The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is easily one of the most popular travel rewards cards on the market, and it’s a fantastic starter card for those new to the world of points and miles. If you’re considering opening the Chase Sapphire Preferred card as your newest (or first) travel card, you may be wondering whether you’re likely to be accepted.
There are many factors an issuer like Chase takes into consideration when determining eligibility for applicants. Here’s a break down of each of those factors to help you determine whether you’re likely to be approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
How to Check Your Credit Score
Before you dive into what credit score is needed for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you need to know what your credit score is in the first place. But how should you go about finding out what it is?
If you already have a credit card open, then you’re probably in luck. Most credit card issuers you have an account with will offer a free credit score calculator.
But if that service isn’t available to you, you can also easily open an account on a site like Credit Karma. Credit Karma is free to use and can help you keep track of your score, it’s contributing factors, and any fraudulent activity. You can also check your credit score for free with each of the credit bureaus.
What Makes Up Your Credit Score
Now that you know what your credit score is, it’s important to have some knowledge of the 5 factors that comprise your score:
- Payment history
- Credit utilization
- Length of credit history
- New credit
- Credit mix
Credit scores can often be misleading if you don’t have all of the information. This is because a “great score” in the 700s will not matter much for approvals if you have little to no credit history.
Your payment history is responsible for 35% of your overall score, making it the most important of all 5 factors. To receive a high credit score, you need to show a history of on-time payments month after month. If you have a history of late payments (especially those that have occurred recently), you’re unlikely to get approved for a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
Hot Tip: Want to avoid missing a credit card payment? Most issuers allow you to set up auto-pay! This ensures you’ll never miss a payment and your account will remain in good standing.
Making up 30% of your overall credit score, credit utilization is the percentage of available credit that you have currently borrowed. For example, if you have a credit card with a $2,000 limit and make $600 in charges, when the statement posts your credit utilization will be 30%.
The lower you can keep your credit utilization, the better. If you’re constantly maxing out your credit cards each month (even if you’re paying off the balance in full), it will adversely impact your credit.
Hot Tip: One way to help keep your utilization low is to pay off all (or most) of your balance before your credit card’s billing statement posts. This is especially helpful if you’re just starting to build your credit and the card you’re using has a low credit limit.
Length of Credit History
Your length of credit history, or your average age of accounts, means how long each account has been open and how long it’s been since the account’s most recent action. This factor makes up 15% of your total credit score.
If your credit history is relatively new, it is important not to open up too many new accounts in a short timeframe. New accounts will lower your average account age, which will have a larger effect on your score if you don’t have a lot of other credit information.
The impact is not as significant as other categories, though — this factor makes up just 10% of your overall score.
Your credit mix makes up the final 10% of your credit score. While this category is generally the most confusing to people, data indicate that borrowers with a good mix of revolving credit and installment loans generally represent less risk for lenders.
In other words, if you have multiple forms of credit extended to you — say in the form of credit cards, car notes, student loans, or housing loans — you appear less risky to credit lenders.
Bottom Line: As you can see, just 3 factors make up 80% of your overall credit score. While it is true that opening a new credit card can negatively impact your overall age of accounts, the other factors can improve with a new account if you use it responsibly. Staying on top of the factors and knowing the various weights of each can help you identify areas where your score can improve.
What Credit Score is Needed for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card?
In our opinion, if you’re considering applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you should consider waiting until your score is at least a 700 (or higher).
Keep in mind, though, that there is no real “minimum requirement” — and there’s certainly no score that will guarantee your approval either. Applicants have been approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card with scores in the 600s and denied with scores in the 800s.
That 3-digit number is just 1 factor Chase considers before approving you for a new card. So what else matters when banks are determining whether or not to approve you?
Other Approval Considerations
Aside from your credit score, there are several other factors that can weigh heavily on whether a bank will approve you for a new credit card.
The stated income you list on your application plays a large role in your Chase Sapphire Preferred card approval odds, because the minimum credit limit for new cardholders is $5,000.
Due to this, Chase is not likely to extend that amount of credit to an applicant with relatively low income. We recommend that your annual income be at least $30,000 or higher before applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
Length of Credit
One issue that can be quite confusing if you’re new to credit is getting denied for a new credit card despite having a relatively high score. If this has happened to you, the cause might be your length of credit history.
To simplify, credit issuers deem people who are new to credit as riskier than those who have been responsibly using credit for many years. We recommend that you have at least 2 years or more of good credit history before applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
If you’re familiar with the world of credit card points and miles (if not, explore the Beginner’s Guide to Points and Miles), you may have heard about the Chase 5/24 rule at some point. If you haven’t yet, here it is:
- Chase will not approve applications for certain credit cards if the applicant has already opened 5 (or more) credit card accounts in the last 24 months.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is one of those cards affected by this rule. So if you’ve opened at least 5 new credit card accounts in the last 24 months, it is extremely unlikely you would be approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
Bottom Line: Your overall credit score is just 1 part of the equation. In order to get approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you also need a solid income, good credit history, and fewer than 5 new accounts in the last 24 months.
Tips to Boost Your Credit Score
So if your credit score isn’t high enough to get approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, what are some things you can do to improve it?
Well for starters, don’t lose hope! Your credit, like most things, can be improved with the right strategy and enough time.
Get a Starter Credit Card
If you have a low credit score or have never had a credit card at all, you’ll likely struggle to get approved for most credit cards.
In this case, opening a secured credit card or a card with a low limit is usually the best option. If you successfully manage the card by making on-time payments, your score will begin to improve relatively quickly.
Hot Tip: Looking to repair or build your credit? The Platinum Credit Card from Capital One® is a great option that offers no annual fee, fraud coverage, and access to a higher credit limit after making your first 5 monthly payments on time. Interested in some other options? Explore the best secured credit cards for those with low or no credit.
Get Added as an Authorized User
Being added as an authorized user on someone else’s credit card can make a big difference to your score. It can help lower your credit utilization, improve your payment history, and increase the average age of your accounts.
Be mindful, though — you only want to ask someone to add you as an authorized user if they are responsible with their credit. If you’re an authorized user on the account of someone who regularly carries a high balance and misses payments, this can negatively impact your score (even though you aren’t the main account holder).
Get Errors Removed
If there are any inaccuracies or potential cases of fraud on your credit report, they can greatly impact your score. This is why you should regularly monitor your credit report (using a free resource) to ensure everything is as it should be.
If you see anything that seems suspicious or inaccurate, you should definitely attempt to dispute the credit error. Depending on the severity of the error, you could see a major change in your credit score.
If you’re in the market for a great points and miles credit card, especially one that earns Ultimate Rewards points, you should definitely consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred card to see if it’s worth it for you.
You stand a solid chance of approval if your credit score, income, and credit history are all in check, and you’ve opened fewer than 5 Chase new accounts in the last 24 months. If not, stay on track with on-time payments and keep your balances low until you’re ready to apply!
Did you recently apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card? Share your application experiences with us in the comments below!