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A sign there might be 2 Chase Freedom options and 5% will still be available?

by on Sun February 28, 2016 • 2 Comments
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Update: Chase has confirmed there will be two Chase Freedom branded cards available. Starting in April, the Chase Freedom Unlimited will launch, with unlimited 1.5% cash back in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards points. That card will be in addition to the existing Chase Freedom which will still offer up to 5% cash back from spending in bonus categories each quarter, also in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards points. If you hold an eligible Chase Ultimate Rewards card like a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you can combine your points with those from the Freedom to take advantage of point transfers to participating frequent travel partners. 

There is speculation on blogs that Chase is launching a new card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited, which is rumored to offer 1.5x unlimited cash back on all purchases, with no option to earn 5% in rotating categories. And that’s causing some to speculate the existing Chase Freedom structure, with 5% cash back in up to $1,500 in spending in rotating bonus categories each quarter, and 1% unlimited cash back on everything else may be going away.

Here’s the rub…

The evidence to date points to Chase possibly offering two separate Freedom branded card products at the same time, which could be very positive.

  • One, the existing Chase Freedom with the opt-in quarterly 5% rewards structure you are familiar with today.
  • Two, the rumored Chase Freedom Unlimited, a new option for unlimited 1.5% rewards for those who don’t want to deal with rotating categories.

At last week’s JP Morgan Chase Investor Day, the company highlighted the Chase Freedom as a ‘leading cash back portfolio,’ with the word portfolio implying to us there are multiple cash back product options.

There was no reference during the presentation of any imminent changes to the Freedom.

chaseinvestorday

Chase has not yet officially commented on this, but some call center representatives, which can be unreliable about yet to be announced changes, seem familiar with the Freedom Unlimited and believe that both products will be an option going forward, which would be great news if true. That would offer some real choice, especially if you hold a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and use a Freedom to build your Ultimate Rewards balance.

There is no confirmation of whether points earned from the Freedom Unlimited will be combinable with Ultimate Rewards points, but we haven’t yet seen evidence they won’t.

In the presentation above, Ultimate Rewards is referred to in the context of all Chase branded rewards products, which is a positive sign. Amex has a no annual fee card, the Amex Everyday that earns points more quickly than some of its annual fee based products while still offering the same rewards flexibility, so this wouldn’t be unprecedented.

Chase launched the current form of the Freedom almost 6 years ago, with the popular 5% cash back in rotating bonus categories.

Adding the Freedom Unlimited as an option could help serve people who find the rotating categories confusing, and better compete with the segment of people who opt for cards like the Capital One Quicksilver.

The grand prize would be if the Freedom Unlimited and traditional Freedom can be held at the same time, so you could have a trifecta of Ultimate Rewards along with the Sapphire Preferred, but we’re not banking on that kind of generosity just yet.

Barclaycard recently launched its own 1.5% cash back card, the Cash Forward, and Capital One has long had a popular 1.5% Quicksilver product, while Citi has aggressively promoted its Double Cash card, so the Freedom Unlimited could give Chase more opportunity to participate in a broader space, while giving a less confusing option for people who like to set it and forget it.

There’s been a lot of negative news for rewards enthusiasts lately, so it’s natural to think first of only the downside, but it’s possible this could end up being a very nice change that makes Ultimate Rewards even more competitive as the go-to place for your everyday spending.

 

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2 thoughts on A sign there might be 2 Chase Freedom options and 5% will still be available?

  1. Joe

    Thanks for the information. I know it’s a little unrelated, but have you received any clarification about when the 5/24 application rule will take effect for Chase co-branded cards? I’ve read conflicting reports (April vs May 24th).

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Joe – The 24 as we understand it refers to a 24 month window of credit history, not the date the 24th of the month. Of course, with credit policy, the bank can choose to implement or rescind it anytime.

      Reply

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