Chase Freedom Unlimited Review: Incredible Rewards With No Annual Fee

Earn incredible cash back rewards with the potential for lucrative redemptions.
Last updated Mar 6, 2020 | By Ben Luthi

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The Chase Freedom Unlimited offers cardholders a generous, flat rewards rate for every purchase. 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

  • $150 sign-up bonus
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers
  • 5% cash back on Lyft rides
  • 1.5% cash back on all other purchases

Drawbacks

  • No bonus rewards categories
  • 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 bonus rewards on categories where you spend a lot. 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
Card Issuer Chase
Annual Fee $0
Intro Bonus Earn a $150 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 monthsof account opening
Rewards Rate unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
Recommended Credit Score Excellent, Good
Intro APR 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
Foreign Transaction Fee 3%

Chase Freedom Unlimited benefits and perks

  • Rewarding welcome offer: Earn a $150 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months.
  • 0% introductory APR offer: You’ll get 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. If you need to finance a large purchase or pay down a high-interest balance from another card, this card will give you plenty of time to do so. Note, however, that there’s a balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% (whichever is greater) for transfers made within the first 60 days, then $5 or 5% (whichever is greater).
  • 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.

Drawbacks to the Chase Freedom Unlimited

  • Limited bonus categories: While the Chase Freedom Unlimited does offer a 5% cash back rate on Lyft rides, it doesn't offer any other bonus categories. You'll simply earn 1.5% back on all purchases.
  • 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 1.5%.

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: $653

Year two earnings: $503

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.

Best ways to earn

The card offers a flat 1.5% cash back on almost every purchase you make, so there’s no extra legwork to maximize your earning power.

If you're a frequent rideshare user, however, this card could be especially lucrative. You get 5% back on Lyft rides, so adding this card as the default payment method in the Lyft app could quickly rack up rewards.  

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. 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 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 only difference is the rewards program. With the Chase Freedom, you can potentially earn a sign-up bonus, as well as 1.5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent on rotating categories each quarter you activate. Lyft rides will net you 5% cash back. The Chase Freedom Unlimited offers flat-rate cash back rewards with no special bonus categories to opt into each quarter.

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 unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, which makes it a popular option among cashback cards.

Other cards to consider

The Chase Freedom Unlimited 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 back rewards from the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Card

Unlimited Cash Back

Special Offer

Earn a $150 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months

See how these cards compare:

Chase Freedom Card
Chase Freedom Card
  • $150 sign-up bonus
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers
  • 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 and transfers for 15 months
  • 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day