Chase has revised the rewards structure for its popular flat-rate cash-back card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. New cardholders will get a higher cash-back rate in the first year — 3% on up to $20,000 in purchases — but the $150 sign-up bonus is being eliminated.
The new offer has been available in Chase bank branches since mid-March. Now it is online as well and will be the standard offer on the card going forward.
The changes in a nutshell:
|Previous offer |
(before April 5, 2019)
(starting April 5, 2019)
|Rewards rate||• 1.5% cash back on all purchases.||• 3% cash back on up to $20,000 in purchases in the first year.
• 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
|Sign-up bonus||$150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.||Double Cash Back: Earn 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent. After that earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.|
All other card details remain the same. The ongoing cash-back rate (after the 3% promotion in the first year) remains 1.5% on all purchases. The annual fee remains $0, and you get an introductory APR of 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 17.24% - 25.99% Variable APR.
If you’ll be spending less than $10,000 in that first year, then the new terms are a step down from the previous offer. In that case, consider an alternative card that pays the same 1.5% base rate but also gives you a cash bonus. Options include:
- Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card. Sign-up bonus: One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
- Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card. Bonus offer for new cardholders: Earn a $150 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months.
If you spent $20,000 in the first year with the Chase Freedom Unlimited® to max out your 3% rewards, you’d come away with $600 in rewards under the new offer, compared with $450 for the old one.
One thing to keep in mind: Rewards on the Chase Freedom Unlimited® can be transferred to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, where they have 25% or 50% more value, respectively, when redeemed for travel. By using the Chase Freedom Unlimited® to earn 3% rewards and then transferring them to one of the Sapphire cards and using them for travel, you could boost your effective rewards rate on those purchases to 3.75% or 4.5%.