Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card Review

GOBankingRates Score

4.6
Quick Take: The Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card is one of the most popular available. It provides an easy way to earn cash back on your card spending without having to deal with revolving categories or activation to earn points. Best of all, there's no annual fee or minimum redemption amount. If you're in search of a simple cash-back credit card with some sign-up bonuses and perks to entice you, the card may be the right choice. This Chase Freedom Unlimited review highlights everything you should know before you get started.
  • Rewards Rate
    4.5
  • Fees
    4.5
  • Sign-Up Bonus
    4.5
  • Intro APR
    5.0
How did we calculate this?

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Pros

  • $200 cash bonus after spending $500 in the first three months
  • No annual fee
  • Unlimited rewards of 5% for travel, 3% for dining and drugstores and 1.5% on all other purchases
  • Rewards points don't expire
  • Redeem for cash back, gift cards, or travel through the Ultimate Rewards website

Cons

  • High regular APR

Chase Freedom Unlimited Card Overview

Chase’s reach is big. It’s the largest card issuer in the U.S. and offers a range of credit cards such as travel and cash-back rewards cards. The Chase Sapphire cards are well-received travel rewards cards, and the two main Chase Freedom cards (Unlimited and Flex) are the financial institution’s popular cash-back credit cards. 

Rewards credit cards often come with annual fees that tend to eat away at the rewards earning potential. Chase’s Freedom cards come with no annual fee to help you maximize your earnings.

When referring to the Freedom Unlimited card’s earning potential, you’ll notice that the rewards are called points. It’s the way that Chase tracks your earnings. Every 100 points are worth $1 in cash back. This means that spending $1,000 could be valued at $10 when it’s time to redeem your points.

Take a closer look at the Freedom Unlimited card’s strengths and weaknesses to determine if it’s the right cash-back card for you.

Who Is the Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card Best For?

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card is best for individuals looking to earn cash back on everyday purchases without the hassle of keeping track of spending categories, deadlines or the need to activate offers. Chase keeps it simple with the Unlimited card, leaving the more complicated method of bonus categories to Chase Freedom Flex cardholders.

Features of the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card

The following features are part of the reason the card earned a respectable score of 4.6 out of 5, ranking the cash-back card high in GOBankingRates’ credit card evaluations.

Sign-Up Bonus

The biggest selling point of the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card is the potential to earn some cash back on your card spending. To kick-start your journey into savings, Chase offers newly approved cardholders a up to $300 in the first year as you’ll earn an additional 1.5% cash back on all purchases on up to the first $20,000 spent.

Earning Cash-Back Rewards

When evaluating which credit card is best for you, sign-up bonuses typically close the deal. However, a card’s rewards are another big selling point. The Chase Freedom Unlimited card keeps its cash-back rewards structure fairly simple.

Travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards website will earn 5% cash back. Drugstore purchases, restaurant spending, takeout and select food deliveries all earn 3% cash back. Everything else earns 1.5%, which can be considered generous when you consider that cash-back cards typically only offer 1% cash back.

Most importantly, there are no caps on how much you can earn in rewards.

Redeeming Points

You’ll find some flexibility when you’re ready to redeem your points. First of all, your rewards don’t expire, so you can take your time. Plus, there is no minimum redemption requirement — redeem as little or as much as you’d like.

As mentioned, points are valued by Chase at $1 per 100 points for most redemption categories. You could redeem them for cash, gift cards, travel when booking through the Ultimate Rewards site, or paying with points. 

Keep in mind that your points may not be worth the full amount for all redemptions. Amazon’s Shop With Points program values 100 points at only 80 cents. 

Intro APR

The Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card also comes with an introductory annual percentage rate for newly approved cardholders. A 0% APR is available for the first 15 months for balance transfers or card purchases, then .

Take advantage of the offer to make any large purchases you’ve been holding off on. You’ll be able to pay off the purchases for over a year with no additional finance charges. As for balance transfers, Chase will charge you a 3% or $5 (whichever is greater) balance transfer fee for transfers initiated in the first 60 days or 5%/$5 for transfers after the initial 60 days.

Other Perks

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a Visa credit card and comes with many card perks exclusive to the Visa network. Besides the chance to earn cash-back rewards and the number of sign-up bonuses available, other perks you’ll find include free credit scores and monitoring through Chase Credit Journey.

You’ll also receive extended warranty coverage for items purchased with the card, purchase protection to replace damaged or stolen items, trip cancellation insurance and coverage for auto rental collision damage.

Fees

Starting with no annual fee, the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card is one of the best low-cost credit cards available. However, other fees you should watch out for include the already-mentioned balance transfer fee of 3% to 5% and a foreign transaction fee of 3% on purchases made overseas.

Besides the fees, the card comes with an interest rate ranging between. Plus, late fees can set you back as much as $40. The card’s APR and late fees are not very competitive. Fortunately, you can avoid the late fees and finance charges by spending wisely and paying your balance off in full — and on time. 

What’s Missing

Although the Freedom Unlimited card has a lot going for it, there are some drawbacks to the cash rewards credit card. There aren’t any options for rewards in alternate categories. If you’re not satisfied earning 1.5% for most of your purchases, you’ll find that other cash-back credit cards may have more options.

For some, another drawback to the card is that applicants with a good credit score or better have the best chances of approval. It’s unlikely that applicants with low credit scores or a limited credit history will get approved. 

Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Other Options

Comparing credit cards before committing to one is a sensible decision. Otherwise, a closed or canceled credit card (due to buyer’s remorse) could affect your credit score. Here’s a head-to-head comparison between the Freedom Unlimited card and other Chase cards you might consider.

Card Best For
Chase Freedom Unlimited Simple cash-back rewards structure
Chase Freedom Flex Bonus earnings categories
Chase Sapphire Preferred Rewards travel

Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Chase Freedom Flex

A comparison of these two Chase Freedom cards boils down to the type of cardholder who may resonate with one over the other. The Chase Freedom Unlimited is more hands off when it comes to earning points, as compared to the Freedom Flex, which is designed for cardholders who like to maximize earnings.

Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred

When comparing the Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’re essentially comparing a cash-back rewards card to a travel rewards one. The main difference is redemption potential. The Freedom Unlimited comes with no annual fee and can be redeemed for cash, gift cards and shopping at select retailers.

Chase Sapphire Preferred points have greater flexibility when it comes to earnings. However, the flexibility comes with an annual fee of , although it’s offset with a far more generous sign-up bonus of after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. The bonus points are valued at $750 in travel when booked through Chase’s online travel portal known as Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Good To Know

Alternating spending on your rewards credit cards takes a little research first to determine what merchants or spending categories can earn you the most on particular cards. However, the effort is well worth it to maximize how much you can earn in rewards.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a good option for dining and drugstore purchases, earning 3x points. The 5x rewards rate on travel is also very good, but you may want to earn travel rewards for your travel spending that can be redeemed for free plane tickets or hotel stays at a better redemption rate — instead of cash back. Finally, the 1.5 points per dollar on your remaining spending is better than the typical 1x cash back that cards usually offer.

Final Take

The Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card is a good card to keep in your wallet but it isn’t necessarily the only card you should have. It’s a solid, low-fee rewards card that will help you get some cash back on your card spending. The travel category is the most generous when it comes to earnings, at 5x points.

However, if you’re truly interested in leveraging your spending into rewards, you may be better off paying for your travel spending with a travel rewards credit card or alternating between two cards to earn the most points per category. As long as you’re able to keep your card spending to a responsible level and pay off your card balance in full, the approach could help you save money and get some perks out of your card usage.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Card FAQ

Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about the Chase Freedom Unlimited card.
  • What can I use Chase Freedom Unlimited points for?
    • The points you earn for spending can be redeemed for cash back or gift cards, for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, or to pay for online shopping at merchants such as Amazon.
  • Do I need to bank with Chase to apply for the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card?
    • Although Chase offers banking and credit cards, you don't need to have a Chase bank account to apply for the Chase Freedom Unlimited. However, banking with Chase can make it easier to pay and manage your credit card through the Chase app or website.
  • Is there Chase Freedom Unlimited travel insurance?
    • Chase Freedom Unlimited cardholders have access to some travel insurance such as trip cancellation/interruption insurance, which pays up to $1,500 per person or $6,000 per trip in expenses if your traveling must be canceled or rescheduled due to sickness, weather and more. In addition, Chase provides travel emergency assistance through a benefits representative. Lastly, primary collision insurance for rental vehicles is included when you pay for a rental vehicle in full with the card.
  • What is the minimum credit score you need to get approved for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card?
    • There are many factors that could affect your chances of getting approved for a credit card. According to reports by card applicants, individuals with good credit and a score of 670 or higher have the best odds of being approved for a Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card.
  • What Chase Freedom Unlimited benefits are there?
    • Chase Freedom Unlimited provides more than trip insurance. The card comes with protections that extend the warranty of the items you purchase and also provide for repair or replacement of qualifying damaged or stolen items. You will also have access to Chase Ultimate Rewards to redeem points for travel. In addition, you'll receive a free three-month subscription to DoorDash's DashPass service and earn bonus points (5x instead of 1.5x) on Lyft rides.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Chase. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Chase.

Information is accurate as of June 3, 2022.

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About the Author

Cynthia Paez Bowman is a personal finance writer with degrees from American University in international business and journalism. Besides writing about personal finance, she writes about real estate, interior design and architecture. Her work has been featured in MSN, Brex, Freshome, MyMove, Emirates’ Open Skies magazine and more.

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