access to your credit report/score.

Slate Edge Card

Since the Slate Edge card is designed for consumers who are starting out, you’ll find these additional features you can use to help manage credit.

  • Reduce Your APR — Spend $1,000 or more on your card, make on-time payments, and at your first card anniversary you could receive an interest rate deduction of up to 2%.
  • Increased Credit Limit — Spend $500 or more within the first 6 months of card approval and receive an automatic review that could increase your credit limit.

Bottom Line: Both the Freedom Unlimited card and Slate Edge card come with options to manage monthly payments, monitor your credit, and set alerts for unusual activity, as well as a prolonged introductory 0% APR period for purchases and balance transfers. The Slate Edge card has additional benefits that include the opportunity to reduce your APR and increase your credit limit. 

Annual Fees and Authorized Users

The Freedom Unlimited card ($0 annual fee) and the Slate Edge card ($0 annual fee) also do not charge a fee to add a trusted family member or friend as an authorized user to either card.

While there is no minimum age to add an authorized user, Chase does not report the activity of minors to the credit bureaus.

Everything Else You Need To Know

Qualification

It’s recommended to maintain a good to excellent credit score to qualify for the Freedom Unlimited card and Slate Edge card, which is generally considered 670 or above.

Foreign Transaction Fees

It’s important to note that both the Freedom Unlimited card and Slate Edge card charge foreign transaction fees of 3%. If you’re interested in a card that does not charge foreign transaction fees, we’ve put together a list of cards we recommend.

Chase 5/24 Rule

If a relationship with Chase is important to you, you’ll want to be strategic with your credit card applications. Chase has an unwritten rule that you likely won’t be approved for a Chase credit card if you exceed more than 5 credit cards in the past 24 months, from any issuer. There are exclusions, but it’s best to review the rule thoroughly before applying for any credit card.

Final Thoughts

The Freedom Unlimited card is a great starter card that is perfect for earning rewards on every purchase. With a $0 annual fee, a robust yet simple earning structure, flexible reward redemption options, and travel/shopping benefits, the card can be a good choice for everyday spending.

While both cards historically offer good introductory APR offers, the Slate Edge card generally offers a longer-term introductory period, which could help pay for any big upcoming purchases or when transferring any high-interest credit card balances.

The recommended credit score is good to excellent for either card. If you have such a score and don’t need the benefits of a lower interest rate long-term, the Freedom Unlimited card is a far better choice.

With that being said, there could be value in having the Slate Edge card as a separate credit card for any balance transfers or a large purchase for the simplicity of tracking those transactions.

The information regarding the Chase Slate Edge℠ Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Chase Freedom Flex℠ was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which card is better, the Freedom Unlimited card or the Slate Edge card?

The Freedom Unlimited card with its robust earning structure, flexible redemption options, and travel/shopping protections and benefits is the better card.

The Slate Edge card does not earn rewards and has few travel/shopping benefits and protections.

Is the Slate Edge card worth it?

The Slate Edge card can be worth it if you have high-interest credit card balances or a large purchase coming up, as new applicants will get access to 0% Intro APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers. Variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24% applies after the introductory period ends.

During the introductory period, you could avoid interest charges when repaying those balances over time or for new purchases.

Does the Slate Edge card earn Ultimate Rewards points?

No, the Slate Edge card does not earn rewards.

Does the Freedom Unlimited card have cell phone protection?

No, the Freedom Unlimited card does not offer cell phone protection. However, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers cell phone protection.

Is the Slate Edge card hard to get?

Yes, the Slate Edge card may be hard to get because it’s recommended to have a good to excellent credit score, normally considered 670 or above.

If you cannot utilize the lengthy 0% APR for purchases and balance transfers that come with the card, there are better cards you should consider.

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.

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