Chase Adds Limitation for Sapphire Family of Credit Cards

Chase Bank

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

Chase Sapphire Memo
Thanks to Doctor of Credit, here is a copy of the original memo that was sent out within the Chase organization.

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

Sapphire Reserve Bonus Terms
The bonus terms for each of the cards in the Sapphire family have been updated on the Chase site to reflect the changes indicated in the memo.

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
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