Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited®

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ByDoug Milnes, CFA
Reviewed byBrett Holzhauer
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ByDoug Milnes, CFA
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Reviewed byBrett Holzhauer
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Updated: May 3, 2024

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Chase has multiple cards that allow you to earn rewards from your purchases. Two of those options are the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card 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
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  • Has Balance Transfer Offer
  • Has APR Offer
  • Cash Back Rewards
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  • Travel Rewards
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Chase Sapphire Preferred Card At a Glance

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card 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 75,000 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


    • 1–5 Points per $1Rewards Rate
    • 21.49%–28.49% VariableAPR
    • $95Annual Fee
    • 670–850 (Good to Excellent)Recommended Credit

    Pros

    • Generous new cardholder bonus
    • High rewards on travel and dining
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • With travel insurance and benefits
    • Flexible rewards redemption options

    Cons

    • With annual fee applies
    • High credit requirement
    • Rewards program can be complex
    • Potentially high APR
    • 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℠.
    • Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more.
    • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Travel℠. For example, 75,000 points are worth $937.50 toward travel.
    • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
    • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
    • Member FDIC


    Moneygeek.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
    Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

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


    • 1.5%–6.5% Cash BackRewards Rate
    • 20.49%–29.24% VariableAPR
    • $0Annual Fee
    • ExcellentRecommended Credit

    Pros

    • No annual fee
    • Offers 0% intro APR and welcome bonus
    • Potentially high cash back for certain categories
    • Cash back doesn’t expire and is redeemable at any amount

    Cons

    • Recommended score needed: Good to Excellent credit
    • 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 Travel, 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 travel purchased through Chase Travel, 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 U.S. 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 20.49% - 29.24%.
    • 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, alerts, and more.
    • Member FDIC
    Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Comparison Summary

MoneyGeek compares the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card 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 75,000 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, 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!

Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

APR Offers

Both cards charge variable APRs depending on your creditworthiness.

If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you will pay an APR between 21.49% and 28.49%.

Chase Freedom Unlimited has a rate between 20.49% and 29.24%. 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 Card

Rewards

Chase Sapphire Preferred Cardholders receive travel rewards such as 5X points on Chase Travel℠ (excluding hotel purchases that qualify for the $50 Anniversary Hotel Credit), 3X points at restaurants, select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs), 2X points on all other travel purchases and 1X points on general purchases.

Meanwhile, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card offers several cash back rewards. These include 5% cash back on Lyft purchases (through March 2025), 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on dining, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

Winner: Chase Freedom Unlimited

Which Card Should You Get?

When comparing the features of Chase Sapphire Preferred Card 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 Card 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 Travel℠.

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

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

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 Lyft purchases (through March 2025), 3X points at restaurants, select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs), 2X points on all other travel purchases and 1X points on general purchases.

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

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

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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 Card. 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 Card and Chase Freedom Unlimited®.

Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card better than the Chase Freedom Unlimited®?
Can you get the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card if you have the Chase Freedom Unlimited®?
Can you transfer points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card to the Chase Freedom Unlimited®?
Can you switch from the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card to the Chase Freedom Unlimited®?
What’s harder to get, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Chase Freedom Unlimited®?
How much do you have to spend for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card vs. the Chase Freedom Unlimited® to get the welcome bonus?

Still Not Sure About These Cards? Consider These Options

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card 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.

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.


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*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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