Chase Freedom Unlimited card review: A great bonus, earning, and perks with no annual fee

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Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Beyond the bonus, you’ll earn 5% cash back (5x points) on travel booked through Chase, 3% back (3x points) on dining and at drugstores, and 1.5% back (1.5x points) on all other purchases. Along with redeeming points for cash back, you can also use them to book travel through the Chase portal, trade them in for gift cards, or pay with points at Amazon and other participating merchants.

Before you decide on the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, be sure to have a look at its sibling, the Chase Freedom Flex℠, which has the same welcome bonus and doesn’t charge an annual fee. There’s also the Citi® Double Cash Card to consider — while it doesn’t offer an intro bonus, you’ll effectively earn 2% cash back on all purchases (1% when you buy, and 1% when you pay). 

Bottom line: The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a great choice for credit card beginners and experts alike. With no annual fee, a substantial welcome bonus, and at least 1.5% back on spending, it’s worth considering as an everyday card — and it’s even better when you pair it with an annual-fee Chase card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

We’re focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won’t be worth it if you’re paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it’s important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.

Comparison: Chase Freedom Unlimited vs other Chase credit cards

 

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Annual fee

$0

$0

$95

Rewards rate

5% cash back (5x points) on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards

3% cash back (3x points) on dining and drugstore purchases

1.5% cash back (1.5x points) on everything else

5% cash back (5x points) on travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards

5% cash back (5x points) on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter in rotating bonus categories when you activate, then 1%

3% cash back (3x points) on dining and drugstore purchases

1% cash back (1x points) on everything else

 

2x points on travel and dining

5x points on Lyft rides through March 2022

1x on everything else

Welcome bonus

$200 after spending $500 in the first three months from account opening

$200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening

Intro APR offer

 

0% intro APR on purchases for the first 15 months, then a 14.99%–23.74% variable APR

0% intro APR on purchases for the first 15 months, then a 14.99% – 23.74% variable APR

N/A

Foreign transaction fee

Yes

Yes

No

 

Learn More

Learn more

Learn more

Comparison: Chase Freedom Unlimited vs other cash-back credit cards

 

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Citi® Double Cash Card

Annual fee

$0

$0 (See Rates)

$0

Rewards rate

5% cash back (5x points) on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards

3% cash back (3x points) on dining and drugstore purchases

1.5% cash back (1.5x points) on everything else

3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets*

2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores

1% cash back on all other purchases

 

1% cash back when you buy, plus 1% cash back when you pay your bill

Welcome bonus

$200 after spending $500 in the first three months from account opening

$200 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months

N/A

Intro APR offer

 

0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months, then 13.99% to 23.99% variable APR (See Rates)

0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months, then 13.99% to 23.99% variable APR (See Rates)

0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months, then 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable) APR

Foreign transaction fee

Yes

Yes (See Rates)

Yes

 

Learn More

Learn more

Learn More

*3% back on up to $6,000 spent at US supermarkets in a calendar year, then 1% back

How to redeem points from the Chase Freedom Unlimited

One of the reasons the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is so popular is because the rewards it earns are so flexible. Chase Ultimate Rewards redemption options include:

  • Cash back (1 cent per point)
  • Gift cards (1 cent per point)
  • Airfare, hotels, car rentals, and more through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal (1 cent per point)
  • Apple purchases (1 cent per point)
  • Amazon purchases (0.8 cents per point)

The last option should be avoided — you’re better off paying for an Amazon purchase with your card and using points at 1 cent apiece for a statement credit. Otherwise, you’ll get inferior value when you pay with points at Amazon checkout.

Quick tip: Even if you’re staying close to home right now, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a good card to keep if travel is on your radar for the future. In the meantime, there are plenty of ways to use Chase points that don’t involve travel, and your points won’t expire as long as your card is open and in good standing.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a great card on its own, but you can actually boost the value of your rewards when you pair it with certain other Chase credit cards, including the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve®, and Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card. Chase allows you to transfer Ultimate Rewards points between accounts, and by moving your points to one of these cards, you’ll unlock more valuable redemption options — including the ability to transfer points to Chase’s airline and hotel partners. You’ll also have more ways to redeem points through Chase’s Pay Yourself Back program.

For example, with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, your points are worth 1.5 cents apiece when you book travel through the Chase travel portal or redeem through Pay Yourself Back (including toward grocery store, home improvement store, dining, and eligible charity purchases). Pairing a Chase Freedom card with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the best ways to get the most from your Chase Ultimate Rewards points, especially if you like to use points for travel.

Chase Freedom Unlimited benefits and features

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® comes with good purchase and travel protection benefits, some of which you don’t normally see from cards with no annual fee. 

Purchase protection

When you pay for an eligible new purchase with your Chase Freedom Unlimited®, you’ll be covered for damage or theft for 120 days, up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.

Extended warranty

Eligible items you purchase with the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, with a manufacturer’s warranty of three years or less, can receive an additional year of extended warranty coverage.

Car rental insurance

When you decline the rental company’s collision insurance and charge the entire rental cost to your card, you’re covered for theft and collision damage on most cars. In the US, coverage is secondary to your personal insurance — otherwise, it’s primary insurance.

Trip cancellation and interruption insurance

If you pay with your Chase Freedom Unlimited®, you’re covered for up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip if your trip is canceled or shortened because of illness, severe weather, or other eligible events. 

Bonus points on Lyft purchases

You’ll earn 5% cash back (5x points) on purchases made with Lyft through March 2022.

Complimentary DoorDash DashPass membership

Chase Freedom Unlimited® cardholders receive a complimentary three months of DashPass, which gets you $0 food delivery fees and reduced service fees on orders of $12 or more with DoorDash and Caviar. After that, you’ll receive a 50% discount on your DashPass membership for the next nine months. Activation is required by December 31, 2021.

Travel and emergency assistance services

If you’re away from home and run into trouble, you’ll have access to a travel and emergency assistance hotline that can help arrange things like legal and medical referrals, prescriptions, translation services, and more. Keep in mind any third-party costs are your responsibility.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Chase Freedom Unlimited®

New cardholders can take advantage of an introductory 0% APR for 15 months on purchases (then a 14.99%–23.74% variable APR). This is handy if you have a large purchase coming up you want to pay for over time without incurring big interest charges. You should only do this if you have the means and a plan to pay off the balance before the introductory APR period expires, otherwise, you could end up with a bunch of high-interest debt.

As with most other cards, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® charges fees for late and returned payments, cash advances, and balance transfers.

Jasmin Baron is an associate editor at Personal Finance Insider, where she helps readers maximize rewards and find the best credit cards to fit their lifestyles.

Citi Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit CardChase Chase Freedom Unlimited®

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