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Earlier this month, Chase announced a new cash-back card: the Chase Freedom Unlimited. While the issuer’s already shared some information about the product and its benefits, today we have all the details. Read on for the full scoop, along with a look at whether this card makes sense for you.
Update: Chase has confirmed that the Freedom Unlimited card will charge a 3% foreign transaction fee.
This product won’t be replacing the Chase Freedom card, which earns 1% cash back on all purchases plus 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in quarterly bonus categories. Rather, Freedom Unlimited is an addition to Chase’s cash-back card portfolio, and it offers a flat 1.5% back on all purchases.
There’s no annual fee, and there’s no minimum amount for redeeming for cash back. As for the sign-up bonus, you’ll earn $150 after spending $500 in the first three months of account opening. Additionally, Freedom Unlimited currently offers 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months, with APR matching the Freedom card after that period. After the introductory APR offer, a variable APR of 15.49-24.24% applies.
As with the “regular” Chase Freedom card, you can convert cash back into Ultimate Rewards points provided you have a points-earning card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Ink Plus Business Card. Those three cards make a great trifecta — and with the addition of the Chase Freedom Unlimited, it’s about to become a quartet! TPG pegs Ultimate Rewards points at 2.1 cents apiece in his latest valuations, and you can redeem them with a variety of great transfer partners including Hyatt and United.
As of today, you can now sign up for the Freedom Unlimited card at 5,400 Chase branches across the US. You’ll be able to apply online beginning in April. Also, if you have the regular Freedom card, or another no-fee Chase product, such as the regular Sapphire card, you should now be able to call the number on the back of your card and switch to Freedom Unlimited. While it is possible to have both Freedom cards, you’ll either need to sign up for Unlimited in a branch or migrate another Chase account if you’d like to have Freedom Unlimited before online applications open up next month.
Is It Worth It?
Especially if you currently hold the Chase Freedom card, you may be wondering if this new product is worth adding to your wallet. While you can move from the Freedom to the Freedom Unlimited, you’d be giving up the opportunity to earn 5x points (or 5% cash back) on rotating bonus categories like grocery store purchases and gas station spending, so it pays to have both products. Unfortunately it’s unclear if Freedom Unlimited will be affected by Chase’s 5/24 rule (no more than five credit card applications in two years).
Since you can effectively earn 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points (a 3.15% return, based on TPG’s valuations) on all purchases with the Chase Freedom Unlimited, it’s a great option for everyday spending — even rivaling the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express, which offers a return of at least 2.5% on all purchases.
That said, if you’re looking for a strictly cash-back card and aren’t interested in pairing the Chase Freedom Unlimited with an Ultimate Rewards-earning product, there are better options. For example, the Citi Double Cash Card card earns 1% when you make a purchase and another 1% when you pay your bill — and the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
Also worth noting: Upon converting to the Freedom Unlimited, one TPG contributor was told by Chase reps that the card will incur foreign transaction fees, and Chase has since confirmed that the new product will charge a 3% foreign transaction fee. The original Chase Freedom charges the 3% fee as well, so this isn’t a huge surprise, but it still means you’ll want to consider other products like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card for purchases abroad.
The Freedom Unlimited card is a welcome addition to Chase’s portfolio, offering 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on all purchases if you pair it with a UR-earning card like the Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus. It can’t compete with Chase Freedom’s 5% (or 5x points) on bonus categories, but it’s a great option for everyday spending (in the US), and with no annual fee it’s a no-brainer if your award travel goals align with Chase’s strong selection of transfer partners.
Are you planning on signing up for Chase Freedom Unlimited?
- Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase — it's automatic
- Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.49-24.24%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
- Redeem for cash — any amount, anytime
- Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
- No annual fee
With great transfer partners like United and Hyatt, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards