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In the middle of the Hurricane Harvey madness, Chase has changed the rewards credit card rules on us again. Most of us are probably now familiar with the 5/24 rule that does not permit you to get many of the Chase credit card products if you have opened 5 or more new accounts across all banks in the last 24 months. This applies to all of the Chase Ultimate Rewards earning products, and many of their co-branded cards as well.
Well, that rule is still alive and well, but now there is another layer of rules and clocks to worry about if you have your eyes set on a card in the Sapphire family. As of very recently, a new term has been added that states that current cardmembers of any Sapphire card or previous cardmembers of any Sapphire card who received a new cardmember bonus within the last 24 months can not get a new Sapphire card.
The exact term and condition states:
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 24 months.
In practice this seems to mean that if you have say a Sapphire Reserve and you apply for a Sapphire Preferred, that the application is getting denied. Presumably if you closed the Reserve and applied for the Preferred at least 24 months after you got the bonus for the Reserve then you would be approved, assuming you meet all other criteria. This viewing of cards by “family” isn’t entirely new as Citi does something similar.
This is a very new change in terms, so there aren’t really data points out there yet to answer what I am sure will be some of the common questions such as how long do you have to go without a Sapphire card before getting a new one, assuming you have already met the 24 months without a sign-up bonus criteria. We also don’t know how product changes come into play if you have a Sapphire product you wish to downgrade to a Freedom or similar. We also don’t know if this will spread to other Chase card product families, such as the Freedom family of cards.
This shouldn’t impact you if you already have two Sapphire cards, other than if you dump one you won’t be able to re-add that version of the card to your wallet while you still hold another.
Look, the banks don’t want card churners, and that is not a surprise or new information. This change isn’t good news, of course, but the rewards game these days is not about who can go through the most cards the fastest, or at least that isn’t what it is about to me. Yes, I like to strategically get some cards for their big sign-up bonuses, but I also really like to align the cards I have with my everyday spending patterns and utilize the built-in perks of the various rewards cards on an ongoing basis.
As we learn more about how this plays out in real life I will share some additional thoughts and tips, but for now just be very strategic about which Sapphire card you get as you won’t be able to simply add the second version a few months down the line.
Thanks to Doctor of Credit for spotting this change.