How to Get the Most from the Chase Freedom Unlimited

Spending on groceries and redeeming your Ultimate Rewards points for travel are two ways to maximize the perks.
Sep 8, 2020
How to get the most from the Chase Freedom Unlimited

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If you’re a Chase Ultimate Rewards® collector then the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is nearly a must-have card for you. Following this guide will tell you everything you need to know to get the most value out of your Chase Freedom Unlimited®.

Earn the sign-up bonus

The first thing you want to do when you receive your card is to make sure that you get your sign-up bonus. The Chase Freedom Unlimited® comes with the following offer: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back! Don’t leave cash or points on the table, and aim to responsibly hit the spending threshold to maximize your earnings.

Take advantage of bonus categories

The following bonus categories are even more lucrative in your first year of card membership. Cardholders will earn the following bonuses on the first $20,000 spent during their first year:

  • 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

  • 4.5% back at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services.

  • 4.5% back at drugstores.

  • 3% back on everything else.

Once cardholders have reached the $20,000 threshold or their first year of card membership has passed, the earning rates will decrease by 1.5%, making the earning rates a respectable 5%, 3% and 1.5% respectively.

Buy anything — no really, anything

Most Chase cards offer only 1% back for spending you do outside of their designated bonus categories, which can severely limit your earning potential if you don’t hit those categories hard.

The popular Chase Sapphire cards, for example, offer bonus points for dining out and travel, which are two spending categories that have seen a serious dip for most people.

The strength of the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is that after the welcome bonus has been maximized, the card still offers a cash-back rate of 1.5% on all purchases, regardless of categories.

If you carry multiple Chase rewards cards, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a great card to earn extra cash back on all of your purchases that don’t qualify for a higher-earning bonus category on your other cards. When done right, you would avoid earning only 1% altogether, making the Chase Freedom Unlimited®’s 1.5% your bare minimum.

Get another Chase card

This tip applies specifically if you’re planning to redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards® points for travel rather than taking them as cash, and it's the one thing you have to do if you want to get the most value for your points.

Certain Chase cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, will offer you bonus points on your Chase Ultimate Rewards® if you redeem them through the Chase travel portal, where you can purchase plane tickets and hotel stays.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve®, for example, will give you a 50% bonus for every point you redeem through the portal.

If you had the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you could transfer 80,000 points from your Chase Freedom Unlimited® to your Chase Sapphire Reserve® instantly and without any penalty. Then if you were to redeem your transferred points through the Chase travel portal, your 80,000 points would take on 120,000 points' worth of value, which would be the cash equivalent of an extra $400.

The bottom line

On its own, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a rewards card that’s capable of delivering strong value.

But if you want to receive the highest value possible for your Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, pair this card with a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and you’ll watch your value soar.

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 2022, including those best for:

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