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The 16 Most Valuable Benefits of the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card [2024]

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Jeff Brownson
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Jeff Brownson

Former Content Contributor

24 Published Articles

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Jeff got into the points and miles game in 2010 and since then has visited over 35 countries, flying mostly in first and business class. He’s a contributor to Traveling Dad and has spoken at the Chica...
Edited by: Kellie Jez
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Kellie Jez

Director of Operations & Compliance

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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...

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The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is one of many valuable Ultimate Rewards points-earning cards in the lineup from JP Morgan Chase.

By itself, the card is a strong contender for your everyday spending, but when you combine the earning of the Freedom Unlimited card with the redemption options of some of the premium Ultimate Rewards cards…that’s where you’ll really find the highest value.

To start, though, let’s concentrate on what makes the Freedom Unlimited card great on its own. We’ll take a detailed look at the benefits and help you decide if this is a card that belongs in your wallet.

Then we will explain why it’s best to pair this with another Chase card for maximum rewards.

Card Basics

The basic features of the Freedom Unlimited card make it quite attractive for a beginner in the world of credit cards. It’s an easy card to start out with and has a good return on your spending.

As we look into the rewards in a bit more detail later on, you will see that this isn’t just a card for beginners as it can be a powerful tool in the arsenal of any miles and points collector!

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

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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)

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

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
  • 1.5% back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee
  • Earn big on travel purchased through Chase Travel
  • Everyday bonus on dining and drugstores
  • Straightforward cash-back on all other purchases
  • Ability to pool points

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

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Chase Ultimate Rewards

No Annual Fee

The Freedom Unlimited card has an annual fee of $0 — and that’s not just an introductory annual fee. It’s not going up the second year, or any year! Once you know how to maximize the rewards, you will understand how amazing this is!

Low Introductory APR

An APR of 0% for the first 15 months from account opening will help out if you have a large purchase that you need to pay off over a couple of months. The 0% APR is good not only for purchases, but on balance transfers as well.

You do need to make sure you have paid off the entire balance by the time you reach 15 months. Otherwise, you will be hit with the variable APR. Also, watch out for the balance transfer fee.

Great Bonus Categories

As long as you hold the Freedom Unlimited card, you will earn 5% back on travel purchases through Chase Travel, 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% cash-back on all other transactions.

This makes the Freedom Unlimited card an excellent card for multiple bonus categories, including one of the best cards for monthly bills and everyday spending. Earning at 1.5% is better than most traditional credit cards, and unless you have a card that earns at a better rate, it makes sense to use this one.

Hot Tip: You don’t want to use the Freedom Unlimited card when traveling internationally. There is a hefty 3% fee added to all foreign transactions! Be careful, because this also applies to any online foreign transactions that you may make from your home before the trip. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, on the other hand, has $0 in foreign transaction fees!

Your Cash-back Doesn’t Expire

As long as you are a cardholder in good standing, your cash back doesn’t expire. It will be stored in the form of points until you either choose to use it or you close your account.

Service and Protection

Chase Freedom Unlimited Protection Benefits
Pretty much all credit cards these days come with a group of protection benefits, and the Freedom Unlimited card has all the usuals. Image Credit: Chase

Although these are common benefits, it is good to know that a card you may be using for a large percentage of your everyday purchases will still protect you if there’s a problem with a charge. It provides that extra level of comfort that helps you know you’re using the right credit card.

Zero Liability Protection

Some banks call it fraud protection, others call it zero Liability…either way, it means the same thing.

As a cardholder, you will not be held responsible for any unauthorized charges made with your card number online, over the phone with your account information, or with your physical card if it is stolen.

Purchase Protection

For up to 120 days after you make a purchase with your Freedom Unlimited card, you will be protected against damage or theft of the item you purchased. This coverage is limited to a maximum of $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.

Extended Warranty

When you pay for an item entirely with your card, this coverage will extend the manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year. This coverage only applies to U.S.-issued warranties, and the original warranty must be for 3 years or less.

Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver

Coverage for theft and damage to your rental car is covered when you charge the entire rental to your card and decline the rental company’s collision damage waiver. Most cars in the U.S. and abroad are covered; your benefits terms will detail any exclusions.

It is important to note that in the U.S., this coverage is secondary. This means that your personal auto insurance policy will pay out first in the event of a loss. Then, this coverage will take care of any amount not covered by your primary insurance.

Fraud Protection and Alerts

Your account is protected from fraudulent charges using sophisticated real-time monitoring. You can take comfort in knowing that if someone is making unauthorized charges on your account, it will be stopped and you will be notified.

You can choose to get your fraud alerts by phone, text message, or email.

Hot Tip: Signing up for mobile fraud alerts is a great idea if you regularly make large purchases at different stores. If your card is accidentally declined for suspected fraud, you can take care of it right from your phone and continue on to make your purchase.

Shopping Benefits

Instacart+ Membership and Quarterly Credit

Cardholders are eligible for a complimentary 3-month membership to Instacart+ and a quarterly credit of $10 to use for grocery delivery. Registration is required.

Redemption Options

Chase Freedom Unlimited Redeem Points
There are several options for redeeming the points you earn with the Freedom Unlimited card. Image Credit: Chase

Although the Freedom Unlimited card is marketed as a cash-back card, you actually earn Ultimate Rewards points.

If this is the only Chase Ultimate Rewards card that you hold, you have several options for redeeming those points. Using any of those redemption options will get you a value of a penny per point.

You can redeem your points for a higher value if you carry other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, and we will detail that process further down. For now, here are the redemption options if you only hold the Freedom Unlimited card.

Cash-back

Yes, this is as easy as it sounds: you can redeem your points for straight cash-back. At a penny per point, there is no minimum (or maximum) number of points required for a cash-back redemption.

You can request a statement credit or a direct deposit into your bank account. Deposits can be made into most U.S.-based checking and savings accounts.

Shop at Amazon

To redeem your rewards points at Amazon, you first need to link your Freedom Unlimited card to your Amazon account.

Once this is done, you can instantly redeem your points at a rate of a penny per point to pay for all or part of your Amazon order. Your points can be applied to all parts of your order, including taxes and shipping charges.

Gift Cards

Your points can be redeemed for a variety of gift cards and certificates through the Chase portal. There are available redemption options for shopping, dining, entertainment, and more.

Occasionally, Chase will run promotions that reduce the number of points you need to redeem for a gift card. Outside of those limited opportunities, your points are worth a penny per point when you redeem them in this way.

Travel

Travel can be booked with your Ultimate Rewards points by going through the Chase Travel Portal. Redemption rates are different depending on which card you sign in to the portal with and which card’s account your points are associated with.

The redemption rate for booking travel with your Freedom Unlimited card points is 1 penny per point; this rate is higher for most other Ultimate Rewards cards.

How to (Really) Increase Your Cash-back Value

Singapore Suites First Class - Couples Dining
Transferring Ultimate Rewards points to Singapore’s KrisFlyer program will allow you to book an amazing flight and enjoy dinner together in Singapore Airlines First Class Suites like Alex and Erin did. Image Credit: Alex Miller

All of Chase’s premium Ultimate Rewards cards have annual fees; one even as high as $550. These fees help offset the cost of higher value redemption options, including transferring points to airlines and hotels.

Since the Freedom Unlimited card is a no-annual-fee card, it’s not too surprising that the Ultimate Rewards points it earns are somewhat limited in how you can use them.

Above, we outlined the listed redemption options if you only hold the Freedom Unlimited card, and each of them had a redemption value of $.01 per point.

Now, let’s take a look at a few ways that you can redeem your points for higher values when you have another of Chase’s premium Ultimate Rewards credit cards to pair with your Freedom Unlimited card.

Transfers Between Ultimate Rewards Cards

The Freedom Unlimited card is just one of several Ultimate Rewards-earning credit cards that Chase offers.

With one of the premium cards (like the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, or the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card), your Ultimate Rewards points are much more flexible.

The best part? If you have one of those premium cards and also have the Freedom Unlimited card, you can transfer the points you earn with the Freedom Unlimited card over to your other cards. This means you can take advantage of the higher value redemption options!

Opening up the higher value redemptions takes the limited points you’ve earned and instantly makes them more valuable.

Transferring your Ultimate Rewards points between cards is really simple. Just make sure you have both cards registered to the same online account with Chase. Then you can choose which card to transfer from and which card to transfer to, select how many points you want to transfer, and confirm the transfer details.

The points will transfer instantly…and all of a sudden they’ll be worth much, much more!

Chase Travel Portal

The easiest way to see an increase in the value of your points is to redeem them through Chase Travel.

When you redeem points through your Freedom Unlimited card account, you will see that they are worth 1 cent per point toward any travel that you book.

Once you transfer them to other accounts, though, the value goes up. If you redeem your Ultimate Rewards points through either your Chase Sapphire Preferred card or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card accounts, they are worth 1.25 cents per point.

Finally, for the highest value, redeeming points through your Chase Sapphire Reserve card account will get you a value of 1.5 cents per point.

Assuming you are earning those points with your Freedom Unlimited card, let’s look at the effective value of your “cash-back” when you redeem through your other Ultimate Rewards card account.

SCROLL FOR MORE
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card / Ink Business Preferred® Credit CardChase Sapphire Reserve Card
Value Earned With Freedom Unlimited Card1.5 points per dollar spent1.5 points per dollar spent
Value Redeemed Through Portal1.25 cents per point1.5 cents per point
Final Value of “cash-back” at Redemption1.875 cents per dollar spent (1.875%)2.25 cents per dollar spent (2.25%)

In the first row of the table, we have the value of the rewards you earn with your Freedom Unlimited card. Whether you have one of the premium cards or not, the earned value remains the same, at 1.5 points per dollar spent.

Next, we’ll look at the value of Ultimate Rewards points when redeemed through the Chase Travel Portal for each of the premium cards.

Finally, in the last line, we calculate the final value of the points if you earn them at 1.5x with the Freedom Unlimited card, and then redeem them at either 1.25x or 1.5x with the premium cards. This is calculated by finding the product of the earning and the redemption multipliers for each combination.

As you can see, the absolute best pairing is the Freedom Unlimited card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, though pairing with either of the other 2 cards still increases your value.

Transfers to Airline & Hotel Partners

Now that you have seen how to increase the value of your points by transferring to another one of your Ultimate Rewards earning cards, let’s take it a step further.

Once you have transferred points from your Freedom Unlimited card to one of the premium Ultimate Rewards cards, you open up the option to transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to the Chase transfer partners.

This is where the value of your points can really go up.

Ultimate Rewards points transfer to several different airline and hotel partners, and the value you get from your redemptions will vary greatly. Usually, the best value will be when you transfer and redeem for business or first class flights, but you can also find great value in some hotel redemptions.

Any time you get more than 2.25 cents per point in value, you are doing better than redeeming for cash or booking through the Chase Travel Portal. Even if you are redeeming 30,000 points for a $700 one-way flight to Europe, you are still getting 2.33 cents per point!

When you start redeeming 120,000 points for a $12,000 first class ticket, you will really see the value of your points start to soar. Just 2 or 3 of those 10+ cents per point redemptions, and you’ll never look at redeeming for straight cash-back again.

Bottom Line: You will get the highest value redemption from your Ultimate Rewards points when you transfer them to travel partners and redeem them for premium rewards. Pairing this card with one of the premium Chase cards and transferring the points will open up redemption values much higher than 1.5%.

Final Thoughts

With 5% back on travel through the Chase Travel Portal, 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5x earning on all other spending, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card is a great option to regularly use for any of your purchases within the set bonus categories, or those that don’t fit into a higher bonus category with another of your cards.

If you are pairing with another Ultimate Rewards card and redeeming for more than a penny a point though, your earnings can be worth a lot more than 2% when you redeem. As you know by now, transferring your points to Chase’s airline and hotel partners is absolutely the best option!

Hopefully, after reading through the detailed benefits, you now understand why the Freedom Unlimited card will make a great addition to your wallet.

With no annual fee, holding on to the card for the long term makes sense not only for your wallet, but also for your credit score (older accounts are better!).

The Freedom Unlimited card does fall under the Chase 5/24 rule, so it won’t be available to all of us. But if it is, this is a great card to pick up to help build up your Ultimate Rewards points balance. 

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

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Freedom Unlimited card a good credit card?

Yes! The Freedom Unlimited card is a great card. With no annual fee and rewards of 5% back on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% back on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% cash-back on all other purchases.

Plus, the rewards it earns are credited as Ultimate Rewards points. If you have one of the premium Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, you can transfer points over to airlines and hotels and get a much higher value than 1.5%.

Is there an annual fee for the Freedom Unlimited card?

No! The Freedom Unlimited card does not have an annual fee.

How does the Freedom Unlimited card cash-back work?

The Freedom Unlimited card’s cash-back is recorded as points and stored as Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Each point is equivalent to 1 penny if redeemed for cash.

Cash-back can be redeemed for a statement credit or a direct deposit into your bank account.

There are several other options for redeeming your Ultimate Rewards points. Pairing with another premium Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning card and transferring points to airlines and hotels offers the highest redemption value.

Can I upgrade from the Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card to the Freedom Unlimited card?

Yes, you should be able to upgrade your existing Freedom Flex card to a Freedom Unlimited card.

This is called a product change, and you need to call Chase customer service to request the change.

Sometimes Chase requires a card account to be open for a certain amount of time before you can change it to another product. If you have not yet had your account open for long enough to make the change, Chase will let you know when you call.

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About Jeff Brownson

Since discovering miles and points in 2010, Jeff has traveled to over 35 countries, flying in first class, business class, and sometimes even in coach. Whether he’s staying in a hostel dorm, or in a luxury suite at a 5 star hotel, Jeff is constantly looking for the best deal to make travel as close to free as possible.

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