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Chase Freedom Unlimited: Flat-Rate Cash Back With a Twist

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Chase Freedom Unlimited: Flat-Rate Cash Back With a Twist

The Chase Freedom Unlimited℠ is changing the rules of flat-rate cash-back cards one redemption option at a time.

With this card, you earn a flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases. And your redemption options include more than just statement credits or a check in the mail. You can also redeem your rewards to book travel directly through Chase for the same value, or transfer your rewards to other Chase cards with more valuable redemption options. Other flat-rate cash-back cards don’t provide such a wide array of redemption opportunities.

In terms of versatility, the Chase Freedom Unlimited℠ is at the top of its class. And if you’re looking for a companion to the Chase Freedom® and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better deal.

Chase Freedom Unlimited℠

Chase Freedom Unlimited℠

Apply Now on Chase's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • High rewards rate
    • No annual fee
    • 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 15.99% - 24.74% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 25.99%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

    Intro APR

    • 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months
  • Additional Information
    • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic
    • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
    • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.99-24.74%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
    • Redeem for cash - any amount, anytime
    • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
    • No annual fee

Chase Freedom Unlimited℠: The Basics

The Chase Freedom Unlimited℠ is a straightforward cash-back card, with no caps on rewards earnings and a handsome sign-up bonus. Here’s what you should know before applying:

  • Earn rate: Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • Sign-up bonus: Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening..
  • Annual fee: $0.
  • Redemption options: Cash back or Ultimate Rewards points. Ultimate Rewards points, worth 1 cent apiece, can be transferred to other cards that earn Ultimate Rewards or redeemed for gift cards and trips booked through Chase’s travel portal. Cardholders will also be able to redeem rewards at certain stores’ point-of-sale terminals using the Chase Freedom® Mobile app.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited℠ Freedom Unlimited is a good card on its own, but it’s even better as a companion to other proprietary Chase cards. If you have more than one Chase card, you could:

  • Earn more by splitting your spending between this card and the Chase Freedom®. The Chase Freedom® earns 5% cash back in quarterly rotating categories and 1% on everything else. By using the Chase Freedom® for purchases in the bonus categories and the Chase Freedom Unlimited℠ on all other spending, you’d boost your overall rewards earnings significantly. You’d also have the option of transferring rewards from one account to the other and redeeming them all at once.
  • Get better redemption value by transferring your rewards to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. If you earned rewards mostly on your Chase Freedom Unlimited℠ and redeemed them on your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you’d have more rewards and better redemption options. When you redeem rewards on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card through Chase’s travel portal, you get a value of 1.25 cents per point. If you move points at a 1:1 ratio to major loyalty programs, such as British Airways, United Airlines and Hyatt, you could potentially get even more value.

In either case, you’d earn much more than you would if the Chase Freedom Unlimited℠ were your only card.

Why get the Chase Freedom Unlimited℠?

As a flat-rate cash-back card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited℠ delivers high ongoing value at a low cost. In addition to its redemption flexibility, its best features include:

No minimum redemptions. With this card, you can redeem for cash back in any amount — even for as little as 1 cent. The Chase Freedom®, in contrast, has a $20 minimum redemption for cash back, and the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer has a minimum $25 redemption. With no minimum redemptions, Chase Freedom Unlimited℠ cardholders will be able to redeem every cent earned on the card, a relatively rare benefit among cash-back cards.

A hefty sign-up bonus and a 0% APR period. The sign-up bonus matches that on the Chase Freedom®. The card also comes with a 0% APR period: 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 15.99% - 24.74% Variable APR.

» MORE: How much is an Ultimate Rewards point worth? 

The limits of the Chase Freedom Unlimited℠

The Chase Freedom Unlimited℠ offers good value — especially if you’re looking for ways to earn more Ultimate Rewards points. But it also comes with some limitations you should know about:

Foreign transaction fee. Like many cash-back credit cards, the Chase Freedom Unlimited℠ comes with a foreign transaction fee. If you’re traveling abroad, the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card might be a better choice, since you won’t have to pay that extra 3% fee on every purchase made outside the U.S. The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, just like the Chase Freedom Unlimited℠.

Not the highest flat-rate cash-back card around. If you’re just interested in cash-back rewards — and not necessarily Ultimate Rewards — the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is still the best. It offers 1% cash back on every dollar spent, and 1% cash back on every dollar paid off, more than the Chase Freedom Unlimited℠’s 1.5% cash-back rewards rate.

No bonus categories. The whole point of a flat-rate cash-back card, of course, is to increase your rewards earnings across the board, not just in one category. But for those who do a lot of spending in one area — say, groceries — a card with bonus categories may offer more overall value. And there’s no reason you couldn’t use both types of cards: a flat-rate card for everyday purchases, and a card with tiered rewards for purchases within a certain category.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best cash-back cards

The Chase Freedom Unlimited℠: Is it worth getting?

The Chase Freedom Unlimited℠ is good news for consumers — especially for those who already have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Freedom®.

With no minimum redemptions and plenty of options for cashing in on rewards, it offers more flexibility than we’ve seen in other Chase cards. It doesn’t come with the highest flat-rate cash-back rate around, but for consumers looking for a card that offers versatility and value, this one is a strong choice.

Claire Tsosie is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: claire@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @ideclaire7.