Blue Cash Preferred® Card From American Express
vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Updated: June 24, 2024

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Both the Blue Cash Preferred® Card From American Express and the Chase Freedom Unlimited® offer lucrative cash back rewards and introductory APR periods. However, the Freedom Unlimited edges ahead with its slightly higher cash back score and no annual fee, making it a compelling choice for many. However, the Blue Cash Preferred's higher cash back rates on supermarkets and streaming services can outweigh its annual fee if these are significant categories in your budget. While both cards are excellent, your preference for avoiding annual fees or maximizing specific rewards categories will guide your decision.

Credit Card logo for Blue Cash Preferred® Card From American Express
Blue Cash Preferred® Card From American Express
Credit Card logo for Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
MoneyGeek Rating
4.2/ of 5
MoneyGeek Rating
4.2/ of 5

  • Regular APR
    19.24–29.99% variable
    20.49%–29.24% variable
    0% APR Offer
    0% on purchases for 12 months
    0% intro APR for 15 months
    Intro Offer
    Earn $250
    Earn an additional 1.5% cash back
    Rewards Summary
    Earn 1–6% cash back
    Earn 1.5% – 6.5% cash back
    Balance Transfer Offer
    0% on balance transfers for 12 months
    0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months
    Balance Transfer Fee
    Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
    Intro fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater, on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that, either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
    Annual Fee
    $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95
    $0
    Recommended Credit
    670–850 (Good to Excellent)
    670–850 (Good to Excellent)
    Penalty APR
    29.99% variable
    Up to 29.99% (variable)
    Not sure?

Which Card Is Better for You?

You might prefer the Blue Cash Preferred if you spend significantly on groceries and streaming services. With 6% cash back in these categories and 3% at gas stations and on transit, this card offers substantial rewards for everyday spending. The $250 statement credit is a lucrative introductory offer, but be mindful of the $95 annual fee after the first year.

You might prefer Freedom Unlimited if you're looking for a card with flexible rewards and no annual fee. The additional 1.5% cash back in the first year can be advantageous, especially for those who travel and dine out frequently. The longer 0% introductory APR period on purchases and balance transfers can provide valuable financial flexibility.

Head-to-Head Comparison: Card Details and Features

Evaluating APRs, fees, credit requirements, rewards, introductory offers and additional features will clarify which card aligns with your spending and financial goals. For instance, if you spend heavily at U.S. supermarkets, the Blue Cash Preferred may offer more value, whereas the Freedom Unlimited could be more rewarding for those who dine out frequently.

    discount icon

    Regular APR: Blue Cash Preferred

    The Blue Cash Preferred is the better option for regular APR, offering a lower starting APR of 19.24% than Freedom Unlimited's 20.49%.

    annualFee icon

    Annual Fee: Freedom Unlimited

    Freedom Unlimited is better for those seeking to avoid annual fees altogether, as it has no annual fee. In contrast, the Blue Cash Preferred offers a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

    lowInterestAPR icon

    Introductory 0% APRs: Freedom Unlimited

    For introductory 0% APRs, the Freedom Unlimited offers a better deal with 0% introductory APR for 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers, compared to the Blue Cash Preferred's 12 months. Both cards initially have similar balance transfer fees, but Freedom Unlimited's fee increases after 60 days.

    coins icon

    Rewards: Freedom Unlimited

    When comparing rewards, the Freedom Unlimited card edges out slightly due to its broader rewards categories, including 5% on travel purchased through Chase Travel (after the first year), 3% on dining and drugstore purchases and 1.5% on all other purchases. In contrast, the Blue Cash Preferred card offers 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%) and on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% at U.S. gas stations and on transit.

    rewards icon

    Welcome Offers: Freedom Unlimited

    The Freedom Unlimited offers a better welcome bonus, providing an additional 1.5% cash back on up to $20,000 spent in the first year, which can be worth up to $300 cash back. In contrast, the Blue Cash Preferred offers a $250 statement credit after spending $3,000 in the first six months.

    creditApproved icon

    Recommended Credit Score: Freedom Unlimited

    The Freedom Unlimited is more accessible to a broader range of credit scores.

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    Penalties and Fees: Blue Cash Preferred

    The Blue Cash Preferred edges out slightly in the penalties and fees category due to its lower foreign transaction fee of 2.7%, compared to the Freedom Unlimited's 3%. Both cards have similar late fees and APR penalties.

    points icon

    Issuer Satisfaction: Blue Cash Preferred

    The Blue Cash Preferred outperforms the Freedom Unlimited in issuer satisfaction, with a rating of 5.0 for American Express compared to 4.1 for Chase Bank.

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    Other Features & Perks: Tie

    Both cards offer unique perks. Blue Cash Preferred provides up to $120 in annual Equinox+ subscription credits and a $7 monthly credit for the Disney Bundle. Freedom Unlimited offers free access to Chase Credit Journey for credit monitoring. The best card for you depends on which perks align more closely with your lifestyle and spending habits.

Rewards Comparison

The Blue Cash Preferred offers an impressive 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%, and the same rate on select U.S. streaming subscriptions. It's tailored for those who spend heavily in these categories.

On the other hand, the Freedom Unlimited is a strong contender for dining and drugstore purchases, offering 3% cash back. Its 1.5% cash back on all other purchases also provides consistent value across the board.

While the Blue Cash Preferred has a higher expected reward value, the Freedom Unlimited may be more rewarding for those who dine out frequently or spend a lot at drugstores. Neither card restricts your rewards with a "pick your own" category, allowing you to earn cash back across all listed categories without having to choose.

The table below details bonus categories to help you compare the rewards programs of both cards at a glance.

Category
Blue Cash Preferred
Freedom Unlimited

U.S. Supermarkets

6% for the first $6,000 annually/1% thereafter

1.5%

U.S. Streaming Subscriptions

6%

1.5%

U.S. Gas Stations

3%

1.5%

Transit

3%

1.5%

Dining

1%

3%

Redeeming Rewards

With the Blue Cash Preferred, you can apply rewards directly to your statement or use them at Amazon.com checkout, ensuring your cash back is always accessible.

The Freedom Unlimited offers a broader range of options, including cash back redemption without a minimum requirement, statement credits, direct deposits and even using points for purchases on Amazon or travel bookings.

Importantly, rewards on both cards do not expire, granting you the flexibility to redeem them on your own schedule.

Methodology

In assessing the Blue Cash Preferred and Freedom Unlimited cards, MoneyGeek uses a tailored ranking process that evaluates each card across various use cases. For this comparison, the cards are scored based on their highest-scoring use case, which is cash back for both.

The most significant factors in these scores are the cash back value of the rewards program and the overall return on investment of the card's offers. To ensure transparency and provide further insight into our evaluation process, you can explore our comprehensive ranking methodology.

FAQ: Blue Cash Preferred vs. Freedom Unlimited

What are the annual fees for the Blue Cash Preferred and Freedom Unlimited?
How do the cash back rewards compare between the Blue Cash Preferred and Freedom Unlimited?
What are the introductory APR offers for each card?
Are there foreign transaction fees for either card?
What credit score is needed for the Blue Cash Preferred and Freedom Unlimited?

About Doug Milnes, CFA


Doug Milnes, CFA headshot

Doug Milnes is a CFA charter holder with over 10 years of experience in corporate finance and the Head of Credit Cards at MoneyGeek. Formerly, he performed valuations for Duff and Phelps and financial planning and analysis for various companies. His analysis has been cited by U.S. News and World Report, The Hill, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and many other outlets.

Milnes holds a master’s degree in data science from Northwestern University. He geeks out on helping people feel on top of their credit card use, from managing debt to optimizing rewards.


*Rates, fees or bonuses may vary or include specific stipulations. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting/last updated date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. We recommend visiting the card issuer’s website for the most up-to-date information available.
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