It is something I am really not surprised to see – a locking down on the very popular Chase Sapphire products and bonuses. Doctor of Credit reported earlier this week that a memo went out within Chase that they would no longer issue bonuses to members on a new Sapphire product when they already hold one or had a bonus from one. Here are the details.
Chase Limits Customers with the Sapphire Cards
We normally see it in the loyalty world – one company makes a move and then the other competitors follow soon after. Now, we have Chase following in the steps of Citi by grouping their mainstream cards into one lump limitation for customers. Here are the terms on the applications (this is found on all Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve applications):
“This product is available to you if you do not have any Sapphire card and have not received a new cardmember bonus for any Sapphire card in the past 24 months.”
How It Used To Be
Before this week, if you had a Chase Sapphire Preferred and had opened it even in the last few months, you would be eligible to apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve and get that sign-up bonus as well. They were counted as two different products.
What many people have done, if they didn’t want to keep the Reserve, was to product change their Reserve (downgrade) to the Preferred. This allowed them to continue earning and transferring valuable Ultimate Reward points as well as reap the benefits of the Preferred card but not have the annual fee. Then, if they wanted, they could go ahead and apply for another Chase Sapphire Reserve 24 months after they had received the bonus on it and do it again.
What has changed that is if you now hold a Chase Sapphire product, you will not be allowed to apply for a different Sapphire product. In fact, you are ineligible to get the card (and the bonus) if you have had a bonus from any Sapphire product in the previous 24 months.
Basically, it is like the rules with all Chase cards when it comes to getting a new bonus but they have lumped both valuable Chase Sapphire products together to limit cardmembers from duplicating bonuses.
How Does This Follow Citi and Why Would Chase Do It?
Citi had implemented something like this last year where they combined cards in a product family to prevent people from getting the bonus on a different card in the same family. Obviously, Chase liked how that looked and worked and decided to put it into play with their own branded cards.
The timing of this is no surprise either. Last week was the 1 year anniversary of the launch of the Chase Sapphire Reserve. There will be many people that will downgrade that card and some will even cancel it outright. By putting this new limitation in place, they have effectively prevented all of those customers from just closing it out and getting a Chase Sapphire Preferred now.
For many of us, this will likely not have any immediate effect. The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a keeper in the eyes of many and it is redundant to hold both Sapphire products. But, if you had been planning on getting a new Sapphire Preferred soon, now you will have a choice to make.
What bothers me the most is that this have a big negative effect on those people who may have recently closed a Sapphire card. Now, they will not be able to get that card again – never mind the bonus. I cannot imagine not having a Sapphire product, thanks to the benefits of the card itself and its award earning potential.
Being shut out from getting one if you don’t have one now but you did get the bonus in the last 24 months sure is a big shame.