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Last updated on Jan 16, 2020

Chase Freedom Credit Card Review

Bump up your earnings potential and pair it with your other Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards ​
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Chase Freedom®

  • High cash back earnings in select categories
  • No annual fee
  • Cash back earnings can be used for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • Contactless card for tap to pay
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How We Reviewed the Chase Freedom Credit Card

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4 cards compared

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5 features evaluated

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20 hours of research

Chase Freedom Credit Card Review

The Chase Freedom credit card is a great no-annual-fee card for earning cash back. If you enjoy planning ahead and tracking bonus categories to maximize your earnings, you’ll have the chance to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in categories that change every quarter.

Earning cash back isn’t the only benefit you get from the Chase Freedom credit card, though. Chase credit card users can use the Freedom card to bump up their travel-rewards earnings. If you have other Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or the Ink Business Preferred card, you can transfer the cash back points you earned using your Chase Freedom card for a higher redemption rate to enjoy your earnings as travel rewards.

Chase Freedom Credit Card Overview

Pros Cons
Strategic spending gets you a high 5% cash back
No interest on purchases or balance transfers the first 15 months
Use your earnings as cash or travel rewards points in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
Tracking spending categories is necessary for earnings
Foreign transaction fees
  • Card Type: Cash back
  • Rewards Rate: 5% cash back for purchases up to $1,500 in spending categories that change every quarter
  • Sign-Up Bonus: $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 within the first three months
  • Annual Fee: N/A
  • APR: 16.49%-25.24% variable APR
  • Intro APR: 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months
  • Recommended Credit Score: Good to excellent
  • Additional Rates and Fees:
    • Balance Transfer Fee: 3% during first 60 days, then 5%
    • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%

Perks

  • Earn 5% cash back — one of the highest rates — for spending categories that change every quarter
  • Convert rewards into Chase Ultimate Rewards travel points
  • Enjoy a long no-interest spending period of 15 months after sign-up on purchases and balance transfers

Best for

Consumers who enjoy planning and organizing their spending to maximize their purchases in cash back categories

Not for

Frequent travelers who want to avoid foreign transaction fees

The Competition

Chase Freedom Discover it Cash Back Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card
Rewards rate
5% cash back on the first $1,500 in purchases on bonus categories each quarter 1% cash back on all other purchases 5% cash back on the first $1,500 in purchases on bonus categories each quarter 1% cash back on all other purchases 1.5% cash back on all purchases 5% cash back on the first $2,000 in purchases each quarter on two categories of your choice 2% cash back on everyday purchases like gas and groceries 1% cash back on all other purchases
Sign-up bonus
$200 cash back after spending $500 in the first 3 months
Discover matches all the cash back earned the first year automatically
$150 cash bonus once you spend $500 in the first 3 months
$150 bonus after spending $500 in eligible purchases the first 3 months
Annual fee
$0
$0
$0
$0
APR
Variable 16.49%-25.24%
Variable 13.49%-24.49%
Variable 15.49%-25.49%
Variable 15.49%-25.49%
Other
0% on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months Rotating rewards card 0% on purchases and balance tansfers for 14 months Rotating rewards card 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months Flat cash back earnings card 0% on balance transfers for 12 months Rotating rewards card
View details View details View details View details

All information accurate as of Jan. 16, 2020.

Main Benefits

Plan ahead and get up to $75 in cash back rewards every quarter

Follow the Chase Freedom card calendar to get 5% cash back on the first $1,500 in spending every quarter on rotating categories. It adds up to $75 cash back on categories such as gasoline, groceries, and more. You’ll have to activate the quarter’s bonus categories to earn the 5% reward, but once you do, the earnings roll in. You’ll also earn 1% on all other spending.

Use your cash rewards for travel or cash

You can redeem your earnings in a number of ways:

  • Statement credit
  • Direct deposit into your checking or savings account
  • Gift cards
  • Amazon purchases if your Chase Freedom card is linked to your Amazon.com account
  • Travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Transfer points to your other Chase credit cards with Ultimate Rewards to get higher redemptions

Save on interest on the first 15 months

Most cards offer an introductory no-interest period on balance transfers. The Chase Freedom credit card goes one step further by extending no interest to all purchases. Make your larger purchases with the card after sign-up and pay the balance back over 15 months for free.

Possible Drawbacks

Earning 5% takes some work

If it wasn’t for this card’s 5% cash back earnings ability, it would be a lackluster cash back card. The higher rewards earnings take some effort, though — you’ll need to watch for quarterly changes in the spending category and activate them. You’ll earn for the first $1,500 spent; this may be easy in larger purchases in the home improvement, gasoline, or electronics categories but harder on internet or drugstore category quarters.

Foreign transaction fee

Chase Freedom provides you with the opportunity to redeem for travel, but we wouldn’t recommend using this card overseas: There’s a 3% foreign transaction fee on all purchases abroad.

Chase Freedom Credit Card Compared to Discover it Cash Back

Chase and Discover go neck-in-neck in the rotating rewards credit card category. They offer similar introductory rates with the same rewards-earning opportunities and no annual fee. The difference lies in your spending habits the first year after sign-up. Chase Freedom gives you a $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first three months for instant gratification. With Discover, you’ll have to wait a year. Then it will match the cash back reward you’re owed after 12 months of spending.

If you regularly carry a card balance, you’ll save money with the Discover it Cash Back card over time. If you’re still unsure of which card to choose, it all comes down to how much you travel. Chase’s Ultimate Travel Rewards portal makes redeeming points and rewards for travel, gift cards, and entertainment easy. Choosing the Chase Freedom credit card to have access to the Chase travel portal is a good solution.

How to Earn Points

You can use your earned points for cash or travel. Here’s how:

  • Watch the cash back calendar to make sure you’re earning as much as possible
  • Redeem your cash back points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal at about 1 cent per point
  • Transfer your points from the Chase Freedom card to your Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink for Business card and your points will be worth 25% more
  • Transfer your points from the Chase Freedom card to your Chase Sapphire Reserve card and your points will be worth 50% more

Transferring your points to your other eligible Chase cards is like earning 6.25% or 6.5% in rewards instead of 5%.

How to Redeem Points

Unlike other cash back cards, Chase Freedom allows you to redeem your earnings in more ways than just cash back. You can also use the accumulated cash back earnings for travel, gift cards, or other purchases.

The Chase Freedom credit card is well named — Chase may not give you flexibility on which spending categories you can earn 5% cash back on, but it makes up for it by providing you with plenty of alternative ways to redeem your earnings. You can redeem your cash back earnings:

  • As a statement credit
  • By direct depositing into your checking or savings account
  • By redeeming for gift cards
  • By applying the earnings to Amazon purchases if your Chase Freedom card is linked to your Amazon.com account
  • By transferring the points to your other Chase travel reward credit cards to bump up their value
  • By redeeming for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards online portal

The Bottom Line

The Chase Freedom credit card is not the best stand-alone card for travel benefits and credit card perks. However, it’s a great addition to your Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Ink for Business credit card. Use the Freedom card to bump up earnings on the rotating quarterly categories and then transfer the points to the cards mentioned to get the best benefit out of your earned rewards.

About the Authors

Cynthia Paez Bowman is a finance, real estate and international business journalist. Her work has been featured in Business Jet Traveler, MSN, CheatSheet.com, Freshome.com, Bankrate.com and SimpleDollar.com. Besides writing, Cynthia owns and operates a small digital marketing and public relations firm that works with select startups and women-owned businesses to provide visibility and growth.