Chase Has Improved The Freedom Unlimited Card

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I’m a Chase Freedom Unlimited® cardmember, and have used it for a long time so that I’d never earn less than 1.5 points per dollar on any of my spend. It’s where I’ve put “unbonused spend,” purchases that I’m not earning double, triple, or quadruple points with another credit card.

That’s because this no annual fee card lets you transfer points to a premium Chase Ultimate Rewards card, and from there to airline miles or hotel points.

Chase though has gone and improved the card.

  • Initial bonus: Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

  • Earning: 5% on travel purchased through Chase and 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, plus 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

That makes this my go-to for drugstores now, as well as for my unbonused spend. It pairs well with perhaps the best deal of the year, an 80,000 point initial offer (after $4000 spend within 3 months) for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. (It also pairs well with Chase Sapphire Reserve®.)

While these points do not transfer directly to airline or hotel programs, you can combine them into a Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve account, and from there to participating airline or hotel loyalty programs. I love earning a minimum of 1.5 points that I’m able to move to United, Singapore, or Hyatt that way.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of advertisers Citibank, Chase, American Express, Barclays, Capital One or any other advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

Comments

  1. Hi Gary– do you prefer the Freedom Unlimited (paired with the Reserve) over the Citi Double Cash (paired with the Prestige)? If so, why?

  2. @Jack I value Chase points (pooled into my premium Chase account) ~ 1.8 cents apiece, so earning 1.5 Chase points = 2.7 cents which > 2 cents from Double Cash

  3. I’ve used the Chase travel portal to buy travel with UR points. Had no issues with getting same price for airfare, but sometimes booking direct with hotels is still cheaper.

    Is this the same portal that you will get 5% back on? But you just pay with cash instead of points? Will just add another layer of search to see if Chase+5% back is a better deal than booking direct…

  4. @Gary— I like Chase’s transfer partners better too (and I have all 4 cards I was referencing), though in all fairness, you’re comparing 1.5 Ultimate Rewards points to 2 Thank You points. Is your valuation of Ultimate Rewards points 33% higher than Thank You points?

  5. I think Chase will now absolutely have to up the earnings multipliers on their premium cards, lest alot of folks will drop expensive cards like the CSR.

    This is especially so when compounded with the continual devaluation of Chase’s most strategic partner programs such as UA’s MileagePlus. I could see travel spend needing to go to 5x earning in order to stay competitive with the (net effective) $250 annual fee on the CSR. More intermediate categories earning 3x. And no more categories just earning 1x.

  6. I just emailed my partner and said maybe time to drop the CSR. Wonder if they will make changes to CSR benefits to keep it competitive.

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