Extract Maximum Value From Increased Freedom Unlimited Bonus

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Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Annual Fee$0
Welcome Bonus Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
The everyday workhorse of the Ultimate Rewards family of cards earns 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day of the week. While the Freedom Unlimited earns cash back on its own, the points earned become even more valuable when you hold an Ultimate Rewards card with the ability to transfer points to partners.
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase
  • Earn 3% on dining at restaurants
  • Earn 3% on drugstore purchases
  • Earn 1.5% on all purchases
  • New Cardmembers earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

Chase recently unveiled the best offer we’ve seen to date on the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, one of its most popular cashback rewards cards. In addition to a $200 cashback bonus, new cardholders can earn 5% back on up to $12,000 in grocery purchases in the first year (excludes Target & Walmart purchases). That’s a potential $800 return on a no-annual-fee card, without factoring in any other spending.

Plus, this card just got a lot better. As of September 15, 2020, cardholders earn extra points on three new categories of purchases: 5X on travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards and 3X on drugstores and dining.

Combine Ultimate Rewards Across Multiple Cards

The Freedom Unlimited is a great cashback card, but it makes it even more valuable to pair it with premium Ultimate Rewards earning cards. If you hold an Ultimate Rewards earning card that charges an annual fee, you can combine points earned across all your cards.

This turns your $800 cashback into 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points. You can redeem points through the Chase Travel Portal for up to 1.5¢ each (up to $1,200 of travel), or transfer them to Chase airline and hotel partners for a potentially much higher value.

Transfer Ultimate Rewards Points to Partners

To demonstrate how valuable Ultimate Rewards can be when transferred to partners, we’ve compiled some of the best redemption options from Chase’s top transfer partners.

Low Out of Pocket Costs with United MileagePlus Miles

United no longer publishes an award chart—although we pieced together an unofficial one—making it harder to know if you are achieving good value for your miles. However, you can still extract plenty of value from United’s frequent flyer program.

MileagePlus charges some of the lowest fees and taxes of any airline rewards program. So, while you sometimes pay more miles than other programs for an equivalent flight, you typically have much lower out of pocket expenses.

Transferring Ultimate Rewards points to United also means you can redeem miles on Star Alliance carriers like Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand, Asiana, Turkish, and Lufthansa. That gives you access to almost any destination and some of the best premium cabin products in the world. We cover our favorite United redemptions in our guide to MileagePlus sweet spots.

However, perhaps the most valuable feature of MileagePlus is the United Excursionist Perk. Provided you fly round-trip, and your destination is in a different region from your departure airport, you can snag a free intra-region flight as part of your journey. This extends the value of your miles by adding another destination for the same number of miles.

combine-stopover-open-jaw
Make use of United's Excursionist Perk to visit multiple destinations on the same award ticket.

Stay in Luxury with World of Hyatt Points

Hyatt may not have the global footprint of Hilton or Marriott. However, its World of Hyatt loyalty program offers some fantastic redemption rates, and the list of hotels where you can redeem points is expanding rapidly.

Hyatt redemptions start at 5,000 points per night for a Category 1 property and top out at 40,000 points per night for a Category 8. Even the most expensive hotels in Hyatt’s portfolio cost less than half the points required by the top hotels in the Marriott Bonvoy or Hilton Honors programs.

You could choose to stretch your points at a lower-tier hotel like the Hyatt Regency Kathmandu that charges 5,000 points per night. Use 12,000 points per night for a mid-tier boutique-like The Talbot Hotel in Chicago. Or, go all out and splurge 30,000 points per night at the Park Hyatt New York for the ultimate luxury experience.

Park-Hyatt-New-York
Stay at the prestigious Park Hyatt New York for 30,000 World of Hyatt points per night.

Fly Transatlantic in Business Class with Iberia Plus Avios

British Airways is likely the first airline that comes to mind when you mention transferring points to Avios. However, it’s British Airways' Spanish counterpart that gets our vote. That's particularly for flights across the Atlantic.

During off-peak dates, you can book economy class flights between Chicago and Madrid on Iberia aircraft for just 17,000 miles one-way. Step up to business class for only 34,000 Avios each way. That’s an incredible value!

Or, you can fly Business class from New York to Casablanca (Morocco) on Royal Air Maroc for just 46,000 Avios. That’s the U.S. to North Africa for less than 50,000 Avios.

If you primarily fly domestic. Short hops up to 600 miles on American will set you back 11,000 Avios round-trip in economy. And flights under 1,000 miles are just 12,000 Avios round-trip.

iberia-business-class
Fly Transatlantic Business Class on Iberia for 34,000 points each way.

Fly to Japan, Europe, or South America with Virgin Atlantic Miles

Virgin Atlantic's Flying Club often flies under the radar of points and miles fans. Possibly due to Virgin Atlantic not belonging to a global alliance. However, members can get massive value from Flying Club miles when redeemed with partner airlines.

For just 110,000 Flying Club miles, you can fly ANA First class round-trip from the West Coast to Japan. It’s just an additional 10,000 miles (120,000 round-trip) to fly from the central or eastern states. 120,000 miles round-trip for these flights is still astonishingly good value. Following the same region rules, you can get round-trip business class flights for 90,000 and 95,000 miles, respectively.

ANA First Class Cabin
Flying ANA First for 110,000 miles round-trip is one the best deals in points and miles.

Other high-value Flying Club redemptions include flying Delta One Suites. You can fly nonstop from the U.S. to Europe for 50,000 miles. Or fly to Asia in business class for just 60,000 miles. If you were to redeem Delta SkyMiles for the same flights, it would cost you 105K+ miles one-way!

Sticking within the Americas, you can book Delta One Suites business class flights to southern South America for 90,000 miles round-trip. This includes flights from Atlanta or New York to:

  • São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Bogotá, Columbia
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Lima, Peru
  • Santiago, Chile

Use the Chase Travel Portal for Discounted Airfare and Hotel Deals

If you hold the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can redeem Ultimate Rewards points through the Chase Travel Portal for 1.5¢ each. That means the 80,000 points earned using the current offer on the Freedom Unlimited would be worth $1,200 towards travel. Even better, you don't need to find award space or deal with blackout dates.

While you may not receive the same redemption value as transferring points to travel partners, you get a guaranteed return. Plus, you get the flexibility to use your points for airfare, rental cars, hotels, and experiences.

Need help finding flight deals and promos? Log into your AwardWallet account, click the Promos tab at the top of the page, and enter a departure airport. The app will display a list of the best flight deals available from that airport.

AwardWallet-Airfare-Promos

Final Thoughts

The increased offer on the Freedom Unlimited can provide up to $800 cashback in the first year! That is without factoring in any other spending on the card. If you also hold a premium Ultimate Rewards earning card, you can turn that $800 cashback into 80,000 points. Those points can then be transferred to airline and hotel partners for much higher redemption value.

This is the best offer we’ve seen on this card, and we’re not sure how long it will be around. If you’ve had the Freedom Unlimited on your application radar, nows the perfect time to apply.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Annual Fee$0
Welcome Bonus Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
The everyday workhorse of the Ultimate Rewards family of cards earns 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day of the week. While the Freedom Unlimited earns cash back on its own, the points earned become even more valuable when you hold an Ultimate Rewards card with the ability to transfer points to partners.
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase
  • Earn 3% on dining at restaurants
  • Earn 3% on drugstore purchases
  • Earn 1.5% on all purchases
  • New Cardmembers earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

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Comments

  • Avatar

    I love the Ultimate Rewards. For me, it’s the most flexible rewards program I’m currently enrolled in.

  • Avatar

    Anyone know if this card (Freedom Unlimited) waived foreign transaction fees since I live outside the US most of the year?

    • Avatar

      Hey Peter, the Freedom Unlimited charges a foreign transaction fee of 3%, after the transaction has been converted to U.S. dollars. Spend US$100, it will cost you US$103. The Sapphire Reserve card mentioned in the post doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees.

      • Avatar

        Hey Jess, thanks for that info. Shucks! I guess the CUF won’t give me much advantage living outside of the U.S. most of the time. That is a bit of a bummer.

  • Avatar

    3x on drugstores is the key. That can be leveraged for excellent value. I would plan to take full advantage.

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    Big fan of all the chase cards and combining all of them to get the best rewards. Just got the freedom flex to add to the collection!

  • Avatar

    Do you think the offer may go higher than 80,000 points? I’m holding off until it reaches 100,000 points like I’ve seen before.

    • Avatar

      I think it’s highly unlikely that we’ll see an opportunity to earn more than 80K points as part of the first-year, new-account offer. Remember, Freedom Unlimited is a no-annual-fee card. The typical bonus has been 15,000 points and recently 20,000. I think the first year grocery offer is much more a reflection of the COVID situation than an indicator that the bonus will creep higher over time.

    • Avatar

      Don’t count on it. This card is how many years old and we’re just now getting the highest offer ever? You’d be best off applying for the card and seeing what offer exists in four years.

  • Avatar

    Thanks for the info! I didn’t know about this card, $800 reward in a year is awesome.

  • Avatar

    Iberia flight redemptions are fantastic uses of UR points.

  • Avatar

    This is a wonderful opening bonus promo. Just a caveat, using points for booking hotels or airlines are not always better. I have had experiences even with the 25% discount, it was still more expensive than other channels.

    • Avatar

      Thanks for the heads up on the caveat. Yes, it does seem to be the case with credit card flexible award programs – not just UR – that using points to book travel thru them is usually not the way to get your best value. Best to transfer to a travel partner and then book.

  • Avatar

    I appreciate the extra earning power the new categories give my CFU, but the travel category with a 1.5x redemption value via the Chase Travel Portal is just weird and not very useful for those of us who hold the CSR, which offers travel protections the CFU lacks.

  • Avatar

    Hopefully, DL will help VS to pull through the current crisis.

  • Avatar

    $800 cashback in the first year is a great news!

  • Avatar

    This is my most heavily-used card, by far. I keep the Sapphire Preferred for hotel stays and for “quarterbacking” my trifecta (can’t transfer without it). Paying dental bills, birth certificate requests, buying stamps at the post office kiosk, tire repairs, car parts, shopping at warehouse clubs, you name it. Now that they’ve made it even better, it’s a must-have card and outshines much of the competition.

  • Avatar

    Thanks for the useful information. I already have this card. Is there any way to get the bonus again?

  • Avatar

    Chase are upping their game in the no fee market but by doing so they compromise the worth of the CSR. Hopefully we’ll see some positive changes to it in the near future.

  • Avatar

    It’s very good to transfer points to Hyatt points but not worth to transfer to Avios as it’s was hard to use it. But How i can do if was been limited with 5/24. Nothing I can do .