1. Above-Average Everyday Rewards Rate

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® earns 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3% cash back on eligible dining and drugstores and 1.5% on all other purchases, plus an additional 1.5% cash back on the first $20,000 in purchases the first year. The card earns rewards in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, but because these rewards can be redeemed for cash back at 1 cent per point, it’s effectively a cash-back card. While 1.5% back may not seem significant, this is a better base rate than most cards offer—especially those that are advertised to first-time cardholders.

Between my subscriptions, gas, entertainment and miscellaneous purchases, I average about $750 per month in expenses that don’t fall within one of the Freedom Unlimited’s bonus categories. At the card’s 1.5% base earning rate, that translates to $11.25 per month in cash-back earnings, or $135 per year.

Pro Tip

 When you pair your Freedom Unlimited with a premium card from Chase, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can unlock even more value from your Ultimate Rewards points. Premium Chase cardholders can redeem Ultimate Rewards points for travel at elevated rates through Chase Travel℠. If you hold one of these cards, you can effectively get this elevated rate on your Freedom Unlimited spending as well. 

2. Solid Bonus Rewards on Common Spending Categories

In addition to the baseline 1.5% on all purchases, the Chase Freedom Unlimited earns elevated rates in common categories, including:

  • 3% on dining (including takeout and eligible delivery)
  • 3% on drugstore purchases
  • 5% on travel booked through Chase Travel

For me, 3% on dining is my absolute favorite perk. These days, when I go out to eat with a group of friends, I often volunteer to pick up the check and have them Venmo me later because I want to earn rewards.

I don’t go out of my way to make purchases at the pharmacy, but it’s nice knowing I can receive more than the normal 1.5% cash back when I do make the occasional visit.

3. Generous Introductory APR Offer

As a beginner to the world of credit cards, I was initially most excited about the welcome offer: an additional 1.5% cash back on up to $20,000 spent in the first year, worth up to $300 cash back. However, I soon realized that the 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months, 20.49% – 29.24% Variable APR thereafter would serve me best as a new credit card user.

Because I was inexperienced with credit cards, I often carried a balance from month to month. Even worse, I’ll admit that I maxed out my credit card limit at one point. If I didn’t have the intro APR, I would have accrued interest charges at the card’s normal variable APR.

Thankfully, I paid attention to my intro APR window and paid off my entire balance by the time my intro period was over. To this day, I try to pay off my balance in full every month so I don’t have to pay a dime in interest fees.

From my experience, the intro APR period gives new credit card users time to understand how monthly payments work so they can build positive habits and excellent credit in the long run.

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Last Update: July 5, 2024