Today I’m going to talk about one of the best new cards added to the world of Chase credit cards: The Chase Freedom Unlimited card:
Unlike the old Chase Freedom (which still exists and you can apply for too), this is an alternate version of the card with very different earning capabilities which I find to be far superior to the Old Freedom.
The Chase Ultimate Rewards platform
Before digging into the card, let’s talk about Chase’s loyalty program: Chase has long been one of the most rewarding issuers in terms of credit card rewards, primarily for three reasons:
- They’ve built an incredibly strong loyalty program, Chase Ultimate Rewards, that has the flexibility to provide for the needs of both the cash back AND travel hungry.
- All of Chase’s branded cards roll up into the Ultimate Rewards platform, letting you keep all your Ultimate Rewards points in one place for both convenience and ease of use (including paying cash back to yourself).
- If you have a Chase annual fee card in your arsenal (such as the Sapphire Preferred card or Ink Plus card), Chase lets you transfer your Ultimate Rewards points on a 1:1 transfer ratio to LOTS of airline and hotel programs like United, Southwest, British Airways, and Hyatt (just to name a few). This is a HUGE perk that has gotten me thousands of dollars in flights and hotel stays.
Earning points/cash back on the card
- The Freedom Unlimited card, unlike the legacy Chase Freedom product, lets you earn an unlimited 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points/1.5% cash back on all purchases. Period. No Chase product has ever offered this lucrative of an Ultimate Rewards payout before, since other Chase cards have limited the amount of points/cash back you can earn to specific (and very limited) categories that can rotate every 3 months.
So, lets say I bought some new sneakers at Nike for $100 and decided to pay with my Chase Freedom Unlimited card. Under the old Chase Freedom card (assuming it was not under a 5% cash back quarterly category), I would be earning 100 UR points. With the Freedom Unlimited, I earn 150. Looks like a small difference, but this really adds up significantly over time.
Pro tip: If you own a Chase Sapphire Preferred already, keep that card to continue your 2x earning on Travel and Dining, while using the Freedom Unlimited to earn 1.5x on everything else. This is a strong 1-2 punch that is hard to beat if you are an Ultimate Rewards loyalist!
Redeeming points on the card
You get to pay yourself cash back with Ultimate Rewards at the rate of $0.01 per point. So, the $100 Nike purchase gets me a buck fifty cash back ($1.50). This 1.5x unlimited structure (we call it a flat rate cash back structure in the industry) has become super popular and is used by other issuers (like the Capital One Quicksilver), so really the 1.5% cash back structure is not that novel. But the kicker is this–if you have an annual fee Chase branded card (like the Sapphire Preferred), you can use those Freedom Unlimited points to combine them with your Sapphire earned points and get access to premium benefits, like booking travel directly from Chase as well as transferring to airline/hotel partners for a potentially much higher redemption value!
You can learn more about the Freedom Unlimited card here: https://creditcards.chase.com/a1/freedom-unlimited.
A couple more points about the card:
- It doesnt have an annual fee. However, it is best maximized when used in tandem with one of Chase’s core branded annual fee cards.
- If you are a new cardholder, you can receive a $150 cash back bonus after spending $500 on the card in the first three months.
- The card comes with EMV chip security (though, most major cards should have this by now).
- I find Chase’s customer service to be top notch, especially when compared to other issuers.
Whether you like cash back or travel, it’s hard to beat the new Freedom Unlimited, especially when used with other cards to reach its true earning potential. This has earned a top spot in my wallet!
Happy travel hacking!