The Chase Freedom Unlimited is part of the Chase Ultimate Rewards lineup. For reasons we’ll explain, this no annual fee card should be used as part of a Chase Ultimate Strategy and not as a standalone card. So, we’re going to review it, working off the assumption this part of your larger CUR strategy.
Sign Up Bonus (Grade: A-)
The Chase Freedom Unlimited comes with a signup bonus of 15,000 points when you spend $500 in the first three months, and another 2,500 points when you add an authorized user who makes at least one purchase. If this was your only Chase Ultimate Rewards card, you could only redeem these points for cash at one cent each. That would mean your sign up bonus would be worth $175. When you have a CUR card with an annual fee, you can transfer the points through that card out to travel partners where they’re worth up to two cents each. In that case, your sign up bonus is now worth $350.
You can read more in our Chase Ultimate Rewards Strategy post.
|Sign Up Bonus||17,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards|
|Value Per Point||2 cents|
|Value of Sign Up Bonus||$350|
Daily Spending (Grade: A+)
As mentioned, the card earns 1.5 points for every dollar you spend. You can then transfer those points to either of the premium cards then out to a program like Hyatt where they’re worth two cents per point. This means your one dollar spent earned you 3% toward a stay at Hyatt (1.5 pts X 2 cents each). Southwest Airlines is another great option for transfers. Their points are worth about 1.6 cents each. So when you spend a dollar on your Chase Freedom Unlimited, then transfer it to Southwest Airlines, you’re getting 2.4% on the dollar you spent (1.5 pts x 1.6 cents). At the range of 2.4% to 3%, it’s probably the best earning rate you’ll find for non-bonus categories.
|Category||Points per Dollar Spent|
Additional Perks (Grade: N/A)
There really aren’t any additional perks that you’ll get with this card that you wouldn’t already have with Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Plus. Since we’re reviewing this card with the understanding that you have one of those, there’s really nothing else to add here.
Redeeming Points (Grade: A+)
In concert with the two cards mention, this redemption options are really solid. Here are the ways you can redeem points:
Cash – You can redeem your points for cash at one cent per point. This is the least valuable way to redeem points, but if you’re in a pinch and need a bit of cash it’s nice to know you have this option.
Travel – When you book travel through Chase using points, you get a redemption rate of 1.25 cents per point. Again, this isn’t the most lucrative way to redeem points, but it can be a nice option for Disney vacation packages which includes your park tickets. One other redeeming quality for this option is that you can still earn airline miles even when you’re using your Chase Ultimate Rewards to book the flight. I recently purchased a round trip flight using URs to Austin from Seattle on Alaska Airlines because I’m hoping to make Gold status for the year. I’ll get my Alaska miles for the flight and be one step closer to status as well.
Transfer – The most lucrative option is transferring your Chase Ultimate Rewards to one or more of their 10 travel partners. The most popular options of these include United, Hyatt, Southwest Airlines, and British Airways. Hyatt is the usually most valuable transfer partner at an average value of 2 cents per point, but having many great options helps you maximize the value because it allows you to choose between several great options. You can often find a sweet spot in one partner or another that can help you get more than 2 cents per point.
Overall Grade: A
Being able to earn around 3% back on your normal everyday purchases is the primary reason we rate this card so highly. If you spent $30,000 in one year on this card, you’d earn around $900 (excluding the sign up bonus) toward a stay at a place like Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress at Disney World. Or, with Southwest Airlines you’d earn about $765 in free flights for that amount of spending. Compare that to the two Disney cards which earn around 1% to 1.5% back on average which would get you around $300 to $450 in Disney Dollars. You can see why we recommend this card so highly. It can make your next Disney vacation come a whole lot faster!