Chase Freedom Card vs Chase Freedom Unlimited® [2024]: Which Comes Out on Top?

CREDIT CARDS - CASH BACK CREDIT CARDS
The Chase Freedom is no longer available, but it held its own against the Freedom Unlimited when it came to different rewards structures.
Updated July 11, 2024
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In September 2020, Chase discontinued the Chase Freedom Card. This card offered useful perks that competed with the Chase Freedom Unlimited®.

The Chase Freedom, for instance, provided rotating bonus categories, a feature that appealed to those who valued the opportunity to maximize their rewards. On the other hand, the Chase Freedom Unlimited offers a straightforward rewards structure, making it an ideal choice for those who prefer not to monitor changing categories each quarter.

The Chase Freedom Card was subsequently replaced by the Chase Freedom Flex®. To understand how it stacks up, read our Chase Freedom Unlimited and Freedom Flex comparison. Now, let’s delve deeper into the differences between the Chase Freedom versus Chase Freedom Unlimited.

In this Chase Freedom vs. Freedom Unlimited comparison

Key takeaways

  • The Chase Freedom Card was discontinued in September 2020. It was replaced with the Chase Freedom Flex®.
  • The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a great cash back card for everyday use. It helps you earn 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.
  • The Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card offers even more value as you can earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).
  • The Chase Freedom Card enabled cardholders to earn 5% cash back in rotating bonus categories (up to $1,500 in combined purchases per quarter) and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • The Chase Freedom Card had a $0 annual fee. The Chase Freedom Unlimited® has a $0 annual fee.

Chase Freedom vs. Freedom Unlimited comparison

Chase Freedom Card

Chase Freedom Card

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Card type Cash Back Cash back
Annual fee $0 $0
Welcome offer $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year)
Earning rate 5% cash back in rotating bonus categories (up to $1,500 in combined purchases per quarter) and 1% cash back on all other purchases 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
Intro APR 0% APR on purchases for 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% (variable)) 0% APR on purchases for 15 months (then 20.49% - 29.24% Variable)
Other benefits
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
Foreign transaction fee 3% 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
Credit needed Excellent, Good Excellent, Good
This card is no longer available Apply now

Our verdict

We love the simplicity of the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, which allows us to earn cash back without keeping track of changing categories. The best part is that you can earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).

This is a valuable benefit that easily boosts the value of this credit card. With a $0 annual fee, it’s a logical choice to keep this card in your wallet for as long as you can.

4 important differences between the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited

While the Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited shared several similarities, they differed in some essential ways.

1. Welcome offers

The Chase Freedom helped you earn a $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited enables you to earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year). This gives you a valuable earning potential.

Keep in mind that you can no longer earn a welcome offer on the Chase Freedom as this card is no longer available.

Winner: The Chase Freedom Unlimited.

2. Rewards rates

The Chase Freedom enabled cardholders to earn 5% cash back in rotating bonus categories (up to $1,500 in combined purchases per quarter) and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Meanwhile, the Chase Freedom Unlimited helps you earn 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.

The drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, are common everyday expenses that earn an elevated rate with this card, and the base 1.5% cash back rate is higher than the base rewards rate on many cards.

Winner: The Chase Freedom Unlimited.

3. Rewards programs

The Chase Freedom was a rewards credit card that required keeping track of its quarterly categories from people who used it to maximize their rewards.

On the other hand, the reward structure you get with the Chase Freedom Unlimited is simpler because it doesn’t require you to track and activate bonus categories each quarter, allowing you to go about your life without any added responsibility. For the most part, you'll benefit from the simple flat-rate cash back.

Winner: The Chase Freedom Unlimited.

4. Availability

This point is simple. The Chase Freedom is no longer available. This means that you can’t apply for it. That’s why it can’t compete with the Chase Freedom Unlimited, which you can simply apply for online.

You can apply now or learn more about this card in our Chase Freedom Unlimited review.

Winner: The Chase Freedom Unlimited.

How to use Chase Freedom cards for the Chase trifecta

Chase pays its Freedom cashback rewards in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards points, one of the travel rewards we love. You can redeem your points for cash back in the form of statement credit, as well as gift cards and for travel purchases through the Chase Travel portal.

You can also transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points under certain conditions between specific credit cards. This allows you to potentially get more value from your cashback earnings using the Chase trifecta.

The Chase trifecta is a simple strategy where you use a card such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited and strategically transfer your points to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, two of the best travel credit cards.

The Sapphire Preferred offers a 25% higher value for your points when redeemed for travel through the Chase Travel℠ portal. While the Sapphire Reserve offers a 50% higher value for the same travel redemptions.

How to upgrade from Chase Freedom to Chase Freedom Unlimited

Chase allows you to request a product change among different Chase credit cards. This means you can have one Chase card and turn it into a different one, which would give you all the benefits of the new card while removing the features of the old one. Requesting a product change would also retain the credit history you’ve already built up on the old card.

Keep in mind, you can’t change a Chase card like the Freedom or Freedom Unlimited to a co-branded Chase card like the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card or IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card. You also can’t product change a co-branded Chase card to one of the Freedom or Sapphire cards.

If you want to request a product change for your Chase Freedom to Chase Freedom Unlimited, call the Chase customer service line or send a secured message to Chase through your online account. The main reason to make this change is to take advantage of the Freedom Unlimited bonus categories that you won’t find on the Chase Freedom.

But making this change would also mean you’d lose access to the rotating categories on the Chase Freedom. You also wouldn’t get the opportunity to earn a welcome offer on the Freedom Unlimited if you change products rather than applying for it directly.

How to choose the right Chase card for you

While the Chase Freedom is no longer available, you can still choose between other cards within the Freedom lineup. This includes:

  1. Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  2. Chase Freedom Flex®
  3. Chase Freedom Rise℠

Consider these factors when choosing the right Chase card for you:

  1. Rewards program: Choose the rewards program that better aligns with your spending habits. For example, the Chase Freedom Unlimited offers elevated rewards rates on common purchases. The Chase Freedom rewards program used a cashback calendar that changes every quarter. This meant that cardholders didn’t always know what was going to be offered.
  2. Welcome offer: The welcome offer a card enables you to earn can boost its value in the first year of account opening. For example, the Freedom Unlimited helps you earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).
  3. Overall value: There’s a difference in the overall value of each card on the Freedom lineup. Carefully consider which card can offer you the most cash back and benefits by taking into account their rewards rates, welcome offers, and other perks.

By considering these factors, you can determine which card on the Chase Freedom lineup is better for you.

FAQ

Is Chase Freedom discontinued?

Yes, the Chase Freedom Card has been discontinued and you can no longer apply for it. Current holders can keep using it or request for a product change by contacting Chase.

Can I have both Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited?

You can have more than one card on the Chase Freedom lineup. However, you can’t apply for the Chase Freedom Card because it’s no longer available. The only way to have the Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited is to have the Freedom from before it was discontinued, and then apply for the Freedom Unlimited.

Can I switch from Chase Freedom to Freedom Unlimited?

Yes, Chase allows product changes, though there might be stipulations. It’s best to contact Chase directly so they can determine your eligibility to switch between products.

Can I apply for Chase Freedom Unlimited if I have Chase Freedom?

Yes. There are no restrictions on doing this. So if you have one Chase Freedom card, you can indeed apply for the other.

What credit score do you need for Chase Freedom Unlimited?

Chase looks for the same range of credit scores for the Freedom Unlimited card as it does for the Freedom card. Having a score between 670 and 850 gives you a good chance at approval.

Can you upgrade a Chase Freedom Card?

Both the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited cards are eligible for a product change or upgrade. To request an upgrade, it’s best to call customer service to see if you qualify and what is involved with the process. Chase’ customer service number is 1-800-432-3117.

Can you have two Chase Freedom cards?

Yes, you can have more than one Chase Freedom card. You can have two or even three Freedom cards, as long as you qualify for them. Chase currently offers three types of Chase Freedom credit cards to new cardholders:

  1. Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  2. Chase Freedom Flex®
  3. Chase Freedom Rise℠

Each of these cards offers a unique set of earning opportunities and benefits. One important limitation is Chase’s unofficial 5/24 rule. This rule states that Chase might not approve you for a new credit card if you have opened five or more credit cards from any card issuer in the past 24 months. So, while it’s possible to hold two Freedom cards at once, this rule might affect your ability to do so.

Chase Freedom vs. Freedom Unlimited: bottom line

You can’t qualify for the Chase Freedom because it’s no longer available. However, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is one of the best cash back credit cards you can get, thanks to its simple rewards structure, common bonus categories, and high base earning rate.

If you’re leaning more toward a card similar to the Chase Freedom, consider the Freedom Flex. This card has significant similarities to the Chase Freedom, including offering quarterly rotating rewards categories and intro APR.

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
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Author Details

Matt Miczulski Matt Miczulski is a personal finance writer specializing in financial news, budget travel, banking, and debt. His interest in personal finance took off after eliminating $30,000 in debt in just over a year, and his goal is to help others learn how to get ahead with better money management strategies. A lover of history, Matt hopes to use his passion for storytelling to shine a new light on how people think about money. His work has also been featured on MoneyDoneRight and Recruiter.com.
Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI® Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®, is credit cards specialist. For over a decade, he's leveraged credit card points and miles to travel the world. His expertise extends to other areas of personal finance — including loans, insurance, investing, and real estate — and you can find his insights on The Washington Post, Debt.com, Yahoo! Finance, and Fox Business.