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Chase Freedom Unlimited Review: An Extremely Powerful No Annual Fee Credit Card

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Chase Freedom Unlimited Review: An Extremely Powerful No Annual Fee Credit Card

Harlan VaughnChase Freedom Unlimited Review: An Extremely Powerful No Annual Fee Credit CardMillion Mile Secrets Team

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INSIDER SECRET: With Chase cards, the power is in the pairing. And the Chase Freedom Unlimited is no exception. Put it with a premium Chase card to make the points you earn worth even more!

I ALWAYS recommend the Chase Freedom Unlimited card to friends and family looking for a rewarding no-annual-fee credit card. This card earns valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points you can redeem for cash back or move to other eligible Chase cards to save on amazing travel experiences!

If you’re a savvy consumer, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card can be a much better pick than competing 2% cash back cards. Keeping it at the top of your wallet is a straightforward way to continuously earn points on everyday purchases.

And right now when you open the card, you’ll earn 3% cash back on all purchases for the first year, on up to $20,000 in spending (then 1.5% cash back). If you make the most of this promotion, that could mean up to $600 cash back (or 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) in your account – not bad for a card with NO annual fee!

If you’re new to miles & points, the Chase Freedom Unlimited could be a worthy contender for your first rewards credit card. Plus, hanging on to no-annual-fee cards can increase the average age of your credit accounts and possibly boost your credit score.

You can apply for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card here.  Here’s our Chase Freedom Unlimited review.

Earn valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points with the Chase Freedom Unlimited to save money on travel to fun destinations like California

Chase Freedom Unlimited 3% Cash Back Offer

Apply Here: Chase Freedom Unlimited

When you sign-up for the no-annual-fee Chase Freedom Unlimited card, you’ll earn 3% cash back on all purchases for the first year, up to $20,000 spent, then 1.5% cash back thereafter.

You don’t have to worry about bonus categories, and there’s no limit to to how much cash back you can earn. You will want to use this card for the majority of your daily everyday spending, especially purchases that don’t fall under a bonus category with other cards.  Go ahead and add the card as your default payment method on sites like Amazon and Google Pay / Apple Pay.

You can redeem for cash back, gift cards, or travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal at a rate of 1 cent per point. For example, if you have 10,000 points, that equals $100 in cash back, gift, cards, or travel. Or you can get 0.8 cents per point toward Amazon purchases.

It’s super easy to redeem the Chase Ultimate Rewards points you earn with your Chase Freedom Unlimited card

Certain gift cards are sometimes offered at a discount through the Chase portal. As I’m writing this post, you can get a 10% discount when you redeem points for gift cards at retailers like Home Depot and Whole Foods. For example, you’ll pay 9,000 points for a $100 gift card, instead of the usual 10,000 points. (These can and do change, so check for the latest offers.)

You can find gift card sales through the Chase portal, which means you’ll pay fewer points!

There’s no right or wrong way to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points. But Million Mile Secrets team members and readers typically use these valuable points to save money on travel! Here’s how…

Pair the Freedom Unlimited With Other Chase Cards to Get Even More Award Travel

On their own, points linked to the Freedom Unlimited are worth 1 cent each. But if you have any of the below Chase Ultimate Rewards point earning credit cards, you can get significantly more value:

You can quickly and instantly combine Chase Ultimate Rewards points from the Freedom Unlimited to one of the above cards. Then, you’ll have the ability to transfer points directly to Chase travel transfer partners, including Hyatt, Southwest, United Airlines, and more. You can transfer points to these partners at a 1:1 ratio, which makes the program very straightforward.

Here’s a chart showing all of the Chase airline and hotel partners!

You’ll typically get the most value for your Chase Ultimate Rewards points by transferring them to travel partners, but you don’t have to become a miles & points expert overnight!

Chase also offers a hassle-free way to increase the value of your points and save on travel at the same time. You can book airfare, hotel stays, and rental cars through the Chase travel portal. There are no blackout dates when you book this way.

The prices you see through the Chase travel portal are usually the same (or even cheaper!) than booking through other online travel agencies like Orbitz and Expedia. And you can earn points with the Freedom Unlimited and move them to increase the value.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth:

This is why the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Sapphire Reserve make a fantastic credit card combination. You can earn 1.5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on every purchase, then, move your points to the Chase Sapphire Reserve to get 1.5 cents per point.

Let’s say you spend $10,000 per year on the Freedom Unlimited. This means you’ll earn 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($10,000 X 1.5X per $1).

Pair the Chase Freedom Unlimited with another card, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, to increase the value of all the points you earn

Moving these points to the Sapphire Reserve makes them worth 1.5 cents each toward travel through the Chase portal. So you can get $225 worth of travel (15,000 points X 1.5 cents per point). Following this strategy means you’re effectively earning 2.25 cents per $1 with the Freedom Unlimited ($225 worth of rewards / $10,000 in spending).

If you are looking to pair your card with other Chase cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you’ll want to make sure you use those cards where appropriate to make the most of the Chase Ultimate Rewards points you earn!  For example, you’d want to use the Sapphire cards for all your dining or travel purchases such as Uber, grabbing lunch with a co-worker, or booking flights.

Benefits of the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card

Besides earning valuable points, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card also comes with certain purchase protection benefits.

Extended Warranty

If you’re buying a big ticket item, like an appliance or television, you can extend the manufacturer’s warranty just by paying with the Freedom Unlimited.

With this coverage, you’ll get an additional year of warranty on eligible warranties of 3 years or less, up to a maximum of $10,000 per claim, and a maximum of $50,000 per account.

Pay for an expensive purchase, like a new fridge, to potentially get an extra year of warranty on top of the manufacturer’s warranty

To be eligible for coverage, you must charge some portion of the item’s purchase price to your card or use reward points earned on your card toward the purchase.

This benefit is secondary to any service contract or extended warranty you may have purchased or received.

Purchase Protection

Shopping with the Chase Freedom Unlimited also means you’ll get automatic purchase protection coverage, which covers you in the event of damage or theft.

If you buy an eligible item in the US with your card, and it’s lost or stolen within 120 days, this coverage will replace, repair, or reimburse you up to a maximum of $500 for each claim and up to $50,000 total for your account.

You can check the Chase Freedom Unlimited Guide to Benefits for restrictions and exclusions about this coverage.

Does the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card Have a Foreign Transaction Fee?

Yes, you will pay foreign transaction fees with this card. So it’s NOT a good choice when you’re traveling overseas. Check out our post with the best no foreign transaction fee credit cards instead.

Is the Chase Freedom Unlimited Better Than the Chase Freedom?

It depends!

With the Chase Freedom, you’ll earn 5% back (5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1) on up to $1,500 in combined spending in rotating categories each quarter when you activate the bonus.

If you can make the most of the $1,500 in spending per quarter ($6,000 per year) in popular rotating 5X bonus categories (which in the past have included restaurants, gas stations, mobile wallets, department stores, and Amazon) you can potentially earn more cash back (or Ultimate Rewards points!) with the Freedom.

That said, some folks prefer not having to track rotating categories or won’t spend the maximum in the bonus category every quarter. This makes the Chase Freedom Unlimited a simpler option.

Keep in mind, the Freedom and Freedom Unlimited are considered different card products. So it’s possible to have both.

Who Is Eligible for the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card?

This card is meant for folks with good credit scores of ~680 and up. If your credit score is lower than that, it doesn’t mean you’ll be automatically declined. There are many factors that go into the review of individual applications.

Our favorite first credit card for beginners is the Chase Sapphire Preferred, and the Chase Freedom Unlimited isn’t too far behind — especially if you’re looking to supercharge your Chase Ultimate Rewards points earning with the Chase trifecta. Chase Ultimate Rewards points are among the easiest type of points to use, and we recommend them if you are just getting started in the wonderful world of miles and points.

Another reason for beginners to consider the Freedom Unlimited early on is the Chase “5/24” rule. If you have opened five or more cards from any bank in the last 24 months (not counting Chase small business cards and certain other business cards), it’s unlikely you’ll be approved for most Chase cards, including the Chase Freedom Unlimited.

It’s smart to start with those so you don’t get shut out because of 5/24, because Chase has some of the best credit cards for travel.

Bottom Line

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card is a popular no-annual-fee rewards credit card, great for beginners and seasoned miles and points experts alike. When you sign-up, you’ll earn 3% cash back on all purchases for the first year, on up to $20,000 spent. And 1.5% cash back after that. These points add up quickly!

On their own, points linked to the Freedom Unlimited are worth 1 cent each toward cash back, gift, cards, or travel through the Chase portal. But pairing the Freedom Unlimited with certain Chase Ultimate Rewards point earning credit cards, like the Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred, can make your points more valuable!

You can combine your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to one of these other card accounts. Then, you’ll have the ability to transfer points directly to Chase transfer partners, including Hyatt, Marriott, Singapore Airlines, Southwest, United Airlines, and more.

If you’re planning to apply for the Freedom Unlimited, let us know in the comments! And you can learn more about Chase Ultimate Rewards points here:

For the latest tips and tricks on traveling big without spending a fortune, please subscribe to the Million Mile Secrets daily email newsletter.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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