Chase Freedom Unlimited® Review
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is one of the best no annual fee “catch-all” cards available.
By Mandy H.|Updated on 10/28/2022Back
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is one of the best no annual fee “catch-all” cards available. The card is also a key piece of the Chase Trifecta and a strong earner.
With the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, you earn:
- 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards (Chase’s travel portal)
- 3% on dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery apps)
- 3% on drugstore purchases
- 1.5% everywhere else
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back. That's 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.
Many people use the Chase Freedom Unlimited® for the 5% and 3%, but also a 1.5% “catch-all” card for their setups.
If you decide to run a Chase setup (i.e., Chase Trifecta), this can complement the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the Sapphire card you decide to go with.
Despite the “cash back” marketing, you’re technically earning Ultimate Reward (UR) points. At a minimum, you’re getting 1 cent per point (1 CPP) meaning that 5x = 5%, 3x = 3%, 1.5x = 1.5%.
If you end up pairing this with a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card you can get 1.25 CPP when redeeming points on the Chase Travel Portal. This means that 1.5x * 1.25 CPP = 1.875% in value.
With the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, it’s 1.5 CPP for the Chase Travel Portal, so 1.5x * 1.5 CPP = 2.25% in value.
With both the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can transfer to Chase’s airline and hotel partners (both at the same transfer rate; so 1,000 = 1,000 regardless of which one you have). This is useful if you’re interested in aspirational trips (think first and business class).
If you like the idea of the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, but the 1.5% feels low, I would consider the Chase Freedom Flex℠. It replaces the 1.5% with 5% back on up to $1,500 spent every quarter on categories that rotate (decided by Chase).
Note, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® and Chase Freedom Flex℠ are often paired together in addition to either the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve® to form the Chase Trifecta. Despite the overlap in categories, the two complement each other.
If Chase isn’t your jam, I would consider the Citi® Double Cash Card. This effectively gets you 2% back on everything (1% when you spend and 1% when you pay). If paired with the Citi Premier® Card, this has a similar travel upside for aspirational trips but without the elevated CSP (1.25 CPP) and CSR (1.5 CPP) value.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is one of the best “early game” cards, and value is elevated with the Chase Trifecta. If you move to other issuers, 1.5% is less valuable, but the 3% and 5% categories are still great, especially for a no annual fee card.