Chase Confirms Sapphire Reserve + Preferred Same Product in terms of Sign-Up Bonuses, Ink Business Your Best Bet

by Adam

For quite some time now there have been mixed non-uniform results among our Juicy Miles clients as well as readers of this blog when trying to apply for a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card if already in possession of a Chase Sapphire Reserve (and vice versa). When the Reserve first came out and was offering that awesome 100K bonus, there was no problem. I was successfully approved and received the 100K sign-up despite being a current Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholder.

Over the 18+ months things have changed.  Chase adopted language on their Preferred and Reserve applications that restricted the new member bonus to those who had not had either card within the previous 24 months. However, many of our clients had originally signed up for the Reserve without ever having the Preferred and wanted to give the new application a shot.  When they went to then apply for the Preferred, some were approved, some were told that they didn’t qualify because they already had a Sapphire product as per the application terms, and still others were offered the option of downgrading their Reserve to a Freedom card so that they could win approval a few days later.  Yes, they would essentially downgrade their cards to a Freedom product and then call Chase back after the system no longer reflected them as a Sapphire cardholder, allowing them to get their application approved and receive the sign-up bonus. This was despite language on both applications that read “previous cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card who received a new cardmember bonus within the last 24 months“. Of course, simply upgrading or downgrading between the two Sapphire cards was/is an option too, but then you don’t receive the new member sign-up bonus. The next sad step in the saga was when the “Freedom trick” stopped working and Chase began disqualifying former Sapphire product holders from the new member bonuses.  Clients and readers like Corey C, began to report the following:

My application for a Preferred card was denied even though I have a Freedom card right now after downgrading my Reserve two days ago. The reason is because I had a Sapphire product within the past 24 months. It seems they are now following their application language

Yes, no surprise but Chase seemed to systematically implement restrictions that prevented previous cardholders of either card from winning approval for the card they hadn’t already possessed.

Now, readers of this blog may remember that a few years ago I was lucky enough to be seated next to a Senior VP of Credit Approval & Risk from Chase on a flight from Prague to Nice. He was super helpful in answering lots of reader questions and we remained in contact. I reached out to him this week regarding the above. No shock here, but he confirms that downgrading your current Sapphire product to an alternate product does not erase your record of having the card and the 24 month requirement remains.  He interestingly noted that he wasn’t sure why downgrading worked only for some in the past, but he thinks it might have had to do with the way the systematic implementation of the rule was rolled out.

So for those who have already had either of the Sapphire cards, your best bet is to earn a high Ultimate Rewards sign-up offer is the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card or the no fee Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card.

Since launch, the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ card has offered 80,000 points after spending $5K within 3 months. As any fan of the Chase Sapphire Reserve / Preferred can tell you, Chase Ultimate Rewards have amazing value thanks to the vast amount of airline and hotel transfer partners offered. These points (despite it being a business card) will combine with your current Chase UR points. Let’s not forget about the offer itself, 80K points is quite generous for Chase (the personal cards are only currently offer 50K) and that amount alone is enough for a roundtrip business class award to Europe! The card also offers 3x points on travel and shipping. The card does have an annual fee of $95 that is not waived, but well worth the points you’ll earn for signing up. Remember, the Chase 5/24 rule does apply.

  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in select categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases–with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more – your points don’t expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • $95 Annual Fee

See this card and other top business cards here.

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card (No FEE)
This card has many of the same benefits as the Ink Business Preferred above, but without the fee!  The sign-up bonus is 50,000 points after spending $3K within the first 3 months. You’ll earn 5x points for internet, cable, and phone service as well as office supply stores.  2x points is offered for gas stations and food. The card is subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule…but it wont’ count towards your 5/24 total!

  • Earn $500 bonus cash back (50,000 points) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Named “Best Rewards Card for Small Business Owners” by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, July 2017
  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
  • Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • No Annual Fee

See this card and other top business cards here.

Haven’t had the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Preferred yet? Both those cards are currently offering 50K Ultimate Rewards for signing up and the Preferred waives the annual fee for the first year.  You can check out both cards and other Travel Rewards cards here.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


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GL March 24, 2018 - 5:29 pm

This kinda sucks for me as I’m going to be <5/24 in about 10 months. I had the sapphire preferred courtesy of the fairmont card switch, and of course never received a sign up bonus on the sapphire preferred card. I downgraded it to a freedom card. I feel like this is quite unfair to folks in my situation who might want a reserve. Wondering if they would cut folks like me some slack given that we never really applied for a sapphire preferred but got stuck with it through a forced product change. If your contact could shed some light on this that would clear up some things. Thanks!!

A March 25, 2018 - 12:20 pm

That was lucky you met that Chase guy. If I have a CSR and no other sapphire cards, and downgrade it to a Freedom unlimited, wait 2 years, can I get the sign up bonus again? (under the current rules?)


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