Is the 3% Chase Freedom Unlimited Offer Good or Bad?

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You may have heard (or read) that the Chase Freedom Unlimited now comes with 3% cash back for the entire first year, similar to the double points/miles Discover offers during year one via cashback match.

The biggest difference between that Discover offer and the Chase offer is that it’s not unlimited, ironically, on the Chase Unlimited card.

That’s right – you only get double cash back on the first $20,000 in annual spending via this new Freedom Unlimited promotion.

However, Discover points/miles can really only be used for cash, whereas Chase Ultimate Rewards can be used for other purposes, like transfer to frequent flyer programs (assuming you have a premium Chase card like Ink or Sapphire).

3% Freedom Unlimited Caps Out at 60k Ultimate Rewards

  • The biggest drawback is the $20k spending cap for 3X
  • After that you only earn 1.5X per dollar spent
  • Meaning you can net at most 60k UR points with this deal
  • Which is the same as the opening bonus on Sapphire Preferred

Since the limit is $20,000 in spending, and you earn 3% back on every purchase in year one, the maximum you can earn is 60,000 points.

That’s not a terrible haul by any means, especially for a credit card with no annual fee, and especially if you have an Ink or Sapphire and want to use the UR points for a frequent flyer program.

However, you still need to spend a whopping $20,000 to get those 60k points.

For some, this might be a walk in the park. For others, it might not even be possible.

Let’s Look at Some Spending Scenarios

Before this deal came around, Chase used to offer $150 for spending just $500 in the first three months of cardmembership.

Assuming you met that very low minimum spend requirement, you’d wind up with 15,750 UR points.

– 750 regular points for spending $500 @1.5X
– 15,000 bonus points for hitting the minimum spend

In order to earn 60,000 points with the old offer, you’d have to spend $30,000.

– 45,000 points for spending $30,000 @1.5X
– 15,000 bonus points for hitting the minimum spend

With the 3% back offer, you’d simply have to spend $20,000 in year one. Simple enough, but again, a lot of spending.

And you could forego a lot of other, better credit card opening bonuses in the process.

For example, you could just apply for Chase Sapphire Preferred and earn 60,000 bonus points for spending a mere $4,000.

Now back to the two Freedom Unlimited bonus offers.

If you spent $10,000 on either offer, you’d earn the same 30,000 UR points.

– 15,000 points for spending $10,000 @1.5X
– 15,000 points for hitting the minimum spend

Or

– $10,000 @3X on this latest offer

That’s basically how you can look at this offer versus the old one that came with the $150 bonus.

When the 3% Freedom Unlimited Offer Makes Sense

  • If you have plans to spend a considerable amount of money
  • But not necessarily in just 3 months (over an entire year)
  • And you have no interest in any other credit card offers
  • Or if you already have Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve

My wife applied for this card back in the day when it came with the $150 opening bonus. She did so to get the 0% APR for a home improvement project.

The new offer still comes with 0% APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers.

For someone planning to spend a lot for a similar purpose, or say a wedding or a honeymoon, the 3% back offer might be a good one.

It’s a chance to earn 60,000 UR points without an annual fee, and you get 12 months to do it, instead of the typical three.

Of course, if you’re planning to spend a lot, you could argue to just go for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card with the 60,000 opening bonus, assuming you don’t already have it.

For those without a premium Chase card, you’d feed two birds with one seed. The only downside would be the $95 annual fee.

But then you could open another card and earn an additional opening bonus after spending just $4,000.

Ultimately, I don’t find the 3% Freedom Unlimited offer to be all that enticing or valuable.

Other bloggers who are pitching the card will say otherwise, but having to spend $20,000 is a big ask for such a small return.

And for the everyday, non-churner, it’s going to sound like an awfully big commitment.

Meanwhile, for the power-churner who is somehow under 5/24, the $20,000 annual cap will make it pretty unappealing.

LC

Author: Colin Robertson

Colin created this blog after spending several years in a job that required him to scour credit reports on a daily basis. His goal is to help individuals better understand their credit and get the most out of credit cards.

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