Chase Freedom Unlimited® vs. Bank Of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card[2022]: Which Offers More Rewards?

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a top option for everyday cash back, but the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards might offer more flexibility for earning rewards.
Last updated Sept. 29, 2022 | By Ben Walker, CEPF | Edited By Yahia Barakah
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Earning cash back on your purchases is typically simple if you have the right credit card. But with so many cashback cards to choose from, which one should you choose?

In this Chase Freedom Unlimited® vs. Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card review, we compare both products to see how they stack up against each other. This will help you decide whether one card might be a better fit for you than the other.

In this comparison

Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card

Both the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit cards offer ways for cardmembers to earn cash back. But the amount of cash back you could earn and how you might redeem your rewards varies between the two products.

Use this table to quickly compare primary factors between both cards, including their annual fees, sign-up bonuses, earning rates, and redemption options.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

Card type Cash back Cash back
Credit card issuer Chase Bank of America
Credit card network Visa Visa
Annual fee $0 $0
Welcome bonus Earn an extra 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases, on up to $20,000, in the first year Earn a $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
Earning rate 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases 3% cash back on the category of your choice; 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (on the first $2,500 spent each quarter in the 2% and 3% categories combined); and 1% cash back on all other purchases
Redemption methods
  • Statement credits
  • Direct deposits into most U.S. savings and checking accounts
  • Shop with Points at Amazon
  • Gift cards
  • Travel
  • Statement credits
  • Paper check
  • Deposits into an eligible Bank of America checking or savings account
  • Credits or contributions to an eligible Merrill account
Intro APR 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months, then 17.24% to 25.99% (variable) APR

0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months, then 17.24% to 25.99% (variable) APR

See Terms intro APR for 18 billing cycles for any qualifying balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then See Terms APR

See Terms intro APR on purchases for 18 billing cycles, then See Terms APR

Travel perks
  • Trip cancellation or interruption insurance
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Travel and emergency assistance services
  • Potential Visa Signature benefits such as roadside dispatch and travel and emergency assistance services
Other benefits
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Access to Preferred Rewards program
  • Museums on Us
Foreign transaction fee 3% 3%
Credit needed Excellent, Good Excellent
Learn How to Apply Apply Now

What both cards excel at

The Chase Freedom Unlimited and Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards are credit cards from different card issuers, but they share some similarities. Here’s where both cards excel:

  • Sign-up bonus: Both cards have welcome offers, though they’re different. That’s a plus because not every rewards credit card has a sign-up bonus, which is typically an easy way for new cardholders to almost immediately earn a nice chunk of rewards.
  • Cash back: How do you like your rewards — as points, miles or cash back? If you like cash back, you’re in the right place. Both cards offer cashback rewards for making eligible purchases, though there’s some variation on earning rates and spending categories.
  • No annual fee: The Chase Freedom Unlimited has a $0 annual fee while the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards also has a $0 annual fee.
  • Intro APR on qualifying balance transfers: The Freedom Unlimited offers 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months, then 17.24% to 25.99% (variable) APR. The Customized Cash Rewards offers See Terms intro APR for 18 billing cycles for any qualifying balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then See Terms APR.
  • Intro APR on purchases: You’ll also find introductory APR rates on purchases for both cards. The Freedom Unlimited offers 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months, then 17.24% to 25.99% (variable) APR. The Customized Cash Rewards offers See Terms intro APR on purchases for 18 billing cycles, then See Terms APR.
  • Visa network: Both cards use the Visa payments network and are accepted in over 200 countries and territories worldwide, making it easy to use your card almost anywhere credit cards are accepted. But the 3% foreign transaction fees on the Freedom Unlimited and the 3% foreign transaction fees on the Customized Cash Rewards reduce card usability for travelers. Check out our list of the best travel credit cards for better card options that earn travel rewards.

4 important differences between Chase Freedom Unlimited and Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards

Both cards have similarities, but they also have a few important differences. Here is where you’ll likely see how certain card attributes or benefits might more align with your lifestyle or financial goals.

1. Earning categories

The Freedom Unlimited and Customized Cash Rewards are considered cashback credit cards, which typically means they earn cash rewards on eligible purchases. Here are how their earning rates compare:

  • Chase Freedom Unlimited: 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards: 3% cash back on the category of your choice; 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (on the first $2,500 spent each quarter in the 2% and 3% categories combined); and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

At a quick glance, it might be difficult to tell which card offers more valuable earning opportunities. The Freedom Unlimited has the overall higher earning rate, but that only matters if you plan to frequently book travel through Chase.

Otherwise, the rewards rates are similar. However, you might find more value from either card depending on your spending habits. For example, the 3% cash back on dining and drugstore purchases could align with your typical expenses, making the Freedom Unlimited an appealing choice.

But the Customized Cash Rewards could offer more flexibility. You could earn 3% in a category of your choice — dining, drugstores, gas, home improvement/furnishings, online shopping, or travel (on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter).

This might be the preferred option if your highest expenses tend to vary. But keep in mind that you’re limited to earning 3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined bonus categories each quarter. For example, spending $1,000 on dining (3% category) and $1,500 on groceries (2% category) would max out your bonus earning for the quarter, leaving all other purchases at the 1% rate.

You wouldn’t be able to earn cash rewards at the 2% and 3% rates again until the next quarter.

Note that this type of rewards setup could be more complicated (albeit potentially more rewarding) than the Chase Freedom Unlimited’s simple setup. You might prefer the Chase Freedom Unlimited if you value simplicity and don’t want to track how much you’ve spent in various bonus categories every quarter.

Check out our Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card review to learn more about this card’s flexibility.

2. Preferred Rewards

The Bank of America Preferred Rewards program is free to join for eligible Bank of America customers.

The primary requirements to join include:

  • Having an active and eligible Bank of America checking account.
  • Having a three-month combined average daily balance of at least $20,000 between qualifying Bank of America deposit accounts and/or Merrill investment accounts.

The benefits of this program vary across different tiers, including Gold, Platinum, and Platinum Honors. At each tier, benefits for Customized Cash Rewards cardholders could include:

  • Gold: 25% bonus to your cash back if you meet the minimum requirements.
  • Platinum: 50% bonus to your cash back if your combined average daily balance between eligible accounts is at least $50,000.
  • Platinum Honors: 75% bonus to your cash back if your combined average daily balance between eligible accounts is at least $100,000.

Earning up to 75% more cash back is a substantial bonus on top of what you might already be able to earn. Let’s say you max out your top earning category in a quarter and earn $75 ($2,500 x 0.03 = $75) in cash back. As a Platinum Honors member, your 75% bonus would increase your cashback rate to 5.25%. You would then earn $131.25 ($2,500 x 0.0525 = $131.25) cash back rather than $75.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited also offers ways to get more value from your rewards, but it might take more work. You would typically need to transfer your rewards to another Chase credit card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve® using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal online or on the Chase mobile app. These cards offer between 25% to 50% more value for Chase Ultimate Rewards points when redeemed for travel.

Neither the Freedom Unlimited nor the Customized Cash Rewards necessarily offers an overall better option in this scenario. But in many cases, it might be easier to have multiple Chase credit cards than to have an extra $100,000 (or even $20,000) in the bank.

3. Redemption options

How you’re able to use any rewards you might earn could have an impact on which card might be a better fit for you.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited offers these redemption options:

  • Statement credits.
  • Direct deposits into most U.S. savings and checking accounts.
  • Shop with Points at Amazon, Apple, and PayPal.
  • Gift cards.
  • Travel.
  • Pay Yourself Back.
  • Dining reservations.

The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards offers these redemption options:

  • Statement credits.
  • Paper check.
  • Deposits into an eligible Bank of America checking or savings account.
  • Credits or contributions to an eligible Merrill account.

The options are generally similar with a few notable differences. This includes the Freedom Unlimited having travel redemption options and the Customized Cash Rewards having investment redemption options.

Considering you could simply get actual cash through bank deposits from either card, it doesn’t necessarily matter what other redemption options are available. Since you could use cash for just about anything.

But having travel redemption options could be helpful since travel is popular for many people. With the Freedom Unlimited, you could directly use your rewards for travel redemptions. Learn more about this card in our Chase Freedom Unlimited review.

4. Cardmember benefits

In addition to its sign-up bonus and earning categories, the Chase Freedom Unlimited also offers these benefits:

  • Purchase protection.
  • Extended warranty protection.
  • Trip cancellation or interruption insurance.
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver.
  • Travel and emergency assistance services.

The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards doesn’t offer this same suite of benefits, though it might provide a few similar perks. As a Visa Signature card, it’s likely that these benefits are included (Visa benefits vary by card issuer and are typically listed in a card’s guide to benefits):

  • Roadside dispatch.
  • Travel and emergency assistance services.

Customized Cash Rewards cardholders could also benefit from the Museums on Us perk from Bank of America. This benefit provides eligible cardholders free access to over 225 cultural institutions in dozens of cities nationwide on the first full weekend of every month. Attractions include places such as the Long Island Aquarium, The Met Fifth Avenue, and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Check out our compare credit cards page to see top card offers with different types of benefits.

Which card should you choose?

The better card for you between the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards depends on your spending habits and financial goals.

You might choose the Chase Freedom Unlimited if:

  • You want to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points and have access to travel redemptions.
  • You want additional benefits such as purchase protection and extended warranty protection.
  • The spending categories align with your everyday expenses.

You might choose the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards if:

  • You want flexibility on which spending categories offer the highest cash back each quarter.
  • You want potential Visa Signature benefits.
  • You bank with Bank of America and can take advantage of the Preferred Rewards program.

Note that both cards also have 0% intro APR offers that might be useful for qualifying balance transfers or upcoming large purchases. Not all rewards cards provide these types of offers. Visit our page for the best rewards credit cards to see what other top credit card offers are available.

FAQs

Is Chase Freedom Unlimited hard to get?

The Chase Freedom Unlimited could be hard to get depending on your credit score. It typically requires a minimum of good credit, which is at least a 670 credit score on the FICO scoring model. However, having excellent credit of 800 or above would likely improve your chances of qualifying.

Does Chase Freedom Unlimited give cash back or points?

The Chase Freedom Unlimited offers cash back in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards points. These rewards can be redeemed for:

  • Statement credits.
  • Direct deposits into most U.S. savings and checking accounts.
  • Shop with Points at Amazon.
  • Gift cards.
  • Travel.

Does cash back from Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards expire?

Cash back from the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards don’t expire. Your cashback rewards could be redeemed for these options:

  • Statement credits.
  • Deposits into eligible Bank of America or Merrill accounts.
  • Qualifying contributions to a 529 account with Merrill.
  • Paper checks.

Bottom line

Either the Chase Freedom Unlimited or Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards could make sense if you want to earn rewards on everyday purchases. But choosing one over the other likely depends on your lifestyle and typical spending habits.

You might prefer the Freedom Unlimited if its bonus categories align with your everyday expenses. But if you want more flexibility with how you earn cash back, the Customized Cash Rewards might be a better fit.

Check out our list of the best cashback credit cards to see more top cards and what they have to offer.

Choose Your Cashback Category

Annual Fee

$0

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • Earn a $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Up to 3% cash back in one category of your choice
  • Long intro APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers
  • No annual fee

Drawbacks

  • Quarterly spending caps
Card Details
  • $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases.
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25%-75% more cash back on every purchase. That means you could earn 3.75%-5.25% cash back on purchases in your choice category.
  • No annual fee and no expiration on rewards.
  • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.
  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.

Author Details

Ben Walker, CEPF Ben Walker, CEPF, is a credit cards and travel writer at FinanceBuzz who loves helping others achieve their travel goals through financially sound decisions. For over a decade, he has been using credit card points and miles for the sole purpose of traveling the world. Ben is a Certified Educator of Personal Finance and has been featured in The Washington Post, MSN, Debt.com, and Finder.com.