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Chase Freedom Unlimited®: Impressive Rewards for No Annual Fee

Chase Freedom Unlimited® review
KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • The Chase Freedom Unlimited® credit card offers cash rewards and an impressive welcome bonus, all for a $0 annual fee.
  • What we think: Chase Freedom Unlimited’s generous reward rate and lack of an annual fee make it one of our favorite cash-back cards ever. Especially with the current welcome offer of a 1.5% bump on everything, you can earn serious rewards with this card.
  • You’ll earn 6.5% back on travel booked in the Chase portal, 4.5% at restaurants and drugstores and 3% for all other purchases on the first $20,000 spent in the first year. [Note: this offer is available through our site but may not be available if you apply through the Chase site or another website]
  • After the first $20,000 spent in the first year, you’ll earn 5% on travel, 3% at restaurants and pharmacies, and 1.5% on everything else.
  • Freedom Unlimited rewards are unlimited, never expire and can be redeemed in multiple ways.
  • Pair the Freedom Unlimited card with a higher-tier Chase rewards card, and you can pool points to get a higher value.
SUMMARY

If you’re considering a cash rewards card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® credit card stands out as a solid choice. Boasting valuable rewards, a generous welcome offer, and flexible redemption options, it offers plenty of appeal without the burden of an annual fee.

So, is the Chase Freedom Unlimited the right credit card for you? Let’s delve into its main features and terms to help you decide.

We’ll look at:

  • If Chase Freedom Unlimited is a good card
  • Rewards and other benefits
  • Fees, rates and limits
  • How it compares to other cards
PROS & CONS

Pros

  • High cashback rate in various categories
  • Earn the welcome offer as you go
  • Comes with various consumer protections and perks
  • No annual fee

Cons

  • Spending categories may not be beneficial for some
  • 1.5% rate on non-bonus spending isn’t spectacular
  • High regular APR
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
LEARN MORE
Key Information
Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year). After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 1.5% cash back on all other purchases. $0 annual fee.

Is the Chase Freedom Unlimited® worth it?

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a great option for those looking for a beginner’s credit card with flexible rewards and no annual fee. It offers a flat cash-back rate on all purchases and generous cash-back in other useful categories, making it easy to earn rewards.

This Chase card comes with a solid welcome offer: a one-year, 1.5% bump on earning rates, so you can accumulate rewards quickly. It’s especially appealing for travelers, thanks to higher earning rates on restaurants and bookings through Chase’s travel portal.

  • No annual fee
  • Generous welcome offer
  • Cash-back rewards with high earning rate
  • Long intro APR period
  • Rewards don’t expire
  • High penalty APR for late or returned payments
  • You must have good to excellent credit to qualify
  • Charges foreign transaction fees
  • High balance transfer APR after intro period

Learn more about the Chase Freedom Unlimited

Chase Freedom Unlimited® rewards

The rewards program is one of the biggest benefits of the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. 

It’s important to note that while the Freedom Unlimited card is called a cash-back card, the rewards program uses a point system. Every purchase earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points you can redeem for cash-back for no annual fee or use with other redemption partners.

Welcome bonus

Chase has an attractive welcome bonus for new cardholders: In your first year, you can get an extra 1.5% back on your first $20,000 of charges. That’s a significant bump, especially if you plan to book travel — all your purchases in the Chase Travel portal will earn 6.5%. If you book a qualifying $2,000 vacation, you’ll get $130 in cash back. Note: this offer is available through our site but may not be available if you apply through the Chase site or another website.

Earning rewards

With the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, you’ll earn 5% when you book travel in the Chase Travel portal and 3% for eligible purchases at restaurants and drugstores. All other purchases earn a flat 1.5%. In your first year, you can also get an extra 1.5% back on your first $20,000 of charges. 

Redeeming rewards

There are several ways to redeem the rewards you earn with the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. The easiest is to redeem them for cash — with this option, each point is worth 1 cent. If you accumulate 50,000 points, you’ll get $500 in cash back.

Are you a frequent traveler? You can maximize point value by pairing the Freedom Unlimited card with another premium Chase credit card offering, such as Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, or Ink Business cards. Then, you can pool your points and redeem them for a higher value on bookings in the Chase Travel portal. With Sapphire Preferred and Ink, you’ll get 1.25 cents per point; with the Sapphire Reserve card, points are worth 1.5 cents each.

There are plenty of ways to redeem your rewards:

Chase Freedom Unlimited® benefits

In addition to the rewards program, the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card comes with a variety of benefits you can use at home and on the road. Keep in mind that the card is available in Visa Platinum and Visa Signature versions, so your benefits may vary depending on which type you qualify for.

Travel benefits

For travelers, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card offers a range of interesting perks.

Shopping benefits

If you intend to use the card for your daily purchasing needs, here are some benefits you can expect.

Card services

On top of travel and shopping benefits, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card also comes with several services to help protect you against fraud and stay on top of your credit.

Services include:

Chase Freedom Unlimited® fees, rates & limit

Like many rewards cards, the Chase Freedom Unlimited comes with a range of fees. 

The card offers a 0% introductory annual percentage rate (APR) for purchases and balance transfers. Your credit profile will determine your credit limit and rates after the intro period.

Fees

The Chase Freedom Unlimited has a $0 annual fee, which is somewhat unusual for a card with such attractive benefits. If you transfer a balance from another card within 60 days of opening the account, you’ll pay 3% of the amount or $5, whichever is greater. After that, you’ll pay the greater of $5 or 5%. Cash advances with Freedom Unlimited cost $10 or 5% of the advance — whichever is higher. Late payments come with fees of up to $40.

If you spend time overseas, use the card with care. The Chase Freedom Unlimited foreign transaction fee is 3%. Spend $2,000 in another country, and you’ll be hit with $60 in fees.

Interest rates

Here are the main annual percentage rates (APR) for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card:

It’s critical to make payments on time — if you don’t, Chase can raise your APR to 29.99%. The bank may do the same if one of your payments is returned. This rate could remain in place for the lifetime of the account.

Credit limit

If you’re approved for the Visa Platinum version of the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, you’ll have a minimum credit limit of $500. The Visa Signature comes with a minimum limit of $5,000. Your actual credit limit may be higher, depending on your qualifications.

How the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card compares

With its valuable welcome offers and $0 annual fee, the Freedom Unlimited stands out among similar credit cards. The increased earning rates for travel, restaurants and drugstores are nice, particularly if your purchases tend to fall into these categories. The rewards tiers aren’t complicated, so you can earn points without a great deal of thought. After the first year, however, most purchases earn rewards at a rate of 1.5% — not bad, but not quite as high as many other cards.

The Freedom Unlimited has one major drawback: the penalty APR. Just one late payment could increase your regular APR by as much as 9.5%, in addition to the $40 late fee. Worse yet, Chase could decide to keep you at that elevated rate indefinitely.

Chase Freedom Unlimited® vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Both the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. While the Freedom Unlimited card has no annual fee and a welcome bonus of 20,000 points after spending $500 in three months, the Sapphire Preferred charges $95 per year and offers 60,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 in three months. The Sapphire Preferred is the clear winner when it comes to travel cards — rewards are worth 25% more when you book through the Chase Travel portal.

Chase Freedom Unlimited® vs. Chase Freedom Flex® card

Competition is tight when you compare Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Freedom Flex. Both cards have a $0 annual fee, similar APRs (including intro offers) and a decent welcome offer.

The Flex, which is another Chase Freedom credit card, has a less attractive rewards package. Where Freedom Unlimited offers a 1.5% bonus on all purchases for the first year, Flex offers an extra 5% per quarter on $1,500 worth of purchases in gas stations and grocery stores. Travel, restaurants and drugstores earn the same rewards rate on both cards. For other purchases, the Flex earning rate is just 1%, compared to Freedom Unlimited’s 1.5% rate.

Is the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card right for me?

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card is a good option if you want a solid and straightforward cash-back rewards program. It’s particularly attractive during the first year, thanks to the extra 1.5% in rewards. If you spend $20,000, that’s an extra $300 in cash rewards. [Note: this offer is available through our site but may not be available if you apply through the Chase site or another website]. After that, you’ll still earn a decent 5% on any travel bookings you make in the bank’s portal — a nice perk for regular travelers.

This card could also be a good option if you need to transfer a balance. You’ll pay nothing in interest for 15 months, which can save you a great deal of money.

How do I apply for Chase Freedom Unlimited®?

You can learn more about the Chase Freedom Unlimited card and apply online. It’s a quick process that requires contact information, basic financial details and employment data. 

Your odds of approval are based on factors such as your debt, credit history, credit score and ability to pay. There is no Chase Freedom Unlimited credit score requirement, but you may have an easier time getting approved if your score falls between 670 and 850. If you do get approved, you’ll be able to link it to your digital wallet through the Chase mobile app for instant use of your new credit card.

Note: The information for the Chase Freedom Flex® has been collected independently by LA Times Compare. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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FAQ: Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Is the Chase Freedom Unlimited® a good credit card?

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a good credit card. It has no annual fee, generous welcome offers and an easy-to-understand rewards program with flexible redemption options.

Who should get the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card?

You might decide to choose this credit card if you want a straightforward way to earn cash-back rewards. It’s also good if you plan to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. You can use your rewards to pay for bookings, and you’ll earn a higher rate on every portal purchase.

Is it hard to get approved for the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card?

You may have an easy time getting approved for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card if you have good to excellent credit. A higher credit score and a stronger credit profile can help you earn a higher credit limit and better card benefits.

What is the credit limit for the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card?

Credit limits vary by applicant. If you’re approved for the Visa Platinum Freedom Unlimited card, your limit will be $500 or higher. Qualify for the Visa Signature version, and you’ll have a limit of at least $5,000.

What credit score do you need for the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card?

Chase doesn’t give specific requirements for the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit score, but you may be more likely to be approved with a FICO score of at least 670.

Does the Chase Freedom Unlimited® have foreign transaction fees?

Unfortunately, yes. The Chase Freedom Unlimited has a 3% foreign transaction fee, so it may not be the best card for traveling overseas.

Does Chase Freedom Unlimited® earn points?

Technically, yes. Although Freedom Unlimited is marketed as a cash-back card, it earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points you can choose to redeem for cash back or transfer to various partners.

Sarah Stasik
Sarah Stasik Personal Finance

Sarah Stasik is well versed in personal finance thanks to her previous role as a Revenue Cycle Manager for a Fortune 500 healthcare company. Using her inside knowledge and expertise, Sarah often covers topics ranging from insurance and the economics of private healthcare to personal finance and small business management.

With more than a dozen years of writing experience, Sarah has tackled niches that range from technical advances in fintech to personal budgeting challenges. She has covered topics such as insurance and the economics of private healthcare, small business management and accounting, and credit and savings. Her writing focuses on making complex or seemingly daunting financial topics more accessible and providing helpful and relevant resources for readers.

* Opinions expressed here are those of the LA Times Compare Cards Team and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser or entities included within this content. See our editorial policy for more details.

All products or services are presented in this content without warranty. The information, including card details such as rates and fees, is accurate at the time of publish. Please visit each bank's website directly for the most current information.

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