Over the weekend, an internal Chase memo appeared online that worried the miles and points community. The memo indicated that from this point on, it would be much more difficult to earn a sign-up bonus on multiple Chase Sapphire cards.
Yesterday it was confirmed that this change has indeed gone into effect.
The Original Memo
Note that although the memo is dated August 28, it indicated that the outlined changes actually went into effect on August 27. Beginning this week, anyone who has a Sapphire card of any type open, or has received a sign-up bonus for any type of Sapphire card in the last 24 months, will not be eligible for the sign-up bonus on a new Sapphire card.
Specifically, Chase is now grouping all of the Sapphire cards under the same product umbrella when it comes to honoring sign-up bonuses and holding multiple cards.
The Updated Terms
The offer terms for all 3 Sapphire cards have been updated on the Chase site, both in the detailed terms and on the landing page for the card offers. Chase provided no public notice for this change, and it may catch some customers off guard if they don’t pay attention to all the details of the offer they are applying for.
What This Means
Chase has 3 versions of the Sapphire card: the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, and the base Sapphire. All 3 of these cards fall under Chase’s 5/24 rules, so many people who apply for a lot of credit cards are not eligible for their sign-up bonuses anyway.
The major takeaway from this is that Chase is starting to group cards together into families to limit sign-up bonuses. We have seen this from Citi for quite some time, but this is the first time Chase has expanded their limitations in this way. It appears to be an attempt to limit the losses they are seeing from the huge sign-up bonus and generous benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card.
Luckily, unlike Citi, Chase has not included the cancellation or downgrade of a Sapphire card as a reason that they will not give you a new bonus. This makes things a bit easier: you can hold on to one version of the Sapphire and then after 24 months, cancel it before you apply for a new version. With Citi, you have to wait 24 months after canceling.
Overall, this change will not have a huge effect on heavy miles and points earners. Most of us have not been able to get any of the Sapphire cards with a bonus for awhile now. It will, however, impact people just getting into this hobby.
This change effectively limits a person to 1 Sapphire bonus in the first 2 years; they’ll likely be above 5/24 by the time they are eligible for another. New applicants will have to pick one card or the other.
It is sad, but understandable to see Chase make these changes. They have been losing money on the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card and need to save somewhere. Let’s just hope we don’t see any more negative changes coming down the line.