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Chase has launched a valuable new offer on one of its most popular rewards cards, the Chase Freedom Unlimited®.
Instead of an upfront cash bonus, the card now offers 3% cash back on all purchases for the first year, up to $20,000. That’s a total of $600 cash back (or 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points). After you reach the $20K spending threshold, the earning rate reverts to the standard 1.5x on every dollar spent.
If you value simplicity, Freedom Unlimited is an ideal choice because it gives you a great return on every purchase—without having to worry about whether you're using the best card for gas, groceries, dining, etc.
However, the Freedom Unlimited works best as a companion to one of the premium Ultimate Rewards cards:
If you don’t have one of the above cards already, the points earned with the Freedom Unlimited are worth less when you redeem for travel, and they can't be transferred to Ultimate Rewards partners. (More on that below.)
In short, if you're open to the idea of having two Ultimate Rewards cards in the long term, we recommend applying for the Sapphire Preferred—which recently increased it's welcome bonus to 60,000 points—before getting the Freedom Unlimited.
Here’s how the numbers stack up:
- 60,000 points after $4,000 spend
- $95 annual fee
- Points worth 1.25¢ each through the Chase Travel Portal and you can transfer them to airline and hotel partners for potentially much higher redemption values
- 60,000 points after $20,000 spend
- $0 annual fee
- Points worth 1¢ each as cash back or through the Chase Travel Portal
That is not to say that you shouldn’t get the Freedom Unlimited. Long-term, we see the Freedom Unlimited as one of the most valuable cards you can hold for non-bonus spending when integrated into an Ultimate Rewards earning combo of cards. And if you already hold a premium Ultimate Rewards earning card, this offer will allow you to earn 3X points on all purchases in the first year up to $20K spend, and then 1.5X points after that. Ongoing, you're earning 50% more points for every dollar that doesn’t hit a category bonus than if you don’t hold this card.
As a standalone rewards card, the Freedom Unlimited earns points that can be redeemed for 1 cent each as cash back or travel. However, if you pair it with the Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, or Ink Preferred, those points are worth 1.25-1.50¢ per point when used for travel. You can also gain the ability to transfer them to Chase’s stellar list of airline and hotel partners, including high-value programs like United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Singapore KrisFlyer and World of Hyatt.
Freedom Unlimited Application Strategy
Our take on the new Freedom Unlimited offer:
- If you don’t currently hold a premium Ultimate Rewards card that allows you to transfer points to travel partners, and you are under 5/24 – get the Sapphire Preferred first (or the Sapphire Reserve if you can max out the additional travel perks).
- The 60,000 bonus requires just $4,000 spend as opposed to the $20K needed to get the same number of points on the Freedom Unlimited. Plus, you must have a premium Ultimate Rewards earning card to transfer points to partners.
- If you currently hold a premium Ultimate Rewards earning card, or, for whatever reason, you don’t think you can hit the $4,000 minimum spend in 90 days on the Sapphire Preferred, applying for the Freedom Unlimited can provide a ton of value.
- Earning 3x Ultimate Rewards points on non-bonus spend is a fantastic return by anyone's standards, and for folks that can hit the $20K spend over the first year, this offer is an opportunity to capitalize on household expenses that don’t fall within traditional bonus categories.
Keep in mind both the Freedom Unlimited and Sapphire Preferred are subject to Chase’s 5/24 policy, so if you’ve opened 5 or more new credit cards in the previous 24 months, there is almost no chance you’ll qualify for either of these cards.
The new offer on the Chase Freedom Unlimited® could land you a significant balance of Ultimate Rewards points over the first 12 months. And, looking long-term, it's a card you want in your Ultimate Rewards stable of cards, as you receive 50% more points on non-bonus spending than any other UR earning card. But, if you don’t hold a Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Preferred, you are almost guaranteed a better return by applying for one of those cards first so you can unlock the heavy-weight features that make Ultimate Rewards so valuable; the ability to transfer points to partners, and higher fixed-value redemption options through the Chase Travel Portal.
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