The Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card is a relative newcomer to the cash back credit card space, and there’s a lot for cash back enthusiasts to like. It also makes for a good (but not great) balance transfer card. Like its sister card, the Chase Freedom®, you can pair the Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card with one of the company’s premium rewards cards to gain access to some awesome travel benefits.
With that said, the thing that sets this card apart is that it offers cash back across all categories. So, while it may not be the best card for every situation, the card’s cash back benefit makes it a super versatile option that deserves consideration for a spot in your wallet.
Let’s take a closer look at how the Chase Freedom Unlimited® works!
Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card Highlights
Here’s a quick look at what makes the Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card one of the best cash back credit cards available:
- 3% Cash Back – Earn 3% cash back in all categories on the first $20,000 spent the first year you have the card! That’s up to $600 cash back.
- Unlimited 1.5% Cash Back – With the Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card, you’ll never have to worry about rotating categories or bonuses. After earning the HUGE 3% cash back your first year, this card still earns an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases after that.
- Intro 0% APR on Purchases & Balance Transfers – The Chase Freedom Unlimited® offers an introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers made within the first 15 months of opening the account. Balance transfers are subject to a balance transfer fee of 5% or $5, whichever is greater.
- Ability to Transfer Points for Travel – When paired with a premium rewards card (like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® or Chase Sapphire Reserve®), you can transfer your cash back to those cards and redeem them for great travel deals.
- No Annual Fee – There is no annual fee to worry about with the Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card.
As you can see, there’s a lot to like about this card. With the cash back and transfer options, it’s easily one of my favorite cash back cards on the market.
Where It Shines
If you’re looking for a solid cash back card that you can use for everyday spending, it’s hard to go wrong with the Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card.
For me, the biggest benefit of the card is clearly the cash back that it offers. Even after your first year, the 1.5% cash back is a half point higher than what you can earn from everyday spending with most of our other favorite cash back cards.
Better yet, the unlimited cash back offer is good across all categories, all the time. AND you can earn 3% cash back on your first $20,000 spent in your first year! No, you won’t cash in on the rotating 5% cash back bonuses that some cards offer; you don’t have to worry about keeping track of them either. Also, keep in mind that those bonus offers are typically capped at $1,500 in combined spending.
Tips for Getting the Most from Your Card
Although getting 1.5% unlimited cash back is definitely a plus, there are several things you can do to get even more value from the Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card.
First, be sure to take advantage of the 3% cash back on the first $20,000 spent the first year. That’s a no-brainer. As I’ve already mentioned, pairing the card with one of Chase’s premium rewards cards is an excellent way to earn points you can use toward travel. Using both cards helps maximize your points haul. Then, you can combine your points and transfer them to one of Chase’s travel partners using the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program.
If you decide to do this, I’d highly recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. This card offers a 50,000 point signup bonus after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. Those points can be redeemed for up to $625 in travel (through the Chase Portal), $500 in gift cards to popular merchants, or transferred to more than a dozen hotel and airline loyalty programs at a 1:1 ratio. With this card, you’ll also earn 2X points on travel and dining but only 1X points on everything else. So, it makes sense to use the Chase Freedom Unlimited® on your everyday spending but the Sapphire Preferred® Card for restaurant or travel expenses.
I think this is the best rewards card available, especially if you’re just starting to earn points and miles. It’s the #1 card I recommend, and it should definitely be on your radar to check out.
Another option is using both of the Chase Freedom® cards in combination with each other. That way, you can take advantage of the 5% quarterly cash back bonuses on certain categories using the original Chase Freedom® Card. Then, use your new Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card on everything else to earn either 3% back in your first year or 1.5% cash back after your first year. Since neither card has an annual fee, there’s nothing to lose.
Generally speaking, I would only recommend this option if you prefer cash back to rewards. Redeeming points through loyalty program transfers or the travel portal is typically a more valuable redemption.
What You May Not Like
So, what’s not to like about the Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card? Well, not much…but there are a few areas where the card falls flat.
- No Quarterly 5% Bonus Categories – While the simplicity of a flat cash back is nice, it also means you’ll miss out on some hefty rotating bonuses offered by other cash back cards. Of course, you can still get the best of both worlds if you use them in combination with each other.
- Not a Great Travel Card – If you’re looking for a great travel rewards card, look elsewhere. To take advantage of the best travel benefits, you’ll need to pair this card with a premium rewards card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® or Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
- Counts Against 5/24 Rule – Chase will deny your application for this card if you’ve opened more than 5 new cards in the last 24 months, regardless of issuer. Try one of the alternatives listed below instead.
Alternatives to the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card
Although the Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card is a great cash back card for some, it isn’t the best choice for everybody. Maybe you don’t qualify due to the Chase 5/24 rule, or perhaps you’re looking for a card that has the 5% quarterly bonus categories instead.
As we’ve mentioned above, the original Chase Freedom® card is still an option. Again, the card comes with the 5% cash back bonus categories that rotate on a quarterly basis. You’ll get 1% cash back on all other purchases. There’s also the $150 signup bonus for spending just $500 in the first 3 months.
If you’re looking for a solid cash back card from another issuer, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is hard to beat. This card offers a $150 welcome offer for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. There’s also no annual fee. This card differs in that it offers 3% cash back on your first $6,000 in annual grocery purchases, 2% cash back at gas stations, and 1% cash back for everything else. With offers like that, this card also deserves your consideration. Compare this card with other cash back cards here.
If you love cash back rewards, this card is definitely a good option.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card offers a straightforward cash back rewards that spans all categories. It’s an even better fit for those who want to pair it with one of Chase’s premium rewards cards and pool the points for travel benefits.
As always, thanks for reading! Please leave any comments or questions below.