Review: Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

 

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.

Current Offer

It's all about simplicity with the Freedom Unlimited. You can earn $200 cash back after spending $500 in your first three months. After that, earn 1.5% back on all purchases without paying an annual fee. Chase has just updated their offer to include grocery spend!  You will now earn 5% back on all grocery spend (not including Target or Walmart) for the first 12 months of having his card up to $12K.  This equates to an additional $600 or 60K points if you also have an Ultimate Reward earning card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred.  Additionally, through March 2022, you can earn 5% (an additional 3.5%) on all Lyft rides. There is no limit to the amount of cash back that can be earned. Cash back remain 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).

Analysis

The 5% back on grocery spend on the first $12,000 in spend is a big draw for this card.  As noted above, the equates to an additional $600 or 60,000 points.  If you can max this out, this brings the sign up bonus to $800 or 80,000 points (when transferred to the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or the Chase Ink Preferred.   While $12,000 seems like a lot, many families could max this out as it averages to $1,000 a month in grocery spend.  While the American Express Gold offers a bonus on grocery spend of 4x Membership Rewards, the card also comes with a $250 annual fee.

For a no annual fee card, the ability to earn $800 or 80,000 points is a major bonus!!  As we are traveling less due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this kind of sign-up bonus for a no annual fee card hits it out of the park, in my opinion.  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.

For purchases such as gas, dining or travel, there are options with higher earn potential. The Freedom Unlimited is best for everyday purchases that do not fall within a bonus category.

Final Thoughts

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. While we often caution applying for the Chase Freedom Unlimited as it requires one of your valuable Chase 5/24 slots, the increased sign up offer of 5% earn on grocery spend for the first year changes the game.

Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. 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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