The Chase Freedom Unlimited card now offers 20,000 bonus points, redeemable for $200 cash-back, after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months.
It also provides a special 5% cash-back on combined gas station and grocery store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart) on up to $12,000 in spending in the first year, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
Additional benefits include:
- No annual fee.
- 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers.
- 3% cash-back at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services.
- 3% cash-back on drugstore purchases.
- 5% cash-back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Combining the 20,000-point welcome offer with earning 5% back on gas station and grocery store purchases in the first year (on up to $12,000 in spending, which is equivalent to 60,000 points), you can earn 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points in your first year.
This makes it an outstanding offer for those who are able to hit the spending limit.
Eligibility Criteria for Chase Freedom Unlimited
Here are a few things to keep in mind in terms of eligibility:
- You should have a credit score above 670 to apply for the Chase Freedom Unlimited.
- You’re not eligible to receive the bonus for this card if you have received a new card member bonus for Chase Freedom Unlimited within the past 24 months.
- Chase generally does not approve applicants for new credit cards if they have opened five or more credit card accounts with any bank within the past 24 months (known as the 5/24 rule).
Because this card has no annual fee, we list it as one of our favorite starter credit cards.
As you can earn a minimum of 1.5% cash back long-term with no annual fee and generous bonus categories like restaurant and drugstore purchases, it’s a card worth keeping even after your credit history gets established.
How to Maximize the Signup Bonus
Maximizing your signup bonus starts by meeting the minimum spending requirement of $500 within the first three months to qualify for the $200 reward. This translates to an average monthly spending of roughly $170, which should be achievable without unnecessary expenditures.
Over the first year, you’ll also want to ensure you can reach a minimum of $12,000 spent on groceries and fuel purchases, earning you 60,000 Chase Ultimate Reward points.
If the Chase Freedom Unlimited card is the only credit card you use, your options are more limited regarding redemption. If that’s the case, consider your points worth 1 cent each, which can be redeemed for options like statement credit or gift cards.
However, occasionally, Chase presents opportunities to make your points worth more than one cent each with special deals and discounts from retail partners. For example, at the time of publication, you can get a 10% discount on gift card purchases for popular stores like Lowes and Wayfair when using points.
To really maximize the value of your Chase Freedom Unlimited card long-term, consider pairing it with a premium card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve. By transferring points from your Unlimited to a Reserve, you can utilize them for travel purchases through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program to earn greater value.
For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card allows you to redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards for 1.5 per point when redeemed for travel through the Chase Travel Portal. That makes the 80,000 points you can earn with the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card in your first year worth a minimum of $1,200 when redeemed for travel.
Of course, you can earn a separate bonus with the Chase Sapphire Reserve to start building your point balance.
You can enhance the value of your Chase Freedom Unlimited points beyond the Chase Travel Portal by combining them with another Chase card that offers access to transfer partners (cards that give you access to transfer partners are the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred, and Chase Business Ink Preferred).
This allows for possible redemptions at even greater than 1.5 per point — for instance, by transferring points to Hyatt, which can yield you a value of three to five cents per point.
Pros and Cons of the Chase Freedom Unlimited
Here are the essential pros and cons to help you make an informed decision about whether to apply:
- Generous signup bonus and cash-back rates. Earn a $200 bonus after spending $500 in the first three months. Plus, get 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
- Introductory 0% APR period. Enjoy 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers.
- No annual fee. The card comes without an annual fee, making it a great keeper card to build your credit score.
- Reward flexibility. Cash-back rewards don’t expire as long as the account is open, with no minimum for redemption.
- Balance transfer fee. A fee of $5 or 5% of each transfer, whichever is greater, applies.
- Foreign transaction fees. A 3% fee applies for international transactions.
- Good credit requirement. At least a 670 minimum credit score is recommended before applying.
Frequently Asked Questions
Chase Freedom Unlimited typically requires a good credit score, which generally means 670 or higher on the FICO scale.
Yes, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card charges a foreign transaction fee of 3%.
No, the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card does not charge an annual fee, making it a great starter credit card.
No, the cash back you earn with Chase Freedom Unlimited does not expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing with Chase. This means you can also open another Chase card down the road, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve, and then transfer the points from your Unlimited to the Reserve upon approval.
While the card offers a 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, it includes a balance transfer fee. The card fee is either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Yes, rewards earned with Chase Freedom Unlimited can be used to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. However, they’re only worth one cent per piece unless you can transfer them to a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve.
I’m a big fan of the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. It’s one of the oldest cards I have, which helps build credit history. Plus, I consistently use it to build my Chase Ultimate Rewards balance, which I primarily transfer to Hyatt (as I also have the Chase Sapphire Reserve).
It’s an excellent choice as a starter card for building credit and a valuable tool for anyone interested in travel rewards. Of course, consider the Chase 5/24 rule if you’ve recently applied for multiple credit cards.