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
Personal version only
5x Travel purchased on Chase Website (≈8.5%)
3x Restaurants (≈5.1%)
3x Drugstores (≈5.1%)
3% Foreign Transaction Fee
For most people, the Chase Freedom Unlimited (or Ink Unlimited) is the best general-purpose travel reward card. It has no annual fee and earns 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points on every purchase. 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 for free airline tickets and hotel rooms. We value Ultimate Reward points at about 1.7 cents each. So, you receive around 2.55 cents in value for every dollar you spend and even more if you find particularly good redemption opportunities. Get a Great General Purpose Reward Card and Use It for All of Your Spending.
Chase Unlimited Card Options
There are two Chase Unlimited cards.
Freedom Unlimited. The personal version of the card has some extra bonus categories that aren't available from the business version: you earn 5x points on travel purchased through the Chase website, 3x points on restaurants, and 3x points on drugstores. Chase Webpage. Signup Bonus Chart.
Ink Unlimited The business version has the same base reward rate (1.5x Ultimate Reward points) and annual fee ($0), doesn't provide the extra bonus categories, but typically offers a much better signup bonus and doesn't take up one your Chase 5/24 slots. It also offers primary rental car coverage (when you are renting a car for business purposes). Chase Webpage. Signup Bonus Chart.
If you already have a Freedom Flex card and are willing and able to get business cards, you should get the Ink Unlimited card—you'll already getting the extra bonus categories. If you need to stick with personal cards, the Freedom Unlimited is your only option. Otherwise, get the Freedom Flex card and the Ink Unlimited (if you can).
Introduction to Ultimate Rewards
Ultimate Rewards is the name of Chase's own rewards program. Ultimate Rewards Guide
- Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to many different frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs. his gives you the flexibility to take advantage of award space on over a hundred different airlines. In many cases, you can choose to book a flight through one of several different partner programs, allowing you to take advantage of whichever program requires the fewest miles and fees for your trip.
- Unlike the other "transferable" point programs, you can redeem your Ultimate Rewards Points for good value, without needing to hassle with frequent flyer tickets. Ultimate Rewards points can be converted into Hyatt hotel points, which can easily be used for award nights at point values typically over 1.7 cents each. If you have the Sapphire Reserve Card, you can "cash out" your points at 1.5 cents per point. And you can get similar value 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 even 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 Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, or Ink Preferred Card to get full value from your Freedom or Ink Unlimited Card. Only these annual-fee-based cardholders can transfer their Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt or airline partners. In addition, Sapphire Reserve cardholders can "cash out" their points at 1.5 cents each and Ink Preferred and Sapphire Preferred cardholders can cash them out at 1.25 cent each, rather than than at the base rate of 1 cent per point.
While you can still typically get the most value for your points through good-value frequent flyer tickets, you can easily get good value, with much less effort, through these other types of redemptions. And you can sometimes get as much as 3 cents in value on better-than-normal Hyatt redemptions.
Even if you use them like cash, the reward rate on any purchase with the Chase Reserve / Chase Unlimited combo 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.
For example, you can transfer the points earned from your Freedom Unlimited card to your Sapphire Preferred account and then cash them out for 1.25 cents each, transfer them to Hyatt for a free hotel night, or transfer them to an airline program to use for frequent flyer tickets. But, if you don't have one of these cards, your Freedom Unlimited points are only worth 1 cent each.
Collecting the Signup Bonus
- This card is primarily interesting for its reward rate on everyday purchases, not for its signup bonus. The typical signup bonus is 15,000 Ultimate Reward points, valued at $260 (at 1.7 cents per point). This value assumes 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.
- 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 earn the signups from either or both versions. 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 48 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 for the initial year is $250 (50 cents per dollar spent). Your value may be higher or lower, depending on how much you value Ultimate Rewards points. Introduction to 'Transferable' Reward Points.
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.
- 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 larger number of more affordable hotel options and a best 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.
Bonus categories are only available on the personal version of the card:
- The Freedom Unlimited is a great card to use for drugstore spending. You'll earn 3x Ultimate Rewards points (valued at 5.1 cents per dollar) on a category of spending that is not available from many other cards. Best Credit Cards for Retail Purchases.
- It might be your best option for restaurant spending. You'll earn 3x Ultimate Reward points. The Amex Gold and Citi Prestige earn more, but they both come with expensive annual fees and the reward points can be harder to use. Best Credit Cards for Restaurant Spending.
- It can be a good option for some travel spending. If you purchase the travel through the Chase website, you'll earn 5x Ultimate Rewards points, valued at 8.5 cents per dollar. However, you'd likely get a better a deal on hotels and rental cards on other websites and the card doesn't provide free travel insurance. When you buy travel elsewhere, you'll just earn the same 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points you'd get on any other un-bonused purchase. Best Credit Cards for Travel Spending.
Getting Rid of the Card
- You need to be careful or you could lose your Ultimate Rewards points when you cancel your card. Before you close your card, you need to transfer your points to another card that earns Ultimate Rewards points. You could also transfer them to the Ultimate Rewards account of another person in your household. If you can't transfer your points, you probably want to keep your card or transfer your points to your favorite travel partner.
- We recommend holding onto or product changing your Unlimited cards rather than cancelling them. Chase's 5/24 rule can make it difficult to get a new Chase card when you want to. Keeping your card preserves the option of getting a new card through a product change, rather than a new application. However, if you are aggressively collecting Chase signup bonuses, you'll want to cancel extra Ink cards to lower your overall Chase credit limit and number of cards.
- If you no longer need the Unlimited's 1.5x reward rate on everyday spending, you may want to change it to another card. You can product change between the Sapphire Reserve ($550), Sapphire Preferred ($95), Freedom Flex ($0), and Freedom Unlimited ($0) cards, or between any of the Ink Cards. The Freedom Flex provides the ability to earn 5x rewards in a rotating set of categories and the Ink Cash provides bonus rewards at office supply stores. The bonus rewards from both these cards are capped, so obtaining an extra copy can always be useful.
- Chase doesn't make retention offers. Unless something has changed, you don't need to bother checking.
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