Chase Announces Huge Changes & Limitations to their Sapphire Branded Cards (Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve)

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Chase Sapphire Bonus Changes & Limitations

Chase Sapphire Bonus Changes & Limitations

Chase used to be one of the most generous banks when it came to giving you a lot of cards. While I would still argue they are generous in many cases, over the years they have started to restrict bonuses. For example, their 5/24 rule came into effect which severely limited approvals for those who like to sign up for a lot of cards.

Now, Chase seems to be getting even more restrictive with their “Sapphire” branded products. Starting yesterday, a new rule went into place that limits customers to only one of the following products: Sapphire, Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve.

Here is the rule as shown in an employee memo: 

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 may continue to retain their Sapphire products as usual.

If existing Sapphire customers wish to upgrade or downgrade their product, they may do 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 branch 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.

(HT: Doctor of Credit)

Analysis

Make no mistake, this is a huge change and the timing here isn’t a coincidence. The first round of savvy Millennial Sapphire Reserve applicants will be getting charged with their annual fee very soon. I suspect Chase predicted many of these customers would apply for a Sapphire Preferred and transfer their points over before cancelling the Reserve. This rule is intended to drive them away from bonuses and towards a product conversion.

The other big change here is the grouping of all Sapphire products when it comes to bonuses. Previously you could receive a bonus on each of these cards once per 24 month period, but now that has changed and you can only receive a bonus on one of the cards within 24 months. This amounts to more tightening on bonuses, but of course it also means that all Sapphire Reserve customers who received a bonus 12 months ago won’t be able to get a Sapphire Preferred bonus today.

Conclusion

Thankfully eligible customers should still be able to convert their Sapphire card to a Freedom and get another Sapphire card with a bonus as long as it has been 24 months, but this still is a change that will bother some. Given Chase’s overall losses on the Sapphire Reserve, it is clear they need to both save money and retain customers. This seems to be their attempt at doing that.

Will it work? Do you have an issue with these changes? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Awful timing for me personally. I drop to 4/24 next month and was waiting for that before 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). I’ve been holding off on applying for other credit cards to drop back under the 4/24.

  2. For me, I do not see this as a biggy. We were lucky to get the Reserve card and it is the only $450 card I am keeping. Already dropped the Prestige. Will soon drop the Amex Plat., and Ritz card is soon to be gone too. I think the benefits far outway the annual fee, not to mention some pretty valuable points too.

  3. This is both logical and reasonable for Chase although unfortunate for all of us. They spent a lot of money on those CSR sign up bonuses and need to recoup some of that through annual fees.

  4. This sucks for me. I still have no Sapphire card at all. I was hoping to get both in the future. Now, I guess I have to pick one.

  5. Not sure how this will effect things long term. I think it’s a mistake. Even is say a card holder does mfg. spend on one of these. They still get huge fees for most purchases. I think they would be smarter to just focus on the sign up bonus as they cost them real money.

  6. Not being a churner but never the less I did opt for the Chase Sapphire due to the sign up bonus ( I was already a long time Chase CC customer) I was impressed with the benefits offered and so far have been very happy to have the card. Again not a churner.

    I will say that I have been an Amex cardholder since 2002 Platinum averaging a 40 to 50K a month spend and pay and frankly getting tired of Amex jacking up rates and fees. When I got the card in 2002 they told me my card would not go up, really?

    With all due respects to the hackers etc I think a lot of this is coming to an end, and frankly I am glad.

    Just saying

  7. was considering upgrading to the reserve from preferred I am way over 5/24 rule but generate large amounts of chase points. Any indication they will bar in future pooling chase points to reserve card? the 50% redemption coupled with the $300 yearly credit would more then make the $450 fee worthwhile for me personally

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