Chase Sapphire Reserve 4 Year Plan, What Should You Do Now?
Happy cardiversary!!! Yeah I totally just made that up. Whether you knew it or not the Chase Sapphire Reserve‘s 4 year anniversary just came and went. The CSR was launched on August 15th of 2016 and when it first came out it was available to everyone, even if you were over Chase 5/24. Not applying at the time was one of my greatest miles and points regrets. This is a monumental occasion (well to us miles & points nerds at least) and it is time to talk about your Chase Sapphire Reserve 4 year plan.
Why Does The 4 Year Anniversary Matter?
First, let’s talk about why this matters. A ton of people signed up for the Sapphire Reserve back in 2016. Many of those same people still have the card now. And even if you canceled it a while ago, this is still a noteworthy for anyone that applied when the card was first launched. That is because you will soon be eligible for a new Sapphire product welcome offer.
Here are the welcome offer terms:
The product is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card who received a new cardmember bonus within the last 48 months. If you are an existing Sapphire customer and would like this product, please call the number on the back of your card to see if you are eligible for a product change. You will not receive the new cardmember bonus if you change products.
The terms used to say 24 months, like most Chase cards, but Chase decided to move the goal posts when the 2 year anniversary was coming up. Why would they do that? Because this card cost them a ton of money when it was launched from the massive 100K welcome offer. Chase was afraid it would happen again, that people would close their accounts and get a new welcome offer. This additional 2 years of card membership allows them to recoup some of that cost they laid out up front.
What Should You Do Now That It Has Been 4 Years?
Anyone that falls into this large group of people now has a decision to make. I wanted to go through the options and give you the pros and cons of each of them. Every single person making this decision falls into two categories.
People Not Under 5/24
The first group of people we should take about are those not currently under Chase 5/24. This means that in the last 24 months they have been approved for 5 credit cards, or more, from all lenders. That in turn makes them ineligible for a new Chase product. I.E. instant denial!
If you were one of the lucky people that snatched the CSR at launch, while over Chase’s 5/24 rule, then you might still be over. Or, you could have moved on from Chase cards a while back and knew you would have no shot at a new Sapphire product anyway. That means your decision is the same as it has been for the past 3 years, does the card offer you more value than the annual fee is worth? If yes then you keep it, if not then downgrade it to a Chase Freedom card or close it.
People Currently Under 5/24
Maybe you decided to go the other way and proactively kept an eye on your cards just for this very moment. For the last two years you have planned it to perfection and
the world Sapphire cards are now your oyster.
One thing to remember is that you are not eligible for a new Sapphire welcome offer until it has been 48 months since you earned the previous welcome offer. It isn’t based on when you signed up for the card, but instead, it is when the points posted. Having said that, we still need to decide what to do with the current card’s annual fee since Chase no longer does prorated annual fee refunds.
Close The Card
The first option is to simply close your account. This will keep the $550 annual fee in your pocket and get you set up to grab a new Sapphire product in a few months. You should only consider this if you have another account you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards to or you have a zero Ultimate Rewards balance.
Downgrade The Card
Instead of simply closing the card you can product change it to one of the no fee Freedom cards. This will allow you to keep the account active (good for your credit score) and allow you to continue to rack up Ultimate Rewards points (transferable with an annual fee card). This is the better option, versus closing the account, for most people.
The only reason you may not want to do it is if you are near the cap of cards Chase will give you or near the available credit they will extend. On the latter, you could downgrade and then have them lower the credit limits on some of your accounts before applying again. Also remember that you can carry multiple Freedom cards, so don’t close your Sapphire Reserve solely because you already carry a Freedom card.
Which Card Should You Sign Up For?
So now that we have tackled what you should, or should not do with your current account, we need to decide which card to grab next. Most will simply think they will replace their Sapphire Reserve with another Reserve card. Not so fast though!
Chase Sapphire Reserve Re-Up Or Sapphire Preferred
I have written in the past that it makes more sense to actually grab the Sapphire Preferred in the first year and then upgrade it to the Sapphire Reserve at the 12 month mark. This is because the welcome offer is bigger and the annual fee is much less. Most people will come out ahead going this route.
There is one thing to consider though, if you have a stockpile of points and want to continue to use the Pay Yourself Back feature you will want to get another CSR card. That is because the points are worth 25% more than the Sapphire Preferred. The same thing goes if you use the Chase travel portal often.
Be sure to crunch the numbers and see which one gives you the best return. The answer will be different depending on your personal situation.
The Chase Freedom Wild Card
There is one more potential hiccup I want to add in here. This is solely for people that are at 4/24 currently and can only get one more Chase product. There is a massively attractive Chase Freedom Unlimited / Chase Freedom welcome offer out there. If you maximize the full $12,000 in spend you will earn 80,000 points and have no annual fee. This is a limited time offer we may never see again. Because of that you may want to give the offer priority.
This is only a decision for people that have one slot left. You will also want to check your application dates and see how long it would be before you drop back under Chase 5/24 again. If it isn’t too far down the road you may want to grab the Freedom offer first.
Remember that if you decide to downgrade the CSR card to a Freedom card you will want to apply for the opposite version. That is because you can not currently carry the card and get the welcome offer. So if you downgrade to the Chase Freedom then be sure to sign up for the Freedom Unlimited card or vice versa.
Chase Sapphire Reserve 4 Year Plan – Final Thoughts
Hopefully I covered all angles for you here. It is kind of like a decision tree, so much depends on your personal situation. But this should give you a road map on what will work best for you. Let me know which route you are going to take down in the comments.
Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.