Chase Adds Major Restrictions To Applying For Sapphire Cards

Doctor Of Credit writes about a memo that apparently went out today highlighting changes to the approval process for Chase Sapphire cardmembers. This has some pretty major implications. Let me first say that I haven’t received any communication about this directly, so I can’t personally verify this is accurate, though it does seem to be an official memo. So I’m just passing on what I’ve read.

Chase has three types of Sapphire products — the Sapphire, Sapphire Preferred, and Sapphire Reserve. According to this memo, as of August 27, 2017, Chase will no longer approve you for one of those cards if you already have another version of the Sapphire Card. In other words, if you have the Sapphire Preferred you can no longer be approved for the Sapphire Reserve.

However, you can continue to be able to product change between cards, and if you cancel all your Sapphire branded products, you’ll be eligible for a bonus on one of the cards after 24 months. This shouldn’t impact existing cardmembers who have more than one Sapphire product.

Here’s the memo that Doctor Of Credit shares:

Beginning August 27 our same-product eligibility requirements have been updated for all Sapphire Credit Card products, which include Chase Sapphire, Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Here’s a look at what’s new:

  • Going forward, a customer may no longer have more than one Sapphire-branded credit card. For example, if a customer has a Sapphire Preferred card, they are no longer eligible for a Sapphire Reserve card.
  • While this change impacts all new and existing customers (including CPC clients), there is no impact to existing customers who presently have more than one Sapphire product. These customers continue to retain their Sapphire products as usual.
  • If existing Sapphire customers wish to upgrade or downgrade their product, they made so if eligible. However, no bonus points will be available with this upgrade or downgrade. The customer may call the number on the back of their card OR you may contact Banker Support with customers who are in the brand or already on the phone.
  • 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 last 24 months.

As of now it doesn’t look like the terms of the applications have been updated to reflect this new rule. For example, the Sapphire Preferred application still says the following, without referencing whether having another Sapphire product would make you ineligible for this one:

This product is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of this credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of this credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this credit card within the last 24 months. To qualify and receive your bonus, you must make Purchases totaling $4,000 or more during the first 3 months from account opening. (“Purchases” do not include balance transfers, cash advances, travelers checks, foreign currency, money orders, wire transfers or similar cash-like transactions, lottery tickets, casino gaming chips, race track wagers or similar betting transactions, any checks that access your account, interest, unauthorized or fraudulent charges, and fees of any kind, including an annual fee, if applicable.) After qualifying, please allow 6 to 8 weeks for bonus points to post to your account. To be eligible for this bonus offer, account must be open and not in default at the time of fulfillment.

I guess Chase thought that the benefits between the Preferred and Reserve overlapped so much, and that it made sense for cardmembers to decide between the two. I certainly can’t blame them for the change, given that if you have the Sapphire Reserve, there’s no reason to have the Sapphire Preferred (the inverse isn’t necessarily true — I’d instead say that if you have the Sapphire Preferred, it could instead make sense to upgrade to the Sapphire Reserve).

This partly reminds me of Citi’s 24 month rule. For many of their products, Citi won’t approve you if you’ve opened or closed a card in the same “family” in the past 24 months. Really Chase is being even stricter here, as they won’t approve you even if you have one card open for more than 24 months, and want to apply for the other type of card.

This is certainly something to be aware of if you’re considering picking up a Sapphire product anytime soon.

Comments

  1. Interesting. I just applied for the CSP last week and was approved, while I also have the CS Reserve. Glad I applied when I did.

  2. I drop to 4/24 next month and held off on applying for new CC’s for the purpose of applying for the Sapphire Preferred (I got the reserve last year which I fully intend to keep moving forward and one of the rare people who’s been around this process for a few years who’s never had the Preferred). If I had both cards already, I wouldn’t care about the new rules being implemented because I get what Chase is doing. Time to start up a business so I can start applying for biz CC’s.

  3. I assume a business card can still be obtained if the owner had a Sapphire already, but as a personal card?

  4. Bummer. I was planning to get a preferred with bonus next month, but I just received a reserve bonus not too long ago, so am now ineligible. My timing has been awful on sapphire cards. 5/24 kept me from the 100k, and I’ve been managing 5/24 to go reserve/preferred but, the best laid plans . . . .

  5. @ Lucky, I asked this in your forum today morning as well.
    What If I applied and got approved for 8 cards in the last 24 months and also cancel 4 of those cards during that time.
    Will Chase allow me to apply for a new Chase card considering it as 4/24 or will it decline considering it as 8/24 ?

  6. @ Ram — Nope, your total doesn’t decline. It’s based on the amount of accounts you open during the period, and generally canceling a card won’t undo that.

  7. @ Jeff — It’s supposedly in place, but I haven’t seen any data points. I’m a bit surprised the terms haven’t been updated, which makes me wonder if there might be some grace period.

  8. @ JL100 — Correct, though there’s not really a Sapphire “business” card, just the Ink product line.

  9. @ Lucky, Thanks for your prompt response. Just to double check , MARRIOTT REWARDS® PREMIER CREDIT CARD is exempted from Chase 5/24 rule. Am I right ?

  10. This makes sense given that many people, myself included, had probably realized that you might as well churn the CSP bonus every once in a while, while holding the CSR for regular use. I was almost up to 24 months on my last CSP bonus…oh well.

  11. Looks like they have updated the terms on the Chase website.

    This product is available to you if you do not have any Sapphire card and have not received a new cardmember bonus for any Sapphire card in the past 24 months. If you are an existing Sapphire customer and would like this product, please call the number on the back of your card to see if you are eligible for a product change. You will not receive the new cardmember bonus if you change products.

  12. It would really suck if Chase prevents transferring points from Freedom accounts to Reserve account. I went ahead and transferred them all to Reserve today as a preemptive move. Who knows what change Chase will introduce next!

  13. @Lucky does this apply to authorized users? The only card I’m an AU on is my dad’s Saphire (old regular Saphire) card. If I were to eliminate myself as an AU on his account, would my 24 month clock restart from then (I’ve been waiting our my 5-24 for a while now)?

  14. Okay, well this seems to just change the order of operations for me. I’ve had the CSP for way more than 2 years, was going to apply for CSR when I reach 4/24 in October and downgrade CSP to Freedom Unlimited. Sounds Iike I could just do the CSP->FU downgrade first (transferring all existing Freedom points to UR beforehand, of course) and then immediately apply for CSR and still get the bonus?

  15. @Lucky I currently have the CSP, and have had it for a very long time. In September I was planning to product change the CSP to Freedom Unlimited and apply for the CSR. Will I still be able to do this now without losing my current UR balance?

  16. Darin, good point that my logic missed. Maybe it would make the most sense to transfer all UR points back to Freedom, hold them there, then transfer to UR again once CSR is active.

  17. Lucky, are you saying that ineligibility “if they have earned a cardmember bonus” means regular monthly points earning? Not the signup bonus? :-/

  18. I can’t believe this timing! 🙂 I got approved for CSR on Friday and already have CSP. I did have to call and it took the agent forever to get the approval through the system because of some “glitch”.

  19. I’ve been waiting to go below 5/24 for quite a while. I have a plain ole Sapphire, and was waiting until 10/1 to apply for CSP. If I PC to the Freedom, I’ll be able to apply for CSP in October, right?

  20. Downgraded my CSP 6 months ago (no need to pay annual fee when I have the CSR)…

    Was planning on reapplying next month when I go back under 5/24, guess I’ll have to devote my application elsewhere.

  21. Hmm… seems odd to also exclude those grandfathered into the normal no fee Sapphire, which doesn’t even earn real UR points.

  22. So I’ve had the CSP for a few years. I just upgraded it to the CSR in hopes of then downgrading it sometime in the future and then applying for the CSR with a bonus when I’m below Chase’s 5/24 rule. Can that still work?

  23. Terms are now updated.

    “Replying to this offer: If you omit any information on the form, we may deny your request for an account. Chase cardmembers who currently have or have had a Chase credit card in any Rewards Program associated with this offer, may not be eligible for a second Chase credit card in the same Rewards Program.”

  24. An unfortunate decision – Chase seems intent on avoiding my business. Tried to get a CSR two years ago (already had CSP for years), got denied because of 5/24, so I waited, now it seems I cannot get the CSR, at least not with the sign-up bonus?

  25. This is only about restricting the bonus potential. If you have CSP and want CSR you can always upgrade the CSP. Limiting new account applications shouldn’t restrict anything but 1) the ability to score a bonus on the new card and 2) the ability to hold both CSP and CSR at the same time.

    This is only big news in the card churner space…

  26. Well, I got my CSP in April and my bonus posted in July. I guess this means, I’ll be getting an AMEX now. Waiting until July of 2019 doesn’t seem appealing to me. I’m curious, how many of you guys think AMEX is happy about this news?

  27. They probably got tired of husbands and wives applying for and receiving bonuses on both the CSP and CSR, for a net total of 320k points, like my wife and I were able to do earlier this year.

  28. One could dream that this change eliminated 5/24 for the Sapphire products…..

    Haven’t received a Sapphire signup bonus since 2013….. would be awesome if I could cancel the preferred and get the signup bonus again in a month or 2 for the CSR or CSP

  29. I’m in pretty much the same boat as David, though my CSP bonus should post in September I had hoped to make Chase my primary points accumulation brand, but it looks like I’ll be going Amex after hitting my CSP spend target in a few weeks..

    Any strategy for continuing to make meaningful bonus points on Chase in spite of this?

  30. @Curt — This sucks. I’m debating on getting the Chase Ink Business Preferred, which currently has the 80k offer. That’s really the only Chase product that makes sense for me right now.

    I have the AMEX SPG personal and have been getting targeted a lot recently to get a platinum card. I’m not really a fan of Citi. If you guys were me, what card would you add next to your portfolio?

  31. This is definitely not news that churners wanted to hear. In my case, I definitely hit it out of the park with timing… but wow, the ability to combine CSP and CSR was part of what made the start of my churning so fun.

    @David, if you have been targeted for the 100k Platinum, I’d take that. Great option.

  32. “This is definitely not news that churners wanted to hear. ”

    Hello! That is really the WHOLE point of the change. I didn’t even need to read the post to figure it out

  33. Am I reading this right? Because nobody in the comments has said what I’ve been thinking. The wording 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 last 24 months.”

    Here’s the point: When you earn a cardmember bonus, it happens on a given day – it’s not a perpetual thing. So my thinking is if you currently have a CSP and earned a bonus on that card more than 24 months ago, you could close the account and then apply for a CSR after. Am I wrong on this? I’m interested to hear more perspective.

  34. I’m at 4/24 and was debating whether to apply for the CSP for the bonus (I already have the CSR) or the Ink Business Cash. I made up my mind and applied yesterday for the Ink Business Cash. Too bad, as I could have gotten in under the deadline. Unfortunately, this means I will miss the CSP bonus. Bummer.

  35. @Ryan Yuk: There was a rumor about this a while back, about Chase banning UR points transfers from “cash back” cards like the Freedom to premium UR cards. It would not surprise me if they do it, though I hope they at least give advance notice.

  36. “Really Chase is being even stricter here, as they won’t approve you even if you have one card open for more than 24 months, and want to apply for the other type of card.”

    I’d say Citi’s is worse because of the “opened or closed” factor. If it’s been more than 24 months since your last Sapphire bonus you can always just close your CSP/CSR and reapply shortly thereafter. No need to wait another 2 years after closing, like with Citi.

  37. So if im reading this right, as long as i received my bonus on my CSP more than 2 years ago, i can cancel that card and sign up for the CSR and still get the bonus correct? Or am i reading this wrong?

  38. @Christian @Cole

    I’m thinking the same thing. Missed out on the big CSR promo due to 5/24 and was waiting to apply in the future. Had my CSP for years. Now I’m considering downgrading my CSP to a Freedom before applying for the CSR. It’ll be several years since I recieved my CSP promo so I see nothing in the language to forbid this.

    While thing stinks. Been a loyal Chase user for years and get locked out of their biggest promo, while any first time Chase applicant could get it. Now Chase wants to forbid me from getting a CSR bonus at all.

  39. @Lucky — Do you think that if the in-branch application can still by-pass this restriction? Just like how the in-branch application may by-pass the 5/24 rule?

  40. @Lucky Could this issue be worked around by transferring your unused points to someone in your household (such as a spouse or partner) before you cancel your card, then applying for a new Sapphire product? This means you wouldn’t lose your points, and you could still get another sign-up bonus.

  41. Do you know if there is a minimum amount of time to hold a CSP before upgrading to a CSR? Also, what happens to the AF? For example:

    January: get CSP
    June: Upgrade to CSR

    As there is no AF on the CSP the first year, does the AF for the CSR start in June?

  42. As I said elsewhere, let’s recap, shall we? First, I had to wait to apply for the CSR, despite my good credit, because of the 5/24 rule¹. Next, I “lost” 50,000 UR points because — while I was waiting — Chase cut the sign-up from 100k to 50k. (Well, you can’t really lose something you never had, but still…) Now, I can’t even HAVE a CSR because I have a CSP and even if I upgrade by swapping the CSP for the CSR, I’ll have “lost” the *remaining* 50k point signup bonus!

    Thank you, Chase . . . NOT!

    At least I’m no longer wondering whether or not I’m going to keep my Citi Prestige. (Good job, Chase.)

    _______________
    ¹ I was over the limit prior to the introduction of the CSR, and haven’t applied for anything since, as I wanted to get out from under the 5/24 rule and get a CSR card!

  43. I have a CSR and 800+ credit. I was rejected for the Ink Business last week. I presume it’s because I just got the Hyatt (before the 2-night to points switch), and and IHG (80k more points…thanks Lucky!), and have been rolling BofA Alaska Signature and Business Visas for the past two years.
    It was great while it lasted but there are plenty of credit cards that offer perks so I’m not sweating it. Chase is only losing business and yearly fees, IMO.

  44. as long as i received my bonus on my CSP more than 2 years ago, i can cancel that card and sign up for the CSR and still get the bonus correct? Or am i reading this wrong?

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