Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.
Chase Sapphire cards are often a go-to credit card for travel enthusiasts, regardless of airline or hotel loyalties. With high sign-up bonuses and lucrative bonus spending categories, it's easy to stack up Chase Ultimate RewardsⓇ points.
However, if you have a Chase Sapphire card only, then you’re potentially missing out on major earning opportunities. Chase offers a wide and varied selection of rewards cards, but the enhanced benefits added to the Chase Freedom Unlimited® could make it the perfect card to pair with your Chase Sapphire Reserve® or Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
New 5x grocery bonus
With restaurant dining rooms closed in much of the nation and Americans encouraged to keep a social distance, it has been a challenge to take advantage of Sapphire's dining out bonus.
To help Chase Ultimate RewardsⓇ collectors boost their earnings while staying at home, new Chase Freedom Unlimited® cardholders will receive 5% cash back on the first $12,000 they spend at grocery stores their first year.
Not only does this bonus apply to all in-store purchases, but it is also valid when using certain grocery delivery services such as Instacart, Shipt and Peapod. Other grocery delivery services may count as well — it all depends on how the charge codes to your statement.
It should be noted that this bonus applies only at grocery stores and excludes groceries purchased at big-box retailers, such as Walmart and Target, as well as wholesale clubs like Costco or Sam's Club.
This bonus is available only for new cardholders so current Chase Freedom Unlimited® users aren't eligible for the benefit. Also, once the $12,000 spending limit is reached, the earning rate drops back down to 1.5% cash back.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® also earns 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
Why Sapphire holders need the Chase Freedom Unlimited®
One of the strengths of the Chase Ultimate RewardsⓇ program is how easy it is to transfer points from one card to another, which allows you to take advantage of redemption perks that exist on some cards but not on others.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers 1% back on grocery store purchases but comes with the added benefit that Chase Ultimate RewardsⓇ points redeemed through the travel portal will receive a 50% bonus. This is where having both cards and taking advantage of the transfer options becomes valuable.
If you were to max out your grocery benefit on the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, you would earn either $600 cash back or 60,000 Ultimate Reward points. Then, if you transferred your points from your Chase Freedom Unlimited® to your Chase Sapphire Reserve®, those 60,000 points would be worth 90,000 points if you redeem them through the Chase travel portal.
For comparison sake, a typical sign-up bonus for a Chase Ultimate RewardsⓇ earning personal credit card ranges from 50,000-60,000 points. This spending bonus alone could net you upwards of 1.5x a typical sign-up bonus.
Nerd tip: You can combine points with one member of your household who also has a Chase Ultimate Rewards® account. The person doesn't have to be your spouse or child, but they must legally reside in the same household (Chase makes it clear that if you attempt to misuse this benefit, your points and account will be revoked).
What if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card?
If you haven’t splurged for the Chase Sapphire Reserve® yet but have a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card instead, you can (and should) still take advantage of this new bonus category with the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. The math just changes a bit: Instead of your points being worth 1.5x in the Chase travel portal, they are worth 1.25x. So if you maxed out the $12,000 spending, got your 60,000 points and used them in the travel portal they’d be worth 75,000 points.
Granted, spending $12,000 in groceries in 12 months may not be feasible for everyone, but add on some additional perks and this card becomes even more attractive.
No annual fee
Another important feature of the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is that it's a no-fee card. That means you can try this card and not have to worry about earning enough points to exceed the value of an annual fee. The new 5% cash back on groceries perk also makes it one of the highest earning no-fee cards on the market.
In addition to the enhanced grocery perk, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® still retains all of the benefits that made it such a valuable card previously. All purchases outside of grocery stores still earn 1.5% cash back and the card also features a sign-up bonus: Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
You can also take this bonus as Chase Ultimate RewardsⓇ points, which has a value of up to 30,000 points if transferred to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. If you maxed out the grocery bonus too, you’re now looking at 120,000 Chase Ultimate RewardsⓇ points for no annual fee.
The bottom line
You can’t be a savvy Chase Ultimate RewardsⓇ collector if you only have one Chase card in your rotation. If you want to get the most value back for the money you spend, then you need to take advantage of every perk and benefit that Chase Ultimate RewardsⓇ has to offer.
Signing up for the no-fee Chase Freedom Unlimited®, especially with its new 5x grocery bonus, is an easy and free way to accelerate your rewards collecting so you can get the points you need for future travel.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card