Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Citi Double Cash: Bonus Categories Give Freedom the Edge

In the more and more crowded market of cash-back bank cards, two fashionable playing cards stand out from the pack. The Chase Freedom Unlimited® and the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT supply each supply strong cash-back earnings, and neither card prices an annual charge.

If you hardly ever eat at eating places and are searching simplicity, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT supply could be the better option.

But in the event you’re an enormous spender on eating places and may benefit from the Chase card’s different bonus-reward classes, like drugstores and Chase journey, it will likely be the higher choose — particularly within the first yr. In the top, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® presents extra probabilities for outsize rewards in classes that match the life of many individuals.

Here’s the way to determine which is best for you.

At a look

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT supply

NerdWallet score  Citi® Double Cash CardNerdWallet score 

Earn a further 1.5% money again on the whole lot you purchase (on as much as $20,000 spent within the first yr) – price as much as $300 money again!

  • 5% again on journey bought by Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

  • 3% again at eating places, together with takeout and eligible supply companies.

  • 3% again on drugstore purchases.

  • Through March 31, 2025, 5% again on qualifying Lyft companies bought by the Lyft app.

  • 1.5% again on the whole lot else.

2% money again on all purchases: 1% once you purchase, 1% once you pay it again.

0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and steadiness transfers, after which the continued APR of 15.24%-23.99% Variable APR.

0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months, after which the continued APR of 14.74%-24.74% Variable APR.

Why the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is healthier for optimizers

Sign-up bonus

In the close to time period, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® pulls forward by providing a beneficiant sign-up bonus for brand spanking new cardholders. Its supply:

Earn a further 1.5% money again on the whole lot you purchase (on as much as $20,000 spent within the first yr) – price as much as $300 money again! (NOTE: This supply is out there once you apply by NerdWallet. If you apply instantly with Chase or by a distinct web site, you might not be eligible for this supply.)

By comparability, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT supply presents no sign-up bonus.

That makes the Chase Freedom Unlimited® a extra invaluable card within the first yr of card possession for almost everybody.

Bonus classes …

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® presents a number of bonus classes:

  • 5% again on journey bought by Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

  • 3% again at eating places, together with takeout and eligible supply companies.

  • 3% again on drugstore purchases.

  • Through March 31, 2025, 5% again on qualifying Lyft companies bought by the Lyft app.

Bonus classes are tough. They’re very invaluable in the event you spend some huge cash at these locations, however nugatory in the event you don’t. The eating places class is a extremely helpful one for most individuals and actually boosts the cardboard’s general worth.

… Plus a strong fastened fee for ‘the whole lot else’

Lots of spending doesn’t match neatly into bonus-rewards classes, like eating places or drugstores. On different playing cards that function bonus classes, that “everything else” spending usually earns 1% again.

But the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is unusually good as a result of it presents 1.5% again on the whole lot else.

So which means you’re incomes 50% greater than normal whereas spending at such locations as physician places of work, health golf equipment and routine month-to-month payments that settle for bank cards.

When it involves rewards, it boils down as to whether the three% and 5% bonus classes on the Chase Freedom Unlimited® will make up for the distinction between that card’s 1.5% base earnings fee and the two% base earnings fee on the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT supply. Use our calculator to estimate your rewards in a typical yr.

A 0% intro APR on purchases

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® presents a no-interest promotion for brand spanking new cardholders: 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and steadiness transfers, after which the continued APR of 15.24%-23.99% Variable APR.

On the opposite hand, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT supply would not supply a 0% APR on new purchases. If you are seeking to make a big buy and wish some respiration room to pay it off over time, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is the cardboard you need.

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT supply does have a particular intro supply for steadiness transfers: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months, after which the continued APR of 14.74%-24.74% Variable APR. But the Chase Freedom Unlimited® does, too.

Nerdy tip: If you’ll use the APR balance-transfer supply, having a proposal on purchases too is necessary due to one issue: grace interval. After you switch a steadiness to the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT supply, purchases you cost to the cardboard will start accruing curiosity instantly. You received’t have a bank card grace interval, even in the event you repay your new purchases in full. You solely get the grace interval again in the event you additionally utterly repay the balance-transfer quantity. That’s why many different playing cards, together with the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, function an intro APR supply, usually for a similar variety of months, for each steadiness transfers and purchases.

Flexibility of rewards

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is taken into account a cash-back card, however technically it earns Chase Ultimate Rewards® factors. That’s important if you wish to use a method to earn these factors and switch them to a different Chase bank card that can provide you larger worth.

When paired with a premium card just like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, factors might be redeemed for 1.25 cents every in the direction of journey, in contrast with 1 cent apiece for a money redemption. A card-pairing technique like this, known as the “Chase trifecta,” additionally unlocks the flexibility to switch Ultimate Rewards® to journey companions like United, Southwest, Marriott, Hyatt, IHG and JetBlue.

To be truthful, Citi has its personal model of the technique, the “Citi trifecta.” Pairing the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT supply with a premium card just like the Citi Premier® Card additionally offers the flexibility to switch to journey companions, however Citi companions with fewer lodge teams (Choice and Wyndham) and just one home airline (JetBlue).

Nerdy tip: Technically, rewards earned on the Citi® Double Cash Card seem in a cardholder’s account as Citi ThankYou factors, however that won’t have an effect on your skill to earn or redeem money again. You’ll earn 1 level per $1 spent and 1 level per $1 paid off. Points are price 1 cent apiece when redeemed for money again, that means you will nonetheless get 2% money again on purchases. See right here for extra data.

Who would possibly want the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT supply

People who need low upkeep

If you favor bank cards which are simply straightforward, then the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT supply might be the higher match.

It presents a cumulative 2% money again on all purchases (1% once you make the acquisition and 1% once you pay it off). That’s excessive for a flat-rate card, and it means you don’t have to fret about the place you’re making purchases. You earn the identical rewards it doesn’t matter what you’re shopping for.

By distinction, the “everything else” class on the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is 1.5%. (But it’s important to additionally take into account its sign-up bonus and bonus-rewards classes.)

Those searching for a protracted intro balance-transfer interval

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT supply may very well be a barely higher device for serving to to delay funds on current debt.

Again, it presents a 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months, after which the continued APR of 14.74%-24.74% Variable APR. That’s among the many lengthiest balance-transfer presents available on the market.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® presents a shorter 0% promotional APR window on steadiness transfers (though it has the benefit of the promotional APR on new purchases talked about beforehand).

Which card must you get?

For easy money again, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT supply is among the many finest playing cards to contemplate.

But you might in all probability wring extra cash-back {dollars} from the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, particularly in the event you dine out so much and may use its different bonus classes. When you add within the new cardholder bonus, it is a clear selection for many cardholders.