Chase Has a Big New Restriction on Who Can Apply for Sapphire Cards

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Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Via Doctor of Credit Chase has shared new rules for its Sapphire cards with their branch bankers.

There are (3) different Sapphire cards — the no annual fee Sapphire, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, and the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. Presently it’s been possible to have more than one of those. Going forward you won’t be able to apply for one of these cards if you already have one of the others.

Here’s the memo:

Beginning August 27 our same-product eligibility requirements have been updated for all Sapphire Credit Card products, which include Chase Sapphire, Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Here’s a look at what’s new:

  • 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 continue to retain their Sapphire products as usual.
  • If existing Sapphire customers wish to upgrade or downgrade their product, they made 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 brand 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.

Sapphire Preferred is the better card for the bonus. The $450 annual fee Sapphire Reserve has stronger benefits and even faster earn.

If you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card you can product change to Chase Sapphire Reserve. But you cannot just apply for Chase Sapphire Reserve. And vice versa. Chase appears to be generally updating its terms to say,

The product is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card who received a new cardmember bonus within the last 24 months.

What’s interesting is that you can still cancel or downgrade your existing card, and then you should be eligible to apply for a new card (and receive its bonus). Don’t just cancel without spending your points, and the better strategy is to downgrade, for instance to the Chase Freedom Card, and then apply for the card you want (and move your points over from Freedom to your Sapphire so that the points transfer to airline miles and hotel points).

What I like about this — it’s clearly an attempt to limit Chase’s acquisition costs and improve the portfolio’s profitability by limiting signup bonuses for customers who already have one card in the family — is that unlike Citibank cancelling a card doesn’t restart the standard (Chase, Citi) 24 month clock to be eligible for a bonus.

These cards are generally subject to “5/24” meaning Chase doesn’t approve most customers who have opened 5 or more new card accounts in the last 24 months.

If you’re looking for Chase cards to apply to that aren’t subject to 5/24, consider:

  1. British Airways Visa Signature® Card was the first US credit card I’m aware of to ever offer a 100,000 point bonus in 2009. Their big bonus is back, and it’s structured as follows: 50,000 after $3,000 spend on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening; 25,000 after $10,000 total spend on purchases within your first year of account opening — for a total of 75,000 bonus Avios ($7000 additional spend on top of the first $3000 for 50,000 Avios.); an additional 25,000 after a total of $20,000 spend within your first year from account opening — for a total of 100,000 bonus Avios. (Offer expired)

  2. IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card lets you earn 80,000 bonus points after $1000 spend within 3 months. (Offer expired) There’s a free anniversary night each year valid at any participating IHG Rewards Club hotel, making it worth keeping the card.

    The card comes with platinum status and a 10% rebate on redemptions up to 100,000 points back each year.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

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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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 advertisers Citibank, Chase, American Express, Barclays, Capital One or any other advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.


  1. So, let’s recap, shall we? First, I had to wait to apply for the CSR, despite my good credit, because of the 5/24 rule¹. Next, I “lost” 50,000 UR points because — while I was waiting — Chase cut the sign-up from 100k to 50k. (Well, you can’t really lose something you never had, but still . . . ) Now, I can’t even HAVE a CSR because I have a CSP and even if I upgrade by swapping the CSP for the CSR, I’ll have “lost” the *remaining* 50k point signup bonus!

    Thank you, Chase . . . NOT!

    At least I’m no longer wondering whether or not I’m going to keep my Citi Prestige. (Good job, Chase.)

    ¹ I was over prior to the introduction of the CSR, and haven’t applied for anything since, as I wanted to get out from under the 5/24 rule and get a CSR card!

  2. Good timing for me. I was disappointed that I missed the big bonus on the Reserve because of 5/24. I had to wait until last month to acquire it. Now I feel fortunate. Thanks for alerting us. I will make sure my husband downgrades his Preferred before applying for the Reserve in a few months when he will be under 5/24.

  3. @Wendy — a) congratulations on last month’s acquisition, just in the nick of time; b) even if your husband downgrades his Preferred to a “non-Sapphire” card and is approved for the CSR, he won’t get any type of sign-up bonus with the new card — as I understand it — depending upon how long ago he acquired the CSP.

    (“The product is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card who received a new cardmember bonus within the last 24 months.”)

    @Gary —> Re-reading the above quote, does that mean you cannot apply for any Sapphire card if you received a bonus (i.e.: received a Sapphire card) w/in the past two years? In other words, you can’t get a CSR unless your CSP account is 25+ months old, is that right?

  4. A side note on Chase Safire. At the PGA tournament at Quail Hollow, I ran into a Chase surprise. Holders of Safire cards had access to an on-course Chase pavilion with free soft drinks, a/c, bar, burgers etc.,and live TV feed. Judging by how crowded the facility was, Safire cards are very popular.

  5. My wife continues to have a credit score above 800 and in the now long- past “glory days” was approved for (9) Chase Sapphire credit cards. Then the door closed with a sudden vengeance. Chase has since rejected my applications on her behalf starting with August 2016, followed by October 2016, January 2017. and March 2017. I can now relate to compulsive gamblers! While the pattern is established I have to re-apply….thinking maybe, just maybe. As the NY Lottery advertises: Hey! you never know!.

  6. @Jason Thanks. I double checked and he will be 25+ when he applies. So happy I pulled the trigger last month.

  7. Gary: Can you transfer Ultimate Rewards to airline partners if you have an Ink business card? Or is it only with the Sapphire card family?

  8. Wow. I recently applied for a Sapphire Preferred (have a Reserve already); now have two Sapphire Preferred since I got an extra one in exchange for the Fairmont card that was recently discontinued… will probably cancel one of them. Will hold on to the Preferred card for a year and use it for things that are only 1 UR point…. not really surprised there did this though.

  9. So I have had CSP for 5 years so bonus long past. Couldn’t get the CSR when it came out due to 5/24. I am now past 5/24, or will be shortly. If I cancel my my CSP can I then immediately apply for the CSR?

  10. @farsighted99, I too was Product Changed (PC) from a Fairmont to a CSP while already having a CSP. Called and PC’ed from the “Fairmont CSP” to the Chase Sapphire no annual fee card. Wanted to PC directly to a Chase Freedom, but this wasn’t allowed due to having had the Fairmont card for less than a year. Evidently, those who’ve held the Fairmont for more than a year can directly PC to a Chase Freedom or a Chase Freedom Unlimited.

  11. Me, too, JBL. Not so happy with Chase these days. May need to move my bank accounts, since they do me no favors. (Got a Private Client invite last month. No thanks.) They’ve completely tied the hands of the bank managers now and give them no flexibility to keep a very good customer happy. Hi, Citi!

  12. @Jason Brandt Lewis — same situation for me. Got denied Chase Reserved when it was 100K sign up bonus because of 5/24 and now it’s 50k. We actually canceled our CSP late last year because it had been compromised and, instead of just getting a replacement card, I had asked to have that “credit” transferred to a new CSR. Chase wouldn’t approve it, so I cancelled in a huff. (We still have the Business Ink.) So, if I’m reading this correctly, when I’m under 5/24, I can reapply for the CSR (with the 50K bonus) because whatever bonus I got from the Sapphire was many moons ago. Frustrating.

  13. Okay, So I will qualify for a Sapphire Bonus if I have had no Sapphire Bonus of any sort in 24 months?

  14. Gary — I have had the CSP since 2014, so it’s been well over 24 months since the last time I received a “new cardholder” bonus on a Sapphire product. The only other card I’ve opened since then was a Chase Freedom card. Based on this, I should be able to transfer my CSP UR points to my Freedom card, close my CSP account, and re-apply for the CSR without being rejected, right? (assuming there is no OTHER reason to deny my application — I have >800 credit score)

    I could upgrade the CSP to the CSR, but I want the 50 K UR sign-up bonus!

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