Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card Review

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"A New Cash-back Competitor"

This is Chase's all-purpose cash-back card that competes with similar cards from the other big banks. The bonus with this card: you can turn the cash-back into Ultimate Rewards points!

Apply Now (at Chase's secure site)

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 Snapshot

The Ideal Cardholder

chase freedom unlimited 1
This card is a great new card to fill in the gaps of your points strategy: earn 1.5% cash-back everywhere.

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 (see details above).

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.

Bottom Line:  Earn 1.5% cash-back for every purchase at no annual fee with the Chase Freedom Unlimited®.

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 purchase protection and auto rental insurance.

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.

Bottom Line:  If you have already applied to more than five credit cards in the last 2 years, you may not be approved for this card. In this case, you could consider upgrading your existing Chase Freedom®.

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®.

Some of the most popular cards that have released in a similar all-around cash-back fashion are the Citi® Double Cash Card and Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card.

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.

These include the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® and the Discover it Miles Card.

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 CardChase 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.

Bottom Line:  The Chase Freedom Unlimited® competes with many other cash-back and flat earnings rate cards out there.

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.

Final Thoughts

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

Card Fees

  • Annual Fee
    • No annual fee
  • Foreign Transaction Fees
    3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars.
  • Interest Rates
    • 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
    • Ongoing APR: 16.99% - 25.74% Variable
  • Balance Transfers
    • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
    • Ongoing APR: 16.99% - 25.74% Variable
  • Cash Advance APR
    • 26.99% Variable

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®.

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The real benefits of this Chase card are unlocked when you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card: you can then use the points to transfer to travel partners.

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
  • Drugstores
  • Sports tickets
  • Haircuts

Bonus Tip:  We’ve create a guide to earning 100k Chase points, think you’ve got what it takes?

chase freedom unlimited 3
Using this credit card at places where you would only earn 1% on any other card is the best strategy, such as when getting your hair cut.

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:

  • Wal-Mart
  • Diapers.com
  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Groupon
  • Dell
  • Apple
  • Microsoft

In the portal, you’ll find more that cover a bunch of different shopping categories.

To utilize the travel partners from Chase, you will need to sign up for a Chase travel card. This gives you access to partners like Southwest, United, Marriott, and Air France/KLM.

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.

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:
Girl Celebrating on Laptop: asife/Shutterstock
Girl Handling Credit Card: gpointstudio/Shutterstock
Cutting Hair: coka/Shutterstock
Guy Smiling with Card: gpointstudio/Shutterstock

FAQ

What is the Chase Freedom Unlimited®?

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.

Is there a sign-up bonus for the Card?

The card typically comes with a sign-up bonus; see the card summary table for details on the current offer.

Is there a limit to the cash-back I can earn with the Chase Freedom Unlimited®?

No, the card earns an unlimited 1.5% cash-back.

How do I log in to the Chase Freedom Unlimited®?

Log in to your card through the Chase account login portal.

What are the benefits of this card?

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 protection and car rental insurance.

Currently, the card offers a 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers. After that, an ongoing APR of 16.99% – 25.74% Variable applies.

Does the Card have a foreign transaction fee?

Yes, the foreign transaction fee is 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars.

Does the Chase Freedom Unlimited® have an annual fee?

No, the card has no annual fee ($0).

Does the card's cash-back expire?

As long as your account stays open and in good standing, your cash-back will not expire.

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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!

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

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