by Brittney Myers | Feb. 4, 2021
Who can say no to unlimited rewards?
When I first started collecting credit card rewards, I had little more than a vague plan to get enough points for an overseas vacation. So, I started applying for various cards that I thought could get me where I wanted to go -- without much of an overall strategy.
Long story short, I found myself on the wrong end of Chase's 5/24 rule and realized I'd need to wait at least a year before I could apply for any of the Chase cards on my to-do list. Finally, just a few weeks ago, I found myself once again eligible for a Chase card, and I applied within days.
What card did I choose first? The Chase Freedom Unlimited®. I know, there are fancier cards with larger bonuses, like the The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. But while that card is still on my list, it just doesn't make sense for me right now. Besides, I had a number of great reasons to get the Chase Freedom Unlimited® instead. Let's take a look.
The most obvious reason to have the Chase Freedom Unlimited® in your card lineup is its unlimited 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on every purchase, regardless of category. Although I have a robust card portfolio, I was actually lacking a go-to card for the few non-category purchases I make, giving the Freedom Unlimited an instant slot in my wallet.
And let's not forget the more recent updates Chase has made to the card, including adding extra purchase rewards categories. Now, the Freedom Unlimited also earns 3x points per dollar at restaurants and drugstores, plus 5x points per dollar on eligible travel booked through Chase. I already have a good dining rewards card, but not one for drugstores or certain types of travel, so that's another win.
At this point, you might be wondering why I keep referring to the card's rewards as "points," given that every bit of advertising says the Freedom Unlimited is a cash back card. Well, that's because you technically earn Ultimate Rewards points on your purchases. With just the Freedom Unlimited, however, your redemption options are limited, and most people will likely redeem for cash back at a standard rate of $0.01 per point.
However, those points can also be pooled with your Ultimate Rewards points from other cards, say the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. And when you have a Sapphire card, you can transfer your points -- including those from your Freedom Unlimited -- to any of Chase's travel partners. With smart transfers, I'll be able to get much more value out of my rewards than a measly $0.01 per point.
While I don't currently have a Sapphire card, I definitely plan on getting one (likely when we have a better idea of when travel will be safe again). Chase Ultimate Rewards points don't expire as long as you keep your account open, so when I do apply for my Sapphire card, I'll already have a nice big pile of Ultimate Rewards from my Freedom Unlimited.
Speaking of big piles of points, I'd be lying if I said the Freedom Unlimited's sign-up bonus didn't play a part in my decision to apply. The $200 sign-up bonus is a great deal for a no-annual-fee card, especially since it has a very easy-to-meet spending requirement of just $500 in the first three months.
And yes, although the sign-up bonus is advertised as a cash bonus, just like the card's rewards, it should actually hit my account as Ultimate Rewards points -- 20,000 of them. Compared to the Sapphire Preferred, which has a bonus of 60,000 for spending $4,000 in the first three months, the Freedom Unlimited's bonus is significantly easier to get. You essentially earn one-third of the points for only 12.5% of the spend.
Sure, the purchase rewards and sign-up bonus were more than enough to get me to apply, but they're not everything the Freedom Unlimited has to offer. I also like that it's one of those rare cards that still offers a number of useful cardholder benefits, including both purchase protection and extended warranty protection. And though it's not a travel card, I'll even get trip cancellation coverage.
Additionally, Chase has a few nice benefits to add even more value, like its Chase Offers portal that often provides 10% rebates on purchases at popular retailers. There's also a bonus on Lyft purchases through March 2022 and a DoorDash free trial through the end of 2021, but those are less important to me as I don't use either service.
All in all, there are so many reasons to get the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card, it's almost a no-brainer -- at least it was for me. The card fits neatly into my current collection, and I'm very excited to add it to the bunch.
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