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The Chase Freedom Unlimited has long been both a great starter card for those with limited credit history and the ideal complement to cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve. The lack of an annual fee on the Freedom Unlimited, as well as its 1.5x earning on all purchases (with no bonus categories or annual limits to worry about), makes it a great choice for quickly racking up Chase Ultimate Rewards points — if you pair it with a card that earns UR points, that is.
For most of its history, the Freedom Unlimited has offered the same sign-up bonus of $150 (or 15,000 points) after spending $500 in the first 3 months. However, Chase has just changed the offer. Now, new card holders will earn 3% back or 3x points on their first $20,000 in purchases in the first year of card membership. The card still doesn’t have an annual fee and will continue to earn 1.5x points on all purchases after you meet the $20,000 cap. This is the new standard offer, so it will be available for the foreseeable future without any specific end date.
The Freedom Unlimited is certainly not the first card to move away from fixed bonus offers and instead reward customers who spend more. There’s no denying that this offer is more rewarding than the old $150/15,000-point offer, and even light spenders should be able to get a great deal of value out of this.
If you spend just $1,000 a month on your Freedom Unlimited, you’ll earn 36,000 points with the 3x bonus. With the old offer, you would’ve earned a 15,000-point bonus but only earned 1.5x on your spending, leaving you with 33,000 points at the end of the year. Obviously the more you spend the bigger the gap gets, making it easy to rack up tens of thousands of points with this card.
One important note is that the Freedom Unlimited can only achieve its full potential when paired with a premium Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning card, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card. Technically, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is a cash-back card, but it earns rewards in the form of “points” that are worth a fixed 1 cent apiece. If you hold one of the Chase cards mentioned above, you can combine your points from the Freedom Unlimited with the points earned on that card, turning them into full-fledged transferable Ultimate Rewards points. TPG values Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents each thanks to a strong collection of transfer partners including Hyatt and United, so you can literally double the return of your Freedom Unlimited just by pairing it with the right card.
Like most of Chase’s credit cards, the Freedom Unlimited is restricted by the 5/24 rule. Generally speaking, this means that you’ll be automatically rejected if you’ve opened 5 or more credit cards in the last 24 months. If you’re interested in the Freedom Unlimited for its long-term earning potential you can product change from a Chase Freedom or Chase Sapphire card if your account has been open for more than one year, but you won’t be able to earn the new bonus.
Whether it’s the first card you add to your wallet or one you add down the line to maximize your everyday spending, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is one of the best ways to keep racking up large amounts of points long after you’ve earned and spent your initial sign-up bonus. The new bonus offer of 3% cash back on all purchases for the first $20,000 you spend in the first year is a great way to get out to a head start. If you don’t already have a Freedom Unlimited in your wallet and you’re under 5/24, this bonus is a no-brainer.
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TPG'S BONUS VALUATION: $600
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: No annual fee + earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases after you meet the $20,000 cap
- New Offer! Double Cash Back: Earn 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent. After that earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 17.24-25.99%. Balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
- 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