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Maximize credit card points earned through everyday spending
Usually, the most advantageous credit cards come with hefty annual fees. In exchange for paying the annual fee, the cardholders can receive category spending bonuses, such as 2x points on travel or dining. But what about non travel or dining purchase? There’s an easy answer: the Chase Freedom Unlimited card earns at least 1.5x points on ALL spending, making it ultimate everyday spending card. We think this is one of the best if not the best card if you don’t want to have a card with an annual fee as you don’t have to worry about bonus travel categories that are hard to hit right now, you simply get a 1.5x multiplier on all spend.
But what’s even better is Chase has made a fantastic card even better. New cardholders can now earn 5x points on all grocery store spending . Remember this excludes Target® and Walmart® and is limited to $12,000 spent in the first year you have the card. That’s the best grocery store bonus on ANY card, let alone on a card without an annual fee. There’s never been a better time to take advantage of a grocery spending bonus! In total you could earn up to $800 in cashback in the first year assuming you spend $12,000 on groceries and hit the minimum spending requirements for your welcome bonus. Even better if you combine this card with an Ultimate Rewards Points earning card that $800 could be used as 80,000 points, increasing the welcome bonus of this card even more! But even better right now the Freedom Unlimited is offering an intro 0% APR intro for 15 months.
Chase Freedom Unlimited Sign-up Bonus
The Chase Freedom Unlimited card currently offers a $200 sign-up bonus after spending $500 on the card within the first three months. In addition, part of the sign-up bonus is the potential to earn 5% cashback at grocery stores for the first year. Both are very generous offers, especially with a credit card without an annual fee.
There are three caveats to the grocery spending bonus. The first caveat is that spending at Walmart and Target are specifically excluded from the bonus. Probably because they are not just grocery stores but more like superstores where you can buy almost anything. Buying a new big screen TV and earning 5x points would be nice, but no such luck. The other caveat is that the grocery spending bonus is limited to $12,000 in spending, which equates to $1000/month.
That’s a lot of grocery spending, but keep in mind that you could also purchase gift cards (such as Amazon gift cards) at the grocery store and effectively earn 5x points on your Amazon order. So maybe you could get 5x points on that new TV.
New 3% Cash back Categories – Dining and Drugstores!
One of the latest features added to the Chase Freedom Unlimited is 3% back on Dining including takeout, and 3% back on drug store purchases as well. Unlike the 5% back on grocery store bonus in the first year, Chase has marketed this as a permanent benefit. This could add up fast because medication is particularly expensive giving you a chance to earn 3% back on those purchases.
0% APR for 15 months!
As of the time of this writing Chase is offering an incredible offer of 0% APR for 15 months on both purchase and balance transfer.
You also get 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers. This is incredibly generous as most cards that offer an intro 0% APR for only 12 months. After the intro period, typical interest charges apply which vary. A balance transfer fee also applies if you plan to transfer a balance, but this is typical of all balance transfers.
Also, just because a card has 0% Intro APR, doesn’t necessarily mean you should use this feature unless you need it because if you put a large balance on a credit card it will definetely hurt your credit score by increasing your credit utilization ratio. You should especially watch out if your overall credit line isn’t very high. That being said if you are paying some very high interests rates and carrying a balance on another card, the one time balance transfer fee is a no-brainer to get your interest rate reduced to 0% until you can pay off the debt.
Cash-back Card, but Potential for Points
One of the best parts of the Chase Freedom Unlimited card is that when it is paired with a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Ink Business Preferred card, all of the “cash back” earned with the Chase Freedom Unlimited card can converted into Chase Ultimate Rewards points. From there, the points can be redeemed for business class travel on some of the best airlines in the world, including Emirates, Singapore Airlines, ANA, and Lufthansa. So while 1.5% or 5% cash back is nice, 1.5x or 5x Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be much more lucrative. For example, those Chase points can be redeemed for over 7 cents/point, an effective value of 7% cash back by transferring to an airline partner and getting a great deal on a business class ticket. This is calculated by dividing what would have been the cost of the business class ticket in cash divided by the amount of points you transfer. I want to emphasize again this is only an option if you combine this cash back card with an Ultimate Rewards card. Personally, if you don’t have a UR earning card just yet, I would consider leaving the points in your account and waiting to redeem them later once you open up an Ultimate Rewards card.
The Best Way to Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points?
Simply put – the Chase Freedom Unlimited card is the ultimate card for rapidly earning Ultimate Rewards points. It should be the default card in your wallet since you can earn 1.5x points on ALL spending.
Let’s move on from big screen TVs to gas for your car. Even with the Chase Sapphire Preferred ($95 annual fee) or Chase Sapphire Reserve ($550 annual fee), you would only earn 1x points for every dollar spent. Meanwhile, you’d earn 1.5x points with the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card, which doesn’t have an annual fee at all. It’s the perfect compliment to one of the Ultimate Rewards earning cards!
Watch out for foreign transaction fees!
While we’re on the subject of the card’s downsides, you’ll also need to use a different card when traveling overseas. The Chase Freedom Unlimited card is subject to foreign transaction fees, which adds 3% a fee for any purchase in foreign currency. Not ideal. But since card is most effectively paired with one of the Chase Sapphire cards or Ink Business Preferred card, you could use one of those to avoid the foreign transaction fees.
- 20,000 point sign-up bonus (or $200 cash back)
- 5% back on travel purchases made through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
- 3% back at restaurants (including takeout and delivery)
- 3% back on drugstore purchases
- 1.5% back on all other eligible purchases
- No annual fee
- Foreign transaction fees when you go abroad
- Balance transfer fee
- Needs to be combined with an Ultimate Rewards earning card for maximum value
The Chase Freedom Unlimited is the ultimate personal card to maximize credit card points earned through everyday spending. Its new 5x category bonus for groceries makes this card even more compelling, especially as we’re spending less on travel and dining. The Chase Freedom Unlimited card goes to show that you don’t need to pay expensive annual fees to have a credit card that can help you earn free travel. Especially when combined with a Chase Ultimate Rewards card to turn these cashback points into UR points!
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