You have carefully planned your points strategy and have most of your big spending categories covered. You’re earning 2x or more points in these categories.
Your only problem is that you’re still only earning 1x points for all other purchases. Is there a way to beat this rate while still earning travel reward points?
Fortunately, with the new release of this Chase card, you can solve this problem.
Card Summary Table
- Card Bonus & Info (Partner Content)
- Card Provider
- Card Type(s):
- Card Focus:
- All Purchases
- Annual Fee
- Rewards Center
- Foreign Transaction Fees3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars.
- Typical UsersHobby Travelers, Parents / Families, The Average Spender
- Customer Service Number
- Login Link
- PartnersWhen combined with Chase Travel Rewards cards, all partners included with Ultimate Rewards, including Korean Air SKYPASS, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, United MileagePlus, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Hyatt Gold Passport, Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards, British Airways Executive Club, IHG Rewards Club, Air France / KLM Flying Blue.
- Interest Rates ?
- 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
- Ongoing APR: 16.49% - 25.24% Variable
- Late fees
- See Rates & Fees
- Balance Transfers
- 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
- Ongoing APR: 16.49% - 25.24% Variable
- Cash Advance APR
- 26.49% Variable
The Ideal Cardholder
Sign-Up Bonus and Earning Categories
This credit card is a relatively new product from Chase. You will get a sign-up bonus after you spend the required amount in the allotted time (see above for details).
In addition, Chase typically offers an intro APR on purchases and balance transfers.
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, evenly across all categories, making it easy to start accumulating no matter your purchase. Like its predecessor, this card has no annual fee.
Using the Cash-Back Earned
All your cash-back is deposited onto your card account, and it can be used for statement credit or with other partners from Chase Ultimate Rewards.
While your cash-back will be worth $0.01 per reward point, you can improve that rate if you also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card credit cards.
Using these other Chase cards, you can transfer your points into your Ultimate Rewards account to either purchase travel at 20% off in the portal, or transfer again at 1:1 to one of the travel partners.
Other Card Benefits
No limits exist for how much cash-back the card can earn, unlike the $1,500 limits on the Chase Freedom categories.
This card also includes other valuable perks like price and purchase protection, as well as auto rental insurance, which are a few very useful perks.
Things to Note About the Chase Cash-back Rewards Card
One thing you should be aware of is that Chase has unofficially updated their policies to make it unlikely you will be approved for a new credit card if you have applied for more than five in the last two years, regardless of credit card issuer.
Those five cards include not only Chase cards, but all credit cards in general. However, it’s unclear whether this rule only applies to their Ultimate Rewards cards (rather than other co-branded cards).
Unfortunately, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is an Ultimate Rewards card, so you may be denied approval depending on your situation.
One way around this would be to call Chase customer service and ask them to update your current Chase Freedom® Credit Card into a Chase Freedom Unlimited®. The downside here would be losing the 5% quarterly cash-back categories.
Biggest Competitors to the Card
Chase released the card soon after some other big cash back cards likely took some market share from their standard Chase Freedom®.
Other travel rewards cards also give a flat earning rate across all categories, but their rewards are used for travel instead of standard cash-back.
In straight cash-back, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card earns the same as the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card and the Discover it Miles Card (1.5%).
The Citi® Double Cash Card and Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® actually earn a higher 2%.
A few other cash-back cards out there also have specific earnings categories: the Chase Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card, Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, and the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.
For those who spend larger amounts in the specific categories where these cards provide bonuses, any of the above cards could prove valuable.
The Advantage of the Chase Cards Over Other Competitors
The advantage of this card over competitors’ cards is that the cash-back can be converted into travel rewards in Chase Ultimate Rewards.
To do this, however, you must also have a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card. Combining all these cards gives you have a formidable points-earning posse!
For instance, you can use the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card for all travel and dining purchases, the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card or Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card for business expenses and related categories, and the Freedom Unlimited® for all other categories.
This gives you a slight edge, because you’ll earn 1.5x points rather than the 1x points you would earn with any other card, including the Chase Freedom®.
If you also add this card to your strategy, you’ll gain 5% cash-back in the quarterly categories.
The card works very similarly to the normal Chase Freedom®. This means you can also use the Ultimate Rewards portal to earn additional points with shopping partners.
Combined with its better-than-average earning rate, this makes a very attractive card for those who just want a cash back card or already utilize Chase travel rewards.
It appears that this credit card will be a solid card to work into your travel rewards strategy!
Great Card If
- You need a gap filler for your Chase Ultimate Rewards points strategy
- You want a cash back card with a great online shop for earning more cash-back
Don't Get If
- You don’t use Chase Ultimate Rewards points or don’t have a Chase travel card
- You just want cash-back, as there are other higher earning straight cash-back cards
U.P. Pro Tips
Combine the card with other Chase rewards cards in order to utilize the cash-back in Ultimate Rewards for travel.
This card is best used for all categories not covered by the other cards. Use it any time you would only get 1x points using the other cards, since you’ll earn 1.5x with the Chase Freedom Unlimited®.
How to Use This Card: The Upgraded Way
Best Way to Maximize Points
Earning points with this card is part of the same strategy as earning Ultimate Rewards points with any Chase card. You’ll want make sure to use this card when the others wouldn’t earn more points.
Of course, if you are using this card on its own, you will simply use it for all transactions in order to earn the most points. Below are some ideas of how to use it when combined with other Chase cards:
- Department stores during times other than the 5% rotating category of the Chase Freedom®
- Doctor’s visits
- Sports tickets
Bonus Tip: We’ve create a guide to earning 100k Chase points, think you’ve got what it takes?
Best Way to Redeem Points
You can redeem all of the cash-back you earn with this card as statement credit if you wish, which is valued at 100 points per $1.
Using your reward points as cash-back in the Chase rewards portal offers the same or lesser value, and can be used for a variety of merchandise.
However, the most valuable way to redeem these points would be to get a Chase travel rewards card, and then either use the points in the travel portal for 20% off or re-transfer to a travel partner at a 1:1 ratio.
Many options exist for redeeming your Chase Ultimate Rewards points, so using this last strategy will give you lots of ways to earn greater value for your points!
Chase has a variety of shopping partners through which you can earn bonus cash-back online. Some of them include:
- Bed Bath & Beyond
In the portal, you’ll find more that cover a bunch of different shopping categories.
Is this credit card worth getting versus other cash-back cards? Taking a look at the math via some examples will help you choose.
Recall that this card earns a flat 1.5% cash-back for all purchases and has no annual fee. Using that information, we can compare it to some other cards after finding out how much it is worth over a year.
The Value of the Card to the Model Families
With flat-rate cash-back cards, we can easily show the math on how rewards will stack up. Using each model family’s spending, we can quickly show how much cash-back this card can earn.
One caveat: we are assuming that the “other” category is not used, except for making the same “floating cash” assumptions that we used in the Chase Freedom® review for an easier comparison.
|Family||Total Spend on Card||Total Cash-back Earned|
*Total value of cash-back earned by the fictitious families over the course of a year with the Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card.
Comparing the Chase Freedom Cards
Using the totals from the Chase Freedom® review, but adding in the additional 1% cash-back for the rest of the year’s spend (which was omitted from the math before), we can compare the value of both Freedom cards:
|Family||Chase Freedom Unlimited®||Chase Freedom® (Classic)|
*Comparing the value of both Chase Freedom Cards, assuming that 5% cash-back is maximized per each family’s spending levels
The math assumes that each family maximized what they could earn in all the 5% rotating categories. As you can see, the Chase Freedom® actually wins out at lower spending levels.
The Freedom Unlimited® begins to win at higher levels of spending, however, due to the fact that the 5% category maxes out after the first $1,500 spent.
Comparing to Other Cash-Back Cards
Comparing the Freedom Unlimited® to other similar cash-back cards is simple: it will earn the exact same amount as the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card and the Discover it Miles Card because they are all 1.5% earners.
If you are only looking for cash-back and don’t need the travel rewards, one of the 2% cards is probably your best bet, unless the other cards have any special offers.
However, if we consider combining with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, then the value of the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card’s awards go up.
How the Chase Travel Cards Increase the Value of the Freedom Cards
For either Chase Freedom® card, you can increase the value of your cash-back by either using the Chase travel portal or transferring to travel partners.
When using points to book in the travel portal, you will get a 20% discount on travel. You could also say the value of your cash-back is increased by a multiple of 1.25.
We can assume that you will not redeem the points for less than a $0.02 per reward point value when used with travel partners. (Some redemptions can go as high as $0.08 or more!)
With these assumptions, the value of the cash-back increases to the following amounts:
|Chase Travel Portal (20% Off Travel)||Chase Travel Partners ($0.02/pt)|
|Family||Chase Freedom Unlimited®||Chase Freedom® (Classic)||Chase Freedom Unlimited®||Chase Freedom® (Classic)|
*The value of using cash-back for the travel portal at 20% off vs. through travel partners at $0.02-$0.08 per point
As you can see, the cash-back value skyrockets as you utilize these travel redemption options, which is why we always recommend doing so!
One thing to note is that the $95 annual fee of the Chase travel cards is not taken into account in these tables. At lower levels of spending, this could really intrude on the value.
In fact, if you have the yearly spend of the Kennedys and use the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, then you would actually be better off just using the Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card’s cash-back as statement credit by $3.
If traveling is your end game, then you can potentially pay for some great rewards when you combine this with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.
The card is a better earner than the classic Chase Freedom® the higher your spending, since it has no cap on rewards like the Chase Freedom® card’s $1,500 cap on extra cash-back.
The Gritty Details: Everything Else You Need to Know
You should also note that the Chase Freedom Unlimited® has basically the same fringe benefit structure as the Chase Freedom®.
However, remember the new 5/24 rule: Chase likely won’t approve you for more than 5 Ultimate Rewards cards in a 24 month period, regardless of credit card issuer.
Other Unique Features
Purchase protection – Get $500 in theft or damages per item for up to 120 days after purchase, up to $50,000 per account. Keep all your receipts and purchase information in order to submit a claim.
Price protection – For up to 90 days after a purchase, if you find a better price advertised in the U.S. either in print or online, you can submit a claim and get up to $500 per item or $2,500 per year in reimbursement.
Auto rental collision damage waiver – Get secondary car rental insurance when renting a car in the U.S., and primary insurance when abroad. This covers the value of the car, but you must decline the agency’s waiver.
Photo Credits / Credit/Copyright Attribution:
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The card is a cash back card offered by Chase that earns unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. You can use the cash-back for statement credit or in Chase Ultimate Rewards.
This card comes at no annual fee.
The card typically comes with a sign-up bonus; see the card summary table for details on the current offer.
No, the card earns an unlimited 1.5% cash-back.
Log in to your card through the Chase account login portal.
The card comes with unlimited 1.5% cash-back. This can be used directly for cash-back or with the variety of awards offered in Ultimate Rewards.
If you have a Chase travel rewards card, you can transfer your cash-back to one of these cards to be used for the 20% off travel portal or to transfer to travel partners.
Additionally, the card offers purchase and price protection benefits, as well as car rental insurance.
Currently, the card offers a 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers.
Yes, the foreign transaction fee is 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars.
No, the card has no annual fee ($0).
As long as your account stays open and in good standing, your cash-back will not expire.
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Here are the top 5 reasons to have this card in your wallet, where you can earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
Plus – you can convert your cash-back to points if you also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card!