I Finally Got My CSR After Training The Chase Rep & Why I Pulled The Trigger

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Chase Sapphire Reserve Upgrade Experience

My Chase Sapphire Reserve Upgrade Experience

A few weeks ago I shared the fact that I was unable to upgrade my wife’s Chase Sapphire Preferred (CSP) card to the Chase Sapphire Reserve (CSR) card.  She had just signed up for the CSP in January and the Card Act of 2009 does not allow people to upgrade to a higher fee card in the first year. I thought that was it for my Sapphire Reserve dreams since I thought you couldn’t carry both Sapphire products. But a reader tipped me off to the fact that you can hold both cards if you upgrade to the second card.  That meant upgrading her Freedom card was actually an option. Going from a no annual fee card to a $550 annual fee card gave me some pause for sure and I went back and forth on it. I finally decided to pull the trigger and wanted to share my Chase Sapphire Reserve upgrade experience.

Burning Those Valuable Wife Points

I tried to avoid the phone call if at all possible.  I reached out to Chase via secure message but I was told we needed to call in to upgrade her card.  That brought the inevitable eye roll from my wife when I made the request for her to call.  I told her she could hand the phone to me after getting a rep and telling them I would speak on her behalf. We decided to just do it together over speakerphone, and good thing we did because the rep was clueless.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Upgrade Experience

Training The Chase Rep On My Chase Sapphire Reserve Upgrade

The hold time wasn’t too bad, about 5 minutes in total.  That was after we had to button smash 0 a few times since Chase’s system really did not want to connect us with a live rep.  Once the rep picked up my wife informed her that we would like to upgrade from the Freedom card to the Chase Sapphire Reserve. She said she would see if we were eligible for the upgrade.

After a few minutes she came back and said that we were not because we were $1,000 short on the needed $10K credit limit to hold a CSR card. The rep said she could put in a request for a credit line increase.  I had expected this to be an issue but I was surprised that moving credit from another card wasn’t offered first.

I told my wife to ask to move credit from her World of Hyatt card. The rep checked it out and said she couldn’t do it because it had to be the same family of card. Huh, I have never had that issue before.  Instead of the rep proactively checking other cards that might work we had to tell her to use the limit from the Chase Sapphire Preferred card then. She did and processed the upgrade without further issue.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Upgrade Experience

Why I Decided To Go Ahead With The Upgrade

I went back and forth on this decision quite a bit.  Since I was upgrading from a no fee card there was some added expenses.  It is the possibility to earn 5X on groceries this month that put it over the top for me.  We had already hit the $1,500 cap on the Freedom card so it was like double dipping the grocery quarter.  Here are my figures and why I decided to go ahead with it:

  • Annual Fee – $550 (since I was upgrading from a Freedom and not a CSP this could not be discounted at all).
  • Travel Credit – $300 (now that the travel credit can be used towards groceries and gas, for a limited time, this is as good as cash to me).
  • Doordash Credit – $100 (we should get $60 in credit X2 since it is calendar year.  The fees associated with the app discount that to $50 per use if I use it all at once).
  • Grocery Spend – $112.50 (I am able to get 100% return on grocery spend right now so the additional 7,500 points are worth $112.50 when redeeming at 1.5 cents each).

After running all of those numbers it comes to a cost of $37.50. I haven’t included any of the travel perks in my calculations since I am not sure if I will use them or not.  If you are upgrading from a Chase Sapphire Preferred then you can actually come out ahead.  That is assuming you can easily cash out the grocery spend and $300 travel credit.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Upgrade Experience

My Redemption Plans

I plan on redeeming 130,000 points up front for a value of $1,950.  That would leave me with a nest egg of 200,000 points to use for travel.  I may pull another 50K out of that as well, I haven’t decided yet.  I do plan I cashing out anything else I earn from now until September, when the promo ends though.

With what I have in my hotel and airline accounts plus the points set aside I am set for travel for a while.  And I plan on taking advantage of this opportunity while I can. Hopefully Chase extends the grocery bonus on their cards, probably only in our dreams though 😁.

I am able to pretty easily rack up grocery spend which makes this decision much easier.  If you struggle with that aspect then these numbers may not work for you.  Be sure you are able to redeem enough points to make it worth it.  Also take into account that you can go back 90 days. So if you have grocery, restaurant or home improvement spend in that time frame on your upgrade card then you will be able to redeem towards that too.  I was able to hit up some of our Freedom grocery spend already and cash in points.

You will also earn the 5X on the travel credit if you use it on grocery or gas.  That is not the way it works for travel purchases, no points are earned going that route.  So if you have any travel credit left on your card it is best to use it this month on groceries.

Final Thoughts

This play will not be for everyone, so much depends on your individual situation.  I will say when making the decision consider the balances in your accounts that you normally transfer Ultimate Rewards to as well as your UR balance.

Hopefully by sharing my Chase Sapphire Reserve upgrade story you are more prepared for the phone call.  It may be easier to ask to move credit lines before making the call if you are below the required $10K credit limit.  Then if you run into a rep like I had you shouldn’t have any additional issues.

Has anyone else gone ahead with an upgrade?  How many points are people planning on cashing out or leaving in your account?  Let me know in the comments.

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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15 COMMENTS

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15 COMMENTS

  1. That was a limited time $100 credit and not all cardmembers got it. I don’t see them keeping at $450 any longer than one year for the people that did get it.

  2. It’s 7,500 points on $1,500 spend*. And you really ought to be limiting it to marginal earn over your best alternative (e.g. 4X on Gold, 3X on Premier or CSP). Over the CSP, it’s really just 2×1500×cpp; for UR=$0.016, that’s $48.

    The true value comes from the increased cash-out, assuming you want to do it. The math for the marginal value gets funky because you have to fix either (1) the amount you want to cash out or (2) the amount of points you wanna get rid of, and you also have to decide on a value for the points. Two scenarios:
    If you want to cover $1,500 of spend through whatever means, it’ll cost you 92.5k via the CSR or 115.5k via the CSP; set a base value for the UR and multiply your UR cpp by 23k to find how much better the CSR is over the CSP. If you value UR at $0.016 each, the 23k that you save via the CSR represent $368 in value.
    If instead you want to use a fixed amount of points to cover some spend, the math is different. Say you want to burn 100k UR; that’ll cover [$1,500 in grocery spend (92.5k)] + [$114 in 1X spend (7.5k)] = $1,595 using the CSR; the CSP alternative is $1,299 in grocery spend. That’s $296 more in your pocket from your 100k UR cash-out; for UR=$0.016, that reduces the loss/opportunity cost of the cash-out from $301 (CSP) to $5 (CSR).
    In either case, you’re still giving up 3X on the CSP or Premier, 4X on the Gold, 3-4.5X on the EDP, etc. But the decision to cash out via grocery spend was already made, so at least up to the lowest-spend option, it’s a sunk cost; from that point up to $1,500 is where it counts, but it’s so small that it can be considered inconsequential; above that point, you’re comparing to 1.5-2X rather than 3-4.5X – so again, inconsequential.

    • Totals are wrong on the first one. For some reason, I had $95 instead of $114 for the required spend to cash out 75k, and that carried through to all the totals. $1595 spend should be $1614, the cashout increase ($296) should be $315, and the $5 opportunity cost on the CSR should be a $14 gain.

      • That is assuming I have limited spend opportunities and am not able to max out my other options as well.

    • In the past it kept the old card’s anniversary. But I can answer that for sure whenever the annual fee posts.

  3. Upgraded Chase sapphire card to CSR. Cashed out 260,000 points. Living in canada, was able to take advantage of the 1.39% exchange rate on top of the 1.5 cashout rate. Plenty of points in Airlines and hotel programs already, and dont see myself transferring to united any time soon. Hyatt points will be missed, so went ahead and transferred some out before downgrading card. Gonna be under 5/24 real soon, so will be time to start all over again.

  4. While I agree with your logic, I have my wife as an authorized user on my CSR card. So $625 annual fee. I just cannot justify that (even though I still have it right now…lol), especially since I get similar travel benefits and priority pass for both of us through the non-discontinued Ritz card with no authorized user fee.

    • I think it all depends on whether or not you want to cash out the points. I had her drop me as an AU from the Freedom card to the CSR because it just isn’t worth the fee. This was all about the cashout prospective though. Once that is done a downgrade back to the Freedom will most likely happen.

      • Yeah, that makes sense if your goal is to downgrade. I think Chase was keeping the $450 rate (plus authorized user fee) for a longer time due to the downturn in travel, but I am not sure if that was only for existing card members.

          • Upgraded last week. I got (what sounded like) a knowledgeable rep. He stated that the AF (and $300 travel credit) would not be prorated, but will be based on PRODUCT anniversary as opposed to ACCOUNT anniversary. After the AF posts (expected 8/2), he said I can request a $100 credit to partially offset $550 AF (but no guarantees, of course). I’m going for broke and cashing out almost 500k UR. With 2 young kids, it’s going to be awhile before player 2 and I get to go on premium cabin int’l flights again, so 1.5 cpp is a more than satisfactory redemption that can (eventually) be applied to a Disney Cruise (especially since we lost the 1.25 cpp redemption from Citi).

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