While mileage earning opportunities for actually flying have greatly decreased over the past several years as many programs go revenue based and make other tweaks, maximizing points otherwise has become easier than ever before. Nowadays you can easily earn 3-5x points for many daily purchases, from groceries to gas to Amazon to travel.
Even spend which doesn’t fall into specific bonus categories is more lucrative than ever before, as we’re no longer earning a single mile or point per dollar spent. Now it’s possible to earn 1.5 points in the transferrable currencies of both American Express and Chase, which is fantastic. But which card is better?
This is the card I use most for everyday spend, as it offers the following bonus categories:
- 3x points at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases
- 2x points at US gas stations
- 50% points bonus when you make at least 30 transactions per billing cycle, meaning you can earn up to 4.5x points at supermarkets, 3x points at gas stations, and 1.5x points on everyday spend
This card has a $95 annual fee. What’s cool is that it accrues “true” Membership Rewards points, the ones which can be transferred to the following airline and hotel partners:
|Aer Lingus Aer Club||Choice Privileges|
|Aeroméxico Club Premier||Hilton Honors|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||Marriott Bonvoy|
|Air France/KLM Flying Blue|
|ANA Mileage Club|
|British Airways Executive Club|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles|
|El Al Matmid|
|Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club|
The Freedom Unlimited Card is advertised as offering straight 1.5% cashback. If it’s cashback you’re actually after, this isn’t the card I’d recommend getting. You’re better off with something like the Citi® Double Cash Card, which offers 1% cash back when you buy, and another 1% cash back when you pay for your purchase.
However, what’s fantastic is that the rewards earned on this card can be converted into Ultimate Rewards points, at a rate of one point per cent. In other words, this card offers 1.5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent, but only if you also have either the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card. Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to the following partners:
|Aer Lingus Aer Club||IHG Rewards Club|
|Air France/KLM Flying Blue||Marriott Bonvoy|
|British Airways Executive Club||World Of Hyatt|
|Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club|
So while you’re essentially earning 1.5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on a no annual fee card, you need to have a $95 annual fee card in order to maximize the return you get on this card.
Which card is better?
Both of these are extremely compelling cards, and if you’re a big credit card spender, I could see value in diversifying your spend and earning points through both cards. In general here are a few of the relative advantages I see:
- The Amex EveryDay Preferred Card also offers additional points bonuses on supermarket and gas station purchases, which can earn you 3-4.5x points per dollar spent; that’s huge
- The Freedom Unlimited Card has no minimum number of purchases you need to make per billing cycle in order to earn 1.5x points per dollar spent, which is great for those who don’t make frequent purchases
- The Amex EveryDay Preferred Card has a $75 annual fee, while the no annual fee Freedom Unlimited Card requires having a $95 annual fee, so which of those represents a better deal is a function of whether you’d maximize the value you get out of the Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus.
- Anecdotally the Freedom Unlimited Card will be significantly more difficult to be approved for, given that Chase generally is only approving people for cards if they haven’t applied for more than five credit cards in the past 24 months; the Amex EveryDay Preferred Card is quite easy to get approved for, in my experience
In terms of the value of the points, personally I value Membership Rewards and Ultimate Rewards points roughly equally, though everyone should individually decide which currency they value more, based on their redemption patterns.
Both currencies can be transferred to Singapore KrisFlyer, but otherwise have different partners
The Amex EveryDay Preferred Card and Freedom Unlimited Card are the two most compelling cards for everyday, non-bonused spend. I’d choose which is best for you based on whether you get more value out of Membership Rewards or Ultimate Rewards points. The advantage of the EveryDay Preferred is that it offers further bonus points on groceries and gas, while the Freedom Unlimited has no annual fee, though requires you to have another card in conjunction with it.
Which card do you think is more valuable — the Amex EveryDay Preferred or Freedom Unlimited?