Chase freedom unlimited bonus categories

Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Freedom each offering up to $175 bonus

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What’s the deal with the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Chase Freedom cards?

The relatively new Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card offers an unlimited amount of 1.5% cashback that’s automatically applied to every purchase. You can also earn a bonus of $150 when you spend just $500 on purchases in the first three months and another $25 bonus when you add an authorized user. There’s no annual fee to pay with this card and you get built-in protection features such as Zero Liability Protection, Purchase Protection and Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver.

The Chase Freedom credit card offers 5% cashback on combined purchases of up to $1,500 in quarterly bonus categories and unlimited cashback at the rate of 1% for everything else. You also get a bonus of $150 with this card when you spend just $500 on purchases within the first three months and a $25 bonus when adding an authorized user. There’s no annual fee and you get the same built-in protection features as the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, including Price Protection and Chip-Enabled Security.

How do I get the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Freedom deals?

What else do I need to know about the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Freedom deals?

The current bonus categories for 5% earning with the Chase Freedom credit card are grocery stores and wholesale clubs; starting next month, restaurants will be included.

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Get Cash Back for Every Purchase: Chase Freedom Unlimited℠ Review

Chase freedom unlimited bonus categories

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Chase freedom unlimited bonus categories

Chase's latest offering is a cash back card that offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. If you're looking for a simple credit card from an established issuer, the Chase Freedom Unlimited SM is definitely worth considering. (See also: Best Flat Rate Rewards Credit Cards)

This card awards unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic! If you find managing quarterly rotating categories or special purchase categories to be a hassle, you’ll appreciate the convenience of a flat rate cash back card like this one.

Cash Bonus offer. Earn a $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

0% Intro APR for 15 months. You also get 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period, a variable APR of 15.99%-24.74% applies. The balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum.

You can request your cash back at any time, without any minimum requirements for statement credit or electronic deposit into a checking or savings accounts. There are also opportunities to redeem for gift cards, travel, or merchandise.

Purchase protection. Purchases you make with the card are covered for 120 days against damage or theft.

Price protection. If your purchase is advertised in the U.S. in print or online within 90 days at a lower price, you can receive reimbursement of the price difference.

  • $0 Annual Fee
  • 15.99%-24.74% Variable APR (0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers)
  • 5% Balance Transfer Fee ($5 minimum)
  • 3% Foreign Transaction Fee

Low rate of rewards. Although the flat rate of 1.5% cash back is convenient and easy, if the majority of your spending falls into a specific category like gas or groceries, you can earn more rewards with cards that focus on those specific categories. (See also: Best Credit Cards for Groceries and 5 Best Gas Rewards Credit Cards)

Foreign transaction fee. There is a foreign transaction fee of 3%, which is going to add up if you frequently travel outside of the United States and cancel out any cash back you earn from your purchases. If you need a card for foreign transactions, you’re better off with a credit card that does not charge a foreign transaction fee. (See also: Best Credit Cards without Foreign Transaction Fees)

This card is best for those who prefer to avoid the hassle of changing categories or special purchase requirements and value the opportunity to easily earn and redeem a flat rate of cash back when using the card. It has a nice cash bonus for new cardholders as well as a long 0% APR for purchases and balance transfers. It is also best if your purchases vary from month to month and, because of the 3% foreign transaction fee, are primarily domestic.


chase freedom unlimited bonus categories

Chase freedom unlimited bonus categories

For a long time, the Chase Freedom Card has been the top recommendation in terms of high-value credit cards with no annual fees. A few months ago, the Chase Freedom got a little competition by way of the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card. Like its predecessor, the Freedom Unlimited carries no annual fee, but what makes it different is that cardholders earn a flat 1.5 percent cash back on all spending. This is in contrast to the Freedom card, which earns 1 percent cash back, along with 5 percent on the first $1,500 spent every quarter at rotating categories. Both cards allow cardholders to convert rewards to Ultimate Rewards points if they also have an Ultimate Rewards-earning credit card, like the Chase Ink Plus or Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Chase freedom unlimited bonus categories

when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Chase freedom unlimited bonus categories

when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

As we all know, the Chase Freedom card pays out 5 percent cash back/5 Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on the first $1,500 spent each quarter in select categories. This means if cardholders are able to max out the full $1,500 each quarter, that translates to $300 cash back or 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points annual from just $6,000 in spending. So is this better than earning 1.5x rewards on all spending? The answer to that question varies for everyone, depending on their spending habits. But let’s assume someone manages to max out the category bonus every single quarter. At which point is this person better off with a Chase Unlimited vs. a Chase Freedom card?

If cardholders max out the 5x category bonus each quarter and continue to use the card for spending, it is only after the $48,000 mark that cardholders would be better off with a Chase Unlimited card rather than the Chase Freedom. That’s because spending $48,000 on the Chase Freedom card (with $6,000 going towards 5x bonus category spending) and Freedom Unlimited would earn the same number of rewards. It’s only at the $48,001 mark that the Freedom Unlimited starts to out-earn the Chase Freedom in terms of rewards:

Chase Freedom Card Chase Freedom Unlimited

$6,000 x 5 = 30,000 points or $300 cash back $48,001 x 1.5 = 72001.50 points or $720.02

$42,001 x 1 = 42,001

= 72,001 points or $720.01 cash back

Earning $300 cash back or 30,000 points through the Chase Freedom Unlimited card would require $20,000 worth of spending. So once both cards have earned a total of 30,000 points/$300 cash back, we can start calculating the point at which the different earnings rate starts to affect the number of rewards cardholders can earn. On the first $48,000 spent, both cards earn the same number of rewards (assuming, of course, that the Freedom cardholder is earning 5x on $6,000 worth of bonus category spending). It’s after this point that Freedom Unlimited cardholders begin to out-earn Chase Freedom cardholders.

So for big spenders who plan on spending more than $48,000 per year, the Chase Unlimited card is the better option. As for the rest of us, the best card really depends on how often we can maximize the 5x bonus categories. Personally, I haven’t hit the $1,500 cap on any category in quite a while. So for me, the Chase Freedom card isn’t doing much. In fact, these days I’m channeling much of my spending on the Discover it Miles card, which earns 3 percent/3 miles per $1 the first year. So for someone like me who doesn’t get much out of the 5x Chase bonus categories, the Freedom Unlimited is a better option because it earns a flat 1.5x rewards per $1 spent.

I’d love to get your feedback – which of these credit cards fits best with your spending habits?


New Chase Freedom Unlimited with $150 Sign Up Bonus

Chase just rolled out a new card called the Chase Freedom Unlimited card… not to be confused with the Chase Freedom card!

It features unlimited cash back at 1.5% without any quarterly rotating categories.

The sign up bonus for the new card is $150. It’s our Free Money Friday offer!

  1. Sign up for the Chase Freedom Unlimited* card.
  2. Spend $500 within three months of opening your account.
  3. Earn 15,000 bonus points to redeem for $150 cash back.
  4. Earn $25 more when you add an authorized user (and make your first purchase) during the first three months.

*The Chase Freedom Unlimited card application link is under the cash back category in our credit card directory.

  • No annual fee.
  • This product is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of this credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of this credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this credit card within the last 24 months.
  • Cash Back rewards never expire as long as your account is open.

Earning Cash Back. The Chase Freedom Unlimited card earns 1.5% cash back on everything with no spending tiers.

0% Intro Rate. The card has a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. However balance transfers have a steep 5% fee!

Maxing out the 5% quarterly categories for $300 in rewards is equivalent to spending $20,000 on the Unlimited card earning 1.5%. However, if you aren’t maxing it out each quarter, you’ll need to calculate what your rewards will be under both cards and compare.


Chase Freedom Unlimited Now Available – Should You Apply/Product Change?

According to an anonymous source, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is now available for sign ups in branch and over the phone (backed up by this exchange PointsCentric had). You should also be able to product change an existing Chase branded personal card (Chase Slate, Chase Freedom, Chase Sapphire or Chase Sapphire Preferred) into this new card. It should also become available online sometime during April (most likely April 8th) when Chase launches it’s official advertising program for the card.

  • 150 sign up bonus after $500 in spend within three months
  • $25 bonus for adding an authorized user and them making their first purchase
  • 1.5% unlimited cash back on all purchases
  • 0% Introductory APR for purchases and balance transfers for 15 months

Keep in mind that if you want to apply for this card, you’ll be subjected to the Chase 5/24 rule. Basically meaning you won’t be approved if you’ve got five credit cards in the past two years (from any issuer, not just Chase). Because of this, most people will be looking at this as a product change option rather than an apply option, but basically the reasoning behind both decisions is pretty much the same.

  • You shouldn’t product change if you don’t have a card with the ability to transfer to Chase’s travel partners (e.g Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Plus). The Freedom Unlimited (Chase FU card) earns 1.5% cash back (really 1.5 Chase UR points), but you can only transfer those points to travel partners with one of these annual fee cards. There are cards that earn 2%+ cash back, so downgrading doesn’t make sense if you just want a cash back card.
  • You need to value Ultimate Rewards points at 1.34¢ a piece otherwise you’d be better off putting that spend on a 2%+ cash back card.
  • You need to look at how much spend you’d be able to put on a regular Chase Freedom’s 5% categories. The regular Chase Freedom offers 5% back in rotating categories (with a cap of $1,500 in spend per quarter). Let’s say you max out those categories every year (unlikely for most people, but just making a point) you’d earn a total of 30,000 Chase UR points on $6,000 in spend. You’d need to spend $20,000 on the Chase Freedom Unlimited to earn the same amount of points.

I have a couple of regular Chase Freedom’s, I don’t max out all of the quarters anymore but I do probably earn

15,000 Chase UR per card. My breakeven would be $10,000 a year on the Chase FU card, I do value Chase UR at more than 1.34¢ a piece but at the moment I don’t have that much non-category spend that isn’t put towards meeting minimum spend requirements on other cards, so I’m not going to bother product changing to the new Chase FU card.

For others that don’t utilize the 5% rotating categories or do have a lot of non category bonus, non minimum requirement spend then this card is a pretty good option. Let me know what your plans are in regards to the Chase FU card in the comments and also if you were able to successfully product change or apply.

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