Chase Freedom Unlimited® review

This no-annual-fee card offers as much as a whopping 6.5% cash back on some purchases, but you will always earn at least 1.5% back on all of your eligible purchases. What's not to like with regular, consistent rewards?

Written by
Brooklyn Lowery
Edited by
Jennifer Doss
Why you should trust CardRatings
badgeImage
Cash Back Card

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

  • Rewards
  • Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 1.5% on all other purchases
  • Welcome Bonus
  • Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back. That's 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.
  • Annual Fee
  • $0
card_name
5.0
Credit Score: Excellent, Good
on Chase's secure website
Terms and Limitations Apply

Key Features

Editor Analysis:

Pros
  • Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back. That's 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 4.5% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 3% on all other purchases.
  • After your first year or $20,000 spent enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service; and 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • CardName is offering a 0% intro APR for intro_apr_duration from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then RegAPR.
Cons
  • There isn't an annual fee, but you'll be on the hook for foreign transaction fees if you use CardName while abroad.
ALTERNATE CARD TO CONSIDER

card_name

discontinued_disclaimer
editor_rating
Credit Score: credit_score_needed
description
card_name

Since CardName first appeared on the scene it has been among the top flat-rate cash-back cards on the market. But Chase upped the ante years later announcing an all-new rewards structure that moves the card into the tiered cash-back rewards category and includes up to 6.5% cash back in some categories of purchases.

Let’s jump into the details:

CardName rewards

For new cardholders, CardName cardholders earn tiered rewards in a number of categories:

  • Earn 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, Chase’s premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more.
  • Earn 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service.
  • Earn 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).
  • After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on Chase Travel; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service; and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

Suddenly, what has been a consistent top flat-rate cash-back rewards card becomes a top tiered-rate cash-back rewards card. These rewards categories mean many people will be able to see their cash back add up even more quickly than in the past.

CardName benefits

The ease of racking up rewards with CardName is perhaps its most appealing feature, but it’s far from the only reason the CardName card could be a welcome addition to your wallet. Cash-back credit cards certainly aren’t a new idea, but there are some aspects of CardName that make us sit up and take notice.

To start, the at least unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase is a fairly high return for a no-annual-fee card and that’s before you even take into account the additional tiered categories.

The redemption options are also a nice benefit in and of themselves.

One hundred points equals $1, so even taking the lowest earning rate of 1.5 points earned per $1 spent, you’ll accumulate 100 points after you spend $67. Obviously, that gets even better if you’re spending on restaurants at three points per $1 or on travel through Chase Travel at five points per $1. Many cash-back reward cards restrict when you can cash in your points – as in, you need to accumulate enough points to redeem them in $25 increments or something similar. With CardName, there are no thresholds to meet in order to redeem your points for cash. Those redeemed points can equal cash deposited directly into an eligible checking or savings account or, since they are points through Chase Travel, they can be used to purchase travel, gift cards, products or services or they can be combined with Chase Travel points you earn using other cards on the system, possibly making them worth even more.

That’s why, while we like CardName on its own, it’s even better if you pair it with another Chase Ultimate Rewards card such as CardName and/or CardNamediscontinued. Here’s why:

  • When paired with CardName, you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Then use your CardName for purchases in all other categories to cash in at the 1.5% cash back on every purchase outside those bonus categories. (Information related to Chase Freedom FlexSM has been collected independently by CardRatings and was neither reviewed nor provided by the card issuer.)
  • When paired with the CardName, you can transfer your points between the two cards. Since CardName cardholders receive 25% more value when they redeem points through Chase Travel℠, the points you earn with your CardName (and CardName for that matter) are worth more.
  • Of these three cards, only the CardName charges an annual fee, so if you’re going to carry that card anyway, you won’t be losing any money to add the other two to your wallet and points-earning strategy.
combinte ultimate rewards

CardName travel benefits

Widely known as a cash back credit card, most people don’t think of the CardName when it comes to travel. Like we covered above, however, since rewards can be redeemed through Chase Travel, some people use the CardName like a travel card as well. With that said, there are a few travel perks people should be aware of when it comes to this card. The main CardName travel benefits include:

  • Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance, offering reimbursement up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable passenger fares, if your trip is canceled or cut short by covered situations like sickness or injury.
  • Travel and emergency assistance services, which provides you with legal and medical referrals or other travel and emergency assistance when you run into a problem away from home.
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver, providing you with coverage for theft and collision damage for most cars in the U.S. and abroad. In the U.S., this coverage is secondary to your personal insurance.
  • Roadside dispatch if you have a roadside emergency – anything from a tow or a jump start to a tire change, lockout service, winching or gas delivery. Roadside service fees will be provided when you call and will be billed to your card.

CardName foreign transaction fee and other potential drawbacks

The CardName credit card is a solid choice for anyone looking for cash back rewards. However, it’s not perfect. One of the biggest drawbacks of the card is its foreign transaction fee (foreign_transaction_fee on all purchases made in a foreign currency). If you frequently travel outside of the United States or often make online purchases in a foreign currency, you may be better off going with another option, such as the CardName, which doesn’t charge this fee. To put things in perspective, if you took an international trip and used your CardName card for $3,000 worth of purchases, you’d be looking at an extra $90 in fees.

What’s more, while the unchanging tiered structure of the CardName card is part of its appeal, you could earn larger rewards by selecting a card with rotating or bonus earning categories. For instance, the CardName card offers quarterly bonuses that can provide up to 5% cash back for spending in categories such as groceries and gas. Now, the updated rewards earning for CardName goes a long way toward alleviating this drawback; however, it’s possible it’s going too far. There are a lot of new details and categories with Freedom Unlimited®, which means it’s great for earning rewards, but it also means you have more details and strategy to keep up with.

CardName credit score

To qualify for approval for the CardName you should have good to excellent credit. Chase doesn’t specify the exact number you’ll need to qualify, and additional factors from your application and credit history could also affect your approval chances. The credit bureau Experian, however, says those with good credit usually have FICO scores of at least 670, with excellent scores starting at 800. Please note, though, that these numbers can vary between different bureaus.

How do cardholders rate the CardName card?

CardRatings conducts a survey annually to learn what actual cardholders think of their cards. Here are the results for the CardName:

  Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 78.9 85
Features Satisfaction 7.8 8.4
Customer Service 7.7 8.6
Website/App Usability 8 8.9
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.6 9
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.9 8.1
Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

How does CardName compare to other cards?

CardName vs. CardName

discontinued

The big perk with the CardName is that it doubles your cash back each time you pay your credit card bill. Here’s how it works: With the Citi card you’ll earn unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time. (Citi is a CardRatings advertiser)

With the CardName card, you earn a bit less at the base rate, 1.5% on everything that doesn’t qualify for one of the higher category-earning rates, but the rewards are automatic. Each time you swipe your card, you’ll earn at least that 1.5%. It’s as simple as that.

Additionally, both cards have a 0% percent introductory period, but they differ on what that applies to. CardName extends that offer to purchases and balance transfers. With the Citi card, you can look forward to balance_transfer_duration_months of 0% intro APR on balance transfers, then RegAPR.

CardName vs. CardName

discontinued

With uncapped rewards earned on every purchase the CardName and CardName are both excellent no-annual-fee credit cards. They both offer 1.5% cash back as a base rewards rate on all purchases, though CardName also offers 5% on travel through Chase and 3% at restaurants and drugstores. Quicksilver offers a one-time welcome bonus of $200 after spending $500 within the first three months.

For redemption options, both cards have the ability to redeem cash back at any time with no minimums and to redeem for gift cards. Where the CardName card sets itself apart is with the ability to redeem points on Amazon.com with the Chase Shop with Points feature as well as to redeem points for travel through Chase. Another big difference to note is that the QuickSilver card does not charge a foreign transaction fee, a unique perk for a cash-back credit card – especially one with no annual fee. To learn more about how these cards line up, check out our in depth Chase Freedom Unlimited® vs. Capital One® Quicksilver comparison.

Is CardName a good card?

CardName is designed for people who aren’t crazy about the idea of keeping up with rotating cash-back categories, but who do spread their spending out among multiple categories and like the flexibility of the option to redeem points through Chase Travel It’s also good for people who want the ultimate complement to round out the other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards in their wallet.

It’s likely not the best choice, however, for people who use their card for international travel or who relish the opportunity to strategically use their credit cards to rack up maximum rewards in categories that change quarterly.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, the CardName charges a foreign transaction fee (foreign_transaction_fee) on all purchases made in a foreign currency.
Yes, the CardName is a cash-back card that earns rewards in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards points, giving cardholders flexibility to redeem rewards in various ways.
To qualify for approval for the CardName you should have good to excellent credit. Chase doesn’t specify the exact number you’ll need to qualify, and additional factors from your application and credit history could also affect your approval chances. The credit bureau Experian, however, says those with good credit usually have FICO scores of at least 670, with excellent scores starting at 800. Please note, though, that these numbers can vary between different bureaus.

Our Methodology

Survey methodology: CardRatings commissioned Op4G in September 2023 to conduct surveys among 1,869 cardholders nationwide. CardRatings website analytics from Jan. 1, 2023-Aug. 31, 2023 were used to determine a selection of the most popular cards and additional cards were included to add survey breadth. Responses to each of nine questions were given on a scale of 1-10 and respondents’ scores were then averaged under broad topics. To determine the overall score, responses from questions 1-8 were summed and the answer to “How likely are you to recommend this card to a friend, coworker or family member?” was double weighted. Current Scores reflect scores from the most recent survey (2023); “Past Scores” reflect scores from the 2022 survey.

Disclaimer:The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. See the online credit card application for full terms and conditions on offers and rewards. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit card prior to applying.


This content is not provided by any company mentioned in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any such company. CardRatings.com does not review every company or every offer available on the market.


Related Articles