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The Wall Street Journal is covering Chase’s hire of Matthew Massaua from Barclaycard to run the Sapphire Reserve product. I had heard this word on the street some weeks ago. Matt ran partnerships for Barclaycard, and is universally well-regarded.
The Sapphire Reserve Card has been hugely popular but was very expensive for Chase, they even had to file with the SEC when new cardmember acquisition costs were materially above projection. That led to some doubt that they’d ever make money on the portfolio. That will become Matt’s job when he starts at Chase January 1.
Here’s Matt offering a toast at the Freddie Awards earlier this year.
Chase reports that so far Sapphire Reserve card renewals are over 90% and ‘better than expectation’ but they acknowledge it’s early to predict much from the data since the card is only just over a year old.
Overall Chase card account signups in the third quarter were down 30% year-over-year from 2.7 million to 1.9 million, attributable to having launched both Sapphire Reserve and the new Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card (which still has its outsized signup bonus) during that period a year ago.
Sapphire Reserve signups have naturally softened since its big introductory signup bonus is gone, and the ability to double dip on its travel credit in the first year is gone. In fact the $0 annual fee the first year ($95 after that) Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has the same 50,000 points after $4000 spent within 3 months signup bonus, and even offers a bigger bonus since it also offers 5000 points for adding a no annual fee authorized user card and making a purchase within the same time period.