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Chase Freedom Unlimited®: Unlimited Cash Back, $0 Annual Fee

Cory Santos

| Last updated on June 4th, 2024

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
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BestCards refers to a variation of FICO Score 9, which is one of many different types of credit scores. A financial institution may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. Please note that the range shown here is our own estimation and not a guarantee of credit needed to be approved for any given card. Recommended Credit: Excellent / Good
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None Annual Fee

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

  • 20.49% to 29.24% Variable Regular Purchase APR
  • 20.49% to 29.24% Variable Balance Transfer APR
  • 29.99% Variable Cash Advance APR
  • 0% for 15 months from account opening date Intro Purchase APR

At a Glance

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® credit card is a reliable option for customers looking to pair an attractive cash back rewards program with generous introductory interest rates. Cardholders can redeem for cash, travel, and more.

  • Best Benefits
  • Rates & Fees
  • Why Should You Apply?
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Intro Purchase APR: 0% for 15 months from account opening date
  • Regular Purchase APR: 20.49% to 29.24% Variable
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 months from account opening date
  • Balance Transfer APR: 20.49% to 29.24% Variable
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR: 29.99% Variable
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of the transaction amount in U.S. dollars
  • You are looking for a low-rate credit card to perform a balance transfer
  • You prefer straightforward rewards earnings rather than quarterly categories requiring activation
  • You'll make at least $500 in purchases in the first 90 days
  • You do't want to pay an annual fee

In-Depth Review: Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® credit card is a reliable option for customers looking to pair an attractive cash back rewards program with generous introductory interest rates. Cardholders can redeem for cash, travel, and more.

Who Can Benefit from the Freedom Unlimited?

The Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card is well-suited for a wide variety of consumers, including:

  • Everyday Spenders: If you make regular purchases on everyday expenses such as groceries, gas, and dining can benefit from the unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • Those Seeking Simplicity: If you prefer a straightforward rewards structure without having to deal with rotating categories or complicated redemption options.
  • Travelers: While the card is primarily a cash back card it earns an impressive 5% back on travel booked through the Chase Travel portal, making it a versatile option no matter where you go.

Credit Needed

Applicants will need “good” to “excellent” credit to get approved for the Freedom Unlimited®. While Chase doesn’t specify precise credit scores needed for its credit card offers, Experian says those with good credit usually have FICO scores of at least 670, with excellent scores starting at 800. In contrast, VantageScore scores of at least 700 are considered good, with excellent scores starting at 750. Please note that these numbers can vary between different bureaus.

Guide to Rewards

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card has a standout feature – the ease of earning rewards. While cash-back credit cards are not new, certain aspects of Chase Freedom Unlimited® make them worth considering.

How to Earn Rewards

Here is a quick rundown of how to earn rewards with the Chase Freedom Unlimited®:

  • 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.
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

How to Redeem Rewards

The value of Chase credit cards comes from the versatility of their rewards. Chase Freedom Unlimited cardmembers can use points (Chase tallies cash back as points – 1X points per 1% back) for statement credits or deposits into existing Chase banking accounts.

Additionally, cardholders can use points through Chase Travel℠. Redemption options include:

  • Gift cards 
  • Amazon and Apple purchases
  • Products and travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Remember that using points through Amazon causes a 20% reduction in points value, so 100 points translate to $.80 rather than $1. However, other offers, like travel, may provide a higher value than one cent per point.

Points never expire if the Chase account is open and in good standing. Cardmembers can move points from one Chase credit card to another for the best value. Even better, Chase has no minimum amount required for redeeming points.

Other Card Benefits

Since the Chase Freedom Unlimited is a Visa product, cardmembers have access to the typical Visa benefits and protections. These benefits include:

  • Zero Fraud Liability
  • Cardholder Inquiry Services
  • Emergency Card Replacement
  • Roadside Dispatch and Auto Collision Damage Waiver
  • Lost/Stolen Card Reporting
  • ID Navigator from Norton

Comparisons

Citi® Double Cash Card

The Citi Double Cash Card may not be an exact match for the Freedom Unlimited, but there are still some comparisons to be made between these two credit cards.

The Freedom Unlimited Card earns an unlimited 1.5% back on every purchase, with a few exceptions. While this 1.5% back may not be as impressive as the up to 5% back offered by the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card or the unlimited 2% back with the Double Cash, it still provides exceptional value.

In contrast, the Double Cash Card earns an unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases. This includes 1% cash back when you make the purchase and an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.

Additionally, the Freedom Unlimited offers 3% back on bonus categories such as dining and restaurant purchases (including take-out orders and deliveries through eligible delivery services like Grub Hub and UberEATS) as well as drugstore purchases. The card also provides 5% back on travel booked through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal. On the other hand, the Double Cash Card does not offer any additional bonus categories.

PayPal Cashback Mastercard

The PayPal Cashback Mastercard offers the same hassle-free approach as the Double Cash, but with a heavy emphasis on the PayPal network. Cardholders earn their 3% back when using their card anywhere in the world where PayPal is accepted. All other purchases with the card earn 2% cash back.

The great feature of the PayPal Mastercard is the seamless way it integrates into an existing PayPal account. Cardmembers can use their card to set up recurring payments of subscriptions, send money to friends or family, or male purchases at millions of retailers worldwide.

That rewards rate trumps the Freedom Unlimited when it comes to everyday purchases, but lags behind Chase’s option when it comes to travel purchases and matches the Freedom when making drugstores and dining. Where the PayPal card truly lags is when it comes to promotional financing. The PayPal card offers no 0% intro APR benefit, whereas the Freedom Unlimited boasts an impressive 15 months on both purchases and transfers.

Chase Freedom Comparison

Because of the similar names, it is easy to assume that the Chase Freedom Flex, Freedom Unlimited, and regular Chase Freedom are essentially the same, but they differ significantly.

Starting with the annual fee, both the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Chase Freedom Flex have no annual fee, which is a great advantage for cardholders. Moving on to rewards, the Chase Freedom Unlimited allows cardholders to earn 5% back on Chase travel, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases. On the other hand, the Chase Freedom Flex offers the opportunity to earn 5% on up to $1,500 on combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter that you activate.

In terms of introductory APR, both the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Chase Freedom Flex provide a 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers. However, the regular Chase Freedom does not offer an introductory APR.

Tips for Maximizing Rewards

To make the most of your Chase Freedom Unlimited card, here are a few tips to help you maximize your rewards:

  • Use the card for everyday spending to earn cash back on every purchase.
  • Link your Chase Freedom Unlimited card with other Chase credit cards that offer Chase Travel to pool your rewards and increase their value.
  • Take advantage of any bonus categories or promotions that Chase offers to earn additional cash back or rewards.
  • Pay your balance in full and on time each month to avoid interest charges and maximize the card’s benefits.

Editor’s Take

Chase Freedom credit cards enjoy widespread popularity. After all, Chase is one of the largest credit card issuers in the United States. Despite that, I personally don’t have Chase Freedom Unlimited – but I know several people that do. Based on that, here are my personal thoughts on the card:

If you frequently find yourself running out for last-minute groceries, snacks, or even just a late-night fill-up, the Freedom Unlimited is a very useful tool. The card is robust enough to outperform most basic reward cards in all categories, even some cash back cards that charge an annual fee.

While I don’t have a Chase Freedom Card of any kind, I do have other Chase cards, and I can say that Chase is excellent at rolling out exclusive offers and limited-time bonus categories. Take the 5% back on Lyft, the 5% back on gas and groceries, and endless promotions like Month of More.

What We Like About the Card

There is plenty to like about the Chase Freedom Unlimited:

Rewards

Firstly, the card offers at least 1.5% cash back on every purchase, which is a high return for a card with no annual fee. This is even before taking into account the additional tiered categories. In comparison, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ card provides 1% cash back on all purchases outside of the bonus categories. Additionally, once you spend $1,500 each quarter in the featured 5% categories with the Flex card, your cash back rewards revert to the 1% level.

With the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, there is no cap on earning 1.5% cash back or on the other tiered categories. This means that you can continue earning rewards without any limitations.

When it comes time to redeem those rewards, Chase provides a lucrative and expansive platform.

One dollar equals one hundred points, so even if you only earn 1.5 points per dollar spent, you will accumulate 100 points after spending $67. This becomes even more advantageous when you spend on three, earning three points per dollar, or book travel through Chase Travel℠, earning five points per dollar. Many cash-back reward cards restrict when you can redeem your points, requiring you to reach certain thresholds, such as redeeming in increments of $25.

However, with Chase Freedom Unlimited®, there are no such limitations. You can redeem your points for cash without meeting any specific criteria. These redeemed points can be directly deposited into an eligible checking or savings account or used to purchase travel, gift cards, products, or services. Additionally, you can combine these Chase Ultimate Rewards® points with points earned from other cards in the system, potentially increasing their value.

Travel

Renowned for its cash back rewards, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® credit card is not typically associated with travel. However, as we mentioned earlier, some individuals utilize the card for travel purposes due to the option of redeeming rewards through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. It is important to note several travel benefits that come with this card. The key travel perks of the Chase Freedom Unlimited® include:

  1. Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance: If your trip is canceled or cut short due to covered situations such as illness or injury, this insurance offers reimbursement up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip for your pre-paid non-refundable passenger fares.
  1. Travel and emergency assistance services: Should you encounter any issues away from home, this service provides legal and medical referrals and other travel and emergency assistance.
  1. Auto rental collision damage waiver: This benefit covers theft and collision damage for most cars in the U.S. and abroad. It is important to note that in the U.S., this coverage is secondary to your personal insurance.
  1. Roadside Dispatch: In a roadside emergency, such as a tow, jump start, tire change, or lockout service, this benefit is available to assist you.

While Chase Freedom Unlimited® is primarily known for its cash-back rewards, it also offers valuable travel benefits that individuals should be aware of when considering using the card for their travel expenses.

Things to Consider Before Applying

That’s not to say everything is wonderful when traveling with the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. One of the major disadvantages of the card is its foreign transaction fee. If you frequently travel outside of the United States or frequently make online purchases in a foreign currency. In that case, it may be more beneficial to consider another option, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which does not impose this fee. For context, let’s say you took an international trip and used your Chase Freedom Unlimited® card to make $3,000 worth of purchases. In that case, you would have to pay an additional $90 in fees.

Furthermore, the fixed-tiered structure of the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card is one of its attractive features. However, you can earn higher rewards using a card with rotating or bonus-earning categories. For example, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ card offers quarterly bonuses that give you up to 5% cash back on spending in categories like groceries and gas. Now, the updated rewards program for Freedom Unlimited® goes a long way in addressing this drawback. However, there is a possibility that it may be going too far. The expanded range of details and categories associated with Freedom Unlimited® makes it excellent for earning rewards and requires you to keep up with more information and strategies.

Chase Freedom FAQs

  • Chase credit cards require a good or excellent credit score to qualify. This means you will likely need a credit score of around 680/690 or higher to qualify for any of the Freedom credit cards – including the Chase Freedom Unlimited.
  • Yes. Chase customer can hold both the Chase Freedom (no longer available to new applicants), Freedom Unlimited, and the Freedom Flex Card at the same time. 
  • Chase’s 5/24 rule means that you can’t be approved for most Chase cards if you’ve opened five or more personal credit cards (from any card issuer) within the past 24 months.
  • Chase will often automatically increase your credit limit about every 12 months, but an increase is never guaranteed.
  • Chase Bank uses Experian for checking credit scores and gauging applications.
  • Chase doesn’t publicly disclose a maximum credit limit for the Chase Freedom Unlimited, but anecdotal evidence from readers places the upper end of the credit limit as $20,000 or higher.

Chase doesn’t reveal the top end of its credit limits. However, cardholder reports indicate that Freedom Unlimited offers credit lines over $20,000, with a ceiling of potentially $30,000.

Chase Ratings

How does Chase Freedom Unlimited stack up to users and reviewers? Here is a selection of expert reviews for the card, as well as an overview of JP Morgan Chase as a bank:

Should You Apply for the Chase Freedom Unlimited?

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is specifically designed for individuals who are not particularly fond of keeping track of rotating cash-back categories. Instead, it caters to those who prefer to distribute their spending across various categories and appreciate the flexibility of redeeming Chase rewards for cash or a wide range of products and services. However, it may not be the ideal choice for individuals who frequently travel internationally or those who enjoy strategically utilizing their credit cards to maximize rewards in categories that change every quarter.

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