Why You Should (or Should NOT) Change Your Chase Freedom to Freedom Unlimited!
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Million Mile Secrets reader, Sanil tweeted:
Should I upgrade my card from Chase Freedom to Chase Freedom Unlimited?
Great question, Sanil!
Both cards have no annual fee and the ability to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points which you can redeem for cash back.
Or transfer to travel partners if you also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus, or Chase Ink Bold (no longer available) card.
The card that’s best for you depends on your spending habits. And you will NOT earn a sign-up bonus if you convert your Chase Freedom to the Freedom Unlimited. I’ll explain!
Regular Freedom vs Freedom Unlimited – Which Will Earn You More Ultimate Rewards Points?
Link: Chase Freedom
Link: My Review of the Chase Freedom
Link: Chase Freedom Unlimited
Link: My Review of the Chase Freedom Unlimited
If you convert your Chase Freedom card to Chase Freedom Unlimited, you will NOT be eligible for the sign-up bonus of $150 bonus (15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account.
However, you will get:
- 1.5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points (1.5% cash back) per $1 you spend on all purchases with NO limit (hence, the “Unlimited”)
- No annual fee
Instead, you’ll earn 1.5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 you spend (1.5% cash back) on ALL purchases. With NO spending limit!
If you spend the maximum of $1,500 per quarter in popular rotating 5X bonus categories, this can make a big difference. In the past this has included restaurants, gas stations, department stores, and Amazon.
On the other hand, the regular Chase Freedom only earns 1 Chase Ultimate Rewards point per $1 (1% cash back) on non-bonus category purchases. So depending on where you spend the most, the Chase Freedom Unlimited could be a better deal.
The regular Chase Freedom is the right card if you regularly spend the maximum $1,500 per quarter on rotating 5X bonus categories.
Using Ultimate Rewards with Freedom or Freedom Unlimited
Chase Ultimate Rewards is my favorite rewards program because you get so much flexibility with your points. You can redeem them for:
- Cash back at 1 cent per Chase Ultimate Rewards point
- Travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal at 1.25 cents per Chase Ultimate Rewards point
- Big Travel when you transfer to airline and hotel partners
You can transfer Ultimate Rewards points earned from the Chase Freedom or Chase Freedom Unlimited to travel partners if you also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus, or Chase Ink Bold (no longer available) card.
Chase Card Approval Limit and Sign-Up Bonus Eligibility
I wrote about how Chase is limiting credit card approvals. If you have ~5 or more new accounts on your credit report within the previous 24 months, you likely will NOT be approved for a new Chase credit card.
So you should be carefully consider when and how you apply for Chase credit cards.
Presto Change-o! Turning Your Freedom Card Into a Freedom Unlimited
I spoke with a Chase representative to find out if I could convert my Chase Freedom to Freedom Unlimited.
He checked, and then said that it was possible.
But he also confirmed that I would NOT receive a sign-up bonus.
He also said if I change to the Freedom Unlimited:
- I could keep the same credit card number
- The information attached to the card would be transferred
- It would NOT show up as a new account on my credit history
If Sanil has not had ~5 or more new accounts in the last 24 months, he’s better off keeping his Chase Freedom card and applying separately for the Freedom Unlimited. That way he’ll get the 15,000 Ultimate Rewards points sign-up bonus . And he can use the card with better earning for everyday spending.
But if Sanil has had more than 5 new accounts, he likely won’t be approved for a new card with Chase. Instead, he should convert his Chase Freedom to Freedom Unlimited only if it makes sense based on his spending.
Can You Convert Your Chase Sapphire Preferred to a Freedom Unlimited?Update: I sent a secure message to Chase and they responded you could change a Chase Sapphire Preferred card to a Freedom Unlimited. So it is possible, at least through a secure message!
I also asked the Chase representative if I could change my Chase Sapphire Preferred to the Freedom Unlimited to avoid paying the annual fee.
This was NOT possible. The representative said I would have to submit a new application for the Freedom Unlimited card.
It seems the only card that can be converted to the Freedom Unlimited without submitting a new application is the regular Chase Freedom. All other cards like the Chase Ink Plus and Chase co-branded airline and hotel cards can NOT be converted to the Freedom Unlimited.
It could make sense to convert your regular Chase Freedom card to the Chase Freedom Unlimited if you don’t do a lot of spending in rotating Chase Freedom 5X bonus categories.
Or if it’s unlikely you’ll be approved if you apply directly because you’ve opened more than ~5 credit cards in the past 24 months.
That said, if you haven’t opened a lot of cards, you’re better off keeping your Chase Freedom and applying for a new Chase Freedom Unlimited account. That way, you’ll earn the sign-up bonus.
You can have both cards because they’re considered different card products. And keep them forever because neither have an annual fee.
Please share your experience in the comments if you’ve changed an existing Chase card to the Freedom Unlimited!
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