You earn Chase Freedom Unlimited points, but they’re meant to function like cash back. Basically, is part of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, which is a points-based system that lets you trade your points for cash back. So, the 1.5 points you get for every $1 you spend are the equivalent of 1.5% cash back.
You may see cash back instead of points in Chase marketing materials when referring to the rewards you earn for Chase Freedom Unlimited, but just look at it as getting more options. You can get cash back, sure, but you won’t lose value if you choose to use your points for something else. It’s actually not too complicated once you know all the details.
Here’s how the points work:
You get 5% cash back on travel through Chase, 3% back at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% back on all other purchases (plus an additional 1.5% cash back on everything, up to $20,000 spent the first year), with no limit on the number of points you can earn.
You can trade your points for cash back, gift cards or travel at a rate of 1 cent per point.
There is no minimum number of points needed to redeem for cash back. You can redeem any number of points for travel and pay any leftover balance with your card. For gift cards, points will depend on the cost denomination.
Your points will not expire as long as your account is open. But you will lose them if you close your account before redeeming. You will also lose them if Chase closes your account for any kind of fraud, abuse or lack of payment.
Most Chase Freedom Unlimited cardholders redeem their points for cash back. However, Chase Freedom Unlimited isn’t necessarily the best cash back credit card on the market. While it does give you a respectable 1.5% rate, you might also want to consider Citi Double Cash Card, which gives you 2% cash back on all purchases.
Chase Freedom Unlimited cardholders earn Ultimate Reward points with every purchase. The rewards rate is 1.5%, which is well above average. The card also has a sign-up bonus, and no annual fee. Personally, I think it’s better than most cash back credit cards. The points you earn can be redeemed towards cash back or gift cards at a rate of $0.01 per point.
Chase Freedom Unlimited® works by giving cash back on purchases in the form of rewards points, which are then redeemable for cash back at a rate of 1 cent per 1 point. There is no minimum amount of rewards you need to accumulate before redeeming for cash back, and your rewards won’t expire unless you close the account.… read full answer
Chase Freedom Unlimited gives rewards equal to 5% cash back on travel through Chase, 3% back at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% back on all other purchases (plus an additional 1.5% cash back on everything, up to $20,000 spent the first year).
How to Get Chase Freedom Unlimited Cash Back
Make purchases with the card to accumulate rewards.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited points are worth 1 cent each when redeemed for cash back, gift cards, merchandise or travel. Chase Freedom Unlimited points redeemed for Amazon.com purchases through the Shop with Points feature are worth 0.008 cents each.
Here’s more info about the Chase Freedom Unlimited points value and redemption:… read full answer
Cash back rewards do not expire as long as the account is open and in good standing.
Point values can change at any time. That's why it’s a good idea to redeem points frequently.
There’s no minimum number of Chase Freedom Unlimited points that you’re required to redeem for cash back. But if you want to redeem for gift cards, travel or other purchases, there might be a minimum amount required.
Lastly, you might also be able to transfer Chase Freedom Unlimited points to other Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards. But the card must belong to either you or a member of your household.
The difference between cash back and points is that the former is the most versatile type of credit card rewards, as it can be redeemed for anything, and there’s never any doubt about how much it’s worth. Points, on the other hand, have a value set by the credit card company and tend to be worth the most when redeemed for travel. Credit card companies won’t always clearly disclose points values, and those values can change over time. It’s possible that points could be worth 1 cent apiece one day and 0.8 cents each the next.… read full answer
You can spend points for many different things. Usually, you can trade them for travel, gift cards, unique experiences, charitable donations or even cash. There are no restrictions on what you can use cash for. You can typically redeem cash back for a statement credit, paper check, or direct deposit to a bank account. One thing credit card shoppers should watch out for are cards advertised as offering cash back that really provide points. For example, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers “5% cash back” in certain bonus categories. But what it actually gives is 5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1, which cardholders can then trade for cash back at a rate of 1 cent each.
Earning rate: Usually at least 1% cash back or 1 point per $1 spent.
Devaluation: Points can be devalued by the issuer, while cash back can’t.
Redemption options: Statement credit, check or deposit for cash. Travel, merchandise, gift cards, cash and more for points.
When it’s the best choice: Points for frequent travelers. Cash back for everyone else.
Let’s take a look at two high-profile cards in a battle of cash back vs. points.
Citi Double Cash Card tops the cash back offerings with 2% cash back on all purchases and an introductory APR of 0% for 18 months on balance transfers, with a balance transfer fee of 3% intro fee ($5 min) for each transfer in first 4 months, after that 5% ($5 min) for each transfer. It also chases a $0 annual fee and requires good credit to get.
But if you’re a frequent traveler, Chase Sapphire Preferred is a more attractive option. It gives 5 points per $1 spent on travel purchased through Chase, 2 points per $1 on all other travel purchases, 3 points per $1 on dining and online grocery purchases, 3 points per $1 on select streaming services, and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. It has an initial bonus of 80,000 points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. This card’s points are worth 1 cent each toward cash back or gift cards or 1.25 cents each toward travel. There’s a $95 annual fee and the card requires good credit.
For both cash back and points cards, you can expect to lose your rewards if your account closes for any reason. Most cards don’t let your rewards expire over time. But Citi Double Cash Card’s cash back expires if you don’t use your card for 12 months. And on points cards alone, your points can be devalued if the issuer decides to charge more points for its rewards. So, frequent redemption is essential.
So, the bottom line is that frequent travelers should check out points cards. Otherwise, cash is king.
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