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As Expected, My Chase Sapphire Reserve Upgrade Request Was Denied

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Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Links in this post may provide us with a commission.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Upgrade

My Chase Sapphire Reserve Upgrade Request Was Denied

Last week Chase dropped some very interesting, limited time redemption offers on their Sapphire products.  I went into detail on why everyone should at least consider this new option.  In that article I said that I didn’t think that my wife qualified for an upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card from her Chase Sapphire Preferred card but that I would give it a good college try.  Well I did, and as expected my Chase Sapphire Reserve upgrade request was denied.

How Did I Request My Chase Sapphire Reserve Upgrade?

There are a couple of different ways you can go about requesting an upgrade to your credit card.

  • The first one is to call the number on the back of your card and ask a customer service rep for an upgrade.
  • You can also reach out via secure message when logged into your Chase account online or while in their app.
  • It may be possible to request an upgrade at a bank branch with a banker.  I have never tried this and I am not 100% sure if it is an option but I think it may be possible.

After spending over an hour on the phone with Chase to close a business checking account I was not going to go the call in route again.  Chase refused to close the business checking account via secure message, said it wasn’t possible for business accounts, but I knew it would work for an upgrade request. They responded to my inquiry within a few hours, which surprised me since I expected a day or two.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Upgrade

Why Did I Expect To Be Denied

If you read my previous article then you know that I was expecting a denial going into this.  Why would I expect a denial from something that is normally a routine yes?  Because my wife just signed up for her Chase Sapphire Preferred in January.  It has not been a full year since she signed up for the card.

I can not remember if this is an actual law or just something that banks tend to follow as rule.  But upgrades are usually not allowed in the first year of card membership.  I feel like I read that it is considered a predatory move and why I am leaning towards it being an actual written rule.  A Google search on my part didn’t pull up anything definitive.

UPDATE: Here is law I was talking about.  Thanks for the assist to Ryan in the comments!

But the thinking goes that lenders could entice people with a no fee or low fee offer.  Then once they have you as a customer they could try to entice you with a more expensive card. Almost like a bait and switch.

It is possible to downgrade within the first year because that is going from a higher fee to lower fee, which is not predatory.  If it will be actually allowed depends on the bank.  Most all of them allowed it in the past but some (cough, cough Amex) look at it negatively so it is best to wait till your full year is up for that move as well.

What Was Chase’s Response To My Upgrade Request?

Now that we have some background on the situation what was their reasoning for denying my wife’s upgrade request?

Thank you for contacting Chase.

I see that your Sapphire Preferred card was opened on January 16, 2020. Please be advised that your account must be open for at least 12 months to qualify for a product change. You may want to contact us after January 16, 2021, to see if you qualify for a product change. We appreciate your business and thank you for being a Chase customer.

As expected, my Chase Sapphire Reserve upgrade request was denied because it had not been a full year yet.

Final Thoughts

I had hoped to upgrade our Sapphire Preferred to the Sapphire Reserve to take advantage of the new cash out options.  The extra 25% in redemption rate would have been worth the extra $65 or so out of pocket cost in annual fee versus the Sapphire Preferred’s $95 annual fee. If I redeemed at least 26,000 Ultimate Rewards points at the higher rate I would come out ahead.

I wanted to share my experience because I am sure others are in the same boat.  This way you don’t need to waste your time or effort trying to upgrade your card in the first year.  Upgrading her older Freedom card is out as well because she is already holding a Sapphire family product.

Update: It is possible to upgrade her from her Freedom card and carry both Sapphire products.

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
Mark Ostermann
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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  1. Oddly, I find myself at 1/24. I dropped under quickly. Was debating a CSR vs CSP. The $550 is on my mind as I have a few other premium cards. The math above makes me feel better about pulling the trigger. I wish the CSR offer was higher than 50K.

    • Tough call for sure. If you plan on taking advantage of the new cash out option at all the CSR is the way to go for sure. If not and are just in it for the points then the extra 10K of the CSP and lower annual fee is compelling for sure. All depends on your plans for the long term.

      Me personally, if I had no plans to cash out then I probably would still grab the CSP and upgrade to the CSR after year 1 if I wanted it.

  2. Hey just a data point to consider. I also just applied for the CSP back in November. I thought that you can only have One chase Shappire Product as well but when I called and asked to have my CSP card upgraded to the CSR card they said no, so I asked well is my freedom card upgradable and the agent said no not unless you have a 10k limit so I moved some credit around and I was able to take my freedom and upgrade it to a CSR card. So I now have the CSR AND THE CSP. and I can use the benefits to make the CSR worth the fee, while still turning my 180k points into $2700 @ 1.5cpp. So just because you have the Chase Sapphire preferred don’t count yourself out, the terms don’t actually say you can’t have two cards that are shappire products. You just can’t apply for 2 I think is how I read it. Or maybe my card 2 shappire cards is not allowed but I feel through the cracks?

    • Interesting and thanks for sharing. I will have to give it a try!

      Here are what the terms say:
      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.

      Since they specify product I think it is supposed to mean one or the other regardless of the bonus but maybe that is only set up to be enforced on applications. Thanks again Casey!

  3. This is a great reminder to those considering to downgrade their CSR. Some are downgrading because they are not travelling or don’t want to pay the increased annual fee. In the next six many will downgrade to apply for a new CSR to receive a new bonus. Those are all good reasons. But if you downgrade, you won’t be be able to upgrade for a year. Be prepared to go without a CSR for a year.

    • I don’t think that it works quite the same way on downgrade/upgrades outside of the first year of card membership. There is a risk for sure that they deny it and you have to consider that for sure. But I think the Card Act of 2009 (member of our Facebook group pointed out that is what I was looking for in terms of the law) only deals with new accounts. So this time around it is more at the discretion of the bank since it is outside of the first year. They could always refuse it though.

  4. Hey- How did you calculate the annual fee of $65 more? Partial of the $550? I have a sapphire preferred card coming up for renewal in August (end of 24 months). Never had a reserve card and I will not earn sign-on bonus. How to get the sign on bonus in the future and when will I be able to get sign on bonus?

    • The welcome offer will not be available until it has been 48 months since you earned the points on the CSP. That goes for either card so you have some time there.

      For the $65 I took the $550-$300 travel credit (which can be used on groceries and gas for the time being so I gave it full value). Then you should get 120 in Doordash credits ($60 this year and $60 next year). I discounted those 25% for a total of $90. That leaves $160 left over which after subtracting the $95 CSP fee you are left with $65.

      Some people are reporting that they are only getting the $450 annual fee on the CSR when upgrading but I wouldn’t entirely count on that. If that were the case the upgrade would be a net positive.

      • so my 48 months clock will not restart and I will be able to able to use all the benefits that comes with the product change. Are they gonna prorate the annual fees for the existing SP card? or Product change will reset the clock for the SR as day 1 for their calendar year calculation? Thanks.


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