Chase Sapphire Preferred Card vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited: Which Is Best for You?

If you’re a traveler looking for a credit card that will help you earn attractive cash back or travel rewards, you may find the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Freedom Unlimited an excellent option.

MoneyGeek assessed the differences between these two Chase credit cards to help you determine the best option for you.

Advertising & Editorial DisclosureLast Updated: 3/30/2022
Reviewed By     |  
VS
Last Updated: 3/30/2022

Chase has multiple cards that allow you to earn rewards from your purchases. Two of those options are the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom Unlimited. The Sapphire Preferred is a travel rewards card with a $95 annual fee, whereas the Freedom Unlimited is a cash back rewards card with no annual fee.

Comparing the fees, rewards and features of these cards can help you determine the best option for your situation. For instance, if you anticipate making international trips, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card may be more suitable since it charges no foreign transaction fees despite having an annual fee. On the other hand, Chase Freedom Unlimited charges a 3% fee on each transaction made abroad.

Comparison Overview: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
    Chase Freedom Unlimited
  • Has Annual Fee
    This is an icon
  • Has Balance Transfer Offer
  • Has APR Offer
    This is an icon
  • Cash Back Rewards
    This is an icon
  • Travel Rewards
    This is an icon

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card At a Glance

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is an excellent rewards card that charges zero foreign transaction fees. Using the card earns you Chase Ultimate Rewards points which are redeemable for gift cards, travel or cash back. With a welcome bonus of 60,000 points and comprehensive travel coverage, frequent travelers may find this card valuable despite its annual fee of $95.


  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

    A very good rewards card with no foreign transaction fees and comprehensive travel cover


    • ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $95Annual Fee
    • 1–2 Points per $1Rewards Rate
    • 2xRewards Rate on Air Travel
    • 2xRewards Rate on Dining

    Terms, rates and fees apply

    Compare this credit card with other cards with lower interest rates.

Chase Freedom Unlimited At a Glance

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card offers unlimited cash back rewards (between 1.5% and 5%) on eligible purchases. The card also features an intro 0% APR on purchases made within the first 15 months, relieving you of any interest you would have to pay. Cardholders also receive complimentary purchase and travel protection.


  • Chase Freedom Unlimited

    An excellent no-annual-fee card that lets you earn unlimited cash back


    • ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $0Annual Fee
    • 1.5–5% Cash BackRewards Rate
    • 3xRewards Rate on Dining
    • 5xRewards Rate on Air Travel

    Terms, rates and fees apply

    Compare this credit card with other cards with lower interest rates.

Comparison Summary

MoneyGeek compares the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom Unlimited features, costs and rewards to help you choose the better cash back card for you.

  • Card Detail
    Comparison Summary
  • Annual Fee

    Chase Freedom Unlimited cardholders do not pay any annual fee.

    Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders pay a $95 annual fee.

    Winner: Chase Freedom Unlimited

  • Welcome Bonus

    A welcome bonus allows you to earn higher rewards within the first few months of opening an account.

    The Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers 60,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 on purchases within three months of getting the card. That amounts to $750 in value if redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

    With the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, you will earn a $200 bonus if you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months.

    Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred

  • APR Offers

    Both cards charge variable APRs depending on your creditworthiness.

    If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you will pay an APR between 15.99% and 22.99%.

    Chase Freedom Unlimited has a rate between 14.99% and 23.74%. However, you will receive an intro $0 APR offer for the first 15 months.

    Winner: Chase Freedom Unlimited

  • Foreign Transaction Fees

    If you’re an international traveler, you can save on purchase costs if your card doesn’t include foreign transaction fees.

    Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders don’t pay any fees on international transactions. However, if you have the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, you will pay 3% on all transactions outside the U.S.

    Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred

  • Rewards

    Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders receive travel rewards such as 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3X points on dining and 2X points on other travel purchases.

    Meanwhile, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card offers several cash back rewards. These include 5% on travel purchases via Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% at drugstores and dining plus 1.5% on other purchases.

    Winner: Chase Freedom Unlimited

Which Card Should You Get?

When comparing the features of Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited, you should consider your needs before deciding which card is best for you. The better option will vary from person to person.

Who Should Consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card?

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is ideal for individuals who want generous travel rewards redeemable for free travel. The card has a $95 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. Cardholders can earn significant points by completing purchases via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

  • This is an icon

    Frequent travelers who would benefit from the card’s extensive travel rewards program.

  • This is an icon

    Credit card users who want to break up payments on big purchases into monthly installments without incurring interest fees.

  • This is an icon

Who Should Consider the Chase Freedom Unlimited?

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card is best suited for those who prefer cash back rewards and no annual fee. The card offers 5% cash back on travel purchases made via Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases and 1.5% on all other purchases.

  • This is an icon

    Reward strategists will appreciate the card’s simple rewards program that offers ample cash back on most purchases.

  • This is an icon

    Consumers who want a card with no annual fees and an attractive welcome offer.

  • This is an icon
tip icon
EXPERT OPINION

This comparison is similar to comparing apples and oranges as each of these cards serve extremely different purposes. However, the average consumer will be able to earn more value from the Chase Sapphire Preferred. But if earning travel rewards isn’t what you’re aiming for, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is a solid option to help you save on your daily purchases.

Other Helpful Decision-Making FAQs

Selecting between a credit card that offers travel rewards and another that offers cash back rewards can be tricky. MoneyGeek responds to some of the most-asked questions to help you decide between Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom Unlimited.

Still Not Sure About These Cards? Consider These Options

The Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom Unlimited are both good cards for consumers looking to earn either travel or cash back rewards. If you want to compare more cards with higher rewards and bonus opportunities, consider applying for a rewards credit card.

Learn more about credit cards in general

sources
*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.
Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses and recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity.
Advertiser Disclosure: MoneyGeek has partnered with CardRatings.com and CreditCards.com for our coverage of credit card products. MoneyGeek, CardRatings and CreditCards.com may receive a commission from card issuers. To ensure thorough comparisons and reviews, MoneyGeek features products from both paid partners and unaffiliated card issuers that are not paid partners.