Credit Cards Cash Back Credit Cards

Chase Freedom Unlimited® Review [2024]: My Go-To Card for Simple Cash Rewards

With bonus categories that align with my spending habits and a $0 annual fee, this card has earned a permanent place in my wallet.

Updated June 26, 2024
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Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
4.7

OUR VIEW

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a fantastic cash back credit card that simplifies earning rewards on your everyday spending. With its $0 annual fee, straightforward rewards program, and no limits on how much cash back you can earn, it's a card that can easily become your go-to for all purchases.

Personally, I've found the Freedom Unlimited to be incredibly valuable, especially for its elevated rewards on dining, takeout, and eligible delivery services — categories where I tend to spend a significant amount.

Pros

High base rewards rate of 1.5%
$0 annual fee
Valuable welcome bonus for new cardholders
Intro APR offers for purchases and balance transfers

Cons

Has a foreign transaction fee of 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
No bonus categories for gas or groceries
How we evaluate products

Card basics

Card type Cash back
Credit card issuer Chase
Credit card network Visa
Annual fee $0
Welcome offer Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year)
Rewards rate 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service and 3% cash back on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year). After your first year or $20,000 spent, earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases
Recommended credit score Excellent, Good
Intro APR 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months (then 20.49% - 29.24% Variable APR)

0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months (then 20.49% - 29.24% Variable APR)

Foreign Transaction Fee 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

Who should get the Chase Freedom Unlimited®?

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is one of my favorite credit cards, and anyone who appreciates simple cashback rewards would agree.

I particularly appreciate not having to think about activating quarterly bonuses or worrying if a purchase will qualify — with the Freedom Unlimited, I know I'm earning at least 1.5% cash back thanks to its elevated base rewards rate.

For frequent diners and those who make regular drugstore runs, the 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service make the card even more appealing. As someone who enjoys dining out, these categories have been quite rewarding for me.

The $0 annual fee is another major selling point, especially for those that don’t want to worry about a recurring annual cost.

Who should skip?

If you're someone who spends heavily on gas or groceries, you might be better served by a card that offers bonus rewards in those categories. For example, the Chase Freedom Flex® offers quarterly rotating categories that earn 5% cash back. Previous categories included gas stations and grocery stores.

However, you don't necessarily need to choose just one card. In fact, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® can be a great companion to the Chase Freedom Flex®. You could use the Chase Freedom Flex® for its rotating bonus categories and the Freedom Unlimited for all other purchases to ensure you're always earning at least 1.5% cash back.

Additionally, frequent international travelers may want to consider a card without foreign transaction fees like the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card. This card still earns 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.

What should you know about pairing this card with other Chase cards?

One of the most compelling aspects of the Chase Freedom Unlimited is its potential when combined with other Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points.

While the Freedom Unlimited earns cash back by default, those rewards are actually earned as flexible Ultimate Rewards points. This means you can transfer them to a premium Chase travel card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve® to unlock additional redemption options. This includes booking travel through the Chase portal at an elevated value or transferring to airline and hotel partners.

I've personally taken advantage of this by pairing my Freedom Unlimited with the Sapphire Preferred. By combining the points earned from both cards and moving them to one of Chase’s transfer partners, I was able to book a five-day stay at Hyatt’s Alila Ubud in Bali, Indonesia. This saved me $1,215 in cash costs.

That’s why this ability to strategically pool rewards across multiple cards is a major advantage of the Chase ecosystem.

Here's a closer look at this card's top benefits

A welcome offer that's hard to ignore

Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year). I love welcome offers like this because they give me a head start on earning rewards without extra effort on my part.

To put this in perspective, let's say you spend $1,000 per month on various categories using your Freedom Unlimited card. Over the course of a year, that adds up to $12,000 in spending. With this welcome offer, you'd earn an additional $180 cash back on top of the cash back you earn with the Freedom Unlimited’s rewards rates.

If you're able to maximize the full $20,000 spending cap, the welcome offer alone would be worth $300. That's a pretty sweet deal, especially considering it has a $0 annual fee.

Bonus cash back on useful categories

The Chase Freedom Unlimited offers useful bonus categories that often align with my spending habits, making it super easy to rack up rewards.

I especially like the 3% back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service since I order takeout embarrassingly often.

The 5% back on travel purchased through chase travel℠ is great too. Using this rewards rate is always rewarding and helps offset the cost of trips. And, of course, earning 1.5% back on all other purchases is the cherry on top.

$0 annual fee

I appreciate that the Chase Freedom Unlimited® has a $0 annual fee. It's one less thing to worry about, and I don't feel pressured to spend a certain amount to make the card worth it.

Redemption flexibility to fit your needs

Chase makes it quite easy to redeem my Freedom Unlimited rewards. I can take the cash back as a statement credit, direct deposit it into my bank account, or use it to buy gift cards, book travel through Chase, or even shop on Amazon.

Since I also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, I usually transfer my points over to that card so I can earn 1.25 cents per point when I use them for redemptions via Chase Travel.

Intro APR offers on purchases and balance transfers

With the Chase Freedom Unlimited, you get:

  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases (then 20.49% - 29.24% Variable APR)
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers (then 20.49% - 29.24% Variable APR)

Keep in mind that there’s a balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater in the first 60 days. If you need to finance a large purchase or save on high-interest debt via a balance transfer, this card will give you plenty of time to do so.

Lyft, DoorDash, and Instacart perks

The Lyft and DoorDash benefits that come with the Freedom Unlimited are a nice perk. You get 5% total cash back on Lyft rides through March 31, 2025 and a free DashPass membership for three months, followed by a 50% discount for 9 months (activate by December 31, 2024).

The Freedom Unlimited also offers three free months of Instacart+ (enroll by July 31, 2024) and up to a $10 Instacart statement credit every quarter through July 31, 2024. I made sure to set a reminder to use this benefit every three months.

Protections and coverage for peace of mind

While the Chase Freedom Unlimited® may not have the most robust travel protections, the purchase protection and extended warranty are valuable. These protections can help you with defective electronics or other eligible items that you buy using this card. Just be sure to read the fine print to understand the limitations.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited also offers trip cancellation and interruption insurance that kicks in if your trip is canceled, you’re too sick to go, severe weather conditions occur, or more. Keep in mind that the trip must have been charged to your card.

Drawbacks: Why you may want a different card

No bonus rewards on gas and groceries

The Freedom Unlimited doesn't offer bonus rewards on gas or groceries, which is a bit surprising. Consider pairing this card with the Chase Freedom Flex® if you’d like access to more bonus categories.

Foreign transaction fees

The Chase Freedom Unlimited®'s foreign transaction fee of 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars can add up if you frequently travel abroad. On a $500 hotel stay, that's an extra $15 in fees. Consider a card like the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card to avoid these fees and save money overseas.

Earning and redeeming cash back with the Chase Freedom Unlimited

One of the things I like about the Chase Freedom Unlimited is how straightforward the rewards program is. It's easy to understand how to maximize your cash back, and if you're strategic about your redemptions, you can potentially get even more value from your points.

Potential earnings in years one and two

To give you a better idea of how much cash back you could earn with the Freedom Unlimited, here's a look at the potential earnings for the first two years.

Keep in mind, these calculations assume a point value of 1 cent per Ultimate Rewards point. the actual value will depend on your personal spending habits and how much you charge to the card.

Year one earnings: $953

Year two earnings: $653

These values are based on the FinanceBuzz Credit Card Rewards Valuation Model, which takes a look at points earned via spending, the welcome offer, and the annual fee. If you take advantage of the special earnings in year one, then you could earn even more with this card.

Best ways to earn

Categories Rewards rate
Travel purchased through Chase Travel℠ 5%
Drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service 3%
All other purchases 1.5%

The beauty of the Freedom Unlimited lies in its combination of an elevated base earning rate and lucrative bonus categories. This means you're getting great rewards potential on nearly every purchase you make without having to jump through hoops to maximize your cash back.

Maximizing your redemptions

When it comes to redeeming your rewards, you've got options. If you choose to cash in your points for straight cash back, gift cards, or travel through the Chase portal, each point is worth a solid 1 cent. However, if you use your points to shop on Amazon, the value drops to 0.8 cents per point, so I'd avoid that redemption option.

Now, here's a pro tip: If you have a premium Chase card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can transfer your Freedom Unlimited points to that card. Why? Because these cards offer a 25% to 50% bonus on travel redemptions made through the Chase portal.

Even better, you could potentially get an even higher value by transferring your points to one of Chase's airline or hotel partners. It's a smart way to really stretch the value of your rewards.

Other cards to consider

While I think the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a top-notch cash back card, it might not be the best fit for everyone. If you're someone who wants access to more bonus categories, you may want to consider the Chase Freedom Flex® instead. On the other hand, if you're a frequent international traveler, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card might be a better choice since it doesn't charge foreign transaction fees.

Chase Freedom Flex®

The Chase Freedom Flex offers 5% cash back on rotating quarterly categories you activate (on up to $1,500 spent) and travel purchased through Chase Travel℠; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery service); and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

These rotating categories give you an opportunity to earn bonus cash back in different areas throughout the year, which could be a nice complement to the Freedom Unlimited. And like the Freedom Unlimited, the Freedom Flex has a $0 annual fee.

Be sure to compare the Freedom Unlimited and Freedom Flex to see if one, or both, might be a good fit for your wallet.

Check out our full Chase Freedom Flex® review to learn more.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

If you're looking for a no-fuss, flat-rate cash back card, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards is worth considering. It has a $0 annual fee and offers 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day; and 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel (terms apply).

Plus, unlike the Freedom Unlimited, it doesn't charge foreign transaction fees, so it's a solid choice for international travel.

Take a look at our head-to-head comparison of the Freedom Unlimited and Quicksilver Cash Rewards to see which one better aligns with your spending habits.

For more details, read our full Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card review.

FAQ

What is the Chase Freedom Unlimited authorized user fee?

There’s no annual fee for authorized users you add to your Chase Freedom Unlimited account. To add an authorized user, you need their full legal name, date of birth, and mailing address. There’s no credit check for you or the authorized user, but Chase will let credit agencies know there’s an authorized user on your account.

Does the Chase Freedom Unlimited have a foreign transaction fee?

Yes, the card charges a fee of 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars 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 credit card like with no foreign transaction fees like the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card.

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.

Is the Chase Freedom Unlimited hard to get?

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

Is the Chase Freedom Unlimited a good credit card?

Yes, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is an excellent cash back credit card, especially if you're looking for a simple way to earn rewards on your everyday spending. With $0 annual fee, a solid welcome offer, and rewarding bonus categories, it's a card that offers a lot of value. Plus, if you pair it with a premium Chase card like the Sapphire Preferred or Reserve, you can pool your points and potentially get even more value when you redeem them for travel.

Chase Freedom Unlimited review: bottom line

As a $0-annual-fee card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® offers great value for people who want a straightforward way to earn rewards on everyday purchases. Plus, it comes with intro APR offers on purchases and balance transfers and gives you access to additional perks with Lyft, DoorDash, and Instacart.

However, you might want to pair it with its sister card, the Chase Freedom Flex®, to access various rotating bonus categories. For frequent travelers, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card's lack of foreign transaction fees makes it a solid alternative.

If you're still unsure which cash-back card is right for you, check out our list of the best cash-back credit cards to compare more options and find the perfect fit for your spending habits.

Unlimited Cash Back

4.7

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Current Offer

Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back. That's 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service and 3% cash back on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year). After your first year or $20,000 spent, earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

Author Details

Yahia Barakah, CEPF

Yahia Barakah, CEPF, is a Senior Editor at FinanceBuzz and has created finance-focused content since 2011. As a Certified Educator of Personal Finance, he has a background in institutional investment and asset management, as well as a deep passion for financial literacy.