Chase boosts rewards on groceries for new Freedom and Freedom Unlimited cardmembers

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Chase has announced two of its most popular cash back credit cards are getting a temporary rewards and welcome offer boost starting July 24, 2020.

For one year, new cardmembers approved for either the Chase Freedom® or Chase Freedom Unlimited® will receive:

  • A $200 bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening
  • 5 percent cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year

New cardmembers will still receive the typical product offerings for either card. For the Freedom Unlimited, that means an unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases, no annual fee and an introductory APR on purchases for 15 months (14.99 percent to 23.74 percent variable APR thereafter).

“This year, we have seen significant shifts in our customers’ spending preferences, and Chase Freedom Unlimited is committed to providing opportunities to earn cash back at places our cardmembers shop the most,” according to the release.

The information about the Chase Freedom has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Credit cards moving toward everyday rewards

Most product changes during COVID-19 have focused on travel credit cards, with the exception of rewards-related additions to the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card and Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card earlier this year.

For instance, Chase first announced updates to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® in late May of this year. Cardmembers received supplementary rewards on grocery store purchases, bonus points when redeeming for statement credit against eligible grocery store, dining and home improvement store purchases and more through June 30, 2020. Now, cardmembers can receive additional rewards on streaming services and Instacart orders.

The Freedom and Freedom Unlimited are the first cash back cards from Chase to receive updated perks due to evolving cardholder spending patterns amid the pandemic.

Are the Freedom Unlimited changes worth it for new cardholders?

“[These changes] will make the CFU the most attractive no annual fee grocery card, at least for that first year up to $12,000 in purchases,” says Ted Rossman, industry analyst at Bankrate.

Rossman notes changes to the Freedom Unlimited might be a bit overdue, as the initial spike in grocery store-related spending occurred in the spring of this year. Yet with cases currently increasing across the country, the timing may end up working out in cardholders’ favors.

As for the long-term value of the updated product offerings, Rossman urges cardholders to consider whether they plan on pairing the Freedom Unlimited with another Chase credit card.

“I’d urge cardholders to look beyond the present… the CFU is most attractive if you pair it with one of Chase’s transferable points cards (like the CSP or CSR),” Rossman says. “If you view it as a stand-alone cash back card, the longer-term 1.5 percent return on all purchases is lower than the flat rate 2 percent cash back cards.”

If the updates complement your existing spending style and fit into your overall credit card strategy, Rossman encourages potential cardholders to apply.

Keep in mind the approval process

“Chase will likely be pretty selective with approvals,” Rossman says. “I’d expect much more so than they were six months ago, given the continued uncertainty about the economy and jobs.”

With this in mind, it’s important to ensure your overall financial health aligns with the qualifications necessary to be approved for the Freedom Unlimited —  namely, a good to excellent credit score.


Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank’s website for the most current information.