Chase Freedom Unlimited Review

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Chase Freedom Unlimited

Overall Rating

9.0

Bottom Line

The Chase Freedom Unlimited Card is a 1.5% flat cash back rewards card worth considering if you value simplicity and the ability to earn the same rewards rate on all purchases. New card-members will earn a $200 sign-up bonus after spending $500 on purchases within 3 months of opening an account and earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target(R) or Walmart(R) purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

Pros

  • Earn $200 after spending just $500 within the first 3 months
  • No annual fee
  • Simple flat rewards structure
  • 0% intro APR for 15 mos. on purchases
  • 5% cash back on groceries*

Cons

  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • High regular APRs

Rewards Structure

9.0

Introductory APR(s)

9.3

Sign-up Bonus

9.0

Cardmember Benefits

8.8

Customer Service

9.0

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card is a straightforward cash rewards credit card offering 1.5% cash back on all purchases and a $200 sign-up bonus if you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months of opening your account.

Quick Facts about Chase Freedom Unlimited:

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Introductory Offer: $200 bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months of opening account.
  • Rewards: Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases; 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target(R) or Walmart(R) purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 5%, whichever is greater
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%

What Are The Benefits of Chase Freedom Unlimited?

No Redemption Minimum

Many of this card’s competitors have a minimum redemption, meaning you have to amass a certain amount before you can take advantage of your credit card rewards.

Usually, this amount is $25, but the Chase Freedom Unlimited card lets you utilize your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points® with disbursements of any amount, at any time.

Why is this important? Because of flexibility!

If there’s one thing we know, it’s that changes happen all the time in life. Right now, you might prefer to save your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, but one day you might wonder how to redeem your credit card points faster.

With this card, you have the power to choose cash back transfers that work for you.

No Annual Fee

There are several great credit cards out there, and many of them have annual fees that are worth paying for the rewards you get in return. With the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, you don’t have to worry about crunching the numbers here. This card boasts no annual fees – period.

When does it make sense to pay an annual fee? An annual credit card fee is only worth it if it comes with other, more important, perks like a 0% interest fee that will save you more money than the fees cost you.

Or, if canceling your card will harm your credit, holding onto cards with fees makes sense.

The good thing is, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card takes annual fees entirely out of the equation. All you have to do is focus on making the most out of your points.

Flat Rate Rewards = Flexible Spending

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card falls into the category of a “flat-rate” reward card because you will not need to enroll in quarterly rewards incentives to benefit from unlimited 1.5% cash back.

This is excellent news for people with variable spending habits who prefer freedom over sticking to a rewards schedule. 

A new cash back opportunity was recently introduced during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic: Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target(R) or Walmart(R) purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

Reward Points vs. Cash Back

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card technically awards your cash back in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

But these points can be redeemed in many ways – one including cold, hard cash. We love the versatility of this approach.

Earning Chase Ultimate Rewards lets you choose – do you prefer to spend points directly on hotels, airfare, gift cards, and other goods and services? Or do you like your money in the form of good, old-fashioned dollars?

If you end up choosing to redeem your points in the form of hotels, airfare, and other shopping, here’s the breakdown:

Redeem at the rate of 1 cent per point for gift cards and travel booked through Chase, or also use points for Amazon purchases at a slightly lower rate of .8 cents per point.

This is what freedom looks like. 

Why Chase Freedom Unlimited May Not Be For You

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card would not be your go-to travel card, and here’s why:

Foreign Transaction Fees

There is a 3% foreign transaction fee. We’ve got to be honest, here: we’re bummed about that. However, when paired with another card better-suited for international adventures, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card offers just that – freedom.

Excellent Credit Score Needed

And well, sometimes freedom must be earned. This card requires a good or excellent credit score. You might have to hold off on this card if you don’t have great credit.

Paying off Debt

If you’re paying off other debt, consider another credit card with a longer 0% APR promotional period and take advantage of lower interest rates.

This could include the Citi Double Cash card, which offers 0% APR for 18 months, then 13.99% – 23.99% variable APR thereafter.

You Want Specific Rewards Points

Finally, while the unlimited points on every purchase is a beautiful thing, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card might not be right for you if you prefer specificity with your rewards points.

What do we mean? If you know that every month you’re banking on restaurants or gasoline points, you might be able to get a card with higher cash back for one or two categories alone.

The same goes for rotating reward categories; maybe you like the variety that a card with rotating, quarterly reward categories provides you.

Just do some research, and you can find the best type of credit card to suit your needs.

What Credit Score Is Needed For Chase Freedom Unlimited?

People have the best chance of qualifying for a Chase Freedom Unlimited card when they have a credit score of 690 or above, meaning a good or excellent credit score.

This requirement puts the Chase Freedom Unlimited card at a fairly accessible entry point for those who want to gain access to the Chase family of credit cards.

This card is suitable for those who might not yet qualify for the Chase’s best travel rewards credit card, the Sapphire Preferred, or the most premier card of the bunch – the Sapphire Reserve.

How Do I Redeem My Chase Ultimate Rewards Points?

Your Chase points can either be redeemed as straight-up cash in the form of account credits or direct deposits, but savvy credit cardholders often pool their points and use them towards purchases through Chase’s online shopping portal.

By simply logging in to your Chase account and clicking on “Redeem Rewards,” you will be transported to a portal that allows you to purchase airfare, hotels, Apple products, and gift cards.

There is even an option to link your Amazon account to your Chase account, letting you shop directly from your credit card window and stretching your points farther.

Balance Transfers 0% Intro Offer

Chase no longer offers a 0% intro APR on balance transfers.

You will pay the greater of $5 or 5%.

Once you are approved, you’ll get a notice as to how long your wire transfer will take. Be sure to check the date the transfer takes place, as well as what remaining interest will need to be paid after it’s completed.

This all comes down to the timing of when your billing cycle ends and whether the balance is removed before your statement is generated.

It’s worth considering if the balance transfer will eat up your credit limit, especially for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. Because this card offers double cash back points on spending, it might not be the card for holding a large balance. It’s much better suited for spending – And earning.

Who Is This Card Best For?

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is best for regular credit card spenders, or if you have a big purchase coming up.

We can’t stress enough how great this double cash back intro offer can be!

That’s why this card is for someone who uses credit cards as part of a zero-sum budget and plans to pay the balance in full.

Or – If you have a major purchase coming up, consider putting it on this card to pay off in the first 15 months. Why not earn money on what you know you’re already going to spend?

Remember – you will earn at least 1.5x points on all spending in any category. But you won’t earn points on balance transfers.

Is Chase Freedom Unlimited A Good Card?

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

The Chase Freedom Unlimited isn’t going to win any awards for being the flashiest or most innovative rewards credit card, or offering some eye-popping rewards rate on a particular category of spending.

You don’t choose Freedom Unlimited to flex when you’re picking up a round of drinks or to engineer a free trip to Bali. You choose Chase Freedom Unlimited as your rewards credit card for the same reason you might choose a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord for your daily driver. It’s a good value, and it’s dependable, day in and day out.

For that, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is a very good rewards credit card, giving you that 1.5% cash back on every purchase.

How do you want your cash? You can choose!

Get cash back as a credit on your statement, or even as a direct deposit. You can also redeem your points at 1 cent per point for gift cards and travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal.

Or, you could use your points for Amazon purchases at a slightly lower rate of 0.8 cents per point. If you’re someone who likes variety from your points, you’ll love the Chase Freedom Unlimited card.

Is Chase Freedom Unlimited for You?

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card is, in many ways, a go-to best friend – that showers you with up-front cash in the first 15 months.

But as a travel card, it might need to sit in the back seat. Of course, you can book airfare and hotels with your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, which never expire unless you close your account.

But the 3% foreign transaction fee will negate any double earnings in the first 15 months if you use this card abroad.

One last tip – while you can redeem your points in a number of ways, be sure to check the redemption rate when shopping in the Chase bonus mall.

Aim to use it when your rate is 1 cent per point, and use an Amazon gift card or simply charge purchases made on Amazon.com where the transaction rate is lower.

Additional Disclosures: Millennial Money has partnered with CardRatings and creditcards.com for our coverage of credit card products. Millennial Money, CardRatings and creditcards.com may receive a commission from card issuers. This site does not include all financial companies or financial offers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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