Edited by: Juan Ruiz
& Keri Stooksbury
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One of the most in-demand credit cards in the U.S., as well as one of the most prestigious, is the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. With striking rewards and benefits, most of us who value travel — especially luxury travel — have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
But what if you’ve opened the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, given it a try, and just aren’t 100% convinced that it’s the right card for your needs?
Well, in this guide, we’ll show you how to figure out if you should downgrade your Chase Sapphire Reserve card, what your downgrade options are, and identify who may benefit the most from downgrading a Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
So if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card and are contemplating closing your card instead of downgrading, you’ll want to make sure you consider all of the implications.
To start, by closing your card, you’ll lose all of your credit history from the moment you initially opened the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. However, you’ll only lose the credit history after it falls off of your credit report 10 years later.
Also, when you close your card, your credit utilization ratio will decrease, since you’re effectively losing access to an available credit line.
In general, it’s much better to downgrade your card because you get to maintain that precious credit history and keep your credit utilization ratio as is, even if you don’t intend on using the card often thereafter.
Before we get into the reasons why certain people should downgrade their Chase Sapphire Reserve cards, let’s walk through how easy it is to downgrade your Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
Follow these simple steps:
Hot Tip: If you’re on the fence about closing your Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you can always check first with the phone agent for any available retention offers.
So after all is said and done, the question remains: who should downgrade their Chase Sapphire Reserve card?
In this final section, we’ll outline the prime candidates who should downgrade their Chase Sapphire Reserve cards.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card has one of the most generous definitions of travel, which means you can earn 3x Ultimate Rewards points on a variety of different types of travel-related purchases.
This includes Airbnbs, tolls, hotel stays, airfare booked outside of Chase Ultimate Rewards, and so on.
Indeed, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card’s value proposition will drop markedly if you don’t spend a lot on travel.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is known for offering excellent travel benefits outside of rewards.
For example, you’ll get airport lounge access courtesy of the Priority Pass Select membership, a $300 travel credit every cardmember anniversary, and a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck/NEXUS application fee credit.
If you don’t need any of these fancy perks, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card can feel more like a cost than a source of value.
In that case, it might not be worth keeping the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. If you happen to downgrade to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, though, you’ll still enjoy some much-appreciated travel insurance coverages.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card earns an impressive 3x points on dining, so you might be wondering why we’d recommend downgrading your card if it earns 3x points.
The main reason why is that the Chase Sapphire Preferred card actually earns even better rewards on dining with its 10% anniversary bonus, to be exact.
So if you spend a lot on dining every month, you’re missing out on rewards by not downgrading to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card doesn’t offer any outsized rewards on grocery purchases. It earns 1x points.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card, on the other hand, earns 3x points on online grocery purchases, excluding Target, Walmart, and warehouse clubs, and the 10% anniversary bonus could make a big difference in the long run.
If you spend a lot on online groceries every month, you’ll definitely want to have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card instead.
If at the end of the day, you just can’t fathom paying the annual fee on the Chase Sapphire Reserve card even with its robust benefits, you’ll want to downgrade your Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
Importantly, downgrading allows you to either reduce or eliminate your annual fee while preserving your credit history, so it’s the best outcome possible.
Having an ultra-premium credit card isn’t for everyone, and Chase makes it easy for you to change your mind if you just can’t justify the annual fee.
You can choose to downgrade your Chase Sapphire Reserve card to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or Chase Sapphire card. You can even downgrade to the Chase Freedom Unlimited® or Chase Freedom Flex℠, but for today’s purposes, we’ll focus on the Sapphire family of cards.
The 2 most well-known cards in the Sapphire family are the Chase Sapphire Reserve card and Chase Sapphire Preferred card. The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is the ultra-premium version, while the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is the mid-tier premium product. However, Chase also issues a no-annual-fee card known simply as the Chase Sapphire® Card (not available to new applicants).
In this section, we’ll go through each of the 3 cards’ benefits individually; after that, we’ll compare the benefits head-to-head.
A top player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points on travel and dining while offering top luxury perks.
If you’re looking for an all-around excellent travel rewards card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the best options out there.
The card combines elite travel benefits and perks like airport lounge access, with excellent point earning and redemption options. Plus it offers top-notch travel insurance protections to keep you covered whether you’re at home or on the road.
Don’t forget the $300 annual travel credit which really helps to reduce the annual fee!
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which you might already have, is an ultra-premium credit card at a substantial price point, offering impressive luxury travel benefits.
Currently, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card can earn you up to 10x Ultimate Rewards points:
Just to give you an idea of how rewarding this card is, we value 10x points as being worth a tremendous 20% return on spending, which is absolutely worth noting. Similarly, 5x, 3x, and 1x points are worth 10%, 6%, and 2%, based on our valuations.
But what makes this card attractive for many people is its luxury travel benefits:
You’ll also have purchase protection, extended warranty, return protection, and no foreign transaction fees.
As you can see, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card benefits frequent or enthusiastic travelers the most.
A fantastic travel card with a huge welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is one of the best travel rewards cards on the market. Its bonus categories include travel, dining, online grocery purchases, and streaming services, which gives you the opportunity to earn lots of bonus points on these purchases.
Additionally, it offers flexible point redemption options, no foreign transaction fees, and excellent travel insurance coverage including primary car rental insurance. With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why this card is an excellent choice for any traveler.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card doesn’t offer the same extensive luxury travel benefits as the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. However, in some ways, it offers better rewards and a higher value proposition if you’re not interested in luxury travel.
Specifically, you can still earn up to 5x Ultimate Rewards points, which is equivalent to a 10% return on spending:
Your rewards can get boosted even further with the card’s 10% anniversary rewards bonus, which is offered after every account anniversary year. That brings your maximum return on spending from 10% to 10.2%.
As you can see, the rewards on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card tend to hinge more on lifestyle than travel, judging from the dining, online grocery purchases, and select streaming services categories. Still, you can get outsized rewards when booking travel, so don’t write off this card for travel rewards.
Also, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card enjoys a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards hotel credit, a complimentary DoorDash DashPass subscription (activate by December 31, 2024), a $10 monthly Gopuff credit through December 31, 2023, and 6 months of Instacart+ with $15 in credit per quarter (enroll by July 31, 2024). You’ll also receive a 25% redemption bonus (1.25 cents per point) on Chase Ultimate Rewards bookings and Pay Yourself Back and excellent travel insurance.
Lastly, you’ll note that this card comes with purchase protection, extended warranty, no foreign transaction fees, and fee-free authorized user cards.
The Chase Sapphire card isn’t open to new applicants any longer, but downgrades are still being permitted. So if you’re somehow unable to break even on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you can still downgrade to this card and avoid an annual fee.
Currently, the Chase Sapphire card offers that awesome DoorDash DashPass membership, as long as you activate it by December 31, 2024.
In addition, you’ll enjoy a 6-month complimentary Instacart+ membership and up to $15 per quarter in Instacart statement credits through July 31, 2024 after enrolling in your complimentary Instacart+ membership.
You can even access travel protection benefits, including trip cancellation and interruption insurance, rental car coverage, trip delay coverage, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, travel accident insurance, travel and emergency assistance, and roadside dispatch.
Lastly, the Chase Sapphire card has zero liability protection, fraud protection, purchase protection, extended warranty, contactless payments, and fee-free authorized users.
So we’ve laid out all of the benefits associated with each of the cards in the Sapphire family. But if you’re still confused as to what, exactly, sets the card apart from each of the other products in the Sapphire family, you’ll love this section.
In this section, we’ll show you each of the benefits, tabulated, so you can easily compare and contrast each card’s features.
|Benefit||Chase Sapphire Reserve Card||Chase Sapphire Preferred Card||Chase Sapphire Card|
|Lyft Purchases (Through March 31, 2025)||10x||5x||1x|
|Hotels, Car Rentals, and Chase Dining Booked Through Chase Ultimate Rewards||10x||5x||1x|
|Flights Booked Through Chase Ultimate Rewards||5x||5x||1x|
|Travel Purchases (Not Booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards)||3x||2x||1x|
|Online Grocery Purchases (Excluding Walmart, Target, and Warehouse Clubs)||1x||3x||1x|
|Select Streaming Services||1x||3x||1x|
|Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal Redemption Bonus||50% (1.5 cents per point)||25% (1.25 cents per point)||None|
|Pay Yourself Back Redemption Bonus||50% (1.5 cents per point)||25% (1.25 cents per point)||None|
|Complimentary Priority Pass Select Membership||X||–||–|
|TSA PreCheck/Global Entry/NEXUS Application Fee Credit||X||–||–|
|Chase Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection||X||–||–|
|$10 Monthly Gopuff Credit (Through December 31, 2023)||X||X||–|
|$50 Annual Chase Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit||–||X||–|
|$300 Annual Travel Credit||X||–||–|
|DoorDash Benefits||Complimentary DashPass membership (activate by December 31, 2024) and $5 in monthly DoorDash credits||Complimentary DashPass membership (activate by December 31, 2024)|
|Primary Rental Car Insurance||Offered, covers up to $75,000 of coverage||Offered, excluding “high value” and “exotic” cars|
|Roadside Assistance||Premium roadside assistance (complimentary service up to $50 per service call, up to 4 service calls per year)||Basic ($59.95 per service call)|
|Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance||Up to $10,000 per person (up to $20,000 per trip)||Up to $10,000 per person (up to $20,000 per trip)||Up to $5,000 per person (up to $10,000 per trip)|
|Trip Delay Coverage||Up to $500 per ticket for delays of more than 6 hours (or requiring an overnight stay)||Up to $500 per ticket for delays of at least 12 hours (or requiring an overnight stay)||Up to $500 per ticket for delays of more than 6 hours (or requiring an overnight stay)|
|Lost Luggage Reimbursement||Up to $3,000 per person|
|Emergency Evacuation and Transportation||Up to $100,000 in coverage||–||–|
|Travel Accident Insurance||Up to $1,000,000 in coverage||Up to $500,000 in coverage|
|Purchase Protection||Up to $10,000 per claim (up to $50,000 in claims per year)||Up to $500 per claim (up to $50,000 in claims per year)||Up to $10,000 per claim (up to $50,000 in claims per year)|
|No Foreign Transaction Fees||X||X||–|
|Fee for Authorized Users||$75 per authorized user||$0||$0|
Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the Chase Sapphire card is that some of the travel insurance benefits outperform those of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card has a hefty price tag, but the $300 travel credit, Global Entry/TSA PreCheck/NEXUS credit, and complimentary Priority Pass Select membership offer so much value that it could be worth the annual fee.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card doesn’t offer any of those perks, but the annual fee is a small fraction of the annual fee on the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Plus, the rewards categories are totally different and focus more on lifestyle benefits.
Lastly, the Chase Sapphire card is the most bare-bones offering; surprisingly, it’s still worth considering. That’s because you’ll get 2x points on dining and substantial travel insurance without an annual fee.
Hot Tip: If you’re considering downgrading your Chase Sapphire Reserve card to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, check out our complete head-to-head comparison guide!
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is one of the best travel rewards credit cards out there. We think that this is one of the best ultra-premium cards available, especially if you’re a frequent traveler.
But, in some instances, it may make sense to stop holding the Chase Sapphire Reserve card based on your financial or personal preferences.
You should almost always consider downgrading your card instead of closing it outright, and you can downgrade your card just by calling the number on the back of your card.
All in all, there are plenty of other options to get value from your spending by downgrading your Chase Sapphire Reserve card, so you should be happy whether or not you make a change to your account.
The information regarding the Chase Sapphire® Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Chase Freedom Flex℠ was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
Yes, you can! However, your card must be open for at least 1 year before you can downgrade it. You paid the annual fee for a year, so you might as well get the full year’s worth of value from it!
Just call the number on the back of your Chase Sapphire Reserve card, explain to the representative that you’d like to downgrade your card, and follow the instructions over the phone.
In general, you can’t downgrade your Chase Sapphire Reserve card to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and expect to get another bonus.
This is due to the “One Sapphire” rule, whereby you can only hold Sapphire-branded card, whether it’s the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, Chase Sapphire Preferred card, or Chase Sapphire card.
Yes, but we recommend downgrading it instead of closing it! You’ll keep your credit history and credit utilization ratio, which can help your credit score.
In general, no. Downgrading your credit card won’t show up as a new account, most of the time, so you’ll maintain your credit history and preserve your credit utilization ratio by downgrading your card.
For the right person, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is still worth it. If you like luxury travel benefits and spend a lot of money on travel, it’s a no-brainer.
Yes, you can call the number on the back of your card to downgrade your Chase Sapphire Reserve card to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
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