Details Of New Chase Freedom Unlimited Card

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Over the weekend I wrote about the rumored changes Chase is making to the Chase Freedom, with the introduction of the Chase Freedom Unlimited.

As a reminder, the Chase Freedom offers 5x points in rotating quarterly categories (up to $1,500 per quarter), and then 1x point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Each point can be redeemed for a penny cash back, or otherwise in conjunction with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Plus® Business Credit Card, those points can be converted into Ultimate Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio.

It’s a card I use for the purpose of maximizing the 5x points categories, and then I transfer those points to my cards accruing “premium” Ultimate Rewards points.

The rumors suggested the new Chase Freedom Unlimited would offer a flat 1.5% cashback, with no 5% cashback categories. You’d basically be getting a higher return on everyday spend, without the 5% cashback categories.

We now have some official information from Chase regarding the Chase Freedom Unlimited, including some clarification. Via The Points Guy:

The new Chase Freedom Unlimited card will offer 1.5% unlimited cash back on every purchase. We know today’s consumers want choice and convenience to fit their lifestyle, which is why we’re adding Chase Freedom Unlimited as an option for 1.5% cash back on every purchase. There’s no minimum to redeem for cash back—cardholders can redeem any amount, anytime. Chase Freedom, one of our most popular cards, will continue to be available and play an important role in our credit card growth plan. Whether a consumer chooses to earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase with the new Chase Freedom Unlimited card or 5% cash back in quarterly bonus categories on up to $1,500 and 1% on all other purchases with the current Freedom card—they have the ability to do so with Chase. Chase Freedom Unlimited customers will earn points through the Ultimate Rewards program in the same way our Freedom customers do today. For both products, customers can redeem points for cash back or other redemptions options including gift cards and travel. In addition, customers can redeem points through the Freedom mobile app at the register.

The first good news is that the Chase Freedom Card won’t be going away — the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card will simply be an additional product offering, which will be introduced in the spring.

Other than that, the details are basically as expected. The card will offer 1.5% cashback.

The best part is that the points can still be converted into Ultimate Rewards points. That means the Chase Freedom Unlimited will be an opportunity to earn 1.5 Ultimate Rewards points on everyday spend. For a no annual fee card, that’s incredible, and that might make the Freedom Unlimited Card the best card for everyday, non-bonused spend. That means the card would offer a better return on non-bonused spend than the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which offers 1x point per dollar spent.

In theory this is similar to the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card, which offers a 50% points bonus when you make at least 30 transactions per billing cycle, meaning you’re essentially earning 1.5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent. That card also has a $95 annual fee, but then again it accrues “real” Membership Rewards points, while you can only maximize the value of the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card in conjunction with an annual fee card anyway.

If it’s just straight cashback you’re after, you’re better off with the Citi® Double Cash Card, which offers 1% cash back when you make your purchase, and then 1% cash back when you pay for those purchases (that’s the equivalent of 2% cash back).

Citi-Double

Bottom line

The Chase Freedom Unlimited sounds like a fantastic new product offering, and a card I can’t wait to apply for when it goes live. Right now my primary card for everyday, non-bonused spend is the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card, which earns me 1.5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent. It’s nice to see there will be a Chase equivalent.

Best of all, the Chase Freedom won’t be eliminated, so you can continue to take advantage of the 5x points categories.

What do you think of the Chase Freedom Unlimited?


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Comments

  1. This is a great alternative for those places that do not accept Amex and are not in any of the traditional bonus categories. I find this is the case for utilities and other small retailers. My go-to non-bonus spend cards are the Everyday Preferred, SPG Amex, and Delta Platinum (to get the MQM bonuses), so this will complement those nicely. Plus, it can be useful for spending at Costco once they switch over to Visa and you don’t want to go through the process of purchasing gift cards online to shift your spend to a different card.

    Any info on signup bonuses?

  2. Think they will ignore the 5/24 rule with this since it is a brand new product? Otherwise, most of us will never be able to get.

  3. Everyone’s situation and valuation is different. The Unlimited is the better choice for me. I’m single with no dependents, and rarely get to maximize the rotating bonus categories. (And I refrain from MS…maybe down the line, but not right now.) But I do have plenty of unbonused spend every month and the Unlimited is a very good fit for that.

  4. “I can’t wait to apply for when it goes live.”

    And summarily get rejected for violation of 5/24 rule.

  5. If there is no annual fee, isn’t the proper comparison between the Freedom Unlimited and the Amex Everyday? So 1.5x UR vs 1.2x MR.

    In any event, how much unbonused spend do you really have? Between my wife and I, I’m always working towards some sort of signup bonus spend, or using category bonuses as much as possible, and if all that fails I divert to a card with an annual bonus (e.g. AT&T access more).

  6. Do you think this card will result in any improvements to the Sapphire Preferred? Unless I’m doing the math incorrectly, to justify the annual fee after the first year over the Freedom Unlimited, you would need to spend $19,000 in the bonus categories of dining and travel, which I imagine relatively few people do, valuing UR points at $.01 each; obviously they are worth more, but even at $.02, thats $9,500 of restaurants and travel (and ignoring that a lot of the travel could be put on a 3x Citi or Amex). Of course you do need either the SP or Ink plus to transfer points, but I don’t see it being very common that the SP wins out over the Ink given their respective bonus categories.

  7. @Jason – I wouldn’t be surprised if that rule is *relaxed* for a certain, ahem, sub-set of individuals.

  8. “a card I can’t wait to apply for when it goes live.”

    Not sure how you could possibly apply for this card and not be summarily rejected.

    This reminds me of that time you hocked TopCashBack signups without ever having used topcashback

  9. I can guarantee you this, after sometime, the existing category 5% bonus earning existing freedom card holders will be converted to the the new freedom 1.5 earning card.

    All in all, this is a VERY BAD NEWS!

  10. @jim

    Heh. I use my Freedom card like twice a year; when 5% on restaurants come and when 5% on amazon is on.

    Even then I’m capped out at $1500 which I hit pretty much right away.

  11. Although I would not even qualify if the rule was 25/24 months- I am confident I can “downgrade” my Sapphire Preferred (no 2 or 3 to the Freedom Unlimited- score! And keep my ink…

  12. A year ago, I was charging and liquidating $15K a month thru Redbird, and another $10K a month thru T-Mobile. That’s $300K a year of totally free MS. And in addition scoring 100K AA miles a month (all figures are combined amounts for the two of us) from Citi EXEC apps without paying any Annual Fees. Plus picking up substantial miles/points from natural spend. Doing which took up about 5 hours a month of my time.

    Small potatoes for some, I know, but a windfall for us.

    Now the exciting news is getting 1.5 UR points on natural unbonused spend.

    As of now, except for first time beginners who’ve yet to get any ccs, the travel hacking game isn’t actually dead; it’s just in a very, very, very deep coma. 🙁

  13. I was logging into my Credit Karma account this morning and noticed a link to apply online there. Should I apply? I’m over the 5/24 limit..

  14. Hey there! Does anyone know if previous Chase Freedom card holders can still get the introductory benefits on the Unlimited card such as intro 0% balance transfer and 0% APR and the $150 bonus?

    Thanks!

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