Update: This article contains mentions of Chase Freedom Unlimited®, Chase Freedom® and Chase Sapphire Reserve® whose terms have expired and are in the process of being updated. All other offers reflect accurate offer terms. Learn more about the current offers here.
This morning online applications became available for the new Sapphire Reserve Card, which is offering an incredible 100,000 point welcome bonus, and also seems like it will offer a lot of long term value for cardmembers, between the triple points on travel and dining, plus all the long term perks.
A vast majority of consumers are eligible for the card, and we’ve already heard data points of a lot of people getting approved. However, due to Chase’s “5/24 rule,” those who have opened more than five credit card accounts in the past 24 months aren’t eligible to be approved. If you’re in that boat, you do have one option for getting the Sapphire Reserve — you can do a product switch to it, rather than outright applying for it.
Which cards can you upgrade to the Sapphire Reserve?
You can only upgrade the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to the Sapphire Reserve.
You do need to have a credit line of at least $10,000 on a card in order to upgrade, though.
Do you get the welcome bonus if you upgrade to the Sapphire Reserve?
No, that’s probably the biggest catch. You don’t get the welcome bonus if you upgrade a card to the Sapphire Reserve, as only new applicants get the bonus.
How do you upgrade to the Sapphire Reserve?
It’s very easy, just call the number on the back of your card and tell them what you’d like to do (or I suppose you could go into a Chase branch). For example, I phoned up the number on the back of my Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, and the agent who answered was very well versed on the new Sapphire Reserve Card.
She explained that I could upgrade to the card, and that I’d receive a pro-rated refund of the $95 annual fee on my Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, since I’d be billed with the $450 annual fee on the Sapphire Reserve with the first billing cycle.
She also said “I’m sure you’ve read about this card on the internet, including the 100,000 point bonus, so I just want to make sure you understand you won’t get the bonus if you upgrade the card.” Hah.
Is it worth upgrading to the Sapphire Reserve?
Obviously it would be nice to earn the 100,000 point welcome bonus on the Sapphire Reserve, which is worth $1,500 of travel, or otherwise potentially even more than that by transferring to one of Chase’s airline or hotel partners. So if you’re eligible, or otherwise think you’ll be eligible in the coming months, then by all means hold off and outright apply for the card when you can.
We don’t know how long the current welcome bonus will last, though if I had to guess I’d say it’s likely to stick around somewhere between two and six months. I could be completely wrong, but that’s just a guess on my part (with no inside information).
But bigger picture, I really do think this card is worth having, so if the only way you can get the card is through a product change, then I think it’s still worth it.
The card has a $450 annual fee, but you get a $300 annual travel credit. Before your second year’s annual fee is due, you’ll have $600 in travel credits. If you value those at face value, you’re $150 ahead on the first year’s annual fee already.
Long term I’m viewing this as a card that’s costing me $150 per year ($450 minus the $300 travel credit), and for that I’m getting triple points on dining and travel. That’s worth it, in and of itself, not even factoring in all the other benefits.
Is it worth having the Sapphire Preferred and the Sapphire Reserve?
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has been taking up prime real estate in my wallet for years, and I know I’m not alone in that regard. The card’s double points on dining and travel, great rental car and travel coverage, no foreign transaction fees, etc., have made this card a keeper.
So, long term is it worth holding onto both cards? I’m still waiting to make my final decision, but I feel like long term the Sapphire Reserve will replace the Sapphire Preferred in my wallet. As far as I know the Reserve offers all the same benefits as the Preferred, plus more, including triple points on dining and travel. So long term I view this card as a replacement rather than as a complement.
The Sapphire Reserve is a keeper, for the long term benefits and return on everyday spend that it offers. The 100,000 point welcome bonus is the icing on the cake, so ideally you’ll want to take advantage of that as well. However, for those who don’t want to (or can’t) apply for another card, long term it’s certainly worth considering upgrading to this card, given the great return on spend that it offers.
Do you plan on upgrading to the Sapphire Reserve Card?