The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is one of the top cash back credit cards on the market today—and for a good reason. It started out as a flat-rate cash back credit card offering 1.5 percent cash back on each purchase, but today, with the addition of new rewards categories, you can earn as much as 5 percent cash back on certain purchases.
The perks don’t stop at earning cash back rewards. To really maximize the value of this card, read on for a guide to all of the Chase Freedom Unlimited’s benefits.
Chase Freedom Unlimited at a glance
|Welcome bonus||$200 cash bonus when you spend $500 on your card within three months of account opening|
|Rewards||5% cash back on grocery store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart) on up to $12,000 in the first year, 5% on Lyft purchases (through March 2022), 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining, 3% on drugstore purchases and 1.5% on everything else|
|Purchase intro APR||0% for 15 months, then a variable APR of 14.99% to 23.74%|
|Foreign transaction fee||3% on each purchase made abroad|
The Chase Freedom Unlimited comes with no annual fee, which makes it a great choice for earning rewards without factoring a yearly fee into your budget. It’s also geared toward those who have good to excellent credit (credit scores ranging from 670 to 850).
This rewards credit card is also an especially good choice for financing a large purchase without paying additional money in interest. The Freedom Unlimited comes with an introductory 0 percent APR for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 14.99 percent to 23.74 percent. The introductory rate only applies to new purchases, not balance transfers.
Although this is a cash back credit card, it’s popular with travelers for a few reasons. One of those reasons is that you can earn 5 percent cash back on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, which is the highest amount of cash back you can earn with this card. While it’s fine to book your travel with the Chase Freedom Unlimited, it’s recommended that you leave it at home if you plan on traveling abroad. The card charges a 3 percent foreign transaction fee for any purchases made outside of the U.S.
Sign-up bonus and rewards rates
You can earn a generous sign-up bonus of $200 cash back when you spend at least $500 on the card within the first three months of getting it.
As noted, the Chase Freedom Unlimited initially only offered a flat rate of 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases. Since its launch in 2016, however, Chase has expanded that to include a lot more: 5 percent cash back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 5 percent back on grocery store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart) on up to $12,000 in your first year, 5 percent back on Lyft purchases (through March 2022), 3 percent back on dining and drugstore purchases and 1.5 percent back on all other purchases.
One of the tricky things about this card is rewards redemption. The Chase Freedom Unlimited is advertised as a cash back credit card, but when you log in to your account, you won’t see “$200 available for redemption,” for example, if you earn the welcome bonus. Instead, you’ll see something like “20,000 Ultimate Rewards points” with a button that says “Redeem.”
You can redeem these points at a 1:1 ratio for cash back. In other words, 20,000 Ultimate Rewards points are worth $200 in cash back (20,000 points x $0.01 per point = $200). You can also redeem your rewards toward travel or gift cards at a 1:1 ratio.
The market is full of luxury rewards cards for travel nuts, and while this card isn’t quite geared toward those people, there’s still plenty to like for those who take the occasional trip.
If you’re a cash back aficionado, you’ll appreciate the 5 percent offered on Lyft rides through March 2022, which can help you get a few bucks back when you book that pricey Lyft ride on the way to the airport.
Auto rental insurance
If you’re renting a car, you can get insurance against theft or collision damage if you pay with your card. This coverage is secondary to your own car insurance, so if you need it, you’ll need to file a claim with your own car insurance first. If you don’t have car insurance, or if you’re renting a car out of the country, it’s considered primary insurance.
Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
Another nice perk is trip cancellation and interruption insurance. With this benefit, if your trip is canceled or cut short because you got sick or caught in a snowstorm, for example, you can be reimbursed for up to $1,500 per person (max of four people) against fares and tickets that you’ve already paid.
Ever run into a problem while you’re traveling or commuting? Chase also offers a roadside dispatch hotline with this card that, while not free, can at least get you the help you need. You’ll also have access to a hotline for emergency assistance, which can help if you run into problems on your travels in-country or abroad.
Purchase protection and warranties
It’s really frustrating to have an expensive purchase break or get stolen not too long after you bought it. Thankfully, the Freedom Unlimited offers purchase protection and extended warranty protection, both of which can help you recover from those sorts of unfortunate events.
If your purchase is stolen or damaged within 120 days after you buy it, you can be reimbursed for up to $500 through Chase’s purchase protection program.
If your purchase had a warranty with it, you might be eligible for an extended warranty through Chase. This one’s a little tricky, though, as it only applies to original warranties of three years or less. But if your item is eligible, Chase will give you an additional year of warranty on that item.
For example, if you used your card to buy a $300 Fitbit that originally came with a one-year warranty and it dies after 18 months, you may be able to get reimbursed through Chase’s extended warranty program.
How to maximize your Chase Freedom Unlimited benefits
We highly recommend reading through your Chase Freedom Unlimited benefits guide, which you’ll get in the mail after you’re approved for the card. This will tell you the ins and outs of all the perks you’re eligible for. Those benefits sometimes change over time.
Transfer rewards to a premium Chase credit card
One of the best ways to boost your rewards is to pair the Freedom Unlimited with another card in the Chase Ultimate Rewards product suite, as you can transfer your points back and forth between Chase cards. For example, your points are worth 25 percent more when you transfer them to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or a whopping 50 percent more when you transfer them to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. These cards come with annual fees, though, so you’ll need to decide if applying is worth the increased redemption value.
The bottom line
While it’s a solid option for cash back, the Chase Freedom Unlimited’s benefits may be enough to pique the interest of occasional travelers. If you’re looking to finance a large purchase that you can pay off within a low-interest introductory period, even better.
Either way, as long as you pay your bills responsibly, the Chase Freedom Unlimited can help you reach your financial goals.