Signed Up for Sapphire Reserve? Do This With Your Sapphire Preferred

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Someone just getting involved in the hobby is a hard sell on a $450 annual fee card (even with the $300 travel credit). They should get the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card first, get sold on it, and get Sapphire Reserve later.

Someone new to the hobby won’t likely have had very many new cards in the last 24 months.

Sapphire Reserve is an exciting product, though — with the opportunity to earn a 100,000 point signup bonus, triple points on travel and dining, and Priority Pass lounge access plus a $300 annual travel credit.

If you have Sapphire Reserve, and haven’t yet gotten a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card keep that one on your radar. But most people will go the other way around.

And in fact there’s not a strong reason to keep both on an ongoing basis.

Don’t cancel your Sapphire Preferred Card. Product-change it instead.

I suggest product-changing to the no annual fee Chase Freedom Unlimited card. That’s because it earns 1.5 points per dollar on all spend, and you can then move the points over to your premium Chase card whose points transfer to miles and points. Then use it for all of your spend that doesn’t earn a bonus. You’ll earn a minimum of 1.5 points per dollar and those points can be used for United miles, Hyatt points, moved to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, etc.

  • If you’ve already had several new cards in the past two years, you can product change to a new one even if you might be less likely to be approved for a new card.

  • When you product change you give up signup bonus on the new card, so it’s best to use this technique for a card whose signup bonus isn’t its key feature.

It earns 3x at US supermarkets, and 2x at US gas stations. Supermarket bonus earn is capped at your first $6000 in spend each year. Thirty swipes in a billing cycle will get you a 50% bonus on all of your points-earning for that month — and the bonus even applies to the supermarket and gas station bonus categories (so supermarkets are up to 4.5 points per dollar).

Most importantly it means that as long as you’re making 30 purchases per billing cycle you’re earning a minimum of 1.5 points per dollar on all spend.

However if you already have a Sapphire Preferred, you can use that account in a new way without a new application or paying an ongoing annual fee. You can either call Chase or secure message them through your account to request a product change.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

Comments

  1. my wife just tried to downgrade her sapphire preferred to the freedom unlimited (she already has the freedom) and was told this:

    “Upon review of your account, our records show that at this
    time, I’m unable to change your account to Chase Freedom
    account. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause
    you. Alternatively, you have the option to change your
    account to Chase Sapphire Visa Signature account which
    doesn’t have annual fee. Hence, if you wish to continue
    with this change, please reply to this email and we will
    be glad to provide you with the additional information.

    As an alternative, you may apply for a new Chase Freedom
    product.
    New applications are available online at our secure
    website. Please visit our website for the most current
    offers and terms available:
    http://www.creditcards.chase.com

    When selecting the credit card that best meets your needs,
    please remember that our policy no longer allows for
    customers to have more than one credit card in the same
    product. Applications for a card product you already have
    may not be eligible for approval.”

    she sent a 2nd secure message to them saying she didnt want a 2nd freedom, but a freedom unlimited in addition to her freedom and got virtually the same answer.

  2. I got my Reserve card a couple of weeks ago, and last week, I “downgraded” my CSP for a Chase Freedom. I asked if this would count as a new card or pull and was told no. I’m glad there was an easy way to supplement the Reserve card, and the signup bonus is small enough that the additional earn should cover things.

  3. I’ve recently downgraded as well. But there’s one question bouncing around I haven’t seenoticed answered – what happens to travel plans/flights that were purchased when the card was a sapphire preferred? Do the same protections apply even though it’s now a freedom unlimited?

  4. @Doug

    I got a CSP 11 months ago… Tried to downgrade after getting CSR and was told the account needs to be at least a year old. Maybe similar situation to your wife?

  5. Tried to downgrade from Sapphire Preferred to Freedom Unlimited. Unfortunately already have the regular Freedom card, rep said can’t have both. Just closed the account as we like the rotating 5x categories

  6. I have same concern as Katrina. Several flights with CSP coming up end of year. Have CSR and putting all spend on this now. Want to downgrade to Freedom unlimited but concerned trip protection coverage on those flights with CSPwill be denied, if claim filed.
    Any answers??

  7. Solid expert advice on this!

    BEST COMBOS
    CSR + Chase Freedom + Chase Freedom Unlimited
    AMEX PRG + AMEX EveryDay Preferred

    Your default cards become the Chase Freedom Unlimited or the AMEX EveryDay Preferred.

    I still haven’t found a good use for Citi’s Thank You Points to make it worth expanding to a third program.

    I love the SPG Points with AMEX, but the Marriott/SPG merger has that in limbo. So for now, aside from one-off sign up bonuses, I am concentrating the strategy on these Chase and AMEX cards.

    I also have the Arrival+ Barclays card, Discover It and US Bank Cash+, but those strictly cash back options and the AMEX Blue cards don’t do much for me. Discover has the best customer service, but that does not get me to Europe roundtrip in business class. Rewards make me feel special. I am want to feel special.

  8. If I can get sign up bonus (have not opened many new cards in last 2 years) should I cancel Chase Preferred and open chase freedom unlimited instead of just product-switching? Sign up bonus is not great but still $150. Any reason I should not do this besides hard pull on credit?

  9. Gary and all,
    Has Chase been willing to waive the $450 annual Reserve fee for product change Preferred holders (who wouldn’t get the 100K bonus points anyway)?

  10. I recommend downgrading to the SLATE. The reason being, you can then sign up separately for the Freedom cards and get their bonuses (which may increase down the road), whereas if you downgrade to the Freedom, you won’t be eligible for any sign-up bonuses.

  11. @Laura

    I was contemplating doing something similar. My only hesitation is that the CSP is my 2nd oldest credit card account. Dropping that account completely will really drop the average age of my accounts on my credit card and probably harm my credit score. Not a deal breaker, there are worse things that can happen. But, it’s part of my thought process. I have almost a year to decide, though.

  12. I got the CSP in early 2016. Applied for the CSR last week and got turned down due to the 5/24 rule (I’ve gotten a few other cards recently, but only 1 was Chase so thought I’d skate on the 5/24 rule). Doe Chase ever grant appeals of that ruling ?

  13. I admit this is a rather backwards question. But does anyone have some insight or best guess as to whether Chase would have any issue approving a new CSP application if I already have the CSR? I’m under 5/24, and jumped on the CSR at launch. Chalk it up to newbie point chasing problems (going after bigger sign-ups first then proceeding backwards).

    Common sense says this is fine, but intuitively it looks like exactly what it is; point chasing… :/

    Thanks!

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