Is This The Right Time To Sign-Up For The Chase Sapphire Preferred?

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Reader Anthony asked the following question in the Ask Lucky forum:

Is now a good time to sign up for the CSP? Truthfully I really want the CSR but right now they’re both offering 50,000 points as a sign up bonus and I think that the CSR could potentially have a higher bonus later in the year.

I get a question along these lines pretty frequently, so wanted to address it in this post.

For years the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has been one of the most popular rewards credit cards out there. Personally I consider it to be the best mid-range card, based on it having great travel and car rental coverage, offering double points on dining and travel, having valuable transfer partners, etc.

However, last year the Chase Sapphire Reserve® stole the spotlight in many ways, with a huge sign-up bonus. The card offers triple points on dining and travel, plus a $300 annual travel credit. For many this card is more worthwhile. I value the $300 travel credit at ~$270 (it’s valid for any travel purchase, but you have to factor in the points you’re forgoing by not earning up to 5x points on those purchases), so in reality the out of pocket on the card is ~$180 per year. For many that will be worthwhile for the triple points and the slew of other benefits.

However, in many ways my thinking is along the lines of Anthony’s. When the Chase Sapphire Reserve was introduced, it had a 100,000 point sign-up bonus upon completing minimum spend. Now that bonus is down to 50,000 points upon completing minimum spend.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card actually has a better sign-up bonus, as it offers 50,000 points upon completing minimum spend, plus 5,000 bonus points after adding an authorized user and having them make a purchase within three months.

I doubt we’ll see a higher sign-up bonus anytime soon on the Sapphire Preferred, given how good it already is, that the card has been around for so long, etc. However, given how hot the premium card market is, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a higher sign-up bonus again at some point on the Sapphire Reserve.

I can’t guarantee that will happen, though I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of eventually seeing a 60,000-75,000 point offer, or maybe even another 100,000 point offer. Who knows.

If that does happen, keep in mind that you could pick up the Reserve Card, and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card could be downgraded to the Chase Freedom® Card or Chase Freedom Unlimited®, which could greatly help boost your Ultimate Rewards points earning. You can combine these points at any time, and always get the most value out of those points that’s offered by any individual card you have.

Over time you could even try to get the perfect credit card quadfecta, which I finally got late last year.

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  1. What plane is that picture at the top from? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a seat with wood paneling like that.

  2. You conclude your post by mentioning the ability to combine Ultimate Rewards points between the Frredom, Freedom Unlimited, and Sapphire Preferred. Only a week ago, Chase did a survey seeking cardholder input on three alternative means of either eliminating or devaluing such point transfers. Maintaining the status quo was not one of the alternatives. What are your thoughts? When will Chase likely change the rules? Will the Sapphire cards become less useful if the trifecta and quadfecta lose their ability to maximize point earnings?

  3. Ben, Last week I was on the phone with a rep at Chase for a different reason and coincidentally asked about the CSR. She told me to wait as they were coming out with a promotion soon. She took a few minutes to find the email she saw about it but couldn’t find it, but she does remember seeing it. Not sure when , but soon!

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