Chase Adds New Restrictions to Sapphire Credit Cards: The "One Sapphire" Rule

Starting on Aug 27, 2017, all of the Sapphire cards, the Chase Sapphire, Chase Sapphire Preferred, and the Chase Sapphire Reserve, are considered "one card." Obviously not literally one card, but if you look at the signup bonus and how it works, it's effective to one card similar to Citi's 24 month rule. 

h/t to Doctor of Credit for posting a screenshot of the memo. 

Let's dive into the memo:

"Going forward, a customer may no longer have more than one Sapphire-branded credit card. For example, if a customer has Sapphire Preferred card, they are no longer eligible for a Sapphire Reserve card."

Moving forward, you can only have one Sapphire branded credit card at a time.  

"While this change impacts all new and existing customers (including CPC clients), there is no impact to existing customers that have more than one Sapphire product. These customers may continue to retain their Sapphire products as usual."

Existing customers don't have to worry about changes to current Sapphire accounts; if you currently have more than one Sapphire, they won't get closed.

"If existing Sapphire customers wish to upgrade or downgrade their product, they may do so if eligible. However, no bonus points will be available with this upgrade or downgrade. The customer may call the number on the back of their card OR you may contact Banker Support with customers who are in the branch or already on the phone."

If you are an existing customer that has the Chase Sapphire Preferred and not the Reserve, you can upgrade to get the Preferred. Bonus points will not be given for product changes.

The final part of the memo states, "if an account is closed, a customer will not be eligible for any Sapphire-branded credit card if they have earned a card member bonus on a Sapphire-branded product within the last 24 months." 

My interpretation is that if you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve (signup Nov 2016)) and cancel it (Aug 2017), you'll have to wait 24 months before applying to another Sapphire card to receive a signup bonus (Nov 2018). 

On the other hand, some people are interpreting the final part of the memo in a completely different way. If you get the bonus for a Sapphire card and close it in less than 24 months, you'll never receive another Sapphire bonus again. This interpretation seems extreme to me and would make sense to implement from a customer loyalty standpoint. 

Optimal Strategy

If you currently have the Preferred or the Reserve and you previously received a signup bonus within the past 24 months, you'll have to wait. 

However, if the card is older than 24 months, you can product change the Sapphire to a Chase Freedom and apply for another Sapphire with a signup bonus. The main reason for this is: 

1. You won't have a Sapphire card
2. You don't have a Sapphire signup bonus within 24 months

If you don't have any Sapphire cards or you're in the position to get one, you have a decision to make on which card to get next. Watch the video below to see a Preferred vs. Reserve overview:

Consider getting the Preferred if you can't break even from the Reserve's $450 annual fee. Both the Preferred and the Reserve are eligible to use transfer partners. 

If you're looking for a premium keeper card, the Reserve is a good option because you receive a $300 travel credit, Priority Pass, and $100 Global Entry credit. Redeem points for travel at 1.5x using the Chase Travel Portal, or up to 2x with transfer partners. 

There are a ton of factors to consider because everyone's spending habit is different. For me, I would get the Preferred because:

  • The $95 annual fee is waived the first year
  • Both cards offer a 50,000 point signup bonus
  • Access to transfer partners
  • I already have alternative premium cards that offer airport lounge access, Global Entry, trip delay insurance, and travel credits