Chase offers two popular choices in the world of rewards credit cards – the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. Both cards offer enticing benefits, but they cater to different spending habits and financial goals.
In this side-by-side comparison, we will delve into the key features, rewards structures, fees, and perks of these two credit cards to help you make an informed decision.
When comparing the cards, we can see that if you prioritize simplicity and cashback, the Freedom Unlimited may be the better choice.
But if you travel frequently and want access to premium travel perks and transferable points, the Sapphire Preferred's benefits may outweigh its annual fee. Ultimately, the right card depends on your spending habits and preferences.
Chase Unlimited vs. Preferred Card: Compare Rewards
When comparing credit card rewards, the significant advantage of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the high ratio of U.S. Supermarkets and travel purchases.
However, the Freedom Unlimited card offers high cashback on travel purchases and overall, presents a great cashback rate compared to other travel cards with no annual fee.
Spend Per Category
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
$15,000 – U.S Supermarkets
$5,000 – Restaurants
$4,000 – Airline
$3,000 – Hotels
$4,000 – Gas
Estimated Redemption Value
1 point ~ 1 – 1.5 cent
Estimated Annual Value
$990 – $1,565
Which Benefits You'll Get On Both Cards
Both the Unlimited and the Chase Preferred card offer the following benefits:
Instacart+ Benefit: Both cards provide a complimentary 3-month Instacart+ membership, offering unlimited deliveries with $0 delivery fees and reduced service fees on eligible orders.
5% Cash Back/5x Points on Lyft Rides: Both cards offer enhanced rewards for Lyft rides through March 31, 2025, giving you 5% cash back or 5x points on these purchases.
Purchase Protection: Both cards offer purchase protection, covering your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft, up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.
Extended Warranty Protection: Both cards extend the time period of the U.S. manufacturer's warranty by an additional year on eligible warranties of three years or less.
Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver: Both cards offer coverage for theft and collision damage when you decline the rental company's insurance and charge the entire rental cost to your card, applicable to most cars in the U.S. and abroad.
Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance: Both cards provide reimbursement for pre-paid, non-refundable passenger fares up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip if your trip is canceled or interrupted due to covered situations.
My Chase Plan: Both cards offer the option to use My Chase Plan, allowing you to pay off eligible purchases of $100 or more in equal monthly payments with no interest, just a fixed monthly fee.
These benefits add significant value to both cards, making them appealing options for various cardholders.
Exclusive Benefits Of The Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers several unique benefits:
Anniversary Statement Credit: Each year on your card anniversary, you can earn up to $50 in statement credits for hotel stays booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
Travel Bonus: When you redeem reward points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, you receive a 25% bonus, boosting the value of your points.
Anniversary Bonus: Chase provides a 10% bonus on your total purchases from the previous year as an anniversary gift. For instance, if you earned 20,000 points in the first year, you'll receive a 2,000-point bonus in the second year.
Baggage Delay Coverage: If your baggage is delayed, you can be reimbursed up to $100 per day for up to five days when you've paid for your common carrier fare with your card. Additionally, you can claim up to $500 per ticket if your common carrier travel is delayed by more than 12 hours.
No Foreign Transaction Fees: The card does not charge foreign transaction fees, making it an ideal choice for international travelers.
Transfer to Frequent Travel Programs: You can transfer your points to leading frequent travel programs at a 1:1 value, enhancing your ability to leverage travel rewards.
Airline Travel Partners: The card offers access to a range of airline travel partners, allowing you to transfer points to programs such as Aer Lingus AerClub, British Airways Executive Club, and more.
Peloton Bonus: You can earn 5x total points on Peloton equipment and accessory purchases over $150, with a maximum earn of 25,000 total points until March 31, 2025.
When You Might Prefer The Chase Sapphire Preferred?
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card may be a more suitable choice than the Chase Freedom Unlimited card in several scenarios:
- Frequent Traveler: If you travel frequently, especially internationally, the Sapphire Preferred offers valuable travel benefits such as no foreign transaction fees, travel insurance, and the ability to transfer points to airline and hotel partners. These perks can enhance your travel experience and save you money.
- Transferable Points: With the Sapphire Preferred, you can transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio to various airline and hotel loyalty programs. This flexibility allows you to maximize the value of your points and potentially unlock premium travel experiences.
- Travel Redemption Bonus: When you redeem your points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, you receive a 25% bonus, increasing the value of your points. This makes your points more valuable for booking flights, hotels, and other travel expenses.
When You Might Prefer the Chase Unlimited Card?
The Chase Freedom Unlimited card may be a better choice over the Chase Sapphire Preferred card in certain situations:
- Simplicity and Cash Back Focus: If you prefer a straightforward rewards program with cash back, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is a better option. It offers a flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases and higher cashback for specific categories.
- No Annual Fee: The Freedom Unlimited card has no annual fee, making it a cost-effective choice for those who want to earn rewards without the commitment of an annual fee.
- You Need 0% Intro APR: The Autograph card offers 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers , then 20.24%–28.99% variable APR.
In summary, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is an ideal option for those who prioritize travel rewards, premium benefits, and the flexibility to transfer points to loyalty programs. If you're a frequent traveler or looking for a card with no annual fee, it may be the better fit compared to the Chase Freedom Unlimited.
Compare The Alternatives
If you're looking for a travel rewards credit card– there are some alternatives you may want to consider:
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card
1.5X 1.5 points for every $1 you spend on all purchases everywhere, every time and no expiration on points
2X 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, plus 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
1X – 3X 3X points on restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, popular streaming services, and phone plans. Also, earn 1X points on other purchases
25,000 points 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening – which can be redeemed for a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
20,000 Points 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months
Foreign Transaction Fee
18.24% – 28.24% Variable APR will apply. A 3% fee (min $0) applies to all balance transfers
19.99% – 29.99% (Variable)
20.24% – 29.99% variable