Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card Benefits & Review 2021
Featuring a $200 sign-up bonus, 1.5% cash back minimum on every purchase, and no annual fee, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is among the best beginner credit cards. Additionally, it offers 3% cash back on dining and drugstore purchases and various travel benefits. Here is what you need to know about the Chase Freedom Unlimited card and if you should apply.
Who is the Chase Freedom Unlimited For?
While it is a great card for those new to credit card points, the Freedom Unlimited is also an important tool for current Chase Sapphire cardholders. Points can be transferred to the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Chase Sapphire Preferred card to be redeemed at higher values. Sapphire Reserve points are worth up to 50% more (1.5 cents per point) depending on the redemption. Sapphire Preferred points are worth up to 25% more (1.25 cents per point) depending on the redemption. Points can also be transferred to various partner airlines and hotels where they are worth as much as 2 cents per point.
Those not interested in points can treat it strictly as a cash back card and redeem for cash, statement cards, and gift cards. For a card with no annual fee, the Chase Freedom Unlimited beats many other similar cards. Here are some of the many benefits.
|BENEFITS AT A GLANCE|
|– Annual Fee: $0|
– APR: 0% Intro for 15 months on purchases; 14.99%–23.74% variable APR after 15 months
– Current Bonus: $200 Cash Back after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months
– 5% on Travel Purchased via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
– 5% on Lyft (ends 3/31/2022)
– 3% on Dining purchases
– 3% on Drugstore purchases
– 1.5% on all other purchases
– Complimentary DashPass Membership for 3 Months (activate by 12/31/2021)
– Secondary Rental Car Insurance
– Purchase Protection and Warranty Protection
– Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance
– Real-Time Fraud Monitoring
– Points Do Not Expire
– Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
– Good to Great Credit Score Required (650+)
Featured Chase Freedom Unlimited Benefits
While the Chase Freedom Unlimited card has many benefits, here are the best ones.
No Annual Fee
Unlike competing cards, the Chase Freedom Unlimited has no annual fee. For a card that offers a minimum of 1.5% cash back and the ability to earn up to 5% cash back, that is a great deal. And the best news is the annual fee is not just waived the first year — it is permanently $0. For comparison purposes, here are the annual fees for similar Chase cards
- Chase Sapphire Reserve – $550 per year
- Chase Sapphire Preferred – $95 per year
- Chase Freedom Flex – No Annual Fee
0% Intro APR
The Chase Freedom Unlimited offers a 0% intro APR for the first 15 months from account opening. After the first 15 months, it goes to a variable APR of 14.99%–23.74%. To keep the 0% intro APR offer, you must pay your minimum balance on time. The Chase Freedom Flex offers the same 0% intro APR deal.
$200 Sign Up Bonus (20,000 Points)
You can earn a $200 sign-up bonus by spending $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. This is equal to 20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. To qualify, you must not currently have the Chase Freedom Unlimited. You also cannot have received a sign-up bonus from this card in the past 24 months.
As a cash back card, the most obvious redemption method may appear to be cash. While that is one option, the best way to get maximum value is to transfer the 20,000 points to either the Chase Sapphire Reserve (50% more value) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred (25% more value).
1.5% Cash Back Minimum on Purchases
The 1.5% cash back (or 1.5 points per dollar spent) minimum on all purchases is where the Chase Freedom Unlimited’s real value can be found. While it and other Chase cards offer more than 1.5% cash back for various categories, the Freedom Unlimited fills in all of the gaps. Other Chase cards offer 1% cash back on all non-special category purchases, so the Freedom Unlimited is the obvious choice in situations like that. As always, transfer to a Sapphire card for even more redemption value.
The Vacationer Tip
If nothing else, view the Chase Freedom Unlimited as a card to always get you at least 1.5% cash back. It may not seem like a lot of cash back, but it has real value for many purchases. It goes great paired with the Chase Freedom Flex and either the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
3% or More Cash Back on Various Categories
Introduced in 2016, the Chase Freedom Unlimited offered 1.5% cash back on all purchases for its first few years. That all changed in the middle of September 2020. Chase refreshed the card and increased the cash back percentages for the following categories.
- Travel Purchased Through Chase Ultimate Rewards – The Freedom Unlimited earns 5% cash back (5 points per dollar spent) on travel purchased via the Ultimate Rewards portal. This includes flights, hotels, car rentals, and more. The 5% cash back is equal to what the Chase Freedom Flex offers.
- Lyft Rides – The Freedom Unlimited earns 5% cash back (5 points per dollar spent) on Lyft rides through March 2022. The 5% cash back is equal to what the Chase Freedom Flex offers.
- Dining – The Freedom Unlimited earns 3% cash back (3 points per dollar spent) at restaurants. This includes takeout, fine dining, fast food, and more. It also includes third-party delivery services such as DoorDash, GrubHub, and UberEats. The 3% cash back is equal to what the Chase Freedom Flex offers.
- Drugstores – The Freedom Unlimited earns 3% cash back (3 points per dollar spent) at drugstores. This includes CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and others. The 3% cash back is equal to what the Chase Freedom Flex offers.
Ultimately, the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Freedom Flex both offer the same cash back for those special categories. The biggest difference is the Freedom Unlimited offers 1.5% cash back on all other purchases while the Freedom Flex offers 1% cash back. The Freedom Flex also offers 5% cash back on quarterly rotating categories.
Chase Freedom Unlimited Travel Benefits
The Freedom Unlimited offers a few essential travel benefits.
Secondary Rental Car Insurance
Freedom Unlimited cardholders enjoy secondary rental car insurance for vehicle damage and theft. To qualify, cardholders must put the entire rental on their Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card. Cardholders must also decline the rental car company’s usually very expensive collision insurance policy. Since this is secondary coverage, you must still file a claim with your personal auto insurance company first. The Chase Freedom Flex offers the same secondary coverage.
If you are looking for primary rental car insurance, sign up for the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance
Cardholders are eligible for both trip cancellation and interruption insurance up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip. Here are the differences
- Trip Cancellation Insurance – This kicks in when a covered reason prevents you from traveling on or before the departure date. The covered reason must also be the cause your trip got canceled.
- Trip Interruption Insurance – This kicks in when a covered reason interrupts your trip on the way to the destination or after departure. It also covers fees if a covered reason forces you to postpone your trip.
The cardholder and immediate family members are covered for pre-paid, non-refundable passenger fares. Covered reasons include severe weather, terrorism, strikes, and accidental bodily injury, sickness, or death.
Travel & Emergency Assistance
Cardholders are eligible for emergency assistance and/or referrals when traveling. Chase provides legal and medical referrals, but you must pay the cost of the service obtained. This service is available 24 hours per day and 365 days per year.
Other Chase Freedom Unlimited Benefits
In addition to the benefits discussed above, here are a few more benefits the Chase Freedom Unlimited offers.
Complimentary DashPass Membership for 3 Months (50% Off After)
Cardholders are eligible for a free three-month DashPass membership. DashPass is DoorDash’s premium subscription service. It offers reduced service fees and a $0 delivery fee on eligible orders over $12. Caviar members are also eligible.
To qualify, you must enroll by December 31, 2021. After the free trial ends, you will automatically be enrolled for another nine months at 50% off. To activate, simply add your Chase Freedom Unlimited card to your DoorDash or Caviar account. The app will prompt you to enroll in your complimentary three-month membership.
Purchase Protection (up to $50,000)
Cardholders are eligible for purchase protection when using their Chase Freedom Unlimited card. New purchases made in the past 120 days are eligible for up to $50,000 ($500 per claim) in reimbursement against theft or damage. The reimbursed amount is after any insurance claims are paid. Certain restrictions apply, so be sure to review your Guide to Benefits.
Extended Warranty Protection (up to $50,000)
Cardholders are eligible for extended warranty protection when using their Chase Freedom Unlimited card. This benefit extends the manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year on warranties under three years. Boats, pre-owned items, and computer software are a few of the excluded items. The cardholder and recipients of gifts purchased by the cardholder are eligible for up to $10,000 per claim and up to $50,000 per account in reimbursement.
Redeeming Cash Back/Points
Earning points with the Chase Freedom Unlimited is only half the battle. Here are all the ways to redeem Chase points.
Redeem at 1 Cent Per Point or Less
If you wish to simply treat your Chase Freedom Unlimited card as a cash back card, here are your redemption options.
- Cash Back – You can request cash back via a deposit into your checking or savings account. Points are worth 1 cent per point. For example, 1,810 points are worth $18.10.
- Statement Credit – Instead of cash back, you can redeem your points for a statement credit at 1 cent per point. For example, 2,600 points are worth $26.
- Chase Travel – Points can be redeemed by booking travel via the Chase portal at 1 cent per point. Flights, hotels, car rentals, and other activities qualify. For example, 12,000 points are worth $120 towards your booking.
- Gift Cards – Points can be redeemed at 1 cent per point when purchasing a variety of different gift cards.
- Chase Dining – Points can be redeemed at 1 cent per point when making purchases through the Chase Dining portal.
- Amazon – Points can be redeemed at 0.8 cents per point when making purchases at Amazon. We do not recommend redeeming points this way.
The Vacationer Tip
Ideally, you transfer all of your cash back and points to a Sapphire card. If you do not have a Sapphire card, we recommend requesting cash back to your checking or savings account. The other methods (excluding Pay Your Self Back for charitable purchases) offer no more value than simply taking the cash.
Redeem at More Than 1 Cent Per Point
This is where the real value is. Using the Pay Yourself Back Program or transferring points to a Sapphire card allows you to redeem points at more than 1 cent per point.
Pay Yourself Back Program – Points can be redeemed at 25% more, or 1.25 cents per point using this method. Only select charitable contributions are eligible, however.
Transfer to a Chase Sapphire Reserve Card – Points are worth as much as 50% more (1.5 cents per point) when transferred to a Sapphire Reserve card. Using a spend of $100 with your Freedom Unlimited card, for example, you will earn $1.5. That $1.5 is worth $2.25 when transferred to a Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
Transfer to a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card – Points are worth as much as 25% more (1.25 cents per point) when transferred to a Sapphire Preferred card. Using a spend of $100 with your Freedom Unlimited card, for example, you will earn $1.5. That $1.5 is worth $1.87 when transferred to a Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
Transfer to a Partner Airline or Hotel – To be eligible for this method, you must first transfer your points to a Sapphire card. After doing this, you can then transfer your points to a variety of partner airlines and hotels. Depending on the partner, points can be redeemed as high as 2 cents per point or more! This is the best way to redeem Chase Freedom Unlimited points. Using a spend of $100 with your Freedom Unlimited card, for example, you will earn $1.5. That $1.5 is worth $3 or more when transferred to a partner airline or hotel.
No, the Chase Freedom Unlimited does not currently have an annual fee.
No, points do not expire as long as the account remains open.
Yes, the current bonus is $200 after spending $500 in the first three months from account opening.
The 1.5% cash back is the minimum amount the Freedom Unlimited earns. For example, the card earns 3% cash back on dining and at drugstores. It earns 5% cash back on Lyft rides and when booking travel via Chase.
Yes, 0% Intro for 15 months on purchases; 14.99%–23.74% variable APR after 15 months.
Yes, you should. If you have opened 5 or more cards in the past 24 months, you will likely get denied.
The best way to redeem points is to transfer them to a Chase Sapphire card where the redemption value can be as high as 50% more (1.5 cents per point). Points are worth as much as 2 cents per point when transferring to a partner hotel or airline.
Yes, you can have the Freedom Unlimited even if you already have other Chase cards.
Points are worth 1 cent ($0.01) per point when redeemed for cash.
The Vacationer’s Final Thoughts
If you are serious about maximizing your Chase points, you should apply for the Chase Freedom Unlimited. I personally use it to fill in the gaps where my other Chase Cards (Sapphire Reserve and Freedom Flex) do not offer at least 2% cash back or at least 2x points. The minimum 1.5% cash back comes in handy more often than you may think. I then transfer the points to my Sapphire Reserve and redeem them at a much better value.
Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
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