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Chase Freedom Unlimited®: Is It A Top Cashback Card Contender?

Chase Freedom Unlimited®: Is It A Top Cashback Card Contender?

If paired with the Chase Sapphire Preferred The Freedom Unlimited has the potential to be the best flat-rate cash back card.
Editor's Rating: 4.5/5.0

Editor's Rating

4.5/5.0

The new Chase Freedom Unlimited® has quickly earned its place among top rewards credit cards. The flat 1.5% rewards rate is well above average, and the signup bonus is among the best we’ve seen for a card with no annual fee. Furthermore, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® belongs to the Ultimate Rewards family of cards, which means it can be paired with other cards to increase its value.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® Is Good For…The Chase Freedom Unlimited® Is Bad For…
Anyone who is already a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card cardholderThose who got approved for 5 or more credit cards in the last 2 years
People with varied spending, that want good all-around rewardsIndividuals who wish to use their credit card abroad

Review: Is The Chase Freedom Unlimited® Worth It?

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is one of the best cash back credit cards around. It offers a flat 1.5% back on all your purchases, which is on par with some other cards such as the Capital One® Quicksilver® Card or Barclays CashForward™ World Mastercard®. What puts the Chase Freedom Unlimited® above those options is that it belongs to the Chase Ultimate Rewards family of cards. Instead of earning straight cash back, Chase Freedom Unlimited® cardholders get Ultimate Reward points with every purchase. If you also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, these points become very valuable, as we explain below.

Even on its own, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® outperforms most cash back credit cards. It’s welcome bonus is among the highest you will get out of credit cards with no annual fee - $150 if you manage to spend at least $500 on the card within the first 3 months. Some fixed rate cash back cards, like the Citi® Double Cash Card, don't offer any introductory bonuses at all.

Bottom Line: The new Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a great choice for most consumers. If you pair it with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, it becomes the best all-around cash back credit card to have.

Chase Freedom Unlimited® Benefits & Features

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® gives its users 1.5 Ultimate Reward points for every $1 spent. The card belongs to what we call tier one Ultimate Rewards. Tier one cards are ones where the points you earn can only be redeemed towards cash back or gift cards, at a rate of $0.01 per point. You can tell which card is tier one, since it will be one with no annual fee. Tier two Ultimate Rewards cards, such as Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, allow you to transfer your points to a number of different airline and hotel partners.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Annual Fee
$0
Purchase APR
16.74% - 25.49% Variable
Credit Needed Excellent/Good
Details
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee

New cardmembers can qualify for 15,000 bonus points, by spending $500 within the first 3 months of opening their card. Those points are worth $150 when used as cash back. In order to qualify, the $500 must be reached with purchases. Things such as balance transfers, cash advances, or interest charges do not count.

Chase Freedom Unlimited® and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Combo

If you already have a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card you should apply for the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. Both cards earn users Ultimate Reward points and can be pooled together. Normally, you can only use your Chase Freedom Unlimited® rewards on cash back and gift cards. However, if you have a tier two Chase card your points can be transferred to a number of different airline and hotel partners.

Ultiamte Reward Points Transfer Partners

By having the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card on your account, the value of Chase Ultimate reward points goes from $0.01 to $0.0125 or more. That means the rewards rate on the Chase Freedom Unlimited® can go up from 1.5% to 1.875% or more. If you manage to get a value of $0.0134 per point when transferring, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® can beat all other flat-rate cash back credit cards – including the Citi® Double Cash Card.

Chase’s 5/24 Rule

If you were approved for five credit cards within the last 24 months, you will be instantly denied for any new applications with the issuer. Even if your accounts have since been closed, they count towards the so-called ‘5/24 rule’. This applies to all credit card accounts, not just ones from Chase.

If you have crossed this limit, we recommend waiting before applying for the Chase Freedom Unlimited. When you apply, a hard inquiry will be processed in your credit history, causing your credit score to go down. Since you are guaranteed not to get approved, doing so will only hurt your financial standing.

How Does The Chase Freedom Unlimited® Compare To Other Credit Cards?

The measure of any credit card’s value can only be obtained by comparing it to other available options. To test the usefulness of the Chase Freedom Unlimited® we matched it up against some of the best credit cards to see where it falls.

Chase Freedom Unlimited® vs Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the best travel credit cards, and like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® it earns users Ultimate Reward points. This card comes with a $95 annual fee that’s waived the first year of card membership. In order for it to be worthwhile, you need to spend heavily in dining and travel categories, where this card awards you 2x points per $1. You need to spend at least $3,850 per year in those two categories to break even. Since both these cards earn points in the same reward program, they compliment each other well, as we explained above. If the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card fits your budget and your credit capacity, the best strategy is to also apply for the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. Once you have both, use the former on dining and travel purchases, and the latter on everything else.

Chase Freedom Unlimited® vs Chase Freedom®

The Chase Freedom® is one of our favorite credit cards, and has long been Chase’s flagship cash back card. It earns users 5% cash back up to $1,500 on categories that rotate each quarter. When you manage to spend inside the 5% bonus categories, the Chase Freedom® is hard to beat. All other purchases, however, will only get you 1% back, whereas the Chase Freedom Unlimited® remains at a flat and unlimited 1.5% anywhere you shop. Since both cards have no annual fee, it makes sense to pair them. Use the Chase Freedom® whenever you can get 5% cash back, and the Chase Freedom Unlimited® on all other purchases. The Chase Freedom® is a tier one Ultimate Rewards card - this means having both will not allow you to transfer your points.

Note: You can have both the Chase Freedom Unlimited® and the Chase Freedom® at the same time. If you already have the latter, it's best to apply for the Chase Freedom Unlimited® - do not do a product change. If you simply upgrade/downgrade to the Chase Freedom Unlimited® you may not qualify for the welcome bonus.

Chase Freedom Unlimited® vs Barclays CashForward™ World Mastercard®

Barclays CashForward™ World Mastercard®
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.

The Barclays CashForward™ World Mastercard® is one of the most recent flat 1.5% cash back credit cards. Every time you redeem your rewards for the card, you get a 5% bonus towards your next redemption, pushing the card’s rewards rate closer to 1.6%. If the two cards are looked at in isolation, the Barclays CashForward™ World Mastercard® is slightly better in the long run. However, if the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is paired with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card it beats the Barclays offer.

Chase Freedom Unlimited® vs Citi® Double Cash Card

The Citi® Double Cash Card has long been heralded as the king of fixed rate cash back credit cards. It provides 1% cash back at the time of purchase, and another 1% when that purchase is paid off. This is significantly better than the Chase Freedom Unlimited® which only produces 1.5% back. However, as we noted above, if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card as well, the effective rewards rate on the Chase Freedom Unlimited® can be higher than 2%, provided you transfer your points and get a value better than $0.0134 per point.

Compare The Chase Freedom Unlimited® Based On Your Budget

In order to match yourself with the best credit card possible, it’s important to consider how and where you spend most of your money. To do so, you can use our interactive tool below. Enter your estimated monthly budget, and our calculator will display for you the estimated net value of each card over a period of 2 years.

Assumptions Based On Monthly Spend of: $1,430 Edit
General:
U.S. Gas Stations:
U.S. Supermarkets:
Airlines:
Hotel:
U.S. Restaurants:
Office:
Utilities:
Computing:
Card Annual Fee 2-yr Net Rewards Rate

The Net Rewards Rate is equal to the Rewards Value over two years divided by the total spending. The total spending is equal to the values entered into the tool and multiplied by 24 months. See the rewards Value note to see details on how it is calculated.

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. All estimates are based on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

Bonus Value

The bonus field shows our estimate for the value of the card’s welcome bonus. If the bonus is point or mile based, we multiply the total bonus points/miles by our estimate for their value to arrive at a dollar equivalent. We display $0 if there is no bonus or if the user doesn’t qualify for the bonus based on the current spending entered into the tool. All estimates are based on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

2-yr Rewards Value

The Rewards value is calculated by adding together the rewards earned from charging purchases to the card over two years and any welcome bonuses (if applicable). They are then multiplied by our estimated point/mile value, with any annual fees (if applicable) subtracted. All values are based on our own estimates for the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using a card and on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95 3.00%
$625
50,000 Ultimate Rewards when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
$1,028
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 39,840 x $0.013 = $498
Bonuses
50,000 x $0.013 = $625
Less Annual Fees -$95
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 1,028

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
APR 17.74% - 24.74% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Citi® Double Cash Card
$0* 2.00%
$0
$686
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 686 x $1 = $686
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 686

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0*
APR 15.49% - 25.49%* (Variable)

Card Details

  • Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back
  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.49% - 25.49% based on your creditworthiness*
  • Click 'Apply Now' to see the applicable balance transfer fee and how making a balance transfer impacts interest on purchases
  • No categories to track, no caps on cash back, no annual fee*
Capital One® Quicksilver® Card
$0 1.94%
$150
Get $150 bonus after spending $500 within the first 3 months
$665
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 515 x $1 = $515
Bonuses
0 x $1 = $150
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 665

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0
APR 14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)

Card Details

  • One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 14.74%-24.74% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 14.74%-24.74% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees

Note: The information in this box was provided by Capital One® and is not part of our independent analysis.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
$0 1.94%
$150
Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
$665
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 51,480 x $0.01 = $515
Bonuses
0 x $0.01 = $150
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 665

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0
APR 16.74% - 25.49% Variable

Card Details

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee
Chase Freedom®
$0 1.44%
$150
Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
$493
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 343 x $1 = $343
Bonuses
0 x $1 = $150
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 493

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0
APR 16.74% - 25.49% Variable

Card Details

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee
Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card
$39 1.27%
$0
$437
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 515 x $1 = $515
Less Annual Fees -$78
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 437

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $39
APR 24.99% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Earn cash rewards without signing up for rotating categories
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Monitor your credit profile with the CreditWise® app, free for everyone
  • $0 fraud liability if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • No limit to how much cash back you can earn, and cash back doesn't expire for the life of the account
  • Help strengthen your credit for the future with responsible card use
  • Get customized alerts and manage your account with the Capital One mobile app

Note: The information in this box was provided by Capital One® and is not part of our independent analysis.

How To Apply For The Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Currently there are three ways of applying for the Chase Freedom Unlimited® – either online (by clicking "Apply Now" above), over the phone or in a branch. The phone number to call is 1-800-432-3117. If you prefer to apply in branch, you can visit Chase’s website to locate one nearest you.

You will need to have a good to excellent credit score in order to get this card (generally, nothing lower than a FICO of 700).

Comments and Questions

Opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the issuer. We may be compensated through the issuer's Affiliate Program. For a full list of our advertisers see our disclosure page

* See the online credit card application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button, you can review the credit card terms and conditions on the issuer's website.

Info about the following cards: Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, Hilton Honors Surpass® Credit Card, American Express® Blue Sky, American Express® Green Card, The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, The Plenti® Credit Card from Amex, Blue from American Express®, Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz, Bluebird, Centurion® Card from American Express, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, and Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card has been collected independently by ValuePenguin. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Advertiser Disclosure: Some of the offers that appear on this website are from companies which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not review or include all companies or all available products. For more information please see our Advertiser Disclosure.