Chase Imposes New Bonus Restriction for Sapphire Cards

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American Express will only give you the initial bonus on a card once in your lifetime per product. However lifetime means as long as American Express shows you as having had the card in the past. There’s a good chance, for instance, that the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card I had around 2003 isn’t on my list anymore so it may be possible for me to get the initial offer of 60,000 miles after $3,000 spend within the first 4 months of cardmembership that expires September 19. If you aren’t sure whether you’ve had an American Express card before, ask via online chat.

Citibank says you cannot have opened or closed a card in the last 24 months in order to get its bonus again. And they’ve treated some cards in the same ‘family’ (the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® and Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®, the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card and Prestige) for this purpose, too.

Chase has both 5/24 for some cards — that you probably won’t be approved if you’ve had 5 or more new cards approved by any issuer in the last 24 months — as well as a limitation of one bonus per card in the past 24 months.

Currently some cards like the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and The World Of Hyatt Credit Card seem to be exempt from 5/24, but that’s expected to expand to more cards in the future.

In order to be eligible for a new cardmember bonus you cannot,

  1. currently have the card
  2. have received a bonus for the card in the past 24 months

Chase treats some products as a ‘family’ for this purpose. You cannot have received a bonus for any Sapphire card under this rule, not just the one you’re applying for. And for Sapphire cards they’ve expanded it from 24 months to 48 months.

You have to wait four years between bonuses for Sapphire cards — whether a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or one of its sibings.

I do get the balancing act they’re trying for here.

  • On the one hand they want to offer a past cardmember an initial bonus again if they were a valuable cardmember and perhaps gave up a United card after the David Dao incident. Someone that has been a valuable cardmember before is more likely than average to be one again.

  • On the other hand they don’t want to keep investing large sums in acquisition bonuses for customers who won’t become profitable by keeping the product and continuing to put spending on it. In the case of the Reserve they expected it to take 6-7 years for a customer to break even, they can’t make money investing in acquisition bonuses for the same customer every two years.

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, 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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  1. Screw Chase they are being so stingy. They bait & switched us with the 100K welcome bonus for the CSR

  2. It was nice while it lasted, but I can see that the era of flying the world on enrollment bonuses is gradually but surely declining for those of us who have been at it a while, and I really can’t blame them for changing their rules. A newcomer could still do very well for a few years.

    You can add BoA with its Alaska cards to the list of those getting much more restrictive. Though I’m not sure what the rules are now exactly, I got turned down a couple of weeks ago for “too many recent applications.” That used to be an easy one.

    Luckily the flip side is that we’re seeing paid fares across the Atlantic and Pacific at historic lows right now (I don’t know how long that will last if fuel prices rise), so the importance of miles redemptions is relatively less than it was a few years ago.

  3. Nice to see the churners finally getting shot down. But strange there is not a peep on the numerous reports of Chase customers experiencing a complete shutdown of all accounts, with no notice. 5/24 is now only an entry bar, but not the final word from Chase.

  4. Barclays uses (just introduced?) 5/24 as well. I just got turned down for the AA card with an unambiguous “more than 5 cards opened in the last 24 months”.

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