Advertiser Disclosure

Advertiser Disclosure: Some of the card offers that appear on this website are from companies which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products 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.

Disclaimer: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone. For a full list of our advertisers, see our disclosure page.

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

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, including American Express, see our disclosure page.

94
"If paired with the Chase Sapphire Preferred The Freedom Unlimited has the potential to be the best flat-rate cash back card."

Contents

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. Currently, you can only apply for the card via the phone or by visiting a Chase branch.

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® Cash Rewards Credit Card or Barclaycard 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 - 18 month BT offer, 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.

Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 15.99% - 24.74% Variable
Card Details
  • 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
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.99-24.74%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • 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. If you add an authorized user who makes any purchase, for any amount, you will receive an additional 2,500 points.

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, like the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, 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 - 18 month BT offer.

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 Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard®

The Barclaycard 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 Barclaycard 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 Barclaycard offer.

Chase Freedom Unlimited® vs Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer

The Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer 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.

Edit Monthly Spend: $1,430
General:
Gas:
Groceries:
Airlines:
Hotel:
Dining:
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.

Bonus Value

The bonus field shows our estimate for the value of the card’s sign-up 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.

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 sign-up 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.

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
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95 2.86%
$625
50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
$1,028
Graph Card Read Review More Details
Annual Fee Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
APR 16.99% - 23.99% 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®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • 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

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
Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard®
$0 1.99%
$200
Get a $200 cash rewards bonus after you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days after account opening
$715
Graph Card Read Review More Details
Annual Fee $0
APR 15.99%, 20.99% or 25.99% Variable

Card Details

  • Get a $200 cash rewards bonus after you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days after account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on every purchase. Every time you redeem, get a 5% cash rewards redemption bonus to use toward your next redemption
  • Redeem your cash rewards for a deposit into a U.S. checking or savings account, a statement credit or gift cards. Redemptions start at $50
  • Cash rewards do not expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • Enjoy a 0% introductory APR for the first 15 months on purchases.
  • Plus, you'll get a 0% introductory APR for 15 months for each balance transfer made within 45 days of account opening. After that a variable APR will apply, 15.99%, 20.99% or 25.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Please note, there is a fee for balance transfers
  • No annual fee

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 51,480 x $0.01 = $515
Bonuses
0 x $0.01 = $200
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 715
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
$0 1.85%
$150
Get $150 bonus after spending $500 within the first 3 months
$665
Graph Card Read Review More Details
Annual Fee $0
APR 13.99% - 23.99% (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
  • Use your Quicksilver card and get 50% back as a statement credit on your monthly Spotify Premium subscription, now through April 2018
  • 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 9 months; 13.99%-23.99% variable APR after that
  • Balance transfers also have a 0% intro APR for 9 months; 13.99%-23.99% variable APR after that; a 3% fee applies to each balance transferred
  • 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.

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
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
$0 1.85%
$150
Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening;Earn a $25 Bonus when you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within this same 3-month period
$665
Graph Card Read Review More Details
Annual Fee $0
APR 15.99% - 24.74% Variable

Card Details

  • 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
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.99-24.74%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • No annual fee

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
Chase Freedom®
$0 1.37%
$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
Annual Fee $0
APR 15.99% - 24.74% Variable

Card Details

  • 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 like gas stations, restaurants and drugstores
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.99-24.74%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • No annual fee

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
Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Credit Card
$39 1.21%
$0
$437
Graph Card Read Review More Details
Annual Fee $39
APR 24.99% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Use your QuicksilverOne card and get 50% back as a statement credit on your monthly Spotify Premium subscription, now through April 2018
  • 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
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Fraud coverage if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • Use online banking to access your account, even from your smartphone, with our mobile app
  • Help strengthen your credit for the future with responsible card use

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

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

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

* 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.

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.