Sapphire Reserve: How to get a 2nd $300 travel credit before cancelling

Separately I published “Keep or cancel Sapphire Reserve?”  My plan is to keep the card, but many others (including my wife) may not.  If you decide not to keep your card, I recommend downgrading to a no fee card rather than cancelling (see the previously mentioned post for details).  I also recommend making sure to get $300 in travel credits a second time.  Details for doing so follow.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers annual travel reimbursements up to $300.  The great thing about this is that the credits are automatic.  Simply charge any travel expenses to the card and Chase will automatically apply statement credits until you’ve earned $300.

Chase’s definition of “annual”, though, has changed since the card’s introduction.  When the Sapphire Reserve card first hit the market, “annual” was defined as all statements that closed within a calendar year.  For example, even though your January statement would include charges from late December, those charges counted towards the new calendar year.  Here’s how Chase describes the rule:

Annual means the year beginning with your account open date through the first December statement date of that same year, and the 12 billing cycles starting after your December statement date through the following December statement date each year.

For many, this rule made it very easy to get two $300 travel credits in the first 12 months of card membership: one in the first calendar year of membership (up to your December statement date), and the second in the next calendar year.

New rules

For those who signed up for the card on or after May 21 2017, Chase has a new definition of “annual”.  The travel credits are now tied to your membership year rather than the calendar year:

Annual means the year beginning with your account open date through the first statement date after your account open date anniversary, and the 12 monthly billing cycles after that each year.

For those who signed up under these new rules, it might still be possible to get the travel credit twice with just one annual fee. You could first get the $300 travel credit during the first 12 months. Then, in month #13, you could immediately use your next $300 travel credit and then cancel or product change your card. If you cancel or product change within 30 days of being charged the annual fee, you should be able to get that fee waived.

Who should do what?

As I wrote yesterday, I’m going to keep my card so this discussion isn’t relevant to my account.  For my wife, though, we do want to downgrade her to a no-fee card.  If you’re in that boat, the best play depends upon when you signed up for the card initially…

If you signed up before mid November 2016:

Hopefully you’ve already received your 2016 and 2017 travel credits.  If you haven’t received your 2017 travel credits yet, make sure to do so before you cancel or downgrade.

Also consider going for a 3rd travel credit: It may be possible to pay the second annual fee when it comes due in 2017, obtain the 2018 $300 travel credits very early in 2018, and get reimbursed a prorated amount of the annual fee if you then downgrade to a no-fee card (this won’t work if cancelling the card).  I can’t find hard data proving that you will get a prorated refund, but at least one reader has reported that Chase gave him a prorated refund when he switched to the no-fee Freedom card.  So, let’s say you pay the $450 annual fee, get the 2018 $300 in travel credits and then also get a 2/3rd prorated refund of the annual fee ($300).  That will give you $600 in value for $450, not to mention the card’s standard benefits.  I’m pretty sure that this is what we’ll do with my wife’s account unless we learn that the prorated refunds are limited to residents of Massachusetts (see this comment for an explanation).

If you signed up between mid November and late December 2016:

In this case, you probably didn’t get a 2016 travel credit, but hopefully you have received your 2017 travel credit by now. The key is to make sure to spend $300 in travel immediately after your December statement closes.  This way you’ll get your 2018 travel credit in time to cancel or downgrade your card to avoid the next annual fee.  Once Chase posts your annual fee, you have 30 days to cancel or product change for a full refund.

If you signed up between January 2017 and May 20th 2017:

For this group, obtaining the second $300 travel credit should be easy.  Make sure to spend at least $300 on travel this year, before the December statement closes, in order to get the 2017 travel credit.  Then spend $300 on travel after your December statement closes in order to get your 2018 travel credit.  You can wait until you receive the 2018 annual fee to product change or cancel (you have 30 days from that date to do so).

If you signed up May 21 2017 or later (new rules):

It should be possible to get the travel credit twice with just one annual fee. Make sure to get the $300 travel credit during your first 12 months of card membership. Then, in month #13, immediately use your next $300 travel credit and then cancel or product change your card. If you cancel or product change within 30 days of being charged the annual fee, you should be able to get the entire fee waived (or returned, if you already paid it).

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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38 Comments on "Sapphire Reserve: How to get a 2nd $300 travel credit before cancelling"

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Michael
Guest

Thanks for the info.

ucipass
Guest

If I downgrade my CSP within 30 days of the annual fee posted, would I get a full refund or only a partial (335/365)refund?

Lantean
Guest

I believe you’ll get the full refund within 30 days.

ucipass
Guest

Thank you very much for the replies! Follow up question:

– If I change my mind after 6 months of the downgrade and upgrade my card again, would I also be eligible for the $300 credit? In other word, does the clock reset by a downgrade/upgrade within a 12 months time frame?

Jon
Guest

Greg, the info is great. However, as a long time player in the game, I can’t help but feel that this type of blatant messing with Chase is exactly why benefits get nerfed. I know that collective action is almost impossible to achieve, but if hypothetically everyone could take advantage of the benefits, while not gaming the system to this extreme, in the long run it would work out better for all of us. Much like global warming, sure it sucks to lower productivity now, but in the long run it will be beneficial.

Love your blog, just my $.02

DanR NYC
Guest

Thanks for detailed info

Lantean
Guest

In the past I was always told by Chase I would receive a prorated refund if requested within 6 months of the fee posting. That’s how it worked when I did it too.

I just wonder if it’s wort it for your wife (and myself) to wait till Jan 2018 to quickly rack up $300 travel charges and then close… I may not have any travel charges in January at all… I guess I could load my United travel bank.

Lantean
Guest

I forgot to mention I am in NY… so def not just MA residents.

Jeff
Guest

Wouldn’t gift cards be an option here? Either bought through a hotel front desk, or from an airline? Or pre-booking flights for future travel? Just some thoughts…

Lantean
Guest

yes they would… but in that case i find it easier to pre-load United travel bank…

Mimi c
Guest

Hi Greg
Need your input on this.

I product changed my Sapphire to CSR last Nov 2016. Got the $300 travel credits for 2016 and 2017.

AF got charged on 5/2017 so I PC to freedom and got AF refunded. However, I PC on 7/2017 again to CSR when I realized I wanted the card. Af got charged this month.

1- Am I under the new rules now for the $300 travel credit?

2- if I wait 3 months until Nov 2017 to get the travel credit, will I still get a prorated refund?

Thanks!!!!

Mike
Guest

So to clarify some facts first, was your sapphire a preferred with AF charged in 5/2016? And when you PCed to CSR in 11/2016, Chase didn’t charge you an AF until 5/2017 (keeping with a May AF cycle)?
But when you PCed from Freedom to CSR in 7/2017, you got hit with AF in 8/2017? And was the AF the full $450 or prorated?

mimi c
Guest

My sapphire was the no annual fee card. Yes, I was not charged until 5/2017. Yes, when I PCed to CSR again, I got hit with the full $450 af on 8/2017.

brandon
Guest

Sleazy. This is EXACTLY the kind of dick maneuver that causes banks like Chase to clamp down hard on benefits. Don’t like things such as 5/24, clawbacks, lifetime bans, RAT teams, etc.? Look in the mirror.

Why do you encourage this kind of dirt-bag behavior? Oh, wait…

MM
Guest

Thank you for the article. You spend much time providing details that help me to understand the options.

What’s really “sleazy” is Brandon’s reply. When people use foul language, why allow the comment to post? How about decent behavior when discussing articles.

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katie
Guest

If I downgrading CSR to a NO fee card, will all my purchases from CSR still retain CSR’s benefits such as Purchase Protection, Price Protection, Return Protection, Extended Warranty Protection OR it will receive coverage from the new NO fee card? Thank you!

ucipass
Guest

As a data point. Amex purchase protection even works if you cancel the card. I got my laptop covered after I cancelled amex spg card and called and filed the claim. The insurance agent only verified if I was a card holder at the time of purchase. Common sense says it should be the same with Chase.

dpk
Guest

Can you please list down sites from which we can buy airline or hotel GC along with the links for getting $300 travel credit for the second time?
I plan to degrade the card after getting $300.
Pls provide airline names, hotels etc with link.

Thanks in advance

Rayray
Guest

It worked! Got the travel credit three times and downgraded to the CSP.

Jeffrey Ostrow
Guest

My annual membership fee posted June 1 of this month. The awards section says “You received your $300 Annual Travel Credit this year. Your next year’s $300 Annual Travel Credit will begin after your statement closing date in 06/18.*”. If I book $300 worth of travel and close the card by lets say the 29th of June, I can still get the annual fee waived right?