Chase Making a Significant Change to the Sapphire Reserve Travel Credit For New Applicants


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Chase Freedom New 5X Categories

Sapphire Reserve Annual Travel Credit Changes

Chase made huge waves and perhaps changed the premium credit card market forever with the launch of the Sapphire Reserve last year. The card became incredibly popular among Millennials and the bank has touted its success despite the steep customer acquisition costs.

Of course gravy trains don’t run forever and I’m sure they now have enough data to start tweaking the card to make it cost them less money. First we saw the halving of the 100K launch bonus and now they are making a big change to how the $300 travel credit works.

A Big Change to the Credit

Previously cardmembers would get the $300 travel credit once each calendar year. This meant that you could get the credit twice in your first year with the card. For example I got the card last August and was able to get my 2016 credit and have already maxed out my $300 credit for 2017. That means if I cancel when the fee is due, I will have already received $600 in credits.

As of May 21, this will change for new cardmembers. From then on, the credit will be once per cardmember year, meaning it won’t be easy to double dip any longer. Here are the new terms from the Chase website:

A statement credit will automatically be applied to your account when your card is used for purchases in the travel category, up to an annual maximum accumulation of $300. 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 applications submitted before May 21, 2017, 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.)

At this time it isn’t known whether they will send out notices to current cardholders to eventually change how the credit is calculated, but as of now those who have the card and those who get it before May 21, 2017 should continue on the calendar year calculation method.

Apply Now?

If you are under 5/24 and were already planning to apply then it might be worth considering this card before May 21, 2017 simply because it will be $300 more beneficial to do so. Hopefully many/most of you were able to get the card back when the 100K bonus was around. Chase also tends to raise bonuses every so often, so getting the 50K now means you won’t be eligible for a higher bonus if it comes around again later.


It will be an interesting time at Chase the next few months as they see how well they can retain their new Sapphire Reserve customers when that annual fee comes due. I suspect we might see more tweaks as the bank looks to eliminate unpopular benefits and seeks to manage the costs of this successful but expensive product.

What are your thoughts? Does this change the value of the Sapphire Reserve significantly for you?

HT: Doctor of Credit via Travel After Work

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  1. My CSR is easily my most used card of choice when traveling, and often times gets used in non-bonus category situations when merchants do not accept Amex. My local grocery store, for instance does not accept Amex. I actually think the change is fair. I received my CSR rebate this year already as well, and my card anniversary is not until fall. While the extra $300 is nice, I think it would’ve been totally reasonable of Chase to make me wait a full calander year to be able to receive it again.

  2. It was already effective a month ago, I used my 2016 $300 credit in Dec and spent about $200 on travel last month, no credit. So I called Chase and was told I will only get another $300 this coming Dec.

  3. so what to do as the annual fee comes up in August/September? what should I turn it into?
    Our connections are usually way to tight to lounge it. And there is no lounge is my city.
    Do I downgrade or cancel?

    • I think if you travel often and want to keep a premium card from Chase then the Sapphire Preferred can be a good solution. If not, a Freedom or Freedom Unlimited are worth looking at.


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