In the world of travel rewards credit cards, the best things don't come free. Want great travel perks like lounge access, statement credits for TSA PreCheck, or Global Entry? Those benefits are typically reserved for cards with big annual fees.
But while cards like *the amex platinum card*, the *chase sapphire reserve*, and others are loaded with big benefits, that doesn't mean those are the cards you should be swiping day in and day out to earn points. That's where cards like the no-annual-fee *chase freedom unlimited* really shine – especially for travelers who can take advantage of the card's excellent (and unique) welcome bonus.
On its own, it's a great no-annual-fee cashback credit card that offers a 0% introductory APR period for both new purchases and balance transfers. But when you pair it with powerful travel credit cards like the *chase sapphire preferred* or the *chase sapphire reserve*, you can turn that cash back into valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points – and it helps you earn them even faster, too.
Here's everything you need to know about the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card, and why we think it's one of the absolute best no-annual-fee credit cards on the market.
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Chase Freedom Unlimited: Benefits Overview
- Welcome bonus: bonus_miles_full
- Introductory APR: intro_apr_rate,intro_apr_duration
- After you've met the intro offer spending threshold or had the card for a year:
- Earn 5% cashback on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
- Earn 5% cashback on Lyft rides through March 2025
- Earn 3% cashback on dining, including takeout and on eligible delivery services
- Earn 3% cashback at drugstores
- Earn unlimited 1.5% cashback on all other purchases after your first year with the card
- Subject to the Chase 5/24 rule, so you won't get approved for the Chase Freedom Unlimited if you've opened five or more credit cards (from any bank, not just Chase) in the last 24 months.
- No Annual Fee!
Full Chase Freedom Unlimited Card Benefits Overview
Chase Freedom Unlimited: Welcome Offer Bonus
With the *chase freedom unlimited*, there are two different welcome offer bonuses currently available. Which one you get will depend on where you actually apply for the card.
If you apply through a travel website like Thrifty Traveler or many others, you'll currently earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back. That's 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.
That's an outstanding offer on a no-annual-fee card – especially for new applicants who may have a lot of spending on tap over the next 12 months. Getting an extra 1.5% cash back means you're earning at least 3% back (or 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points) on every dollar you spend up to $20,000 in your first year with the card.
But if you apply for Freedom Unlimited directly through Chase's website, you'll get a much different bonus: You'll earn a $200 cashback bonus after spending just $500 in the first three months of card membership. Plus, you'll earn 5% cashback on gas station purchases on up to $6,000 spent in the first year.
While the offer you'll receive through sites like Thrifty Traveler can ultimately yield a lot more cash back – or Chase Ultimate Rewards points – it requires a lot more spending in your first year to fully maximize the welcome offer bonus. Applying through Chase directly, you can quickly earn $200 back (or 20,000 Chase points) and then maximize your gas station spending in your first year.
Which one is better depends on you and your financial situation. Just remember: No matter how many points you can earn, credit cards are serious business. Whether it requires $500 in spending or $20,000, you should never open a credit card and make charges you can't afford to pay off in full each month.
Learn more about the *chase freedom unlimited*
A 0% Introductory APR Period
Introductory 0% APR periods are not common on travel rewards credit cards. But if it's something you're looking for, the Freedom Unlimited card can be a great option for you.
No matter which version of the welcome offer bonus you go with mentioned above, you'll have a 0% introductory APR for your first 15 months of card membership. That introductory rate is valid for both new purchases and balance transfers from existing lines of credit.
After that introductory period, you'll be subject to a variable APR which is currently at reg_apr,reg_apr_type.
3% Back on Dining & Drugstore Purchases
While the Freedom Unlimited Card earns 1.5% cash back (or 1.5x Chase Ultimate Rewards points) on every dollar you spend, there are a few categories where you can earn more.
You'll earn an unlimited 3% cash back (or 3x points) on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services like DoorDash, GrubHub, and more. You'll also earn an unlimited 3% cash back on drugstore purchases at retailers like Walgreens, CVS, and others.
If you go for the welcome offer to earn an extra 1.5% back for your first year (up to $20,000), you'll earn 4.5% back (4.5x Ultimate Rewards points) on these categories in your first year.
If you hold either the Sapphire Preferred or Reserve, you'd also earn 3x points per dollar spent on dining transactions. But neither card offers any bonus on drugstore spending.
If that's an area you spend a lot, the Freedom Unlimited Card is a great option.
5% Back on Travel Booked Through Chase
The Freedom Unlimited Card will earn an unlimited 5% cash back on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal.
Compare that to the Sapphire Reserve which earns 10x points per dollar spent on hotels and car rentals and 5x points per dollar spent through the Chase Travel Portal. The Sapphire Preferred, meanwhile, earns 5x points on all travel purchases through Chase's travel portal. So if you hold either of those cards, there isn't much reason to make your Chase travel portal purchases on a Freedom Unlimited card – especially since both Sapphire cards come with built-in travel insurance.
But if you don't hold one of those cards, it can be a nice way to earn bonus cash back for travel bookings.
Again, if you opt for the welcome offer for an extra 1.5% back in your first year (up to $20,000), you'll really be earning 6.5% back in this category for your first year.
5% Back on Lyft Rides (Through March 2025)
Chase and rideshare service Lyft have a partnership that can earn you additional cashback on rides where you pay with your Freedom Unlimited card.
Through March 2025, Freedom Unlimited cardholders will earn 5% cash back on rides with Lyft. This partnership was originally announced back in 2020 with an expiration date of March 2022. The brands have since extended that partnership.
Yet again, the extra 1.5% cashback bonus means you'd get a 6.5% (or 6.5x points) return with Lyft for the first year.
Unlimited 1.5% Cashback on All Other Spending
Beyond the bonus categories with even bigger bonuses, the Chase Freedom Unlimited earns an unlimited 1.5% cashback on every purchase you make.
That makes this card a good one to keep at the top of your wallet and use for purchases that you'd normally earn just 1% cashback (or 1x point per dollar) with other credit cards.
If you opt for the welcome offer bonus to earn an extra 1.5% cash back on all of your spending (up to $20,000) in your first year you'll be earning 3% back (or 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards) everywhere.
Foreign Transaction Fees
One thing to be aware of with the Freedom Unlimited Card is that it doesn't waive foreign transaction fees. That means if you use your card for purchases abroad, you'll be subject to a fee of 3% of the purchase price in U.S. dollars.
That's common for a card that doesn't charge an annual fee. So if you plan to travel abroad, you'll want to make sure you have a different card that won't incur these fees.
No Annual Fee
One of the biggest draws to the Chase Freedom Unlimited card is that it doesn't charge an annual fee.
It's a great option to pair with Chase's top travel cards that do charge an annual fee to help you earn more points. But even on its own, it's a great cashback card with good earning rates.
Pair the Freedom Unlimited with the Chase Sapphire Cards
As we've covered already, the *chase freedom unlimited* is technically a cashback credit card. But one of its best benefits is the ability to convert that cash back to Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
Considering the Chase Freedom Unlimited card typically earns an unlimited 1.5% cash back (or 1.5 Ultimate Rewards points) per dollar spent, it can be better to use it for your spending rather than your Preferred or Reserve card.
When you turn cash back earned from the Freedom Unlimited card into Chase Ultimate Rewards points, each cent is worth 1 Ultimate Rewards point.
Let's say I spend $200 at Amazon. Since Amazon doesn't earn a category bonus on either the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Sapphire Preferred, I would earn 1 Ultimate Rewards point per dollar spent, earning me 200 points.
But if I made that same purchase with my Freedom Unlimited Card instead, I would earn 1.5% cashback on the $200 purchase which equates to $3 back. And since that cashback can be transferred into my Ultimate Rewards points balance, I would effectively be earning 300 points. Once Chase completes the matching bonus at the end of the year, it's more like $6 cash back or 600 points.
The best part? Once you transfer those cashback bonuses to Chase points, the points redeem at a higher rate depending on which Sapphire card you have. If you hold the Sapphire or Ink Preferred card your points will be worth 1.25 cents each, and if you hold the Reserve, they will be worth 1.5 cents each when used in the Chase Travel Portal.
Chase also makes it easy to combine points within the same household. So if you don't have a card that earns Ultimate Rewards points but a spouse or significant other does, you can send the cashback earned from the Freedom Unlimited to them and it will redeem at a higher rate.
Who is Eligible for the Chase Freedom Unlimited?
Like all Chase credit cards, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is subject to the Chase 5/24 Rule.
If you're not familiar, the 5/24 rule is a hard-and-fast restriction rolled out years ago to limit card applicants from opening credit cards for the sole purpose of earning bonus points. If you've heard of the phrase “churning,” that's exactly what this rule is designed to crack down on.
Here's what it boils down to:
- If you have opened five or more credit cards in the past 24 months from any bank credit card issuers (not just Chase cards), you will not be approved for Chase credit cards, regardless of your credit score or history with Chase Bank.
- The rule does not count credit inquiries, but rather new cards you have applied for and been approved.
So if you have opened five or more new credit cards in the past 24 months, you will likely not be approved for the Freedom Unlimited, or any other Chase credit card for that matter.
The rule is not officially published through any of Chase's platforms. Case in point: If you ask about it in a Chase branch, many employees have likely not heard of it. But for this reason alone, we always suggest starting with Chase credit cards before focusing on cards issued by other banks.
Related Reading: The Best Credit Cards to Get if You are Under the Chase 5/24 Rule
You also won't be able to get the Freedom Unlimited card if you have earned a bonus on the card in the past 24 months.
Chase also recommends having a good to excellent credit score to get approved. That means if your credit score isn't at least 700, getting approved for the card may be difficult.
Chase Freedom Unlimited vs Chase Freedom Flex
In addition to the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card, Chase also has another no-annual fee-cash back card dubbed the Chase Freedom Flex Card.
While these cards are very similar, the biggest difference is how they will earn cashback on an ongoing basis. Instead of an unlimited 1.5% cashback on all purchases outside of the categories in which you'll earn a bonus, the Freedom Flex earns 5% cashback on rotating quarterly categories on up to $1,500 of spending which could include: Grocery stores, gym memberships, streaming services, gas stations, and more.
Chase doesn't restrict you from holding both the Freedom Unlimited and the Freedom Flex, so holding the pair is an option. If you only want one or the other, make sure to read our full guide comparing the Freedom Flex vs the Freedom Unlimited.
Bottom Line: Chase Freedom Unlimited Review
The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a no-nonsense option that will allow you to earn a bonus on every dollar you spend.
It has no annual fee, provides a solid welcome offer bonus, and if you pair it with a Chase Sapphire or Ink Preferred card, you'll have the ability to turn the cashback into valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
Learn more about the *chase freedom unlimited*