Chase Sapphire Reserve Vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited – Forbes Advisor

The Chase Sapphire Reserve and Freedom Unlimited are two very different cards. Each one offers unique benefits targeting those who want to earn more points. To determine which card is best for you, you’ll want to compare the various card perks, welcome bonus and annual fees. Here’s how the two cards stack up against each other:


The Chase Sapphire Reserve carries a $ 550 annual fee while the Freedom Unlimited has none. That’s to be expected since the Sapphire Reserve is a premium credit card with a higher welcome bonus and travel benefits.

The Sapphire Reserve is also unique because it charges a $ 75 fee per authorized user. Most credit cards don’t charge a fee for adding another user. Even premium credit cards like the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card and the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express* allow you to add an authorized user without an additional fee.

It’s not fair to compare the two cards on fees alone. They each offer different benefits aimed at different consumers. But comparing the annual fees is a good starting point for assessing each card’s value.

Earning Points and Miles

When it comes to earning points and miles, the Sapphire Reserve wins out on several fronts. The card offers higher category bonuses on travel.

However, the Freedom Unlimited can still be an excellent option for those looking for a no-annual-fee card. It offers high rewards on everyday spending categories like restaurants and drugstores. Even the standard earn rate is higher than the Sapphire Reserve, at 1.5%.

When you have a Sapphire Reserve, you can convert your cash-back rewards on the Freedom Unlimited into Chase Ultimate Rewards® points. So instead of earning 3% cash back on all purchases during the first year, you can earn 3 Ultimate Rewards points for $ 1 spent.

Up to 10x Reward Rate

Earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travelRead More

Welcome Bonus

60,000 bonus points

Regular APR

18.49% – 25.49% Variable

Credit Score

Excellent (750 – 850)

Why We Picked It

This card offers superior points earning rates if you spend frequently on travel and dining out. The $ 300 travel credit justifies much of the annual fee, and redeeming points for travel on Chase Ultimate Rewards or when using the Pay Yourself Back feature nets you a 50% bonus.

Pros & Cons

  • $ 300 annual travel credit is incredibly flexible
  • Generous welcome bonus
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem points for travel through Chase, or for select purchases through Pay Yourself Back℠ program
  • Points transfer to valuable airline and hotel partners
  • High annual fee
  • High variable APR on purchases
  • Excellent credit recommended

Card Details

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $ 4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $ 900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $ 300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $ 300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $ 1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $ 900 toward travel
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 1: 1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass ™ Select and up to $ 100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation / Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more

Travel Benefits

The Sapphire Reserve offers much more in the way of travel benefits than the Freedom Unlimited. Besides trip cancellation and interruption coverage, the Freedom Unlimited has no travel benefits. Its primary appeal is the lack of annual fee and ongoing category bonuses.

The Sapphire Reserve is tailored to the frequent traveler, with perks like a $ 300 annual travel credit, Priority Pass membership with enrollment, trusted traveler program fee credit and primary rental car coverage, to name a few.

The Sapphire Reserve is clearly the best option if you’re looking for a card with travel benefits. But, the Freedom Unlimited is better suited to those who want to maximize their everyday spending without paying an annual fee.

Purchase Protections

The Chase Sapphire Reserve and Freedom Unlimited cards offer many of the same purchase protections. They’re nearly identical, except the Freedom Unlimited has a lower claim payout on purchase protection and no return protection.

Most consumers don’t take advantage of these benefits, so it won’t be a heavy deciding factor for everyone.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Up to 5X Reward Rate

Earn 5% on Chase travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores and 1.5% on all otherRead More

Welcome Bonus

Up to $ 300 cash back

Regular APR

16.49% – 25.24% Variable

Credit Score

Excellent, Good (700 – 749)

Why We Picked It

A good overall spending card that allows you to hold a balance on new purchases with a low introductory APR, pay no annual fee, and still earn at least 1.5% cashback on all purchases

Pros & Cons

  • Generous welcome offer
  • Unlimited 1.5% minimum earn rate for cash back rewards
  • No minimum redemption amount
  • Foreign transaction fee
  • High cash advance fee
  • Ongoing balance transfer fee is high

Card Details

  • INTRO OFFER: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $ 20,000 spent in the first year) – worth up to $ 300 cash back!
  • Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $ 20,000 spent in the first year).
  • After your first year or $ 20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most US checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49% – 25.24%.
  • No annual fee – You won’t have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Unlimited® card
  • Keep tabs on your credit health, Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, real-time alerts, and more.

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