Great Opportunity for Big Spenders w/ New Chase Freedom Unlimited Sign Up Bonus for 3x 1 Yr No Cap
Updated: Oct 29
Image courtesy Chase
If you're a big spender (i.e. >$50k on general spend/yr), now's a great time to get the Chase Freedom Unlimited (CFU) IF you plan to convert all cashback to Chase Ultimate Rewards to use on transfer partners like Hyatt. You'll get a cashback match at the end of your first year, so instead of 1.5% back, you'd get 3% total. It's also unlimited, and that's only happened once that I recall, and it was brief. 3% isn't that exciting, but the ability to convert 3% to 6% (factoring in the $.02/pt TPG valuation of the cents when converted to Chase Ultimate Rewards), and get even more than 6% in redeemed value if you exceed the TPG valuation (which is pretty easy to do with partners like Hyatt) makes this offer very compelling for big spenders.
Spending Needs For This Promo to be Good? The More the Better. At Least $15k if You Already Wanted it, & At Least $50k if You didn't already want it as a keeper card or card to convert to another card (i.e. Freedom Flex)
Keep in mind that this promo isn't that compelling for those who wouldn't spend more than $50k on the card in those first 12 months (unless you already wanted the card anyway, where those spending at least $15k could benefit from it), while those spending >$100k would get the greatest benefit out of it. It's also not compelling for those looking to cash out the cashback rather than transferring it to Ultimate Rewards partners.
If you look at the historical offers chart as published by US Credit Card Guide (which doesn't include some other items when they've done similar promos), the fixed SUBs for small spending levels have been fairly low for the most part, primarily at 20k.
Image courtesy US Credit Card Guide
Get Max Value Via Conversion to Ultimate Rewards
3% unlimited cashback is nice, but there are alternative strategies to other cards where 3% unlimited cashback is an option, such as with Discover It miles cards in year 1 when redeemed for travel, Discover It Business card in year 1, Paceline Visa Signature for those who excercise over 150 minutes per week.
How to Enable Conversion to Ultimate Rewards
To convert your cashback to Ultimate Rewards, you'll need a Chase Ultimate Rewards annual fee-incurring card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Preferred, or Chase Sapphire Reserve. Even if you don't have plans in the near future for that, you might create plans in the distant future for it.
I was spending on my Citi Double Cash for years, and intentionally not cashing any points out, before I got the Citi Premier (when the SUB was 80k for the Premier, a historic high SUB) to execute the same strategy Citi style. When I was ready, I had over $1k in Citi Double Cash rewards available that could be converted at a 1:1 ratio to Citi ThankYou Rewards. That's over 100k Citi ThankYou Rewards.
What if You Just Want 3% Cashback & You're a Business Owner? There's a Better Alternative Than CFU
If you just want 3% cashback, why stop at a year? If you're in business, the Revenued Business card is an example that keeps earning 3% cashback while having a $500 sign up bonus for spending $5k in 90 days. With the SUB included, if you're just looking to get cash back and not convert that cash back to Ultimate Rewards, that's superior to the Chase Freedom Unlimited offer.
Image Courtesy Revenued
Thanks Ben Hedges
Is 3% Cashback Good In Itself Without the Ultimate Rewards Value Boost? That's Debatable.
With cards out there like the Capital One Venture X and Venture Business X, there are already cards out there that get more than 3% in value on general spending with a net positive value by holding onto the card before spending. With the Venture X & Venture Business X, a hefty annual fee is involved, but it's easy with them to get a positive net value every year before hitting any spending threshold. That's after factoring in the annual fee of $395, the travel credit of $300, and the 10k Capital One Miles you get every year, not including all the other benefits you get like Priority Pass. 10k miles is worth $185 per TPG valuations, so as long as you're getting at least that, and as long as you're using the $300 travel credit, it's net positive. It also gets 2x points on general spending, meaning 3.7 cents per dollar based on TPG valuations, with both business and personal versions.
That said, not everyone will always get 1.85 cents per dollar with their points, even though I generally don't recommend going below the TPG valuation thresholds if you can avoid it, even if that means using cash more often than you would otherwise or planning travel based on the value you can get from points.
Also, some people have a low cash budget, still want to travel, and want to use cashback from credit cards towards points purchases. For instance, if you've already spent $40k on the IHG Premier credit card or IHG Premier business card (which gets you Diamond elite status) since you plan on spending a lot of time at IHG hotels where diamond benefits can be a big deal, you'd be better off spending on general non-bonus spend with a 3% cashback card (& then purchasing points at a rate of half a cents each during promos) than you would be in spending the additional $20k to get teh 40k point night credit plus 60k points, since 100k from spend on the IHG card is less than 120k points you could purchase from the $600 cashback from a 3% cashback card.
Some people don't want to travel at all, don't want to gift travel at all, and just want the flexibility of cash.
Alternatives for 3% or close on general spending:
What if You Just Want 3% Cashback & You're Looking to Use a Personal Credit Card? There May Be Better Alternatives Than CFU
As mentioned by Ben Hedges, Paypal offers a card that earns 3% cashback on Paypal purchases, with many online merchants, as well as a smaller number of in store merchants, accepting Paypal.
Also mentioned by Ben Hedges, Fidelity clients with the Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card with over 2 million in assets in their Fidelity account can also have access to 3% cashback.
If looking for 3% cashback for just 1 year, alternatives are present like the Discover It Miles card, with 3% that isn't exactly cash, but that can be redeemed for 3% on travel without dealing with the typical complexity involved in using points for travel.
2.5%-2.625% Cashback Ongoing on General Spend w/ No Annual Fee
If not going exactly to 3%, but looking better than 2% on general spending, options include:
Alliant Visa Signature w/ $1k in Alliant account for 2.5% cashback & no annual fee
Bank of America Platinum Preferred Rewards Members (with $100k+ in their accounts, which can include Merrill Edge investment accounts) can do a bit better at 2.625% cashback with the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards card, which also has no annual fee.
2.8% on General Spending When Redeemed for Amtrak Train Travel for No Annual Fee
You get 2.81% on general spending when redeemed directly for tickets on Amtrak via spend on their no annual fee Amtrak card when you factor into the equation the 5% points rebate and the 2.67 cents in points value as a base. Values used to vary slightly for travel on Amtrak using points to book train tickets, but they appear to have changed that, so now you get the same value whether you book a $12 fare, a coach fare, a business class fare, a private room, or an Acela fare.
Wouldn't consider Amtrak?
Referral links at least from my account don't apply for this offer, but you can apply for it directly via a link I found on CNBC here.