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If you’re on the hunt for a new rewards credit card and you want one that offers bonus cash back in several everyday categories, plus more than 1% back on regular purchases, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® could be exactly what you need, especially since it doesn’t charge an annual fee and comes with a solid suite of features.
That said, there are a few reasons you may want to pick another cash back credit card instead — potentially even the Freedom Unlimited’s sister card, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ credit card. So let’s take a look at five reasons to go with the Chase Freedom Unlimited over other cash back credit cards, along with a pair of reasons to choose a different card.
1. Exceptional earning rates for the first year
The Chase Freedom Unlimited isn’t currently offering a traditional sign-up bonus. Instead, new card holders get an additional 1.5% cash back on up to $20,000 spent on your card during the first year you have the account. That’s on top of the card’s regular cash back earning rates, which means you can earn up to an additional $300 in cash back with your card during year one.
This bonus translates into some exceptionally high earning rates in several everyday spending categories. For instance, Chase Freedom Unlimited card holders normally earn 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase, 3% cash back on dining and drugstore purchases and 1.5% back on regular purchases. But with the extra 1.5% for the first year on up to $20,000 in spending, those rates effectively increase to 6.5% cash back on travel booked through Chase, 4.5% cash back on dining and drugstore purchases and an amazing 3% back on regular purchases.
Click here for the 1.5% cash back bonus offer on the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card.
2. Skip interest payments for 15 months
The Chase Freedom Unlimited sweetens the pot with an introductory APR offer for its new card holders as well. Specifically, when you open a new Freedom Unlimited account, you’ll get a 0% introductory APR on both purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months.
However, it’s important to pay off your debt in full before the end of that introductory period, because the APR increases to a variable APR of 19.49% to 28.24% thereafter. But it still means that if you need to make a large purchase and pay it off over time, you can use this card to earn rewards and make payments for more than a year without paying a dime in interest.
3. Flexible redemption options
While quite a few cash back credit cards only let you use your rewards for statement credits or a check in the mail, Chase offers a lot more flexibility. For example, Chase Freedom Unlimited card holders can redeem rewards for cash back, statement credits, gift cards or merchandise. Chase even partners directly with Apple, Amazon and PayPal to let you purchase items directly or “pay with points” through their platforms.
The Freedom Unlimited also lets users redeem their points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. This makes it possible to use cash back for airfare, rental cars, hotel stays, cruises and more. But, you can make your rewards from the Chase Freedom Unlimited go even farther when booking travel, thanks to this next reason.
See if you qualify for the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card.
4. Combine with a premium Chase travel card for even better redemptions
If you already have a premium Chase travel credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, there’s another good reason to pick up the Chase Freedom Unlimited.
The bank lets its customers pool all their Chase Ultimate Rewards points into one account, both for convenience and better redemptions. And while the Chase Freedom Unlimited is advertised as a cash back credit card, it technically awards its cash back in the form of those same Ultimate Rewards points. While people normally redeem those points for cash back at the standard rate of 1 cent per point, if you also have one of the premium Chase credit cards, you can pool your points together and open up options to redeem for more than 1 cent per point.
For example, users get 25% more value when they use points with a Sapphire Preferred to book travel with Chase, and points in a Sapphire Reserve account are worth an even better 50% more when redeemed for travel. That means you could get as much as 1.5 cents per point if you combine your Chase Freedom Unlimited rewards with a Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Plus, having either the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve unlocks the option to transfer points to Chase’s 14 airline and hotel partners, which includes airlines such as United, Southwest, British Airways and more, along with hotel chains like Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt. It takes a little more effort and flexibility to redeem points this way, but you can potentially get even more value per point when you go down this route, especially when you’re booking first or business class flights.
5. Travel and purchase protections
Finally, keep in mind that the Chase Freedom Unlimited comes with several consumer protections included. On the travel front, card holders get secondary auto rental coverage, travel and emergency assistance services and trip cancellation and interruption insurance worth up to $1,500 per person and up to $6,000 per eligible trip.
Card holders also get purchase protection against damage or theft for the first 120 days after a purchase is made with the card. This coverage is worth up to $500 per claim and up to $50,000 per account. And items charged to the Chase Freedom Unlimited that come with a manufacturer’s warranty of three years or less also receive an additional year of extended warranty protection.
Cover yourself with travel and purchase protection on the Chase Freedom Unlimited card.
Why you shouldn’t get the Chase Freedom Unlimited
Clearly, there are plenty of reasons to sign up for the Chase Freedom Unlimited, but why wouldn’t you want it? That really depends on your situation, but there are two main scenarios where a different credit card could leave you better off.
You want a traditional welcome bonus
While the Chase Freedom Unlimited is currently offering an additional 1.5% cash back on up to $20,000 spent on your card the first year, this is in place of the traditional sign-up bonus that other cards typically offer. For instance, the Chase Freedom Flex credit card currently offers new customers $200 in bonus cash after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months after opening the account.
A sign-up bonus like that may be easier to earn for people who don’t spend a lot on credit cards each month. Plus, you also get the Chase Freedom Flex bonus as soon as your statement closes after reaching the minimum spending threshold, instead of in increments over the first year.
You need an introductory balance transfer offer that’s longer than 15 months
You may also want to consider a different card if you have a lot of existing credit card debt to consolidate. While the Chase Freedom Unlimited extends its introductory APR offer for the first 15 months after opening the account, some of the best balance transfer credit cards currently available offer an introductory APR on balance transfers for as long as 21 months.
Now, it’s important to note that credit cards with the longest balance transfer offers typically don’t earn rewards, so you’re giving something up in exchange for not paying interest for a limited time. But you may want to steer clear of pursuing rewards or even spending on credit cards anyway if you’re in debt. After all, introductory APR offers don’t last forever, and credit card interest rates tend to be extremely high when they do.
Should you get the Chase Freedom Unlimited?
While everyone’s personal situation is different, if you’re looking to earn cash back on your credit card purchases with an increased earning rate for the first year, plus travel and purchase protections and an introductory APR on both your purchases and balance transfers, the Chase Freedom Unlimited can be an excellent choice.
It won’t be the perfect card for every person, but it’s especially useful for those who also want the ability to get even more value for their rewards down the line by combining them with a premium Chase travel card. So if that sounds like you, consider adding the Chase Freedom Unlimited to your wallet.
Learn more and apply now for the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card.
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