Chase Freedom Unlimited Review


Pros Cons
No Annual Fee Chase’s 5/24 Rule Applies
No Cap on Reward Categories

Considerations Before Applying/Credit Score Needed

Before applying for the card make sure your credit scores are at least 690 or higher. It’s possible to get approved with a lower score of course, but it just makes it easy if your score is already this high in the first place. 

Additionally, there is Chase’s infamous 5/24 rule that states you cannot have been approved for 5 or more credit cards from any issuer. If you are 5/24 or above, you will not be approved

Sign Up Bonus/Annual Fee/Foreign Transaction Fee

Typically, the standard sign up bonus on the Chase Freedom Unlimited card comes in the form of $150 for spending $500 within the first 3 months. That comes out to a 30% return if you are strictly looking at it from a cashback perspective. If you you are able to convert $150 into 15,000 UR points by transferring that bonus over to an Ultimate Reward earning Chase card, then that bonus could be worth ~$300 in travel. Of course, that assumes a value of 2 cents per point (TPG). 

As of the time of writing, there is a different sign up bonus that could be pretty valuable. For the first $20,000 spent in the first year, you will earn 3% cashback on that spend. That means $20,000 will pay out $600. Of course, you can convert that into 60,000 points. In its cashback form, you would get 3% back on your spend for the signup bonus, and 6% if converted into points.

Additionally for the first 15 months of having the card, you can get 0% APR on any purchases and balance transferred within the first 60 days. 

There is no annual fee on the Chase Freedom Unlimited. The card is subject to foreign transaction fees of 3% though. 

Reward Categories

The Freedom Unlimited is a catch all type of card. This means that it’s great for putting your out of category spending on. Typically speaking, on cards that earn rewards, the “everything else” category will earn only 1%. The Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5% on every single transaction which makes it ideal to put your extra spend on.

Cards This Competes With

The cards that compete with this include other cards that earn a set, above 1%, on every purchase made. There are some cards that also earn 1.5% such as the Capital One Quicksilver. Better than that though, are cards that earn 2% cashback such as the Citi Double Cash or PayPal 2% Card. 

If you are the kind of person that just redeems your cashback for statement credit, then you would be better off with a 2% cashback card. However, if you happen to have a Sapphire Reserve, and convert your cashback into point, you could be earning 2.25% with the Freedom card. How is that? The Sapphire Reserve can redeem points at 1.5 cents per point. Meaning that 1.5% actually becomes 2.25%, which is more than 2% that you would be earning with one of those other cards. 

Cards This Pairs Well With

This card is one of the foundations for the Chase Trifecta/Quadfecta setup. If you wanted to run a Chase setup, you’re going to want to pair this card with one of the Sapphire cards (Reserve or Preferred), and the Freedom Unlimited. 

The Freedom Unlimited Earns 1.5% on every purchase you make. This card is the catch-all in the Chase setup. Basically if you are making a purchase that does not fall into any category, you use the Freedom Unlimited so you can earn 1.5% instead of 1%. 

The Sapphire cards are what ties the system all together. The Preferred earns 2x on travel and dining for a $95 annual fee, and the Reserve earns 3x on travel on dining with a $450. Of course the Reserve comes with other benefits such as a $300 travel credit, global entry, etc to make up for the difference in annual fee.

Either way, both cards earn Ultimate Reward points which are worth 2 cents per point (TPG). When you spend on either Freedom card, you can convert that cashback into Ultimate reward points by transferring the cashback over to the Sapphire card. Once on the Sapphire card, you can either redeem the points directly on the Chase travel portal (1.25x for the Preferred or 1.5x on the Reserve), or transfer the points out to any of Chase’s travel partners for the potential to redeem them for much more value. 

Final Thoughts

If you look at the face value of the card, a card that only earns 1.5% cashback isn’t that competitive when you compare it to the 2% cashback cards. That being said, the Freedom Unlimited really becomes top of the pack if you pair it with other cards from Chase. If, at a minimum, you redeem the points through the travel portal through the Sapphire Reserve, you would basically be earning 2.25%! 

Is this your favorite catch all card? Let us know below! 

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