Chase Hired A New Executive To Run The Sapphire Reserve Card

Filed Under: Chase

Last August Chase introduced the Sapphire Reserve Card, which quickly became one of the hottest new credit cards in the market. When the card was first introduced it had a massive 100,000 point sign-up bonus (redeemable for $1,500 worth of travel), which caused a lot of people to sign up. Chase exceeded their 12-month sales target on the card within two weeks of when it was introduced, which is insane.

For consumers, the card is actually lucrative long term. It has a $450 annual fee, but offers triple points on dining and travel, a $300 annual travel credit, a Priority Pass membership, enhanced redemption opportunities, and much more.

The card has been really expensive for Chase upfront. Between the sign-up bonus worth $1,500 (which isn’t available anymore) and the razor thin margins for Chase (given how rewarding the card is for spend), many have suggested that Chase won’t break even on the card for over five years.

Back in July we learned that Chase was pushing for $200 million in cost cuts in the unit that oversees the card. Furthermore, while the upfront investment cost Chase a lot, this year they’re reporting decreased new card openings compared to last year, given how many people signed up for the card.

Now that the card has been around for a bit over a year, the good news for Chase is that a vast majority of people are reportedly renewing the card.

So while we don’t know all the details yet, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that there will be a new executive in charge of the Chase Sapphire Reserve as of January 1, 2018. Specifically, Matthew Massaua, who used to be in charge of partnerships and small business cards at Barclaycard, will be at the helm of the popular Sapphire Reserve.

We’ll have to wait and see what this means for the card, though presumably it will represent at least some change in strategy over what they’re doing now.

Fortunately I don’t think they’ll be making huge changes. Chase has already incurred most of the cost of the Sapphire Reserve upfront in terms of the big sign-up bonuses, so they don’t want to do anything radical that will cause people to cancel, since that would make it even tougher for them to breakeven on the card.

However, we’ll see if they make some further minor adjustments that can improve the performance of the card for Chase. Reports have suggested that more people are using the triple points categories than Chase was anticipating, and also fewer people are financing charges than they were expecting, which is a bad combination when you think of how card issuers make money. At the same time, apparently Chase has also seen a lot more loyalty and engagement from people with the card than they saw before.

We’ve already seen Chase make some minor changes to the card. For example, when the card was first introduced the $300 annual travel credit was per calendar year rather than per cardmember year, and they’ve changed that. When it was per calendar year, it essentially meant you could get two $300 travel credits before your first year’s annual fee is due.

Do you think we’ll see major changes to the Sapphire Reserve?

  1. Chase launched this card with TPG and other blogs using the free/cheap advertising. Only problem is that all these blogs talk about maximizing bonus categories and not paying interest. What did they think would happen?

  2. Anyone who thinks this is good news for current or potential cardholders, speak up now. (Crickets chirping)

  3. I love my barclaycard. They offer incentives to use the card to earn additional bonuses. Hoping they offer this to Chase customers with the new exec. They just did this for Chase by using apple pay for purchases and I hope there are more of these additional bonus point opportunities.

  4. I think Chase with Ultimate Rewards and the Reserve was going after Amex bread and butter (Membership Rewards and the Platinum). The fact that Chase is starting to offer Chase Offers a-la Amex offer (albeit on the Marriott card as a trial balloon) is confirmation that they’re competing for the same customers. I can’t stand Amex so if Chase starts offering the kind of offers Amex has it will be wonderful.

  5. Most people that lost out on the chase reserve were the ones that followed the bloggers and got any new card that was pushed by them and so 5/24 killed them.

    Keep your powder dry.

  6. So more people signed up for the card than they expected (good for Chase), and more people are holding on to the card than expected (again, good for Chase). Chase, for all that is holy, please don’t screw this up. This card is a win-win for both card issuer and customer.

  7. I love the CSR and will renew, but I know Chase could alter benefits enough to make me drop it. Not being able to transfer from the CFU to UR, for example, would kill it for me, for sure. So I’m watching their every move.

  8. I’d forgotten that Chase did alter how the USD300 statement credit is awarded, which made it less lucrative than I suggested in a recent comment.

    Anyway, it was great for some us who were able to take advantage of it when it was truly lucrative, and pretty much all the other benefits of the card remain intact, making it, still, THE Rewards Card to have…

  9. “Last August Chase introduced the Sapphire Reserve Card…”

    Um, no. This card was introduced in summer of 2016 – not “last August” (which would be August of 2017 – check your calendar). Geez, doesn’t anyone at least briefly scan blog posts for gross inaccuracies before clicking the “post” button? Lazy bloggers…

  10. Given Chase Bank’s 5/24 rule, the seemingly permanent halving of the CSR signup bonus w/o somehow sweetening the pot with a consolation perq, and competition from other lucrative cards (many of which are offering “yuge” limited time only bonuses), wasn’t the slowdown of new CSR applications a foregone conclusion?

  11. @Lucky – Who was previously in this position and are they leaving Chase to go somewhere else? Curious what happened to cause this hiring.

  12. I considered dropping the CSR for the AMEX Platinum, but quickly realized the CSR is so much better of a deal. The CSR gives $300 refund for travel costs, where the AMEX is $200 off ancillary airline costs. As someone with status, I don’t pay for anything extra when flying, so not sure how I would use $200. I don’t use Uber and already get the global entry benefit with the CSR, so right ow the CSR is the best card out there for me.

    I know everyone is pumping the AMEX, but its really not that good of a deal unless you frequently fly out of airports where there is no priority pass lounges and there is an AMEX (like United in SFO).

  13. @Robert That is amazing. I knew they got paid to pump, but for that kind of money there can obviously be no objectivity. I know I have definitely changed how I read all the travel blogs. I click much less, skip all the credit card posts, and try to be much more discerning.

  14. @Paul: While I don’t disagree with your “reader beware” sentiment, keep in mind that the Forbes article also says that TPG has a staff of 20, as well as 50 freelance contributors. That means Chase basically made a deal with a small marketing company – so it’s not as if TPG (as in the actual Guy) received >$1,000,000 for his personal efforts to push the card. That doesn’t change the likelihood that TPG (the blog/website) is likely to be biased. But it does suggest that this attitude isn’t quite right, either: “Oh my god that’s a lot of money for one guy to hawk a card – I can’t trust anything he says anymore because for that kind of money he’ll say anything!”

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