If you have good credit and want a new go-to card for earning cash-back rewards, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is a strong choice. Thanks to a program refresh, it now offers a competitive earning rate on all purchases and some extra cash back on purchases that fall within a few bonus categories, such as restaurant dining and travel purchased through Chase. If you’re partial to simple cash-back cards but want to dabble in earning some extra rewards based on your purchases, this is a good card for you.
One caveat: this card is not great for those who tend to travel abroad, since there’s a foreign transaction fee.
More ways to earn rewards
High-value bonus for new cardholders
Long interest-free period
Rideshare and food delivery perks
Foreign transaction fee
Few insurance perks
- Many ways to earn rewards: Once known for offering just a single rate of rewards on all purchases, this card now boasts a variety of ways to earn valuable cash back. You’ll still earn 1.5% back on all purchases that fall outside a few new bonus categories, which is an exceptional rate compared to similar cards. But now, if you book travel through Chase, or use this card when dining out or ordering in, or when you visit the drugstore, you’ll earn even more cash back.
- High-value bonus for new cardholders: You don't have to be a big spender to earn the $200 bonus, which is respectable for a no-annual-fee cash-back card. The 5% cash-back earnings rate on grocery store purchases for the first year (up to $12,000 spent) makes it especially valuable.
- Long interest-free period: This card offers a 15-month, 0% APR period on purchases—as long or longer than many competitors.
- Rideshare and food delivery perks: Thanks to two Chase partnerships, you'll earn 5% cash back (an extra 3.5%) on Lyft rides taken through March 2022, and be offered a complimentary DashPass delivery membership for three months. These aren't high-value benefits, but nice additions to an otherwise simple cash-back card.
- Foreign transaction fee: Using this card abroad wipes out the benefit of your rewards because of the 3% fee on purchases made in other countries. Pair this card with one with travel rewards, or check out a card with a flat rewards-earning rate and no foreign transaction fee, like the Capital One Quicksilver Rewards or the Bank of America Travel Rewards.
- Few insurance perks: This card is pretty bare-bones, even among the more basic cash-back cards. You won’t find coverage for damaged cell phones, travel accident insurance, or other perks available on competing cards.
Bonus for New Cardholders
Spend $500 within three months of opening your account and you'll get $200 cash back. This is a pretty typical offer for a no-annual-fee cash-back card, and one many people will be able to earn quickly without adjusting their normal spending habits.
For the first year you have this card, you’ll also earn 5% back on groceries (up to $12,000 spent), which is a stellar earning rate for that sort of purchase, even though it's a short-term offer. Just note that groceries bought at big box stores like Target and Walmart won’t earn these extra rewards.
Because of Chase’s 5/24 rule, you should avoid applying for this card if you’ve opened more than five credit cards in the past 24 months.
Earning Points & Rewards
The Chase Freedom Unlimited makes it super easy to earn rewards. Cash-back rewards are tracked as points, with 100 points equivalent to $1. You’ll earn rewards as follows:
- 5% back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- 3% back on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services
- 3% back on drugstore purchases
- 1.5% back on all other purchases, which beats competitors in this class
There’s no limit on how much cash back you can earn, and you’ll also earn rewards whenever an authorized user makes purchases. Points don’t expire as long as your account is open and in good standing.
Keep in mind, too, you'll earn an extra 3.5% back on Lyft rides through March 2022—for a total of 5% back. And you’ll earn a total of 5% back on groceries (up to $12,000 of spending) in your first year.
Rewards are tracked as Chase Ultimate Rewards points—100 points is usually equal to $1 when redeemed. Here's what you can redeem points for:
- Cash back: You can do this at any time for any amount—there’s no minimum redemption threshold to worry about. Rewards can be redeemed as a statement credit to your account or as a direct deposit to your checking or savings account.
- Travel purchases: Apply your points to travel you book with the Chase Ultimate Rewards online booking tool.
- Gift cards: You can cash in points for gift cards that can be used for dining, entertainment, shopping, and more.
- Pay with Points: Pay for services and products via your digital wallet, after signing up with the retailer.
- ChasePay: Use points for an account statement credit with select retailers such as gas stations and grocery stores through Chase Pay. When used in this way, 100 points are only worth $.80 versus $1, but some retailers offer discounts when you pay with points.
- Amazon purchases: If you link your Freedom Unlimited credit card account to your Amazon account, you can use your points to instantly pay for all or part of your Amazon orders. Points can even go towards tax and shipping on your purchases. However, as with Chase Pay, rewards redeemed at Amazon checkout are valued 20% lower than other forms of redemption.
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
Make sure you spend at least $500 within three months after opening this card to earn the $200 sign-up bonus. After that, either make this your primary card or pair it with another card that offers higher rewards-earning rates on purchases outside this card’s dining, drugstore, and Chase travel purchase bonus categories.
If you have one of Chase’s travel rewards credit cards—the Sapphire Preferred or Reserve—you can combine your points and get up to 50% more by redeeming through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal. Plus, if you add your points to one of those accounts, you’ll have the option to transfer them to an eligible frequent flyer or hotel loyalty program at a one-for-one ratio. (Transfers aren’t allowed directly from this card.)
If you don’t want to travel, make sure to redeem your rewards for anything other than Amazon purchases ChasePay, where your points are worth less.
To learn more about earning and redeeming points with this card, see our complete guide to the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.
- Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases
- Extended warranty protection
- Three-month DashPass subscription
Delivery fees on all DoorDash food orders of $12 or more will be waived during a three-month complimentary subscription to DashPass, as long as you activate by Dec. 31, 2021. After three months, you’ll automatically be enrolled in DashPass at 50% for the next nine months. A DashPass membership typically costs $9.99 per month.
The Chase mobile app allows you to view your account activity and pay your bill, and in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Credit Card Mobile App Satisfaction Study, Chase’s app scored the highest among U.S. national banks. Chase ranked well in J.D. Power’s latest overall credit card satisfaction survey.
It’s also worth noting that you can access your credit score for free with Chase Credit Journey, getting weekly updates, and the ability to simulate how credit events may affect your score.
What’s more, wherever available, this card features contactless pay technology allowing you to checkout by tapping your card on a credit card terminal.
This card has industry-standard security features, like fraud alerts and $0 fraud liability. You can also lock and unlock your card from your online account in the event you temporarily misplace it. If your card is lost or stolen, you can request a replacement card through the Chase mobile app.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited Card’s fees are in line with industry standards. Chase does charge a 3% foreign transaction fee on purchases made on currencies other than U.S. dollars. However, there’s no penalty interest rate if you fall seriously behind on your credit card payments.