Chase recently updated the Chase Freedom Unlimited intro bonus to earning 3% on all purchases in your first cardmember year, on up to $20,000 in spend. After that, earn 1.5% everything.
On the surface, 3% might sound like a good deal, but is it worth it for you? Let’s dive in.
Chase Freedom vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited
Chase offers two no annual fee cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points: the Chase Freedom and the Chase Freedom Unlimited.
Annual fee: $0
Welcome bonus: $150 (15,000 UR points) after $500 spend within the first 3 months of account opening
Earn 5x points on select rotating categories each quarter you activate
Chase Freedom Unlimited
Annual fee: $0
Welcome bonus: Earn 3x in the first cardmember year on up to $20,000 in purchases
Earn 1.5x after that
To earn the equivalent of $150, or the Chase Freedom intro offer, you would have to spend $5,000 on the Chase Freedom Unlimited (via 3x on up to $20,000 offer within first 12 months).
Return on Spend
For the average person, $20,000 is a lot of spend. If you have the ability to spend $20,000, there are a few routes you can take.
= return on spend
= value derived / spend required
For the first option, you could put the full $20,000 in spend on the Chase Freedom Unlimited and earn 60,000 UR points.
a) $20,000 onto Chase Freedom Unlimited for 3x offer = 60,000 UR
If you’re open to adding more cards, you could split the $20,000 in spend between 3-4 new cards to meet the minimum spend requirements to earn the welcome bonuses.
a) $4,000 on Chase Sapphire Preferred = 60,000 UR
welcome bonus = within first 3 months
b) $6,000 on Hyatt (welcome bonus) = 50,000 Hyatt
welcome bonus = 25,000 points after $3,000 in spend within the first 3 months
2nd bonus = another 25,000 points after $6,000 total ($3,000 add’l) within the first 6 months
c) $5,000 on Amex Platinum (welcome) = 60,000 MR
minimum welcome bonus = within first 3 months
After meeting the minimum spend requirements for the above 3 cards in our example, you would still have $5,000 of room for another card bonus.
Who Should Get the Chase Freedom Unlimited?
If you are a student with less than $500 in expenses each month, I do not recommend going for this card. Get the Chase Freedom instead to earn $150 after $500 in spend within the first 3 months of account opening.
For people who have high amount of social advertising spend, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is the ideal card since you can earn 3x on the first $20,000 in spend, and 1.5x after that.
If you are someone with a large amount of non-category spend like taxes, home improvement, or suppliers, then the Chase Freedom Unlimited might be a good fit for you.
Don’t Want To Add Cards
If you don’t want to add more cards to your wallet, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is a no hassle card where you don’t have to keep up with rotating categories. This works well if you have the Chase Trifecta.
One of the benefits of having the Chase Trifecta is that you can pool points to a card that has access to the Chase Travel Portal.
Chase Sapphire Reserve:
1.5x travel portal
Effectively: 3x CFU *1.5x = 4.5% return on spend
Total: 3x * $20,000 * 1.5x = $900 value
via transfer (1 to 1) to partners
Effectively: 3x CFU * 2 CPP = 6% return on spend
Total: 3x * $20,000 * 2 CPP = $1,200 value
Hotel and airline transfer partners provide the most return on spend for Chase UR points.
Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, vendors or companies, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
UGC disclosure: These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.