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Million Mile Secrets reader, Gina, commented:
Is the Chase Freedom a cash back card or a points card?
On their own, the points you earn from the Freedom or Freedom Unlimited can only be redeemed for 1 cent each for cash back or towards travel.
I’ll explain how rewards work with the Freedom and Freedom Unlimited cards.
Chase Freedom Rewards
So the rewards you earn are referred to as points. But you can redeem these points for cash back. That’s why folks interchangeably refer to these cards as cash back or points cards.
That’s why to get the most value for your points, it’s best to pair your card with a “premium” card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points such as the Sapphire Preferred, Ink Business Preferred, or Sapphire Reserve.
Because you can then combine your points and transfer them directly to Chase’s terrific travel partners.
Emily and I have transferred Chase Ultimate Rewards points to airline and hotel partners in the past for amazing trips to Hawaii, Paris, Milan, and many other destinations.
Other folks like to combine Chase Ultimate Rewards points to their Sapphire Reserve card and book travel through the Chase travel portal.
For example, Million Mile Secrets reader Mike commented he gets the most value by combining points and taking advantage of the 50% bonus on Sapphire Reserve points to book hotels, airfare, and rental cars through the portal.
The flexibility of Chase Ultimate Rewards points is the main reason why it’s my favorite points program.
Freedom and Freedom Unlimited Are Great for Beginners!
Link: Chase Freedom Unlimited
Link: Chase Freedom
They both have no annual fees, which means you can keep them forever. Because having cards open for a long time can potentially improve your credit score by increasing the average age of your accounts.
And both of these cards come with sign-up bonuses. You’ll earn 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($150 cash back) after spending $500 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
I’ve kept the Freedom card in my wallet for many years because I love the quarterly rotating 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards point (5% cash back) bonus categories. So it’s a great card to have because it earns bonus points for everyday spending.
Plus, getting 1 of these cards helps you build a relationship with Chase, which has some of the best travel rewards cards! Then you can get another card to pair with later.
Just remember, Chase has tougher application rules. If you’ve opened ~5+ cards from any bank (except these business cards) in the past 24 months, it’s unlikely you’ll get approved for any card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points. It’s known as the “5/24” rule.
If you’re unsure of your recent card history, there’s an easy way to check your Chase 5/24 status.
The Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited cards both earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which can be redeemed for cash back, gift cards, or travel. These cards are great for beginners because they have no annual fee.
But with either of these cards, the points you earn can NOT be directly transferred to partner airlines and hotels.
To get the most value for your points, it’s best to combine the rewards you earn with another card with another Chase Ultimate Rewards card like the Sapphire Preferred, Ink Business Preferred, or Sapphire Reserve. Then, transfer points to amazing partners like Hyatt or Southwest. Or book travel through the Chase travel portal.