PHOTO: iStock

CNN Underscored reviews financial products such as credit cards and bank accounts based on their overall value. We may receive a commission through The Points Guy affiliate network if you apply and are approved for a card, but our reporting is always independent and objective.

If you don’t already have a Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card, right now might be the perfect time to consider one. While it’s already a top-notch no-annual-fee credit card with potentially flexible rewards, Chase’s newly launched sign-up offer on the Freedom Unlimited really makes it a no-brainer.

First, new Chase Freedom Unlimited card holders can earn $200 in bonus cash back after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months after you open the account. But in addition, if you get the card now, you can also earn a whopping 5% cash back on your grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart) in the first year you have the card, up to a maximum of $12,000 in spending.

If you’re able to maximize this 5% bonus category, you’re looking at an extra $600 in cash back, which means this bonus offer could theoretically equate to as much as $800 in total cash back. But keep reading to find out how your rewards from the Chase Freedom Unlimited can be worth even more.

Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card benefits

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a great choice for those who want to earn cash back with their credit card but also have the option for greater flexibility when it comes to their credit card rewards. The card earns 1.5% cash back on everything you buy, with no cap, and the cash back is easy to redeem as a statement credit or as a deposit into your checking or savings account, among other options.

Other benefits of the Chase Freedom Unlimited include a 15-month 0% introductory APR on purchases (14.99%-23.74% variable APR afterward), which could be a good option if you’re currently facing some unexpected expenses and need to temporarily carry some debt. You’ll also get purchase protection and extended warranty protection, a three-month subscription to DashPass and 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2022.

Related: Tight on cash? These credit cards charge 0% interest on purchases.

But if you want even more value for your rewards, there’s a way to get even more from the card. If you pair the Chase Freedom Unlimited with a premium Ultimate Rewards card — such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve — you can convert your cash back from the Freedom Unlimited into Chase Ultimate Rewards points at a ratio of 1 cent for 1 point, and transfer the points to your premium Chase card.

Once you’ve converted your rewards to points, you can redeem them based on the options available on your premium card. That means you can use them at the Chase travel portal — where your points are worth between 1.25 cents apiece with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and 1.5 cents apiece with the Chase Sapphire Reserve — or with Chase’s new “Pay Yourself Back” tool, which lets you redeem points for purchases you’ve made in eligible categories, including grocery stores, dining establishments (including delivery and takeout) and home improvement stores.

Combine the Chase Freedom Unlimited with either the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve credit cards for more valuable rewards.
Combine the Chase Freedom Unlimited with either the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve credit cards for more valuable rewards. PHOTO: iStock

When you redeem points with the “Pay Yourself Back” tool between now and September 30, you’ll get the same value as you would when redeeming for travel at the Chase travel portal, meaning customers with the Sapphire Reserve card get 1.5 cents per point on these redemptions, while Sapphire Preferred cards get 1.25 cents per point.

Related: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve: Which credit card is best for you?

That means when you pair the Chase Freedom Unlimited with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the 1.5% cash back you earn on all your purchases with the Freedom Unlimited can turn into 1.875 cents per point in value when redeemed for travel or through the “Pay Yourself Back” tool. And the 5% cash back at grocery stores could be worth as much as 6.25 cents per point when redeemed using those options.

But believe it or not, there’s one more way to get even more value for your Chase Freedom Unlimited rewards. Once you’ve converted your cash back to points with a premium Unlimited Rewards credit card, you can also transfer them to any of Chase’s 13 airline and hotel loyalty partners, such as Hyatt, Marriott, JetBlue, Southwest and United, at a 1-to-1 ratio.

While transferring points to Chase’s airline and hotel partners requires doing some homework and learning about these programs to really maximize them, the value can far exceed even the increased redemptions of the Chase travel portal and “Pay Yourself Back” tool. That’s why CNN Underscored’s partner, The Points Guy, values Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents apiece.

At that rate, the 1.5% cash back you earn on everyday purchases with the Chase Freedom Unlimited could be equivalent to a return of 3 cents per point. And 5% in cash back on groceries returns a huge 10 cents per point.

Now, you’re undoubtedly not thinking much about travel at the moment, but eventually airlines and hotels will resume a more typical schedule. And if you’re hoping for a great vacation when travel returns, you can hang on to your Freedom Unlimited rewards for now and use them down the line when travel is a more likely option.

If you
If you're planning to use your credit card rewards for travel, hang onto the cash back you earn with the Chase Freedom Unlimited and convert it to points down the line. PHOTO: iStock

One other point to keep in mind is that the Chase Freedom Unlimited is subject to Chase’s “5/24” rule. This is an unpublished Chase application restriction that means that if you’ve gotten five or more personal credit cards across all banks in the last 24 months, your application for a new Chase card will be automatically denied. Most people don’t apply for credit cards that often, so you likely won’t have to worry too much about 5/