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Physician on FIRE has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Physician on FIRE and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Some or all of the card offers that appear on the website are from advertisers. Compensation may impact on how and where card products appear on the site. POF does not include all card companies or all available card offers. Credit Card Providers determine the underwriting criteria necessary for approval, you should review each Provider’s terms and conditions to determine which card works for you and your personal financial situation.
Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Review 2024: Benefits & Bonuses

chase freedon unlimited credit card

If you crave simple rewards without the headache of complex point systems, Chase Freedom Unlimited may already be on your radar.

With this card, you get no-frills, easy-to-understand 1.5% cash back on every purchase. But with no annual fees, don’t expect the Freedom Card to woo you with extensive bonus categories or premium perks.

So, is this credit card the main event, the side character, or better left backstage?

This article will include:

  • All the Chase Freedom Unlimited benefits and drawbacks.
  • A breakdown of the fees, requirements, and rewards.
  • If the Chase Freedom credit card is worth it.

Read more:

 

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card: Quick Facts

 

Our Verdict

3.4
Welcome Bonus
N/A (can't find this in QMP)
Annual Fee
annual_fees
Regular APR
reg_apr,reg_apr_type
Credit Score
credit_score_needed

 

Chase Freedom Unlimited Card: On FIRE Score

 

Annual Fee annual_fees 5/5
APR reg_apr,reg_apr_type 4/5
Intro Offer Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) 4/5
Maximum Rewards Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards. 5/5
Everyday Rewards Earn 1.5% on all other purchases. 4/5
On FIRE Score 4.4/5

 

What Is the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card?

 

The Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card is a solid choice for beginners or simplicity seekers, offering straightforward cash back rewards.

Most cash back cards offer a base rewards rate of 1% cash back across all purchases. But Freedom Unlimited stands out for its 1.5% cash back offer—nothing groundbreaking, but that’s still 50% more than its competitors. Your rewards don’t expire, so you can redeem them whenever you like.

 

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For a no-annual-fee card, Chase also offers a decent welcome bonus. Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (up to $20,000 spent in the first year)—worth up to $300 cash back.

Add that to the card’s existing reward rates, and you get 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.

 

How Does the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card Work?

 

Chase Unlimited Freedom offers cash back rewards across key bonus categories, such as dining and travel. You also get 5% cash back on combined gas station and grocery store purchases (excluding Walmart and Target) of up to $12,000 in the first year.

Here’s a breakdown of the rewards—

  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Earn 3% on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services.
  • Earn 3% on drugstore purchases.
  • Earn 1.5% on all other purchases.

As someone who spends way too much on groceries, I’d happily swap out the permanent drugstore category for supermarkets, but I still give Chase props for the 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

These rewards don’t expire—so you can save up for a pricey purchase or cash them in straight away as there’s no minimum redemption amount.

So, what are your redemption options?

Chase tracks cash back rewards as points (100 points are worth $1). You can cash your rewards as a statement credit or a direct deposit into your US checking or savings account. Alternatively, redeem them for gift cards or travel through the Ultimate Rewards Portal for the same value.

 

Chase also lets you redeem points for Amazon purchases—tempting. But you’ll lose value here as each point is only worth $0.008, so 100 points are valued at $0.80.

Compared to Amex’s more complex reward system, Chase Unlimited’s approach feels like a breeze. You don’t need to calculate which redemption option has the best value or the million ways to maximize your points. Aside from Amazon, all your redemption options have the same value.

Chase also throws in a few extra perks (but not without a few catches)—

    • DoorDash: Get three free months of DashPass membership for unlimited deliveries, no delivery fees, and reduced service fees on eligible orders on DoorDash and Caviar. After that, Chase enrolls you in the DashPass program at a 50% discount for the next nine months (unless you cancel).
    • Lyft: Earn 5% cash back on Lyft until March 31, 2025. That’s 3.5% cash back on top of the 1.5% you already earn.
  • Instacart: Get three free months of Instacart+ membership for unlimited deliveries with $0 delivery fees and reduced service fees on certain orders. After the complimentary period ends, Chase will automatically enroll you in an annual Instacart+ membership unless you cancel.

Once enrolled, you can earn up to $10 in statement credits each quarter when you make eligible Instacart purchases with your card.

Another bonus is the 0% intro APR for 15 months. For over a year, Chase won’t charge interest on your purchases. So, if you have some large expenses coming up, be savvy with the timing of your application. Of course, once that intro period ends, regular APR kicks in.

All this comes with no annual fee. But the card charges a 3% foreign transaction fee—a major turn-off for frequent travelers. You’ll also deal with high cash advance fees.

 

 Chase Freedom Unlimited Fees

 

Details Metric
Annual fee annual_fees
Regular APR reg_apr,reg_apr_type
Cash advance APR cash_advance_apr
Cash advance fee cash_advance_fee
Penalty APR Up to 29.99%
Foreign transaction fee foreign_transaction_fee
Returned payment fee Up to $40
Late fee late_payment_fee

 

Chase Freedom Unlimited: Pros and Cons

 

Pros

  • Generous flat-rate cash back.
  • Simple redemption system.
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months.
  • No annual fee.
  • Protection and insurance.

 

Cons

  • 3% foreign transaction fees.
  • Application restrictions.
  • Lacks everyday bonus categories.

 

Why I like it

 

Generous flat-rate cash back

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card gets props for keeping things simple. No need to juggle categories—you’ll earn a solid 1.5% cash back on every purchase.

This is a step up from the flat-rate 1% cash back many other cards offer, such as the card_name and card_name

Enjoy cash rewards? Check out the best cash back credit cards.

 

Simple redemption system

With no minimum redemption threshold, you can redeem your rewards for cash without waiting until you’ve built up a small fortune in points. Your rewards are your rewards—no strings attached.

Plus, your rewards don’t expire, so you can take your time and cash in when it suits your financial goals.

So, what is the Chase Freedom Unlimited points value?

Each point is worth 1 cent, so 100 points are valued at $1. Plus, you don’t have to spend time figuring out the best redemption options—redeeming for cash, gift cards, or travel on the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal all have the same value.

There’s also the chance to pay for Amazon products with your points. But with 100 points worth only 0.80 cents—I would avoid it. Get the cash back as a direct deposit instead and use that to pay for that fancy air fryer.

 

0% intro APR for 15 months

The 0% introductory APR provides a 15-month window where Chase won’t charge you interest on purchases. It gives you some financial breathing room—handy if you have big expenses or want to pay down existing debt without interest.

 

After the intro period, the APR is 20.49% to 29.24%, depending on your creditworthiness.

 

No annual fee

The Chase Freedom Unlimited doesn’t hit you with an annual fee. So, if you’re on a budget or just stepping into the credit card world, this card takes a load off. It also lets you maximize your rewards without breaking the bank.

 

Protection and insurance

Despite having no annual fee, Chase comes with a range of decent insurance benefits to keep you protected—

  • Purchase protection: This covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft
    (up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account).
  • Extended warranty protection: Extends a US manufacturer’s warranty by an extra year on eligible warranties of three years or less.
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance: Chase will reimburse up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable passenger fares. This cover applies if your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather, and other covered situations.
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver: You get secondary coverage for theft and collision damage for most cars in the US and abroad.
  • Travel and emergency assistance services: If you face a problem on the road, call the Benefit Administrator for legal and medical referrals or other travel and emergency assistance. Heads up—you’ll have to pay for any goods or services.
  • Zero liability protection: You won’t be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information.
  • 24/7 fraud monitoring: Chase protects your credit card purchases with 24/7 fraud monitoring and will text, email, or call you if there are strange purchases on your credit card.

 

Why you may want a different card

 

3% foreign transaction fees

If you’re a globetrotter, the 3% foreign transaction fee means this isn’t your go-to card for international travel. Those fees can add up, so it’s worth considering a travel-focused card before ordering that extra round of tapas.

Unfortunately, this is the case for most cash back cards, especially those with no annual fee. However, the card_name fares slightly better with a foreign transaction fee of 2.7%.

Or you could shell out $95 a year for the card_name, which comes with no foreign transaction fee and rewards covering travel, dining, online grocery shopping, and select streaming services.

 

Application restrictions

You’ll need a minimum credit score of at least 670 to snag this credit card, but it’s best to aim for a FICO score of 700 or more for better acceptance odds.

And let’s not forget about Chase’s 5/24 rule.

To get approved for a new Chase card, you must ensure you haven’t opened five or more personal credit cards across any bank in the last 24 months. You could also come under fire for opening more than two accounts in 30 days (this one isn’t an official rule).

 

Lacks everyday bonus categories

Chase tempts new cardholders with the chance to earn 5% cash back on combined gas station and grocery store purchases. But it would be better if it didn’t come with so much fine print.

First off, this rule only applies for the first year, and you can’t earn anything on Walmart or Target purchases—that rules out both my budget and fancier shopping trips.

You can only earn these rewards on up to $12,000 in your first year. This works fine for my two-person household since I only spend about $2,000 on gas and $4,000 on groceries annually. But if you’re a big family with even bigger grocery bills, you could easily cross the spending cap.

After the first year, you can only earn 1.5% cash back on gas and groceries. That’s a solid flat-rate amount, but since food and transport are amongst the top expenses for Americans, it would be nice to see reward categories to cover this.

If that’s what you’re looking for, the card_name offers 6% cash back on groceries (up to $6,000 per year) and 3% on gas—though this comes with a $95 annual fee after the first $0 year.

 

Chase Freedom Unlimited Card: Additional Things to Know

 

How to get Chase Freedom Unlimited?

Here’s a breakdown of how to apply for the Chase Freedom Unlimited—

  1. Visit the Chase website: Start by heading to the Chase website or follow this link straight to the application. Before jumping in, read the fine print and make sure the fees, rewards, and perks align with your spending habits and budget.
  2. Check your credit score: Don’t forget to check your credit score. Chase typically prefers good to excellent credit, so you’ll need a minimum score of 670—but the higher, the better.
  3. Look for welcome offers: Watch out for promotions or intro offers. The Chase Freedom Unlimited currently offers $200 for spending $500 in the first three months, but this can change over time.
  4. Apply for the card: Select ‘Apply Now’ to kick off the Chase Freedom Unlimited application process. Remember that Chase doesn’t accept applications if you’ve applied to more than five cards (from any bank) in the last 24 months.
  5. Give personal details: Be ready to share standard information such as your name, address, income details, and social security number. You also need to provide your annual gross income, type of residence, and employment status.
  6. Submit your application: Once you’ve submitted your details, send your application. It can take anywhere from two weeks to less than an hour to receive a decision. If they give you a green light, expect your card to arrive between 10 to 14 working days.

 

How to Maximize Points With the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card

 

The Chase Freedom Unlimited rewards and redemption system is pretty black and white, so there’s not much you can do to boost those points—but you can take advantage of what you have.

Rewards on dining are pretty common, but the base rate of 1.5% on all purchases is rare amongst cash back cards. So, I recommend using this card for anything that doesn’t fall into the bonus categories across your other credit cards.

Regarding redemption options, stay away from Amazon buys, as you’ll lose value. If you want to spend online, redeem for cash back and use that money to purchase whatever you want from the retail giant (or better—take your cash to a local business).

The same goes for booking travel through the Chase portal—this gives you the same value as cash back, so you might be better off taking the cash back and booking directly with an airline or hotel if you’re keen to get loyalty points.

Chase occasionally rolls out limited-time offers, especially for new cardholders, so jump on those opportunities to supercharge your points.

 

Best Cards to Pair With the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card

 

There isn’t much you can do to maximize Chase Freedom Unlimited points with the card alone—but you can boost the value by pairing it with other Chase cards.

As a cash back card with no annual fee, it’s not surprising that you can’t transfer points to airline or hotel partners. But if you have the card_name, card_name, or the card_name, you can transfer your rewards to take advantage of their travel partners.

The other cards give you access to Chase’s 14 airline and hotel partners at a 1:1 transfer ratio, bringing the value to about 0.7 to 2.3 cents per point. My favorite partner (by far) is World of Hyatt, valued between 1.7 to 2.3 cents, getting you luxury hotels for as little as 35,000 points.

You can also use these cards to earn more points in categories missing from the Chase cash back credit card. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers 3x points on streaming services, and the Chase Sapphire Reserve has 10x points on hotels (though with a steep $550 annual fee).

Find out more about the Chase Ink Business Preferred with our detailed review.

 

Alternatives to the Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

 

Here’s a quick comparison to see what similar cards have to offer—

 

card_name card_name card_name card_name
4.4/5 4.2/5 4.4/5 4.4/5
annual_fees annual_fees annual_fees annual_fees
reg_apr,reg_apr_type reg_apr,reg_apr_type reg_apr,reg_apr_type reg_apr,reg_apr_type
Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year). Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months. Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.
5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

3% cash back on restaurant dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services.

3% cash back on drugstore purchases.

1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

5x total points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

3x points on dining at restaurants, including eligible delivery services, takeout, and dining out.

2x on other travel purchases.

1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

6% cash back on groceries up to $6,000 per year in purchases at US supermarkets.

6% cash back on select US streaming subscriptions.

3% cash back on transit.

3% cash back at US gas stations.

1% cash back on other purchases.

Unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay on every purchase.
See Rates and Fees See Rates and Fees See Rates and Fees See Rates and Fees

Stuck between Chase cards? Discover the best Chase credit card for you.

 

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card: Useful Links

 

 

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card Customer Reviews

 

Take a look at more Chase Freedom Unlimited card reviews—

“If you use your card like I do, this is a great card. I use it for my monthly expenses and pay the balance in full at the end of every month. I pay no interest and get free cash back for stuff I’d buy anyway. They offer changing deals where you can earn 5-20% cash back at stores like Macy’s and McDonald’s. I’ve been on a rebuilding credit journey for the last three years, and they’re the first to issue me a cash back, no annual fee card.”

“After having more than four different cards with more than 10k each, Chase just gave me a $3600 limit, and after a year, when I requested an increase, they did a hard pull and declined me. My credit score is 700.”

“For no fees, 1,5% cash back rates are great, and you can take advantage of the 3% cash back for dining and drugstores. I switched from using my AmEx to using their card almost exclusively. The app is easy to use, and I like the year-end summary and monthly tracking/budgeting. Gave me a super high credit limit I’ll never get close to using, and I’ve not had a single issue with redeeming cash back.”

 

Is Chase Freedom Unlimited a Good Credit Card for Me?

 

Does the thought of complex redemption options and annual fees send you in a spiral? Chase Freedom Unlimited’s main selling point is it keeps things simple, letting you get a flat-rate 1.5% cash back across all everyday buys.

Apply for the Chase Freedom Unlimited.

But having no annual fee comes at a cost. You won’t get any premium travel perks and they’ll hit you with a 3% foreign transaction fee. If you want a card that covers more bonus categories and is more travel-friendly, the card_name comes with generous rewards and no international charges.

 

FAQ

 

Does Chase Freedom have foreign transaction fees?

The Chase Freedom card foreign transaction fee sets you back 3% of each transaction in US dollars. So, it might not be the best card to pack if you’re a frequent jetsetter.

You could consider the card_name instead, as there are no international fees, and you get a range of handy travel perks.

Discover which card is better: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Sapphire Reserve.

 

What credit score do you need for Chase Freedom Unlimited?

The Chase Freedom Unlimited credit score requirements are between good and excellent, so you should have a FICO score of at least 670, although it’s best to aim for 700 or higher to boost your chances.

 

Is Chase Freedom Unlimited hard to get?

This card shouldn’t be hard to get if you have a good to excellent score. But while the main Chase Freedom Unlimited requirement is having a score of 670 or higher, other factors like a solid credit history and past credit card applications also play an important role.

 

Is Chase Freedom Unlimited a good first credit card?

The Chase Freedom Unlimited cash back card makes a solid starter card due to its simple rewards system. You get straightforward cash back, so you don’t need to figure out which redemption option will bring the best value for money.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited $0 annual fee also means you can own the card without the pressure of paying up every year.

 

Our Methodology

 

Our credit card reviews aim to provide a comprehensive assessment of both quantitative and qualitative factors. The quantitative analysis focuses on the financial costs and benefits associated with each card, including interest rates, fees, rewards programs, cash back offers, and other monetary perks. However, we also consider qualitative aspects that impact the everyday use and value of the card.

These include the simplicity of the application process, the structure of the rewards program, the likelihood of utilizing certain card features, and the suitability of the card for frequent or infrequent use. Our On FIRE rating system allows for quick comparisons between cards within a particular category. When choosing a new credit card, consumers should weigh the quantitative dollar amounts along with qualitative ease-of-use factors to select the best overall option for their needs.

 

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Terms and Restrictions Apply
Physician on FIRE has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Physician on FIRE and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.
Some or all of the card offers that appear on the website are from advertisers. Compensation may impact on how and where card products appear on the site. POF does not include all card companies or all available card offers. Credit Card Providers determine the underwriting criteria necessary for approval, you should review each Provider's terms and conditions to determine which card works for you and your personal financial situation.
Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

User-Generated Content Disclosure: Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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