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 Rewards Strategy and not as a standalone card. If you carry a Chase Sapphire Preferred, we strongly suggest you consider a Chase Freedom Unlimited.
So, we’re going to review it, working off the assumption this part of your larger CUR strategy.
Sign Up Bonus (Grade: A-)
You’ll earn 20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards after spending $500 in the first three months. If you only carry the Chase Freedom Unlimited, those 20,000 points are worth $200 a statement credit… not bad for a card with no annual fee.
But, if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can transfer the points from your Freedom Unlimited onto your Sapphire Preferred where they’re worth as much as double when you redeem them. (I’ll explain more in the redemption section)
Daily Spending (Grade: A+)
The card earns 1.5 points for every dollar you spend. Again, because you can transfer those points onto the Sapphire Preferred, a card that was getting you 1.5% cash back is now earning you as much as 3% in future travel.
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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.
Redeeming Points (Grade: A+)
Once you transfer your points from Chase Freedom Unlimited onto your Chase Sapphire Preferred, here are your redemption options starting with the worst and moving to the best.
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 – Chase has it’s own travel portal powered by Expedia. When you book travel through Chase using points, you get a redemption rate of 1.25 cents per point. You can book flights, hotels, rental cars, etc. (just not Disney hotels or vacation packages). So, instead of one cent per point, with this option you’re getting 1.25 cents per point.
Transfer – The most lucrative option is transferring your Chase Ultimate Rewards to one or more of their 13 travel partners. The most popular options of these include United, Hyatt, Southwest Airlines, and JetBlue. 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.
Average Value of Points: Top CUR Transfer Partners
- Hyatt – 2 cents
- Southwest Airlines – 1.5 cents
- JetBlue – 1.5 cents
You can read more in our Chase Ultimate Rewards Strategy post.
Overall Grade: A
The Chase Freedom Unlimited has no annual fee. If you package this with a Chase Sapphire Preferred, the sign up bonus of 20,000 Ultimate Rewards is worth as much as $400. Plus, earning 1.5 points for every dollar you spend is worth up to 3% on your purchases if used for travel. While we wouldn’t recommend this card alone, as a tandem, the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Sapphire Preferred make up a fantastic points strategy.
If you decide to apply, consider using one of the links in this post. You get the same great deal and we get some points for pointing you in the right direction.