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The Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card is a no annual fee credit card from Chase that has recently had a makeover. The card has been a key component of any Chase Ultimate Rewards strategy since it was introduced, but the latest changes the card has seen have just made the card more valuable than ever before.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card
The Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card is a no annual fee credit card that offers impressive levels of cash back (or Chase Ultimate Rewards Points) on purchases in key spending categories. it also offers the best level of return of any Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card when it comes to spending in categories that don’t offer category bonuses.
Here’s what you need to know about the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card:
- $0 (zero)
Cost of Authorised User Cards:
- $0 (zero)
Current Welcome Bonus:
- Earn $200 cash back (or 20,000 Ultimate Rewards Points) after spending $500 on the card in the three months immediately following the opening of your new account.
- Earn 5% cash back on grocery store spending on up to $12,000 in the first year.
Note: This product is only available to applicants who do not already have this card and who have not received a new cardmember bonus for this card in the past 24 months.
- 5% cash back (or 5 points/dollar) on travel purchased through Chase’s travel portal
- 3% cash back (or 3 points/dollar) on dining (includes take-out and delivery)
- 3% cash back (or 3 points/dollar) on spending at drugstores
- 1.5% cash back (or 1.5 points/dollar) on spending in all other categories
Limited Time Earnings:
- 5% cash back (5 points/dollar) at grocery stores on up to $12,000 (1st year only)
- 5% cash back (5 points/dollar) on Lyft rides through March 2022.
- No annual fee
- Earn valuable Ultimate Rewards Points in place of cash back when this card is paired with a Chase Sapphire credit card or the Chase Ink Business Preferred credit card.
- Get a free 3-month DoorDash DashPass ($0 delivery fee on orders of $12+)
- Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
- Purchase protection for 120 days after a purchase is made
How Chase Pays Out Cash Back
The Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card is a cash back credit card, but Chase awards cash back in the form of points which Freedom Unlimited card holders can exchange for statement credits at a rate of 1 point = 1 cent.
Why This Is A Fantastic Card
No Annual Fee
The Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card doesn’t charge an annual fee, and when you consider the earning rates that the card offers in bonus categories, and the fact that this card will earn a minimum of 1.5% cash back (1.5 points/dollar) on all unbonused spending, that’s pretty good going.
The Welcome Offer
The welcome offer comes in two parts and both offer fantastic value.
The $200 cash back (20,000 points) that’s awarded after a new cardholder spends $500 on their card in the first three months of card membership is extremely generous considering the card doesn’t charge an annual fee. Assuming a cardholder never carries over a balance and gets changed interest (no one should be carrying a balance on this card) this is effectively free cash.
The 5% cash back (5 points/dollar) that the Freedom Unlimited credit card earns on up to $12,000 of grocery spending in the first year* makes this one of the most rewarding credit cards for grocery spending (across all US-issued credit cards) and makes it THE most rewarding no annual fee credit card for grocery spending alongside the new Chase Freedom Flex credit card.
*Purchases at Target and Walmart will not earn 5% cash back
Great Earning Rates
I’ve already mentioned that the cash back that the Freedom Unlimited credit card earns on grocery spending in the first year is fantastic, but it’s also worth noting that the 5% cash back (5 points/dollar) that the card earns on travel spending through the Chase portal and on Lyft rides (through March 2022) cannot be beaten by any other no-annual-fee credit card on the market.
The 3% cash back (3 points/dollar) the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card offers on dining (including takeout and delivery) is a fantastic rate of return for a card that doesn’t charge an annual fee, and if this card is paired with one of three other Chase credit cards (see below) this no annual fee card suddenly earns as good a rebate as the high-end ($550/year) Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card.
One of the more interesting selling points that the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card has is that it offers 3% cash back (3 points/dollar) at drugstores and drugstore spending is a category that rarely appears a credit card bonus category. Considering the fact that drugstores generally sell a lot more than just pharmacy items, this is an incredibly useful bonus category to have.
The 1.5% cash back (1.5 points/dollar) on offer for all other spending isn’t market-leading as there are a number of other cards that offer a 2% return…but that’s not where this story ends. If the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card is paired with one of three other Chase credit cards (see below), the points it earns become considerably more valuable (I value them at 1.5 cents each). This increases the value of the effective rebate on offer to a much more impressive 2.25%.
Earn Valuable Ultimate Rewards Points
The points that the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card earns are worth 1 cent of cash back each but anyone who happens to hold one (or more) of the following credit cards can do a lot better than that.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
- Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card
- Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
The three cards listed above earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points and these points can be used for a lot more than just cash back. These points can be transferred to a host of airline and hotel loyalty programs where the value extracted out of each point can be far higher than just 1 cent/point, or they can be used at 1.25 cents or 1.50 cents each when booking travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
Holders of the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card can pool the points they earn with the Ultimate Rewards Points of their more premium Ultimate Rewards credit card(s) and then use them just as if they had been earned by the premium credit card. This increases the value of the points that the Freedom Unlimited credit card earns considerably.
I value Chase Ultimate Rewards Points at 1.5 cents each (based on the value I know I can easily get out of them with minimal effort) so pairing the refreshed Freedom Unlimited card with one of the more premium Ultimate Rewards cards effectively increases the card’s earning rates by 50%:
- 5 points/dollar on travel purchased through Chase’s travel portal = 7.5%
- 5 points/dollar at grocery stores on up to $12,000 (1st year only) = 7.5%
- 5 points/dollar on Lyft rides through March 2022 = 7.5%
- 3 points/dollar on dining = 4.5%
- 3 points/dollar on spending at drugstores = 4.5%
- 1.5 points/dollar on spending in all other categories = 2.25%
Being able to earn effective rebates of between 2.25% and 7.5% courtesy of a credit card that doesn’t charge an annual fee is impressive, and it’s what makes the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card the very special card that it is.
As a standalone card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card is a great card to have in your wallet because the returns on offer are impressive for a no-annual-fee credit card. As a card paired with the Ink Business Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card, the Freedom Unlimited becomes one of the best no annual fee cards on the market. Put simply, if you’re a fan of Chase Ultimate Rewards, this is almost certainly a card you should have in your wallet.