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A few days ago I shared info about a “rumor” I had heard multiple times relating to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card eliminating the 7% annual points bonus as a card feature for new account holders beginning on Sunday July 20th. Turns out, as expected, this came to pass and I was just officially informed that “effective 7/20 they are no longer offering the 7% dividend benefit to new customers. Existing customers will continue to receive the 7% dividend benefit through 2015 with the last dividend award showing on their statement in early 2016.”
That means that existing cardholders are grandfathered into the change for roughly a year and a half. In the world of constant change, that seems fair. Also, this blow is lessened since you can get a higher 10% bonus on points earned via the Chase Freedom if you also a Chase Checking account, so that can be a good alternative to the 7% provided by the Chase Sapphire Preferred (at least until that changes, if that changes).
It isn’t all bad news even with the Chase Sapphire Preferred because just as Chase takethaway, Chase giveth. They are increasing the Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance max from $5,000 to a max of $10,000 and enhancing the Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver from secondary to primary. These probably sound like massively boring changes to most of you, but if you understand what they means, it is actually useful news.
What is Primary Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver?
This language was taken from the Chase issued MileagePlus card, but I bet it will be quite similar for the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
“The Auto Rental CDW benefit provides reimbursement for damage due to collision or theft up to the actual cash value of most rental vehicles. It is primary coverage which means you do not have to file a claim with any other source of insurance before you can receive coverage under this benefit”
You can view the full description of covered and non-covered situations via the Explorer card here.
I typically put our car rentals on my United card precisely because of this coverage, but I imagine we will switch to putting rentals on our Sapphire Preferred card to earn 2x points on travel + get this level of coverage for the rentals. Thankfully I have never had to make use of this coverage, but I’m sure the day will come when we back into a pole or something and have a rental car that needs repairs. On that day I will be very glad we are covered thanks to our credit card primary CDW instead of having to immediately involve our personal car insurance company.
Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Coverage Increasing to $10,000
I almost had to cancel a trip earlier this summer because I was sick right before departure. I went to the doctor’s office right before the trip mostly because I was sick and wanted to get better as fast as possible, but also to start the documentation process in the event that I had to “prove” I was sick and advised not to travel for the purposes of Trip Cancellation coverage. Sadly, I had put some of my airfare for the trip on an Amex card that came with no built-in trip coverage. That was the last time I did that as it just wasn’t worth the 3x points on airfare the Amex provided to trade off not being covered at all in the event we can’t make the trip for a covered reason. I’ll now take 2x points on travel charges via the Sapphire Preferred and my included $10,000 of trip coverage every. single. time.
Thankfully I got better literally just in time to fly, so I was able to learn my lesson the “easy way” instead of with my wallet “the hard way”. Some trips can get pricey, so having the maximum upped from $5,000 to $10,000 can only be a good thing. Hopefully you will never have to use it, but good to know it is there – especially on a card that is so travel oriented to begin with.
The info I received said that existing cardholders will be notified in late July through September, but that the enhancements kick in effective yesterday (July 20th).
Do those enhancements make up for losing the 7% annual points bonus?
It all depends if you will make use of the perks (especially the primary CDW) and how many points you were earning via the 7% annual bonus. The good news for existing cardholders is you get the best of both worlds through 2015. I’m sure by then lots of cards will have undergone changes and you can make a decision at that time on whether the loss of the 7% bonus is substantial enough to make you change your spending patterns.
Make no mistake, I’m sad to see the 7% annual bonus go. These enhancements may ultimately contribute to me dropping another card that I was keeping in part because of the primary rental coverage that card provided, which will save me on annual fees. That will likely offset the value of the bonus points I was getting annually on the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Still 2016 is a long ways off, so who knows exactly what cards I will be using then. I’m sad for the loss of the annual points bonus, but happy for the notice to existing cardholders.
Congrats if you got in under the wire and will enjoy the 7% bonus for another 1.5 years!
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.