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. So, we’re going to review it, working off the assumption this part of your larger CUR strategy.
Sign Up Bonus (Grade: A-)
In lieu of a traditional sign up bonus, the Chase Freedom Unlimited earns 3% on all your purchases in the first year until you’ve spent $20,000. It earns 1.5% on everything after that. If you did spend $20,000 in your first year, this would come out to an extra $300 earned which is essentially your sign up bonus. For a card with no annual fee, this is a pretty good deal.
In reality, you’re earning Chase Ultimate Rewards that can be redeemed for cash. So, that extra $300 we mentioned is really an extra 30,000 Ultimate Rewards. And, if you have a card with an annual fee like the Sapphire Preferred, you can also transfer the Ultimate Rewards to 13 different travel partners. They’re worth up to twice as much with those travel partners than if you just cash them in.
Daily Spending (Grade: A+)
After your first year, the card earns 1.5 points for every dollar you spend. Again, because you can transfer those points through a premium card, like the Sapphire Preferred, and then out to the 13 travel partners we mentioned, those points are worth as much as twice their cash value.
|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.
Redeeming Points (Grade: A+)
In concert with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the 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. You can book flights, hotels, rental cars, etc. (just not Disney hotels or vacation packages). One 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.
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.
You can read more in our Chase Ultimate Rewards Strategy post.
Overall Grade: A
Earning 3 points per dollar on your purchases in the first year and 1.5 points after that is a great deal when you consider that it can come out to as much as 6% and 3% respectively in value by transferring the points. While the Chase Freedom Unlimited is just ok alone, as part of a Chase Ultimate Rewards Strategy, it’s tremendous. It can make your next Disney vacation come a whole lot faster!