Update: This offer for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite MasterCard® has expired. Learn more about the current offers here.
In early March I first wrote about the rumors of Chase introducing a new card called the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. This was intended to be a product which was separate from the popular Chase Freedom®. The Freedom Card offers 1% cashback, and then 5% cashback in rotating quarterly categories.
Meanwhile the Freedom Unlimited is intended to offer a flat 1.5% cashback on all purchases, with no bonus categories.
For a few weeks now it has been possible to apply for the Freedom Unlimited at a Chase branch, though it’s now also possible to apply for the no annual fee Chase Freedom Unlimited® online.
Chase Freedom Unlimited benefits
The card has a straightforward rewards structure, as it offers a flat 1.5% cashback on every purchase. You can redeem for any amount at anytime, and there are no caps to how much cashback you can earn.
The best part of the Chase Freedom is that points earned on the card can be converted into Ultimate Rewards points in conjunction with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card. If you have either of those cards then you can convert cashback into Ultimate Rewards point at a rate of one Ultimate Rewards point per cent. In other words, $100 cashback converts into 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points.
This means that in conjunction with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Plus® Business Credit Card, this card accrues 1.5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent. That’s an incredible return on everyday, non-bonused spend, and makes it better than the Sapphire Preferred, which does have an annual fee.
Is the Freedom Unlimited a good cashback card?
If it’s just cashback you’re after, you shouldn’t get the Freedom Unlimited. You’re better off with the Citi® Double Cash Card, which offers 1% cash back when you make your purchase, and then 1% cash back when you pay for those purchases. That card will net you 0.5% more cashback after you pay off your bill.
If you’re open to earning cashback towards travel, I’d consider the Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® or Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, both of which offer 2% or more cashback towards travel with no foreign transaction fees.
But either way, you can do better than 1.5% cashback on a no annual fee card. The real value in the Freedom Unlimited is in conjunction with the Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus, as you’ll be earning 1.5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent.
Is the Chase Freedom or Freedom Unlimited better?
It all depends on what you’re after and how much you spend in various categories. Both cards have no annual fees, so the major difference is how many points you’d earn through the bonus categories on the Freedom Card. The Freedom Card offers 5x points in rotating quarterly categories, valid for up to $1,500 of spend per quarter.
In other words, I usually earn 7,500 Ultimate Rewards points per quarter by maximizing the Freedom Card bonus categories. What this doesn’t account for is how many points I’d earn on another card.
For example, this quarter you can earn 5x points at grocery stores, though usually I earn 4.5x points at grocery stores on the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card, as it offers 3x points at grocery stores, and a 50% points bonus when making 30 transactions per billing cycle. I should note that the bonus on groceries is capped at $6,000 per year, but my point is that the math gets tricky at times.
For example, you can pay your taxes by credit card for a convenience fee of ~1.87%, so if you pay with the Freedom Unlimited and also have a card which accrues Ultimate Rewards points, that’s like picking up Ultimate Rewards points for ~1.25 cents each, which I consider to be a great value.
Freedom Unlimited Card bottom line
The Freedom Unlimited offers the best return on everyday, non-bonused spend of any Chase card out there, assuming you have it in conjunction with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card. I guess it’s intended to be Chase’s response to the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card, which also offers up to 1.5x points on everyday spend.
However, if it’s actual cashback you’re after, you’re much better off with something like the Citi® Double Cash Card,
I’d say there’s also still merit to the Freedom Card, thanks to the 5x points in rotating quarterly categories.
Lastly, keep in mind that Chase has recently tightened up their rules for credit card applications, so don’t expect to get approved if you’ve applied for more than five credit cards in the past 24 months.
Non-Affiliate Product Disclaimer: The information for the AmEx Everyday Preferred has been collected independently by One Mile at a Time. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.