Chase Freedom Unlimited® vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Two of Chase’s most popular credit cards are the Chase Freedom Unlimited® and the  Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Both offer a first-year bonus, great rewards, and travel benefits. Either one can be an excellent choice, but together, they also make a great pair.

Chase Freedom Unlimited® vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Side-By-Side Comparison

Chase Freedom Unlimited
Chase Sapphire Preferred

Our Rating

4.9
★★★★
4.9
★★★★

Welcome Offer

Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year)

Earn 75,000 bonus points

Rewards

1.5% - 5%

1x - 5x points

Annual Fee

$0

$95

Regular APR

20.49% - 29.24%

21.49%-28.49%

0% APR on Purchases

15 months

N/A

0% APR on Balance Transfers

15 months

N/A

Freedom Unlimited

Sapphire Preferred

Welcome Offer Winner: Freedom Unlimited

Chase Freedom Unlimited®: Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back. That's 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's over $900 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Percentage-wise, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® offers a bonus that’s about 40% of the spend required. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card bonus is worth more, but you have to spend a lot more to get it. We give the Chase Freedom Unlimited® the win.

Rewards Winner: It’s a Tie

With the Chase Freedom Unlimited® you’ll earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining, and 1.5% on everything else. Plus, you’ll an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy in your first year with the welcome bonus.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card rewards you with points instead of cash back. You’ll earn 5x on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x on dining, and 2x on all other travel purchases. Also, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card gives you 25% more value for your points when you redeem them through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

Since the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a travel rewards card, you also get some other travel benefits, such as trip cancellation/interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, and trip delay reimbursement.

One card isn’t really better than the other. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a better choice if you’re after travel rewards and the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a cash back credit card that rewards you for travel, but you also get cash back on dining and drugstore purchases.

Chase Freedom Unlimited® Rewards

1.5% cash back
On all other eligible purchases
Earn 1.5% cash back on all other purchases
3% cash back
Drugstores
Earn 3% on drugstore purchases
3% cash back
Dining
Earn 3% cash back on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services
5% cash back
Travel
5% cash back on all travel purchased through Chase Travel(SM)

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Rewards

1x points
On all other eligible purchases
1x points on all other purchases
2x points
Travel
2x points on all other travel purchases
3x points
U.S. supermarkets
Earn 3x points on online groceries (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
3x points
Streaming services
Earn 3x points on select streaming services
3x points
Dining
3x points on dining
5x points
Travel
5x points on travel purchased through Chase Travel(SM)

Interest Rates Winner: Freedom Unlimited

The Freedom Unlimited has the 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, which is great if you’re financing a major purchase or transferring a balance. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is not offering a 0% APR promotion at this time. The regular interest rates are pretty similar, so we give the win to the Freedom Unlimited.

Freedom Unlimited

Sapphire Preferred

Annual Fee

$0

$95

Foreign Transaction Fee

3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

$0

Regular APR

20.49% – 29.24%

21.49%-28.49%

Fee Winner: Freedom Unlimited

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® has an annual fee of $0, whereas the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has an annual fee of $95, which isn’t bad at all considering all the rewards and benefits you get. Since it’s a travel card, there are no foreign transaction fees, so feel free to take it along with you on your safari to South Africa. It’s tough to call it one way or the other. If you don’t plan to travel internationally, it’s an easy win for Freedom Unlimited.

Features and Benefits: Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has a lot of travel benefits, considering it’s a travel credit card. You’ll also get a $50 hotel credit and a 10% points boost every year on your account anniversary.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® actually has more travel benefits than you might think, but we give the win to the Sapphire Preferred.

Freedom Unlimited

SecurityCredit Score Monitoring, EMV Chip Enabled, Fraud Monitoring, Zero Liability, Identity theft protection
Contactless PaymentsTap to Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay
BenefitsExtended Warranty Coverage, Purchase Protection, Free credit score access
Travel PerksAuto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Emergency Travel Assistance, Trip Delay Reimbursement, Trip Cancellation Insurance

Sapphire Preferred

SecurityEMV Chip Enabled, Fraud Monitoring, Zero Liability
Contactless PaymentsTap to Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay
BenefitsExtended Warranty Coverage, Purchase Protection
Travel PerksAuto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Emergency Travel Assistance, Luggage Protection, Trip Delay Reimbursement, Travel Accident Insurance, Trip Cancellation Insurance

Who the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is Best For

Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a great card for those who don’t want to pay an annual fee and want some cash back rewards. You also get that 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, which is great if you’re planning a major purchase or want to transfer other debt. 1.5% cash back on purchases that fall into the “other purchases” category is a step up from most other cards that only pay 1%. If you don’t travel a ton, this card is a fantastic choice.

Who the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is Best For

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a great option for those who want an excellent travel rewards card. You that 25% bonus value for your points when you purchase travel through Chase, and if you transfer them to Chase’s travel partners, your points can be worth even more. You get some valuable travel perks and there are no foreign transaction fees to slow you down. There is an annual fee, but it’s a fairly low fee, and the welcome bonus more than makes up for it.

Does it make sense to get both cards?

Yes, these cards complement each other very well. You can transfer the points you earn from the Chase Freedom Unlimited® to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to get the boost in travel points. Or, transfer points to Chase’s travel partners to possibly reap more value.

You can get excellent cash back rewards on almost all of your everyday purchases between both credit cards. Gas is the only category that neither card offers elevated rewards for. However, you can get 3% on gasoline purchases on your Chase Freedom Unlimited card during your first year since it falls under the “other purchases” category. After that, you can still get 1.5% cash back on those purchases which is still better than the 1% cash back that other cards offer for the “other purchases” category.

There is a caveat, though. Chase has an unwritten rule called the 5/24 rule. This means they won’t (generally) approve anyone for a credit card if you’ve opened five accounts or more within the past 24 months–any credit card, not just Chase cards. So, if you’ve opened four accounts in the last 24 months, you’ll need to think carefully about which card to apply for first. Then you might need to wait until you’re under the 5/24 guideline to get the other card.

Approval Odds

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved03/20/2023
785
Experian
$5,000
Approved07/18/2023
765
Experian
$12,500
Approved07/18/2023
773
TransUnion
$12,500
Approved07/18/2023
785
Equifax
$12,500
Approved09/06/2023
754
Experian
$9,000
Approved09/08/2023
740
Equifax
$15,000
Denied09/05/2023
738
Experian
---
Denied09/05/2023
740
Equifax
---
Denied09/05/2023
750
TransUnion
---

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved08/03/2023
872
Not Provided
$19,500
Approved04/19/2023
737
Equifax
$16,000
Approved04/19/2023
747
Experian
$16,000
Approved04/19/2023
747
TransUnion
$16,000
Approved11/11/2023
800
Not Provided
$16,800
Approved04/18/2023
790
Experian
$17,300
Approved05/21/2023
703
Experian
$17,300
Approved04/04/2023
735
Equifax
$17,300
Approved04/04/2023
825
Experian
$17,300
Approved07/06/2023
735
Experian
$5,000
Approved07/06/2023
745
Equifax
$5,000
Approved07/06/2023
755
TransUnion
$5,000
Approved10/19/2023
720
Not Provided
$19,500
Approved06/14/2023
759
Experian
$6,000
Approved04/06/2023
897
Not Provided
$23,800
Approved04/14/2023
765
Experian
$7,200
Approved04/14/2023
777
Equifax
$7,200
Approved04/14/2023
777
TransUnion
$7,200
Approved10/23/2023
745
TransUnion
$5,000
Approved10/03/2023
761
Equifax
$18,000
Approved10/03/2023
767
Experian
$18,000
Approved10/03/2023
774
TransUnion
$18,000

Given that both cards are issued by the same lender, you’ll need excellent credit to be approved for either card. Credit score data is pretty similar, just keep the 5/24 rule in mind, and you’ll be good to go.

Bottom Line

Both the Freedom Unlimited and the Sapphire Preferred offer excellent value. The Sapphire card is a mid-tier travel rewards card, whereas the Unlimited is more of a daily driver. But both are great options.