Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Testing Higher Fees: Consider Signing Up Now

Scott at HackMyTrip writes,

Wandering Aramean found that Chase is doing some research on its new applicants, offering variable annual fees that range from $95 to $149. All of them still waive the fee the first year, but it is worrying that they may be planning to make this card more expensive.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is the best all-around frequent flyer points card and the best for beginners.

It’s the card I’d tell people to get if they could only have one.

That’s because:

  • it’s got a strong bonus, 40,000 points after $3000 spend within 3 months plus 5000 more if you add an authorized user and make a purchase
  • it’s a great card for earning, double points on all travel and dining
  • it’s great for foreign travel with no foreign currency transaction fees
  • it earns one of the most valuable points currencies, since points transfer to a variety of airlines (United, British Airways, Korean, Virgin Atlantic, Southwest), hotel chains (Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, IHG Rewards), and even Amtrak

The annual fee is $0 the first year and $95 thereafter.

Personally I would sign up now, rather than sign up after under an offer that comes with a higher annual fee.

(Note that cards in this post offer credit to me if you’re approved using my links. The opinions, analyses, and evaluations here are mine. The content is not provided or commissioned by American Express, by Chase, by Citibank, US Bank, Bank of America, Barclays or any other company. They have not reviewed, approved or endorsed what I have to say.)

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. don’t really see why this is a “PANIC: SIGN UP NOW” moment…

    All of the offers shown are for the first year free. theres no indication that that will change for future offers. and then in the future, if the annual fee goes up, it will go up for everyone, regardless of “which offer you signed up for”.

    Just my two cents

  2. Ditto. Nothing prevents Chase from increasing the annual fee for existing customers. It isn’t illegal. So there’s no guarantee it won’t be going up for everybody.

    That said to offset $95 you need to earn at least 6,333 UR points, so the first $3,000 to $6,000 you put on the card is wasted (ignoring the value you get from having ONE of the Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink). At $149 its almost $10,000.

    At $149 I would keep exactly one of the Sapphire Preferred and Ink Bold/Plus. The other would move to the NAF. And I’d keep whichever one was cheaper. So if the Sapphire Preferred moved to $149 and the Ink Bold was still $95, I’d downgrade the Sapphire Preferred to the Sapphire (or cancel it and apply for the NAF for the bonus while making sure my UR points were safe in the interim). Something Gary has advised before, but that will become more important if this fee increase goes through.

    Personally I’d want to see the Preferred with a substantially higher bonus offer if the fee moves up. I mean the Amex Gold is often available with 75K or 100K points so 40K UR isn’t really that much.

    Especially in the post-devaluation world.

  3. $149 card is already up, I rechecked and apparently that’s what I signed up for by mistake just last weekend 🙁

  4. @Gary

    I actually thought I was! I had two windows open to see if anything is different and then… it being 2 in the morning and all, I forgot what I was doing.

  5. 🙂

    Well, sorry to hear you got the more expensive version. At least it’s still $0 the first year either way!

  6. Would’ve been more ok with this news had CSP continued to be a strong card without a peer, but the Barclay Arrival might make more sense now if you redeem for travel.

  7. Since my 86 ‘ing from Chase, I have taken to sending back their ad mail in their sealed return address postage paid envelopes. Year, sure, it costs maybe 50 cents, but if they are dumb enough to fill my mail box with junk mail they deserve it.
    The $1 I cost them today makes me feel better than 6 months of anti-depressants.
    I wish I had though of this a long time ago. I think I have cost them a full $2 this year but it’s the thought that counts. I should maybe be using Netspend’s return address

  8. I signed up for the short duration 50,000 bonus point/$125 annual fee version of the card. Was planning to ask them to reduce the fee to $95 come renewal time. We’ll see….

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