Chase Unlimited Cards
No annual fee
Ink Unlimited: 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points, with $3,000 initial spend.
($830 net value, 28/$)
Freedom Unlimited: 15,000 Ultimate Rewards points, with $500 initial spend.
($250 net value, 50/$)Signup Bonus Chart
1.5x All Purchases (≈2.55%)
3% Foreign Transaction Fee
For most people, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card is the best general-purpose reward card. It earns 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points on any purchase, and has no annual fee. When used in conjunction with a Chase Sapphire (or Ink Preferred) card, you can transfer these points to many different frequent flyer and hotel programs, making them worth about 1.7 cents each. So, you are getting 2.55 cents in rewards for every dollar you spend. Get a Great General Purpose Reward Card and Use It for All of Your Spending.
If you are willing and able to get it, the business version of the card can be even better.
Chase Unlimited Card Options
There are two different versions of the Unlimited card.
Freedom Unlimited. The personal version of the card is our normal recommendation for the best general-purpose reward card.
Ink Unlimited (Business Version). The business version of the card was launched in May, 2018. At least at the time of the launch, it offers a much better signup bonus than the personal version of the card. And it also offers primary rental car coverage (when you are renting a car for business purposes). Chase Webpage. Signup Bonus Chart.
You can't get either version of the card, if you are over the Chase 5/24 limit. But, if you are under the limit, the business version won't add an additional card to your 5/24 count.
Introduction to Ultimate Rewards
Chase's loyalty program is called Ultimate Rewards. Ultimate Rewards Guide
- You can transfer your Ultimate Reward points to many different frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs. Ultimate Reward points can be converted into frequent flyer miles with any of about a dozen different frequent flyer programs. This gives you the flexibility to take advantage of award space on over a hundred different airlines, and the ability to combine the points you earn from your credit card, with points you earned directly with the airline program. In many cases, you can take advantage of available award space, by booking frequent flyer tickets with one of several different programs, allowing you to take advantage of whichever program's award chart requires the fewest miles for the trip.
- Unlike the other "transferable" point programs, you can get good value from your Ultimate Reward points, without needing to hassle with frequent flyer tickets. Ultimate Reward points can be converted into Hyatt hotel points, which can easily be used for award nights, at values typically over 1.7 cents per point. If you have the Sapphire Reserve card, you can use your points, instead of cash, to purchase most types of travel, via the Chase website, at 1.5 cents per point. And you can get often get slightly more value than that when using your points to purchase Southwest Airline tickets.
- We value Ultimate Reward points at 1.7 cents each. Because you can take advantage of award space and "sweet spots" from many different frequent flyer programs, Ultimate Reward points are worth more than any single type of airline miles. If you highly valuable premium-cabin award tickets, Ultimate Reward points are worth a little more. If you want to avoid the hassles associated with frequent flyer tickets, they are worth a little less. How Much are Points Worth?
- You need a Chase Sapphire (or Ink Preferred) card to get full value from your Freedom Unlimited card. Only Sapphire cardholders (and cardholders of the Ink Preferred small business card) can transfer their points to airline and hotel partners. In addition, Sapphire Reserve cardholders get 1.5 cents per point, and Sapphire Preferred (and Ink Preferred) cardholders get 1.25 cents per point, rather than 1 cent per point, when purchasing travel through Chase. These benefits extend to all your Ultimate Rewards points, not just to ones earned directly from these cards.
While you can typically get the most value for your points, by using them for frequent flyer tickets, you can easily get good value, with much less effort, with other types of redemptions.
Even if you just use them, like cash, to purchase travel at 1.5 cents each, the reward rate on any purchase with the Chase Freedom card is 2.25 cents per dollar, the reward rate on travel and restaurant purchases with the Sapphire Reserve is 4.5 cents per dollar, and the signup bonus for the Sapphire Cards is worth $750.
Collecting the Signup Bonus
- The Freedom Unlimited card is primarily interesting for its reward earning rate, not for its signup bonus. The normal 15,000 point signup offer is valued at $260 (at 1.7 cents per point), assuming that you have another Chase card (Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, or Ink Preferred), that lets you transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to airline and hotel partners. If you are just interested in a signup bonus, you probably don't want to waste a Chase 5/24 slot on this card. There are better signup offers available. Dealing with the Chase 5/24 Rule.
- You can earn an additional 2,500 points by adding an authorized cardholder. They need to make a purchase during the first three months you have the card. This is factored into the calculated net value above.
- The Ink Unlimited card has a much more interesting signup bonus. While Chase advertises the signup bonus as $500, you'll actually receive 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points, valued at $850 (assuming that you have a Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, or Ink Preferred card). Even if you aren't interested in using the Ink Unlimited card as your general-purpose reward card, or you already have the Freedom Unlimited version, the Ink Unlimited version is worth getting for its signup bonus.
- You may be able to earn the signup bonuses from both the personal and business version of the card. If you have any kind of side business, you are entitled to apply for business cards. If so, you can get 17,500 from the regular version, and 50,000 from the business version. Unlock Extra Reward Points with Business Credit Cards.
- You can earn signup bonuses from multiple different Chase Ultimate Rewards cards. You are limited to only one version of the Sapphire card (every 24 months), but there is also the Ink Preferred, Ink Cash, and Freedom cards.
After subtracting the opportunity cost of using the card for $500 of spending, the calculated net value of the sign-up is $300 (60 cents per dollar spent). Your value may be higher or lower, depending on how much you value the Ultimate Rewards points. Introduction to 'Transferable' Reward Points.
Other Notable Benefits
- Access to Chase's Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection. Along with other Chase cards, you'll get access to Chase's luxury hotel program. When you use the program to book one of the participating hotels, you'll receive a set of valuable benefits, including free breakfast, late check-out, and a hotel-specific amenity, which is typically a $100 hotel, restaurant, or spa credit. Take Advantage of Luxury Hotel Programs for Valuable Extra Perks.
- "Primary" rental car insurance (Business Version). If you use this card to pay for your rental car, you'll get primary rental car insurance. Unlike the "secondary" insurance you get from most other cards, if you damage your rental card, your don't need to involve your personal auto insurance company. However, this only works if you rent the car for business purposes. Credit Cards That Provide “Primary” Rental Car Coverage.
- Access to the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection. As with all Visa Signature cards, you'll get access to Visa's luxury hotel program. Whenever you book one of the 900+ participating hotels, you'll receive a set of valuable benefits, including free breakfast, late check-out, and a $25 food and beverage credit. The Visa program has slightly weaker benefits than the other luxury hotel programs, but includes a number of more affordable hotel options, and a price guarantee. Take Advantage of Luxury Hotel Programs for Valuable Extra Perks.
- Access to Visa Signature Offers. Your card entitles you to a set of special offers available from Visa.
Getting Rid of the Card
If you still have a significant balance of Ultimate Rewards points, make sure you keep at least one Ultimate Rewards credit card (any of the Sapphire, Freedom, or Ink cards), otherwise you will lose you points. You need to have an annual-fee-based card (Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, or Ink Preferred) in order to transfer your points to airline and hotel partners. Alternatively, you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to another person in your household who has an Ultimate Rewards card.
If you are collecting signup bonuses, it is useful to hold onto at least a couple of personal and a couple business credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points. You are likely to be blocked from getting any new Chase cards by the Chase 5/24 rule. If there is an existing or newly introduced Chase card that you want to get, you'll still be able to product change one of your existing cards.
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