Chase Details the Freedom Unlimited Card

Mar 1, 2016

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Chase shared the news this morning that a new cash-back card is on the way! The Chase Freedom Unlimited card will earn a flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases, rather than the 1% cash back (with quarterly 5% categories) offered by the current Chase Freedom card (No longer open to new applicants).

Now, for some more good news: The current Chase Freedom card is not going away. You’ll still be able to sign up for it, and if you already have one of your own, it’ll work the same way it has in the past. I repeat: There are no changes to Chase Freedom. Freedom Unlimited is simply a new addition to the portfolio. Here’s how Chase describes the new no-annual-fee card, which should hit the market in the spring:

The new Chase Freedom Unlimited card will offer 1.5% unlimited cash back on every purchase. We know today’s consumers want choice and convenience to fit their lifestyle, which is why we’re adding Chase Freedom Unlimited as an option for 1.5% cash back on every purchase. There’s no minimum to redeem for cash back—cardholders can redeem any amount, anytime. Chase Freedom, one of our most popular cards, will continue to be available and play an important role in our credit card growth plan. Whether a consumer chooses to earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase with the new Chase Freedom Unlimited card or 5% cash back in quarterly bonus categories on up to $1,500 and 1% on all other purchases with the current Freedom card—they have the ability to do so with Chase. Chase Freedom Unlimited customers will earn points through the Ultimate Rewards program in the same way our Freedom customers do today. For both products, customers can redeem points for cash back or other redemptions options including gift cards and travel. In addition, customers can redeem points through the Freedom mobile app at the register.

So this will essentially work like a regular cash back card — but with the ability to transfer points to an Ultimate Rewards-earning card, like Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Ink Plus, in which case you’d be able to earn 1.5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on all purchases, rather than simply 1.5% cash back.

The ability to transfer cash back to points at a 1-cent-per-point ratio would make the Freedom Unlimited the most lucrative cash-back credit card — we value each UR point at 2.1 cents, so you’d essentially be getting 3.15% back when converting cash back to points.

Looking at Unlimited strictly as a cash-back card, however, there are better options on the market. For example, the Citi Double Cash Card offers 1% cash back when you make a purchase and a second 1% back when you pay your bill. With Chase Freedom, meanwhile, you can earn 5% cash back in certain bonus categories each quarter, on the first $1,500 spent. And the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card offers the same 1.5% cash back on all purchases. 

Ultimately, Freedom Unlimited sounds like a fantastic addition to Chase’s portfolio. The ability to earn 3.15% back on all purchases by combining points with another UR-earning card, like Chase Sapphire Preferred, is tremendously beneficial. And it’s great to hear that this is simply a new addition — it won’t be replacing Freedom, though Chase has confirmed that you will be able to switch from Freedom to Freedom Unlimited, if that’s something you’d like to do.


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