Chase Freedom Unlimited Review: Incredible Rewards With No Annual Fee

Earn incredible cash back rewards with the potential for lucrative redemptions.
Last updated Sep 23, 2020 | By Ben Luthi

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The Chase Freedom Unlimited offers cardholders a generous rewards rate for everyday purchases. There are no categories you have to remember to sign up for, nor is there a limit on the amount of cash back you can earn. 

In this Chase Freedom Unlimited review, you’ll learn about both the benefits and the drawbacks of the card and why you should consider adding it to your wallet.

Unlimited Cash Back

Benefits

  • $200 sign-up bonus
  • 5% cash back grocery store purchases for the first year (up to $12k)
  • Bonus rewards on travel, dining, and drugstores
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases

Drawbacks

  • Has foreign transaction fee

In this Chase Freedom Unlimited review:

Who should get the Chase Freedom Unlimited card?

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a solid choice if you want to earn a high cash back rewards rate but don’t want to deal with an annual fee. It’s also an excellent choice to use in tandem with a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card.

Chase allows you to transfer points earned between accounts so you can transfer your rewards from the Chase Freedom Unlimited to one of the Sapphire cards or the Ink Business Preferred to gain access to better redemption options.

That said, it may not be the best choice if you want a card with different bonus categories that better match your spending. Also, you’ll need good or excellent credit to get approved, which typically means a FICO score of 670 or higher.

Card basics

Card type
Cash Back
Credit card issuer Chase
Credit card network Visa
Annual fee $0
Intro bonus Earn a $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months of account opening, and 5% on grocery store purchases (on up to $12,000 in spending in the first year)
Rewards rate 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases; plus 5% on Lyft rides 
Recommended credit score Excellent, good
Intro APR 0% APR for 15 months on purchases
Foreign Transaction Fee 3%

Chase Freedom Unlimited benefits and perks

  • Rewarding welcome offer: Earn a $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months, and 5% on grocery store purchases (on up to $12,000 in spending in the first year).
  • 0% introductory APR offer: You’ll get 0% APR for 15 months on new purchases. If you need to finance a large purchase, this card will give you plenty of time to do so. After that, your interest rate will increase to the regular APR.
  • Bonus cash back: The Chase Freedom Unlimited offers 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases. You can also get a 5% cash back rate on Lyft rides with this card.
  • Flexible redemption: While it’s a cashback credit card, you technically earn points, which you can use to redeem for cash back as a statement credit or direct deposit, gift cards, travel, or shopping on Amazon.com. You can also transfer points to another Ultimate Rewards-earning card for more redemption options.
  • DoorDash perks: You'll get a free 3-month membership to DoorDash's DashPass program, which offers reduced fees on eligible food delivery orders of $12 or more. After that initial period ends, you'll be automatically enrolled in DashPass for the next 9 months at a 50% discount (the normal membership is $9.99 a month). 
  • Chances to earn more cash back: The Shop through Chase portal and Chase Offers program both allow cardholders to multiply the cash back they earn on certain purchases. Shop through Chase offers up to 15% extra cash back, and Chase Offers gives you statement credits when you activate an offer and redeem it with your card.
  • No annual fee: There’s nothing inherently wrong with credit cards that have an annual fee. But with this one, you don’t have to worry about whether you’re getting enough value each year to make up for its yearly cost.
  • Purchase protection: This credit card offers purchase protection against damage or theft for 120 days, up to $500 per claim.  

Drawbacks to the Chase Freedom Unlimited

  • Foreign transaction fee: If you travel abroad often, you may want to make your international purchases with a different card. This one comes with a 3% foreign transaction fee.

Earning cash back with the Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Chase Freedom Unlimited rewards program is relatively straightforward, making it easy to know how to maximize your rewards. And depending on how savvy you are with redemptions, you could get more than the standard value the card offers.

Potential earnings in years one and two

Here's a look at how your cash back can add up with the Chase Freedom Unlimited. To calculate these values, we used a valuation of 1 cent per Ultimate Rewards point.

Remember, this is an estimation. The actual value will be determined by how much you spend and in which categories you spend.

Year one earnings: $1,341

Year two earnings: $1,141

These values are based on the FinanceBuzz Credit Card Rewards Valuation Model which takes a look at points earned via spending, the sign-up bonus, and the annual fee. This valuation assumes that you are a new cardholder able to take advantage of the 5% on grocery store purchases (on up to $12,000 in spending in the first year).

Best ways to earn

Categories Rewards rate
All other purchases 1.5%
Lyft rides 5%
Grocery store purchases (on up to $12,000 in spending in the first year) 5%
Dining and drugstore purchases 3%
Travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards 5%

Given the base earnings rate plus the array of bonus categories, this card offers great rewards potential on almost every purchase you make, so there’s no extra legwork to maximize your earning power.

Maximizing your redemptions

When redeeming for cash back, gift cards, or travel, each point is worth one cent apiece, which is fairly standard. If you use rewards to shop on Amazon.com, however, they’re worth only 0.8 cents apiece.

Some Chase credit cards offer a bonus on travel redemptions in the Ultimate Rewards portal. If you have either the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve, or the Ink Business Preferred, you can transfer your points from the Chase Freedom Unlimited to one of these cards to get 25% or 50% more on travel redemptions. You could potentially get even more with point transfers to a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner.

Chase Freedom Unlimited FAQs

As you do your research for your next credit card, it’s important to learn as much as possible about each option to find the best card for your wallet. Here are some common questions we found about the Chase Freedom Unlimited, along with their answers.

Does the Chase Freedom Unlimited have a foreign transaction fee?

Yes, the card charges a 3% fee on foreign purchases, so it’s not the best choice to take on a vacation abroad. If you’re planning such a trip, consider a top travel credit card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or The Platinum Card from American Express instead.

What’s the credit limit for Chase Freedom Unlimited?

There’s no set credit limit for the card. Rather, your credit limit will be determined by a number of factors, including your creditworthiness, income, other debt, and more. Unfortunately, you won’t know what your credit limit is until after you apply and get approved.

What’s the difference between Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited?

For the most part, both Chase card’s features are nearly identical — the difference is the rewards program. With the Chase Freedom, you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent on rotating categories each quarter you activate. The Chase Freedom Unlimited does not offer a rotating category, but with it, you can earn 5% on grocery store purchases (on up to $12,000 in spending in the first year), 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases. This makes it one of the best credit cards for groceries. Additionally, the Freedom Unlimited's 1.5% base rewards rate on all other purchases is higher than the Freedom's 1% on all other purchases.

Is the Chase Freedom Unlimited hard to get?

In order to get approved for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, you'll need a good to excellent credit score, which typically means a FICO score of 670 or higher.

Is the Freedom Unlimited a good credit card?

The Freedom Unlimited is a great card for earning rewards on your regular purchases. With this card, you can earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases, which makes it a popular option among cashback cards.

Other cards to consider

The Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card offers incredible cashback value, but if you're still on the fence, you may want to consider the rotating bonus categories from the Chase Freedom or the flat-rate cash rewards from the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Card

Unlimited Cash Back

Special Offer

Earn a $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months

See how these cards compare:

Chase Freedom Card
Chase Freedom Card
  • $200 sign-up bonus
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases
  • 5% cash back in rotating bonus categories
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • $150 early spend bonus
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months
  • 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day