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Chase Freedom Unlimited is one of the hottest new credit cards of the year. Chase spilled the beans about the new no-fee product early last month, and opened applications a few weeks later, with a catch: You could only apply in person at a Chase branch, or convert another Chase account to Freedom Unlimited, instead.
Fortunately, Chase has now opened up online applications, so if you’ve been holding out on Freedom Unlimited because you didn’t want to visit a branch, now’s the time to get your card! (Note that it does appear that Chase is applying the “5/24 rule” to this new product, so if you’ve opened five or more accounts in the past 24 months, your application may not be approved.)
Does this Replace the Freedom Card?
As a reminder, Freedom Unlimited 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. Instead, it’s an addition to Chase’s cash-back card portfolio, and it offers a flat 1.5% back on all purchases, which can be redeemed for a credit of any amount.
The card doesn’t have an annual fee, and it even offers a 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, after which the APR will match the Freedom card (variable APR of 16.99% to 25.74%). Note that this card does charge foreign transaction fees — for international purchases, you’ll want to use one of these options, instead.
How To Make Freedom Unlimited Even More Valuable
If you have a points-earning card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Ink Plus Business Card, you can convert cash back into Ultimate Rewards points, just as you can with the “regular” Chase Freedom card. We’ve written about how those three cards make a great trifecta — now a quartet with the addition of Chase Freedom Unlimited.
TPG pegs Ultimate Rewards points at 2.1 cents apiece in his latest valuations — what makes Ultimate Rewards points so valuable is that you can transfer them to a variety of fantastic transfer partners, such as United and Hyatt, and then redeem them as points or miles toward free travel.
When paired with an Ultimate Rewards-earning card, you can effectively earn 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points (a 3.15% return, based on TPG’s valuations) on all purchases with Chase Freedom Unlimited, making this card the best option for everyday spending.
However, if you’re planning to redeem your 1.5% as cash back, there are better options on the market, such as the Citi Double Cash Card card, which earns 1% when you make a purchase and another 1% when you pay your bill — and the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card, which offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
We’re very excited about the Freedom Unlimited card, and being able to sign up online rather than only at a Chase branch can save you quite a bit of time. Freedom Unlimited is especially valuable if you have an UR-earning card like Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus, in which case you’ll essentially earn 1.5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on any purchase anywhere.
Chase Freedom is still a great card to have thanks to the 5% (or 5x points) you’ll earn on rotating bonus categories, so if you have that card, you may want to keep it as well, but if you’re looking for a better option for everyday spend, you can’t go wrong with Freedom Unlimited.
Have you signed up for Chase Freedom Unlimited?
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.99-25.74%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
- 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
- No minimum to redeem for cash back
- Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
- Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
- No annual fee