Which Is Better: Amex EveryDay Preferred Or Chase Freedom Unlimited?

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While mileage earning opportunities for actually flying have greatly decreased over the past several years as many programs go revenue based and make other tweaks, maximizing points otherwise has become easier than ever before. Nowadays you can easily earn 3-5x points for many daily purchases, from groceries to gas to Amazon to travel.

Even spend which doesn’t fall into specific bonus categories is more lucrative than ever before, as we’re no longer earning a single mile or point per dollar spent. Now it’s possible to earn 1.5 points in the transferrable currencies of both American Express and Chase, which is fantastic. But which card is better?

Amex EveryDay Preferred Card

This is the card I use most for everyday spend, as it offers the following bonus categories:

  • 3x points at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases
  • 2x points at US gas stations
  • 50% points bonus when you make at least 30 transactions per billing cycle, meaning you can earn up to 4.5x points at supermarkets, 3x points at gas stations, and 1.5x points on everyday spend

This card has a $95 annual fee. What’s cool is that it accrues “true” Membership Rewards points, the ones which can be transferred to the following airline and hotel partners:

AeroMexico Club PremierBritish Airways Executive ClubFrontier EarlyReturnsVirgin America EleVAte
Air Canada AeroplanCathay Pacific Asia MilesHawaiian Airlines HawaiianMilesVirgin Atlantic Flying Club
AirFrance/KLM Flying BlueDelta SkyMilesIberia Plus
Alitalia MilleMigliaEl Al MatmidJetBlue TrueBlue
ANA Mileage ClubEtihad GuestSingapore Airlines KrisFlyer

Chase Freedom Unlimited Card

The no annual fee Freedom Unlimited Card was just recently introduced as an alternative to the no annual fee Freedom Card.

The Freedom Unlimited Card is advertised as offering straight 1.5% cashback. If it’s cashback you’re actually after, this isn’t the card I’d recommend getting. You’re better off with something like the Citi® Double Cash Card, which offers 1% cash back when you buy, and another 1% cash back when you pay for your purchase.

However, what’s fantastic is that the rewards earned on this card can be converted into Ultimate Rewards points, at a rate of one point per cent. In other words, this card offers 1.5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent, but only if you also have either the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Plus® Business Card. Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to the following partners:

Aer Lingus Aer ClubIHG Rewards ClubSingapore KrisFlyerWorld Of Hyatt
Air France KLM Flying BlueKorean Air SkyPassSouthwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
British Airways Executive ClubMarriott RewardsUnited MileagePlus
Iberia PlusRitz-Carlton RewardsVirgin Atlantic Flying Club

So while you’re essentially earning 1.5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on a no annual fee card, you need to have a $95 annual fee card in order to maximize the return you get on this card.

Which card is better?

Both of these are extremely compelling cards, and if you’re a big credit card spender, I could see value in diversifying your spend and earning points through both cards. In general here are a few of the relative advantages I see:

  • The Amex EveryDay Preferred Card also offers additional points bonuses on supermarket and gas station purchases, which can earn you 3-4.5x points per dollar spent; that’s huge
  • The Freedom Unlimited Card has no minimum number of purchases you need to make per billing cycle in order to earn 1.5x points per dollar spent, which is great for those who don’t make frequent purchases
  • The Amex EveryDay Preferred Card has a $75 annual fee, while the no annual fee Freedom Unlimited Card requires having a $95 annual fee, so which of those represents a better deal is a function of whether you’d maximize the value you get out of the Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus.
  • Anecdotally the Freedom Unlimited Card will be significantly more difficult to be approved for, given that Chase generally is only approving people for cards if they haven’t applied for more than five credit cards in the past 24 months; the Amex EveryDay Preferred Card is quite easy to get approved for, in my experience

In terms of the value of the points, personally I value Membership Rewards and Ultimate Rewards points roughly equally, though everyone should individually decide which currency they value more, based on their redemption patterns.

Singapore-Suites-1
Both currencies can be transferred to Singapore KrisFlyer, but otherwise have different partners

Bottom line

The Amex EveryDay Preferred Card and Freedom Unlimited Card are the two most compelling cards for everyday, non-bonused spend. I’d choose which is best for you based on whether you get more value out of Membership Rewards or Ultimate Rewards points. The advantage of the EveryDay Preferred is that it offers further bonus points on groceries and gas, while the Freedom Unlimited has no annual fee, though requires you to have another card in conjunction with it.

Which card do you think is more valuable — the Amex EveryDay Preferred or Freedom Unlimited?


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Comments

  1. Since most folks on this blog have the CSP or a Bold card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited (CFU) trumps the AMEX since it’s a Visa card.

    The AMEX is great but there are still many merchants that don’t accept AMEX. Though the point multiplier is less, the fact that it’s widely available makes it better than the AMEX.

  2. Why is the Amex Everyday no fee card not under consideration?

    It doesn’t earn as much as the Preferred version, but it has no annual fee, has true transferable Membership Rewards points, and earns more than 1x on items after certain billing requirements are met. Depending on how much you value MR over UR, this card should be considered as well, considering you can accrue points without any annual fee.

  3. I thought MRtransferred to Hilton? You don’t have any hotel partners listed for a MR

    My preference is SPG Amex.

  4. Both cards come with foreign transaction fees, so neither is best choice for non-category and/or everyday spend in foreign lands. I’m still looking for that best choice card, and it’s a tossup between SPG Amex and Capital One Quicksilver. I’d love to know if there’s anything better.

    I can buy almost everything through gift cards I can buy at the local supermarket, so almost everything comes to me at 4.5 points a dollar. That includes Hyatt hotel gift cards and Southwest airline gift cards. They also carry Target gift cards, so it means everything at target.com, including eBay gift cards, are available at 4.5 points a dollar plus a 5% discount. There are even more gift cards available through eBay, including American Airlines and Delta gift cards. So within a $6k/yr limit (27000 MR points), the Amex EveryDay Preferred has an advantage unmatched by Chase Freedom Unlimited.

  5. What about those in comparison to the SPG AMEX? While there is no bonused spend on it, there are plenty of partners (as you’ve well told us over and over again). Any particular reason why you wouldn’t mention the third transferrable currency credit card in this post? I think many people, yourself included previously, would argue that the SPG card is the best for everyday spend…

  6. For all who want to add in SPG you first have to believe that 1 SPG point is worth more than 1.5 MR or UR points. I reject that assumption.

  7. In my mind the Amex preferred is better. We all have to buy groceries and gas. These are everyday expenses that we all use, and therefore for these expenses Amex reigns supreme. You get a smaller signup bonus, but over time no other card gives 3x or 2x on everyday necessities. I just got one, and I can’t wait to see my points grow.

  8. Wait hang on do both cards have no annual fee? Because Lucky just said the Unlimited has a $75 annual fee…I’m confused.

  9. I have the AMEX Everyday Preferred, because it’s quite simple to use it 30 times per billing cycle, and I love the 4.5 points per $ for grocery spend. That’s 27K points for $95, which seems well worth it to me.

    I also have the Chase Freedom, with no AF, because the 5X per $1500 on category bonuses at least 2 quarters per year, and a lesser part of that the other 2 quarters, gets me another 20K points per year, which is fantastic for a no fee card. I don’t need a CSP since my wife has one, and I can transfer out my UR points thru her account.

    I don’t see the point of the Freedom Unlimited card, since it only gets 1.5 points per $, and the Everyday card already gets me that. As for the places that don’t take AMEX, and I don’t find it’s that many in the US, as Left Handed Passenger pointed out, gift cards at grocery stores, and for those that have an Ink card at office supply stores, cover almost everything you could need. Amazon cards, Starbucks cards, Home Depot cards, Chipolte cards, Nordstrom cards, all at 4.5 to 5 points per $.

    This quarter $1500 of Costco Cash cards, purchased online with the Freedom card, is good for 5X per $ at Costco. That’s a monthly average of $125, and what Costco member doesn’t spend at least that much a month there?

    Between just the Everyday and the Freedom cards, that @ $800 a month of grocery/giftcard spend, nets me 45,000 points a year for purchases I would make anyway. I can’t imagine giving up either of these cards. :;

  10. Hyatt is the killer app of the UR card. What’s the point of flying first class everywhere and then staying at Holiday Inn Express?

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