New TV Commercial Totally Undersells Chase Freedom Unlimited Card, Misses Most Lucrative Strategy in Points

I receive compensation for many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. American Express, Citibank, Chase, Capital One and other banks are advertising partners of this site. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available -- instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).


Chase has released its first tv commercial for the new Chase Freedom Unlimited Card. It’s a fantastic card, and a really good commercial, but they’re totally underselling it. (The information related to Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card has been collected by View from the Wing and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.)

It’s a clever attention-getting card, and attention-getting ad, but they pitch it simply as ‘unlimited 1.5% cash back on everything you buy’. That’s good, but if you just wanted a strong cash back rate of return, get the no annual fee Citi Double Cash Card.

Getting the most value out of the product — 90% more — takes an extra step. You need to also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

  1. Earn with Chase Freedom Unlimited Card

  2. Transfer those points to your Sapphire Preferred Card.

  3. Your Sapphire Preferred then lets you transfer points to airline miles (United, Korean, British Airways, Singapore, Virgin Atlantic, Southwest) or hotel points (Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, IHG Rewards Club).

You’re then earning a minimum of 1.5 points per dollar on all of your spend (you’ll still earn double points on travel and dining direct through Sapphire Preferred). The United Club card has a hefty annual fee to earn 1.5 United miles per dollar. And then you’re just earning United miles. This one-two punch earns 1.5 miles per dollar with United. Or Singapore. Or Southwest. Or any of their other transfer partners.

I value a Sapphire Preferred point at 1.9 cents. So 1.5 of those points would be worth 2.85 cents. That’s 90% more value than the 1.5 cents a point you’d get with Freedom Unlimited alone.

That’s a more complicated story to tell in a celebrity endorsement tv spot. But it’s a very powerful story to tell.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »

Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

Comments

  1. That card isn’t targeted towards miles afficionados (and the ad isn’t for sure). The hoi polloi don’t understand the complexities of travel rewards, nor do they care.

  2. This makes no sense. Why would we want the general public to know more about how to maximize returns and exploit this product to the fullest?

    Also, I wasn’t at all interested in this card until I saw Ellie Kemper is promoting it. Hubba Hubba.

  3. Boy, do I feel dumb. I know all about transferring UR points to Ink/CSP, but until you pointed it out, I didn’t realize that the “celebrity endorsements are the worst” line was ironic. I can’t recall ever seeing Ellie Kemper’s name or image before…

  4. They didn’t create this to give CSP cardholders a better points deal. They clearly did it to compete with Capital One and Citi. I just don’t know why if they can’t differentiate it at all from what Samuel L Jackson is selling.

  5. But people who are using the card for cash back are likely to cash out right away. Those who plan to use the UR points for travel might save them up for long while, so Chase gets to use the money longer before having to pay it out.

  6. Even the CSRs don’t push miles. I’m guessing the mileage cost is more than cashback for Chase. Anyone know for sure?

    My (newest) CSP was lost in the mail so I convinced the guy to give me 1000 UR. He said “these can be redeemed at 1 cent per point. That’s 10 dollars.” I didn’t mention I already have 140,000 😉

  7. I have one of these new Freedom Unlimited cards, and I’m happy with it, but I think you’re significantly overstating the value of a UR point. If I could cash them in for 1.9 cents, I’d sell them all! In contrast, I’d probably be a buyer at 1.2 cents. I basically consider my Freedom card to be a 2% cashback card — but more fun than earning cash at that rate.

    I also don’t think it makes sense to PAY for a Sapphire card if you have a Freedom Unlimited. Indeed, I traded in my Sapphire card when the annual fee was coming due for the Freedom card. I have an Ink card that I can transfer my Freedom points to, and that accomplishes the same thing — but also gets me the valuable 5% back on office supply stores, etc. I haven’t yet had to pay an Ink annual fee, but I would certainly pay that one before I paid for Sapphire.

  8. I just wanted to make sure, to take advantage of Ultimate Rewards, is it only necessary to have one of Ink Plus or CSP active per household? Because the Ultimate Rewards are transferable between household members?

    And if you had to choose one for sign-up bonus and retention reasons, would one get the Ink Plus or the CSP if there is already a CSP active for the household and you are an AU?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *