Why You Should Have a No Annual Fee Chase Freedom Card

Chase Freedom

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It’s no secret that we are big fans of Chase Ultimate Rewards points. They can be earned by holding either the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit cards, and in our opinion are some of the most valuable points out there.

However, there are two no annual fee credit cards that can make both Sapphire cards mentioned above exponentially more valuable. They are the Chase Freedom card and the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. Both of these cards technically earn cash back, but if you hold a card that earns Ultimate Rewards points, the cashback can be converted into Ultimate Rewards points at a rate of 1 cent per point.


Chase Freedom


We will break down both versions of the Chase Freedom card and why it is the perfect card to pair with either Chase Sapphire card.


Comparing the Chase Freedom Cards

The Chase Freedom card is a fantastic card to combine with the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve credit cards. If you hold a Sapphire card, you can combine the points earned from the Freedom card and redeem them at 1.25 or 1.5 cents (depending on the Sapphire card you have) towards travel in the Chase portal. More card details below:

  • Sign up Bonus: Earn $150 Bonus after you spend $500 in the first three months of card membership.
  • Earn 5% Cash Back: Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in spending in rotating quarterly bonus categories.
  • Unlimited 1% Cash Back: Earn an unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Affected By The Chase 5/24 Rule: This card is subjected to Chase’s 5/24 rule, so this is something to be aware of before applying.


Click Here to learn more about the Chase Freedom Card. 


The Chase Freedom Unlimited card launched in 2016 as an offshoot of the original Chase Freedom card mentioned above. Instead of rotating quarterly bonus categories, the card earns a straight 3% cash back on all spending in your first year up to $20,000, then 1.5% cash back after that with no annual limit.

Just like the regular Freedom card, if you hold a Sapphire card, you can combine the points earned from the Freedom Unlimited and redeem them at 1.25 or 1.5 cents (depending on the Sapphire card you have) towards travel in the Chase portal. More card details below:

  • Earn 3% back on all spending up to $20,000 in your first year of card membership. Earn 1.5% back with no limit after that.
  • Affected By The Chase 5/24 Rule: This card is subjected to Chase’s 5/24 rule, so this is something to be aware of before applying.




Click Here to learn more about the Freedom Unlimited card. 


Chase Freedom Card Considerations

You don’t hear a lot about either of these cards because neither offers earth-shattering welcome bonuses. The 15,000 point bonuses ($150 cash back) offered by both cards are much smaller than the standard 50,000 point bonuses offered on both Sapphire cards (after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months) and many other travel rewards cards out there.

However, this isn’t a reason to get these cards. Both cards are worth getting for the long-term value they provide alongside your Sapphire card. Since the Chase Freedom Unlimited card earns 1.5% cash back on all purchases, it is a great card to pair with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card for all non-travel and dining spending.

Because the cashback can be transferred into Ultimate Rewards points, the card effectively earns 2.25 cents towards travel on all spending for Sapphire Reserve cardholders since Ultimate Rewards points redeem at 1.5 cents each when you hold the Sapphire Reserve card.

Conversely, you can earn 5% cashback on rotating categories up to $1,500 each year with the regular Chase Freedom card. Recent bonus categories have included purchases at Walgreens, Lyft, gas stations, wholesale stores like Costco and department stores, to name a few.

If you can take advantage of the categories each quarter and spend $1,500 total, you would only have to spend $6,000 annually to earn an additional $300 cash back or 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points.


Which Chase Freedom Card is Best for You? 

Unlike the Sapphire cards, Chase allows you to carry both the Freedom and the Freedom Unlimited cards. This means that if you held both cards in conjunction with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you would earn 1.5x, 3x or 5x Ultimate Rewards points on every purchase. That is an unbeatable return, especially when you consider that Sapphire Reserve cardholders redeem Ultimate Rewards points for at least 1.5 cents each.

If you wanted to choose either the Chase Freedom card or the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, your choice should come down to your ability to maximize the 5% bonus categories offered each quarter on the Chase Freedom card. If you can maximize the categories, you would only have to spend $6,000 to earn $300 cashback or 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points each year.

With the Freedom Unlimited card, you would need to spend $20,000 annually to get that same $300 cashback or 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points. However, if you are not able to maximize the bonus categories on the Chase Freedom card, your rate of return on the Freedom Unlimited card will be better (1.5% vs. 1%).

Either way, you can’t go wrong. Especially when you consider that neither card has an annual fee. Further, if you combine your Freedom card with a Sapphire Preferred or Reserve card, you can really accelerate your ability to earn Ultimate Rewards points as mentioned above.

Both cards are subjected to Chase’s 5/24 rule. For this reason, I always recommend getting one or both of these cards right away with a Chase Sapphire card. Once you are over the 5/24 restriction, you won’t be able to get either of these no annual fee cards.


Bottom Line

Getting either Chase Freedom card is essential to maximizing your ability to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. With no annual fee, they are cards to get and keep open for the long run.


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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

The responses below 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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