Chase ends ability to double up Sapphire Reserve and Sapphire Preferred bonuses

Doctor of Credit has published a memo that Chase sent out to their employees which stated that, as of yesterday, customers can no longer sign up for a second Sapphire card.  Previously it was possible to sign up for both the Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve cards in order to get both signup bonuses.

With the new rules, if you already have multiple Sapphire cards, you can keep them.  But if you have one Sapphire, Sapphire Preferred, or Sapphire Reserve card, then you can’t get another.  That alone isn’t a big deal.  The problem is for those hoping to get a signup bonus for the Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve when the got the bonus for the other card within the past 24 months…

The last bullet in the memo is the killer.  It says “If an account is closed, a customer will not be eligible for any Sapphire-branded credit card if they have earned a cardmember bonus on a Sapphire-branded product within the past 24 months.”

A possible loophole?

Let’s say you signed up for the Sapphire Reserve last year and were hoping to soon sign up for the Sapphire Preferred to get a second signup bonus.  You would now have to close or product change the Sapphire Reserve before applying for the Sapphire Preferred.  The last bullet in the memo says you can’t get the Preferred if your account is closed (since you got the bonus within the past 24 months), but it is mum about product changes.  Usually product changes are not treated as closed accounts.

So, it may be possible to product change your Sapphire Reserve to a Freedom card (you probably have to change it first to a no-fee Sapphire and then to Freedom), and then apply for the Sapphire Preferred.  I seriously doubt that would work, but at least the memo doesn’t appear to explicitly disallow it.

To get a second bonus, your best bet is to wait until 24 months have passed after the last bonus, then cancel or product change your Sapphire to a Freedom card.  Then apply for your new Sapphire card.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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  1. Plenty of us would upgrade to a Reserve, but would like to see even a modest bonus (e.g 15,000 miles). See whether Chase can show a little love.

  2. This is a bit wack…I got my CSP one month before rumors of the CSR surfaced. I was waiting until Jan 2018 to apply for CSR( due to 5/24)…now looks like I’ll have to wait until like Oct. 2018.

  3. I applied and was approved for CSP yesterday. I saw this, checked reddit, DOC and gave it a shot and was approved today for CSR. Both automatic approval online. I hadn’t applied for any personal card in 1.5 years, FICO ~800. I had 3 open chase cards prior to these.

      • If you have to cancel or change a Sapphire before applying for another one, you will end up with no Sapphire for a period of time. Does it mean you will lose all your ultimate rewards points in between? In other words, do you have to transfer/use all your points before you cancel the card?

        • Probably, or transfer to spouse if they don’t change that! Just one of us planned on having a Sapphire card at all times, but even that may not work anymore if they change the transfer options.

        • I’m sure you could switch to a card, just not get the bonus and still retain points. That’s be pretty shi**y of them to nick your points b/c of their rules of 5/24 and can have same card….

          OR

          Are you screwed if you’re above 5/24, but don’t want to pay the fee on the CSR? or else lose your points?? Screams of not being customer friendly at all, if that’s the case.

        • Ultimate Rewards points are accrued with Freedom and Freedom Unlimited. You product change to one of those and points stay alive. Generally have to product change to regular Sapphire first.

      • Correct, I have not earned any type of sapphire bonus since January 2014.

        That sounds like a reasonable explanation… neither card has likely shipped and are not activated. I also refrained from calling to expedite either card to prevent a real person from reviewing everything and potentially canceling one.

        I’m not 100% convinced yet that it’ll work out, but we’ll see.

        • Jack, I’m interested in applying for both within minutes. Please let us know if you get both bonuses. Thanks.

  4. I was about to downgrade my CSP(had it for years and this will be my first PC) by the end of this month to CF and wait a month or two to apply for CSP again. Does this mean my situation fall under the newly change policy and need to wait for god-awful 24 months??

    • No, not at all. Since you’ve had your Sapphire Preferred for years that means that it has been more than 24 months since you received a welcome bonus. You’re good to go with the plan you stated, but you don’t need to wait after downgrading. Once you’ve downgraded you can apply right away for a new Sapphire Preferred or a Sapphire Reserve.

      After you apply for one of those cards, though, then yes you would have to wait 24 months from the time you get the bonus. See Jack’s comment, above, though. You may be able to sign up for both the CSP and CSR on the same day (or within a few days) and get both bonuses

  5. I got CSP a couple years ago and just upgraded it to CSR last week. My hope was to downgrade it sometime in the future and then apply for CSR with a bonus when I’m below 5/24. So is that plan now toast?

  6. I don’t need a CSP or CSR at the moment because I have less than 10k UR. Anyone know if product changing is the same as canceling with regards to annual fee refund if done within 30 days after annual fee posted? I need my CSP for the travel benefits until after my flight in mid-January and annual fee is due in mid-January. Planning to downgrade it after that.

  7. Hi Greg:
    I got SP in June 2015 and the bonus August 2015. I applied for and got SR in Oct 2016. I transferred all my SP UR’s to my SR. account almost immediately and called chase to cancel SP in Nov 2016. They persuaded me to downgrade to FU which I did. My plan was to reapply for SP this October, transfer my UR points back to the SP account and cancel SR this Nov but that won’t work now. I have a bunch of UR points in SR which I don’t want to lose or use just yet. Can I transfer them to FU for now, cancel SR as planned, apply for SP, get the bonus and then transfer the UR points from FU to SP?

    • I downgraded my Preferred (received bonus 3 years ago) to the Freedom Unlimited. Applied for the Reserve a few days later. Received a letter in the mail declining my application as I “already have a sapphire-branded product” (even though I technically don’t, and my Chase account reflects that). I spoke with the reconsideration line today, they stated I could not have the Reserve, apparently ever. I feel like he didn’t have a good grasp on what was up, and spoke with someone else who reiterated that. Makes no sense.

      • Any update to this? Am interested in doing this exact thing (product change CSP to FU, then apply for CSR).

        Should I straight out cancel the CSP instead?

      • i did the exact same thing and had the exact same notice sent to me. spoke to several different folks at recon, all of whom told me wildly different things about the policy now in place.

        –first rep repeated msg that tom le got (“you can never have it ever ever ever”)
        -second rep said “you have to downgrade to non-sapphire card” (even though i already had)
        -third said “you can’t just downgrade, you have to cancel the downgraded card completely” bc it’s in our files as once having been an SP (i’m pretty sure this was bogus info, *but* i cancelled anyway bc i had been on the phone for an hr at this point.
        -after cancelling, the FOURTH guy i spoke to, who seemed the most knowledgeable, said that all the above was bs. he pinpointed the actual problem with my original application as the fact that the official date of my product change was *well after* I called in to request the change. the process takes a while to “close out” in their system, more than a week in my case, so even though i technically downgraded before i applied for the reserve, it hadn’t been completed in the system.

        waited a month, reapplied and instant approval. yeesh.

        • Thanks for sharing this. I went ahead and did a product change of my sapphire preferred to freedom unlimited after EXTENSIVELY asking the phone rep over and over about applying for the reserve and bring eligible. Aside from receiving my last bonus years ago, she said that I should wait at least 30 days before applying for the reserve as it takes a bit for the product change to process in their system. She also gave me a hint to start counting the 30 days from when I see the card name change in my online account. It happened to change the icon to “freedom unlimited” like a day after I called, but still days sapphire preferred in the same box…gonna apply in about 3 weeks – fingers crossed

  8. Hello, I just downgraded my CP today to Freedom Unlimited. It’s been more than 24 months now since I received my bonus points for the CP. Should I wait couple weeks to apply for the CR or do you think I can try to apply for one Now?

    • I would wait at least 30 days. The change needs to clear in their system, or else if you apply sooner it may auto-decline due to the 1 sapphire product rule.

  9. This may be a dumb question, but has Chase ever allowed anyone to apply for a second sign-up bonus (after 24 months have passed) without actually having to cancel their current card and reapply? It seems to me that if Chase knows that’s what some people are doing, and you are speaking openly with the reps about it, they simply create more hassle for themselves (and us) by forcing all these product changes and reapplications when all they really need to do is say “Oh, it’s been 2 years since you got the card and you want to apply for another bonus? Ok, cool. Spend $4k in 3 months and we’ll give you another 50K points.” I have to assume it would simplify the customer service reps lives as well as ours. I won’t hold my breath, but anyone ever try this?

    • You can’t apply again for a card that you already have with Chase. You can get what’s called a retention bonus to keep the card. We’ve written here about retention bonuses before. They are usually nothing like spend $4K and get 50K points, but you can often get something by saying you’re considering cancelling and wondering if there are any offers available to keep your business. The thing to know on retention offers is that there is often more than one available, so if the first one doesn’t entice you, don’t be afraid to ask if there are any other offers. The rep doesn’t make the offers up, the computer does — so it’s not something negotiable apart from asking if there are any other offers.

      All that said, Chase isn’t known for generous retention offers and particularly not known for it on the Sapphire Reserve. Here’s a Flyertalk thread on Sapphire Reserve retention offers:

      https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/chase-ultimate-rewards/1859044-chase-sapphire-reserve-renewal-retention.html

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