Credit Cards

What Is Chase Freedom Analysis

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 4 minute read

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a no-annual-fee cash-back credit card that offers a generous welcome bonus, a lengthy introductory 0% APR promotion, and a flat, unlimited 1.5% cash-back earning rate on most purchases made after the first year or the first $20,000 in eligible purchases, whichever comes first.

It’s quite similar to the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Flex cards in that there’s no annual charge and there are attractive sign-up and introductory APR offers.

The Freedom Unlimited plan differs from the Freedom Flex plan in that it does not offer the same set of rotating cash back categories. In certain areas, cardholders can receive 5 percent cash back on purchases up to the quarterly maximum, in addition to the standard 1 percent cash back on all other transactions. But they’re often panned for being a nuisance to set up and monitor.

Many other cash return cards, such as the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card (1.5% cash back on all purchases) and the Citi Double Cash Card (1% cash back on purchases and 1% cashback on bill payments above the minimum) are similar to Chase Freedom Unlimited. It’s also like the American Express Blue Cash Everyday, which offers cash back in a variety of categories that change frequently.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card’s Highlights

Features like this are why the Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card is so valuable. Take note of the generous sign-up bonus, worthwhile cash-back rewards program (earning up to 5% back on eligible purchases), and lengthy 0% APR promotional period.

Bonus for Signing Up

Get an extra 1.5% cash back on purchases (up to the first $20,000) for the first year your account is open. The first $20,000 you spend in the first year earns you 3% cash back on everything else and 6.5% cash back on trips booked via Chase Ultimate Rewards, travel, gift cards, and more.

Earning Cash Back Benefits

Try to Break Free After the first year or after the first $20,000 in eligible purchases, whichever comes first, Limitless cardholders may get limitless 1.5% cash back on most transactions. Several additional categories of purchases, however, provide substantial rebates:

  • 5% cash back on qualifying travel purchases made via the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel site.
  • 3% cash back on qualifying purchases at pharmacies and restaurants (including takeout and delivery)

Since each Ultimate Rewards point is worth $0.01 in cash, earning $10,000 points will get you $100. Your points will never expire as long as your account is active.

Redeeming Cash Back Bonuses

Purchases of travel and general items purchased through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards site, as well as purchases of products made directly with online retailers, qualify for redemption of your earned cash back (such as Amazon).

While there is no minimum for cash redemptions with Chase Freedom Unlimited, the minimum for goods redemptions varies by item price. The explanation is given below.

Transferring Points to Another Chase Credit Cards

Chase Freedom Unlimited card holders have the option of transferring their points to the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card ($95 annual cost) or the Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card ($95 annual charge).

Points transferred through the Ultimate Rewards system can be redeemed for travel purchases at a 25% bonus (for example, increasing the value of a 50,000-point redemption to $625) or transferred at a 1:1 ratio to around ten frequent flyer clubs.

If you just have the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, you won’t be able to take advantage of the redemption bonus or transfer points at a rate of 1 for 1 with any of the other Chase cards.

Important Fees

A yearly subscription is free of charge. The fee for international transfers is 3%. The fee for a cash advance is $5 plus $10, or 5%, whichever is higher.

APR Introductory

The promotional purchase and balance transfer interest rate on this card is 0% for 15 months. Depending on your credit history and the current interest rate, the Chase Freedom Unlimited’s normal purchase and debt transfer APR might be anywhere from 17.99% to 26.74% variable after the introductory period finishes.

Additional Advantages

Additional perks for cardholders with this option include:

  • Protection against loss or damage for 120 days after purchase, up to $500 per item.
  • Free collision and damage insurance for car rentals paid in full with the card.
  • Chase Credit Journey offers a free credit score with weekly updates.

Further, as a Chase Freedom Unlimited cardholder, you’ll have access to valuable Lyft and DoorDash partner perks. Read on for the breakdown.

Credit is required.

The credit requirements for this card are high. If you have any serious blemishes on your credit report, your application will most likely be denied.

Bottom Line

As a credit card, Chase Freedom Unlimited® gives customers a glimmer of optimism that banks would start to take their complaints seriously. Why? This card was introduced long after the original Freedom was released, but it solves the primary problem cardholders had with the original: remembering to activate the 5% rotating categories each quarter.

In comparison, the flat, unrestricted 1.5% earning rate that Freedom Unlimited offers on the vast majority of transactions is significantly less of a hassle to keep track of. That’s good news for time-pressed cardholders who prefer not to second-guess themselves.

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