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If you are looking for a card with no annual fee and easy earning potential, the Chase Freedom Unlimited might be a good fit for you. The Freedom Unlimited card is a great starter card that still holds a spot in my wallet due to its straightforwardness and ability to pair with other Chase cards.
It's all about simplicity with Freedom Unlimited. You can earn $200 (or 20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards) cash back after spending $500 in your first three months. You also earn 1.5% back on all purchases without paying an annual fee. Recently, Chase added 3% back on restaurants and drugstores. Additionally, through March 2022, you can earn 5% (an additional 3.5%) on all Lyft rides. Finally you also earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. There is no limit to the amount of cash back that can be earned. Cash back remains valid as long as your account is open.
Earn Rate and Redemption Potential
While you can earn cash back with the Freedom Unlimited, you can also use your points for travel. This is even more valuable if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve. Because Chase Freedom Unlimited, Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve are all part of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, you can transfer points between the accounts. Once points are in a Sapphire account, you can transfer 1:1 to a host of airline and hotel partners.
If you use points to book travel directly through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal, you benefit from an additional 25% or 50% bonus with the Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve, respectively. For example, if you redeem the $200 or 20,000 point signup bonus in the Unlimited Rewards travel portal, it is worth $250 (Sapphire Preferred) or $300 (Sapphire Reserve).
As this card has returned to a $200 or 20,000 point sign-up bonus offer with the removal of the 5% back on grocery spend, this card is no longer on the top of my list to apply for and grab. While it continues to be a great everyday card with 3% back on restaurants and drugstores (seen also on the Chase Freedom Flex) and 1.5% back on all other purchases, I'm not sure it tops my list for a new application, but rather as a downgrade option from the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve.
With no annual fee, I never question the value proposition of the Chase Freedom Unlimited. I appreciate that I can use my Freedom Unlimited and earn a consistent rate (1.5%) with every single purchase. Nothing to overthink.
The Freedom Unlimited is best for everyday purchases that do not fall within a bonus category.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited will always have a spot in my wallet due to its ease of use, flexibility in redemption and lack of an annual fee. Although there is a solid cash back option, the ultimate value comes from pairing the card with the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve for travel. With Chase removing the 5% back on grocery spend up to $12,000 for the first year, personally, I would go back to make certain you think through your entire plan before applying for the Chase Freedom Unlimited as it requires one of your valuable Chase 5/24 slots.