Is the Chase Freedom Unlimited Worth it?

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With so many great credit card options out there, it’s easy to get a case of FOMO (or fear of missing out). That small voice in the back of your mind might persist, “Am I getting the most out of my credit card?” or “Do I have the very best credit card when it comes to my financial goals and spending patterns?”

These questions will invariably lead you on a search for a great credit card. Whether you are looking for a rewards credit card with cash back or a travel credit card with an intro APR offer or welcome bonus, it’s never a bad idea to explore your options.

Chase is a popular credit card issuer with many feature-rich cards to choose from. Let’s take a look at one of its entry-level cards, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® to find out if it’s worth adding to your wallet.

What does the Chase Freedom Unlimited card offer?

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card is a cash back card that includes benefits like a $200 cash bonus after spending $500 within three months of opening your account, 0 percent introductory APR for 15 months, along with travel perks—all with no annual fee.

Being part of the Chase family of cards carries some weight too. Many people combine Chase cards to rack up and redeem more rewards for discounted travel.

Quick highlights:

  • Rewards rate: 5 percent cash back on Lyft purchases (through March 2022); 5 percent cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3 percent cash back on dining; 3 percent cash back on drugstore purchases; 1.5 percent cash back on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: $200 cash bonus with this card when you spend $500 on your card within three months of account opening
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Purchase intro APR: 0 percent intro APR on purchases for 15 months
  • Balance transfer intro APR: None
  • Regular APR: 14.99 percent to 23.74 percent (variable)

Earning points

Before its 2020 rewards program update, the Chase Freedom Unlimited was a standard flat-rate cash back card, earning 1.5 percent back on all purchases. With new, higher earning bonus categories, the potential to earn more points has increased significantly.

Even if you are not very conscientious about tracking your spending according to the Freedom Unlimited bonus categories, you can still get a respectable cash back rate on all of your purchases made on the card. Of course, if you’ve got time to monitor and adjust your spending habits based on these categories, you’ll fare even better.

Redeeming points

Redeeming points with your Chase Freedom Unlimited card is not difficult, and there are many options to choose from:

  • Cash back in the form of a statement credit (worth 1 cent)
  • Cash back in the form of a direct deposit (worth 1 cent)
  • Travel (worth 1 cent)
  • Gift cards (worth 1 cent)
  • Apple purchases (worth 1 cent)
  • Shop with Points on Amazon.com (worth 0.8 cents)
  • Charitable contributions (worth 1.25 cents)

Another common move is to combine points with one of Chase’s other premium cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve® or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card for more flexibility, like the ability to move your rewards to one of Chase’s transfer partners at a 1:1 ratio.

There’s one other redemption option that Chase recently announced pertaining to the Freedom Unlimited. From July 2, 2021, to Sept. 30, 2021, if you’ve got a Chase Freedom, Freedom Flex, Freedom Unlimited or Freedom Student card, you’ll have the option to apply Ultimate Rewards points to pay for all or a portion of your dining purchases up to a total of $250. With this option, you’ll get paid back with a statement credit through the Pay Yourself Back tool in the Chase Mobile App and online, and your Ultimate Reward points will be worth 10 percent more when redeemed.

Chase Freedom Unlimited cardholders can also now use Pay Yourself Back to apply points and receive a statement credit for all, or a portion, of a ride purchased through Lyft’s “Fund a Ride” program through Sept. 30, 2021.

Benefits

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card comes with a number of perks and benefits that you don’t normally see with no-annual-fee cards. For starters, this card comes with a complimentary DashPass for three months. After that, it automatically resumes at a reduced rate for the next nine months. With this pass, you’ll get unlimited food delivery with no delivery fee on orders over $12.

There’s also purchase protection and extended warranty coverage. The card’s trip cancellation and interruption protection reimburses up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip for prepaid tickets and non-refundable passenger fares.

Stacking the Chase Freedom Unlimited with other Chase cards

Perhaps one of the best things you can do with this card is pair it with another Chase card or even use it within a Chase trifecta. In either case, your goal is to combine points to maximize both the way you earn your rewards and how you redeem them.

For instance, if you decide to pair the Chase Freedom Unlimited with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll have the option of transferring your rewards points to Chase travel partners, which include both airlines and hotels. Some of these partners include Southwest Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus, British Airways, Marriott Bonvoy and IHG Rewards.

Plus, you’ve got the added benefit of combining points from both cards and redeeming them for 50 percent more for travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards site.

Suppose you want to go the trifecta route. In this case, you could throw in the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, which has generous rewards for travel, shipping, internet, cable and phone services and select online advertising, along with a great sign-up bonus—all of which can boost your ability to earn more rewards. From here, you’d pool points from all three cards to your Chase Ink or your Sapphire Reserve to use with Chase travel partners.

If you aren’t interested in a business card, you could add another Chase Freedom card, like the Chase Freedom Flex℠ , which has rotating cash back bonus categories, to complete your trifecta. The main difference between the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Chase Freedom Flex is 1.5 percent cash back versus 1 percent cash on spending not included in a bonus category.

Using multiple Chase cards also works to enhance your Pay Yourself Back tool rewards. For instance, let’s assume you have both a Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve card in addition to a Chase Freedom credit card. From there, you could transfer points to either of your Sapphire cards and use the Pay Yourself Back tool for a boosted rewards value on grocery store purchases, dining at restaurants, home improvement store purchases and donations to select charities.

Is the Chase Freedom Unlimited card worth it?

If you are looking for cash back rewards with no annual fee, this card delivers decent rewards in both flat-rate cash back and bonus categories. With no annual fee, a welcome bonus and 0 percent APR for the first 15 months of opening the account, it could be a great addition to your wallet.

Perhaps one of the biggest draws is how much it can complement other Chase cards. If you like boosting rewards, especially when it comes to redeeming them for travel, this is an ideal card to get started with a card pairing strategy.

If you aren’t partial to Chase cards, you could explore how a similar no-annual-fee, cash back card like the Citi® Double Cash Card compares to the Chase Freedom Unlimited. There’s also a Citi trifecta that can rack up similar rewards as combining Chase cards. In either case, research your credit card options and choose the best credit card or credit card combination that will help you earn the most rewards based on your spending habits.