Can You Upgrade An Existing Chase Card To The Sapphire Reserve?

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This morning online applications became available for the new Sapphire Reserve Card, which is offering an incredible 100,000 point sign-up bonus, and also seems like it will offer a lot of long term value for cardmembers, between the triple points on travel and dining, plus all the long term perks.

A vast majority of consumers are eligible for the card, and we’ve already heard data points of a lot of people getting approved. However, due to Chase’s “5/24 rule,” those who have opened more than five credit card accounts in the past 24 months aren’t eligible to be approved. If you’re in that boat, you do have one option for getting the Sapphire Reserve — you can do a product switch to it, rather than outright applying for it.

Which cards can you upgrade to the Sapphire Reserve?

You can upgrade another Chase issued personal card to the Sapphire Reserve, though it can’t be a co-brand card, like the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card. This means you can upgrade the Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardChase Freedom® CardChase Freedom Unlimited®, etc., to the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

You do need to have a credit line of at least $10,000 on a card in order to upgrade, though.

Do you get the sign-up bonus if you upgrade to the Sapphire Reserve?

No, that’s probably the biggest catch. You don’t get the sign-up bonus if you upgrade a card to the Sapphire Reserve, as only new applicants get the bonus.

How do you upgrade to the Sapphire Reserve?

It’s very easy, just call the number on the back of your card and tell them what you’d like to do (or I suppose you could go into a Chase branch). For example, I phoned up the number on the back of my Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, and the agent who answered was very well versed on the new Sapphire Reserve Card.

She explained that I could upgrade to the card, and that I’d receive a pro-rated refund of the $95 annual fee on my Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, since I’d be billed with the $450 annual fee on the Sapphire Reserve with the first billing cycle.

She also said “I’m sure you’ve read about this card on the internet, including the 100,000 point bonus, so I just want to make sure you understand you won’t get the bonus if you upgrade the card.” Hah.

Is it worth upgrading to the Sapphire Reserve?

Obviously it would be nice to earn the 100,000 point sign-up bonus on the Sapphire Reserve, which is worth $1,500 of travel, or otherwise potentially even more than that by transferring to one of Chase’s airline or hotel partners. So if you’re eligible, or otherwise think you’ll be eligible in the coming months, then by all means hold off and outright apply for the card when you can.

We don’t know how long the current sign-up bonus will last, though if I had to guess I’d say it’s likely to stick around somewhere between two and six months. I could be completely wrong, but that’s just a guess on my part (with no inside information).

But bigger picture, I really do think this card is worth having, so if the only way you can get the card is through a product change, then I think it’s still worth it.

The card has a $450 annual fee, but you get a $300 annual travel credit. Before your second year’s annual fee is due, you’ll have $600 in travel credits. If you value those at face value, you’re $150 ahead on the first year’s annual fee already.

Long term I’m viewing this as a card that’s costing me $150 per year ($450 minus the $300 travel credit), and for that I’m getting triple points on dining and travel. That’s worth it, in and of itself, not even factoring in all the other benefits.

Is it worth having the Sapphire Preferred and the Sapphire Reserve?

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has been taking up prime real estate in my wallet for years, and I know I’m not alone in that regard. The card’s double points on dining and travel, great rental car and travel coverage, no foreign transaction fees, etc., have made this card a keeper.

So, long term is it worth holding onto both cards? I’m still waiting to make my final decision, but I feel like long term the Sapphire Reserve will replace the Sapphire Preferred in my wallet. As far as I know the Reserve offers all the same benefits as the Preferred, plus more, including triple points on dining and travel. So long term I view this card as a replacement rather than as a complement.

Bottom line

The Sapphire Reserve is a keeper, for the long term benefits and return on everyday spend that it offers. The 100,000 point sign-up bonus is the icing on the cake, so ideally you’ll want to take advantage of that as well. However, for those who don’t want to (or can’t) apply for another card, long term it’s certainly worth considering upgrading to this card, given the great return on spend that it offers.

Do you plan on upgrading to the Sapphire Reserve Card? 


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Comments

  1. i will wait it out until this time next year when i will be under 5/24. 100k UR is too valuable to pass up.
    i do believe this card is a keeper.

  2. My total credit line with Chase is $8700 split between my CSP & Hyatt. When I applied for the CSP, they told me they thought I already had enough credit with them, hence the split. And by now I’m right at 5/24, so it looks like I’ll be sitting this one out. 🙁

  3. I’ll definitely get the Reserve card. I paid my $95 fee for my Preferred card in July, so I may hang onto it until next summer before the fee hits.

  4. Hi Lucky,

    If I product change to the sapphire reserve, can I still get the sign up bonus if I cancel the card and reapply again when I am under 5/24? Thanks!

  5. Hey Ben, can you help me understand something? You talk about upgrading the CSP to CSR, but then also talk about holding on to them both in the long term – if you upgrade CSP to CSR, don’t you no longer have the CSP?

    Also, if you do upgrade now, and then choose to cancel later once you are under 5/24, does that mean you can potentially get the bonus within 2 years since you haven’t received the bonus when upgrading? Thanks!

  6. @ AVS — You’re absolutely correct, sorry I wasn’t clear. If you upgrade then you won’t have the CSP anymore. I was more answering the general question of whether it’s worth having both the CSP and CSR for those who are able to apply for both.

    Second part is a good question. Haven’t seen the official terms on the welcome bonus, but that may be a possibility.

  7. So basically it is $55 extra for this card compared to a CSP once you account for the travel credit ($95 versus $450-$300=$150). Besides the 3x earnings, what are the other benefits that could make up this difference?

  8. @ GOB — I believe you could convert it to a Freedom or Freedom Unlimited (the latter could be especially lucrative in conjunction with the Sapphire Reserve).

  9. Hi Ben, Thanks!! Also, do you know if there are any repercussions if I apply for CSR, get denied but then call to upgrade CSP to CSR?

  10. @steven k – why is the 100K UR bonus worth avoiding all other signups for? You’re playing into Chase’s hands. The opportunity cost of not churning is substantial.

    That being said, as AMEX and Citi tighten up leaving us with just Barclay’s and BofA, it looks like churning is indeed becoming less lucrative so perhaps for some folks, it makes sense to stay under 5/24.

  11. Just to be clear, upgrading means switching from Preferred to Reserve, correct? If I hang onto my Preferred card and get the Reserve card, will I get the 100,000 UR points?

  12. Ben: A slight twist on @AVS’ question: Do you know if there are any repercussions if I apply for CSR, get denied (because I’m 6/24), but then reapply in Nov when I am down to 5/24?

  13. Have the CSP and now I also have the CSR.

    My main curiosity now is if its worth it to keep the Amex Platnium. A $250 spend ($450 minus $200 in airline credit) where the only benefits are Delta and Centurion lounges. Gotta do the math to see if thats worth it.

  14. @ Alex — Indeed, it’s a great question. Personally I find it worthwhile for Centurion Lounge access, but at this point it’s becoming one of the card’s few unique benefits.

  15. @ jmd001 — The only impact is a hard pull, which will temporary lower your score by a couple of points. That’s it, though.

  16. @ Chris — That’s correct, upgrading means switching from one to another. If you’re approved for the Reserve Card outright then you’d get the sign-up bonus.

  17. @Lucky: What is the best way to see if I fall under the 5/24 rule? I know the short answer is if I applied for 5 credit cards in the last 24 months BUT as many mentioned here there are some credit cards that do not enter in that number i.e Amex Business cards. Is there an easy way to check that instead of rolling the dice and have chase do a hard pull and deny the request?

  18. @ Santastico — Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t really think there’s a way to easily check. In general I’d count any personal cards you opened plus Chase business cards.

  19. Ben,

    Is it 5 or more or more than 5. I am right at 5. I ask because I am reading seeing different definitions of 5/24 in other places 🙂

    Thanks!

  20. I called to upgrad my Preferred to a Reserve. Figure I’ll maximize the benefits until 8/2017, downgrade to a no fee Chase (Freedom?), then reapply in 8/2018 assuming I control myself and not open more than five cards until then. Yeah, it’s long term plan, but right now I have more points than vacation time.

  21. I’m way under 5/24 but may be maxed out on chase available credit. If I’m offered approval by cancelling csp card is there a chance I would lose UR points I’ve already accumulated? That is my only UR anchor. Everything else is technically cash back. (I also have a freedom card and ink cash)

  22. AnonCHI,
    i don’t churn. i only apply to cards i intent to keep.
    and to me, 100k UR is a business class round trip to asia. that’s pretty darn valuable.

  23. @Lucky:

    Great article that answered most of my questions when considering the upgrade from CSP.
    Before making my decision though, I do have two more questions for you if you don’t mind:

    1. Would you happen to know the exact data that Chase uses to verify conformation to the 5/24 rule? I’m asking this because in my case, I know that I’ve opened 4 personal and 3 authorized user CC accounts over the past 24 months, but my annual credit reports from Transunion/Equifax/Experian all say that I’ve only incurred 2 hard credit pulls over the last 24 months. So would they look at each of my open CC accounts individually, or just the credit pulls? (Interestingly, I was instantly approved online for the last Chase CC I applied for, the MP Explorer w/ 70k bonus, which was just two months ago while I was still at 6/24…)

    2. If my CSR application is denied based on the 5/24 rule, do you think it would be possible to get around that and keep the 100k signup bonus if I go to a bank branch in person and do a ‘special consideration’ application with some cash collateral in my (non-Private Client) Chase checking account?

    Thanks again for the informative read 🙂

  24. @Jay – Just a data point, not an answer to your (very good) questions:

    Apropos of nothing (meaning out of curiosity, and not due to this credit card offer), I happened to pull my free annual credit report from Equifax. Strangely, it showed my last credit report being pulled by Chase in May 2015, which was wrong, because it also showed two cards being opened by me in March of this year. So clearly that info. is not always accurate, at least in my case.

    In scrolling down the report, it does show (at least Equifax, can’t speak for Experian or Trans Union) the date each account is opened, by product. So it will have a section for mortgage followed by accounts, a section for installment loans (cars and the like), and then a section for revolving (credit cards), both open and closed accounts. So while this report doesn’t calculate how many accounts are opened (at least for our free annual reports), it *does* show when all currently open (vs. closed) accounts were created, so I suspect the credit pulls don’t matter; Chase’s agreement with the bureaus likely includes the answer to “How many cards were opened in the past 24 months?” or Chase takes the data, in whatever format the bureaus provide the reports, and runs a routine against the credit file to do the calculation themselves on the fly.

    Short version – It looks like Chase uses number of card accounts opened in the last 24 months.

  25. Hi Lucky,

    I already have the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Freedom Unlimited – do you think it’s worth the credit score hit to sign up for the Reserved to get the bonus and then cancel the Sapphire (instead of just upgrading)? Are there any advantages for keeping both Preferred and Reserved?

  26. @Ken – That is exactly my situation and the extra points are worth the credit score hit in my opinion. It’s too bad that they don’t just give us the sign up bonus for the upgrade.

  27. @Santastico – Get your free annual credit report from all three bureaus. They will tell you which accounts you opened and when. Each one may be different, and Chase from what I’ve read, isn’t consistent about what bureau it pulls from — however most seem to be Transunion, so make sure all are under 5 new accounts in 24 months before you apply.

  28. So i got the preferred 2 months ago and im about to hit the minimum spend to get my 50k bonus (maybe 40k dont remeber dont really care). Should i wait till that bonus posts before opening a new account for 100k and then close the preferred. I only have 2 cards opened in the last 24 months and have 740ish credit i should be allowed to get the 100k signup and combine that with my 54k points earned on the preferred right?

    -thanks!

  29. Lucky, I’d be interested in your opinion on a variation of what you are considering (or have done?). I’m well over 5/24 ( about 12/24, and would have to wait 17 months to be below without opportunistically signing up for any great new offers), and my travel/dining spend runs around $50k (thus easily justifying the higher annual fee against the extra UR points). If I were to upgrade my CSP to the CSR, would Chase also agree to downgrade my (AU) wife’s CSP to the CFU? She doesn’t want more cards, and I do most of the dining/travel spend, so we could just try to put most of our everyday spend on the CFU. Thanks.

  30. Lucky do you know if Chase sees Rocket mile hotels as a travel category? Or do I need to book directly through hotels?
    Thanks
    Garrett

  31. I wonder if anyone else has my dilemma?

    I have the Freedom, FU, CSP. I want to get the CSR.

    However, I don’t know if it’s worth have the CSP if I get approved for the CSR.

    What other cards can I downgrade my CSP for? Double Freedom? If only Chase switched the CSP to a Entertainment/Gas card….

    One can dream right.

  32. Hi, do you know if each authorized user will have priory pass membership? Guesting privileges? Thanks.

  33. I just called the number on the back and wasn’t able to upgrade my csp to the reserve. Has anyone else had this experience or was the representative I spoke to just Uninformed?

  34. I spoke to a Chase representative this morning and was advised that if I wait for about a week that I will be able to upgrade my CSP into a CSR while receiving the full upfront benefits. She says Chase typically sets this up for new credit cards. Is that consistent with what other people are hearing?

  35. Eoj,
    can you elaborate on what you meant by “receiving the full upfront benefit”? did you mean the 100k bonus?

  36. I have Chase Sapphire Preferred and I just called Chase, and they told me that the card I can change to is Chase Sapphire, and I do have a credit line of $10,900, so what’s wrong? Did this happen to anyone before?

  37. @x1uan:
    The Chase Sapphire card has been discontinued for quite some time now, so are you sure you didn’t mishear the rep?

    @Eoj/steven k:
    Now that is extremely interesting, if it is indeed what steven k interpreted it as…I would like to hear more too.

  38. I was told by a Private Client Banker at a branch that Chase doesn’t have the mechanism in place yet to upgrade cards from the CSP to the CSR card. This is for all customers I was told. The only option would be to apply for the CSR as a new card at this time until they get their mechanism in place to be able to convert/upgrade the CSP cards to the CSR. I wonder when that will be.

    Lucky, you indicated that you called Chase and they said the CSP could be upgraded. I wonder now what the true story is. If it can be upgraded, is there a special phone number to call? I’m a victim of the 5/24 and I just want to the card right now, so I’m willing to do the upgrade. Any help you can give me on what the true story is will be appreciated – HELP!

  39. Call yesterday, they are able to do a card switch, Chase Sapphire Preferred to Chase Sapphire Reserve, the agent not only pro rate my annual fees and move all my current transaction to my new card. He also able to keep the CSP open until I receive and activate my CSR card, which make my life a lot easier
    He did say in order to do the switch, they look at 1)spending history with them, 2)current card must in good standing and open for more than 1 year, 3) the card being switch over must have minimum CL 10k

  40. I had the same problem as Jerry. I am over 5/24 and do not have pre-approval. I called CSP customer service. The phone was picked up right away (but I have to say the rep sounds a bit rude). When I mentioned that I would like to do a product change to CSR, the rep told me that Chase does not currently offering product change to CSR. That was Aug 24th.
    I will try to make a call later today and report back.

  41. Just made a call to Chase and PC my CSP to CSR. I had the same experience as Dason. The rep made sure I verbally respond to the terms and conditions, and make sure I understand that I will not be able to receive the 100K signup bonus because it is a product change.

  42. Thanks ET. I’ll try again as well. I may have a problem, however and may need to wait till October when my CSP will be 1 year old. I hope maybe there is some flexibility since my CSP is only a month away from renewal. Who knows but I’ll try.

  43. Another data point on upgrading to the Reserve, I just called in to upgrade my CSP to CSR, and had no issues. The rep kept asking if I was sure I didn’t want to apply and finally I confessed that I already tried to apply and was denied for too many accounts (I’m 12/24). After the words left my mouth I wondered if that would have any negative impact on still being able to upgrade, but thankfully it did not. After she read through the terms, she told me I would receive my new card in 3-5 business days. My CSP, I’ve had since April 2014 (though I did try to downgrade to Sapphire Unpreferred to avoid the annual fee in 2015, but about a month later decided to upgrade back, as I wanted to have the rental car coverage), and my CL was $12K

    In about a year I will be under 5/24, so I’m leaving the option open to downgrade and reapply for a bonus after that point, though I’m certain the bonus will be somewhat lower than 100K. For me the value was there anyway with the 3x Travel and Dining, and $300 travel credit that I can get for 2016 and 2017. I already downgraded my Citi Prestige so getting 1.5 cent per point on travel on any airline works for me as well, when I need to use points in a pinch.

    The rep also mentioned that any open referral bonus opportunities that were on my CSP will be there for the CSR, so perhaps I can at least get some UR pts for a referral, which I wouldn’t hate.

  44. Just tried calling to convert a month and a half year old CSP to a CSR and was told that the account was too new to convert to the CSR. Called back again to get a new rep and was told to try back in about a year. Yikes.

  45. Same as Jahan, called to upgrade existing CSP to CSR, was told I had to wait until I’ve had the CSP for around a year to upgrade. Pretty unbelievable anti-consumer practice at work here, especially considering you have to pay the annual fee up-front vs the first year CSP free and you’re not even opening a new line of credit. Between this and 5/24, leaves a pretty bad taste in my mouth as far as Chase goes. 750+ credit score, credit limit on CSP over 10k. Guess I will continue using my trusty Amex cards for everything.

  46. I was recently approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. I am still within the first 3 months of owning the card and on my way to earning the 50k bonus miles. Since the 3 month period hasn’t elapsed yet, can I switch to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card and be eligible for the 100k bonus miles instead? Thank you

  47. I just called Chase customer service to upgrade my Sapphire Preferred to the Sapphire Reserve, and even though I am eligible to upgrade it. I would not the 100,000 bonus point because I am already a CSP customer. According to the representative the bonus is only applicable to new customers. Has anyone upgraded and got the bonus?

  48. You don’t get the bonus on an upgrade, you have to apply for a new card to get it. Sadly, neither my wife nor myself were eligible due to the 5/24 rule, so I just called and upgraded an old plain Sapphire card (which had been a Sapphire Preferred before I downgraded to avoid the annual fee). The 100k points would have been nice but I have 110k points which are now worth 50% more, and the $300 travel bonus for 2 calendar years pays the the $450 fee.

  49. I heard that one of the other benefits of the RESERVE card is that it doesn’t report to the credit bureaus; which might not work to help increase your credit score?

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