The First Chase Sapphire Reserve Members are Eligible to Earn the Signup Bonus Again. When the 100K Chase Sapphire Reserve debuted in August 2016, it took the travel rewards card world by storm, and not only because of the 100,000 signup bonus (the current bonus is 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points).
Although the Sapphire Reserve carried a hefty $450 annual fee, $300 of it was returned as a travel statement credit that was much easier to use (any airline, hotel, cruise, train, taxi, even subway charges qualified) making it effectively a $150 annual fee card. This contrasted with the AMEX Platinum, where the fee credit was only $200 and only for “airline incidental spend” where the card member had to designate a single airline, making the credit much more difficult to use.
The Sapphire Reserve also enjoyed much more lucrative bonus categories: 3X points on all travel and dining, huge spend categories for most travelers, compared to the AMEX Platinum's 5X on airfare booked directly with airlines (5X on advance purchase rates for hotels booked with AMEX is a pretty useless benefit for most travelers, who prefer refundable rates that also want Virtuoso or preferred partner upgrades, complimentary breakfast, etc.).
Finally, the Sapphire Reserve trip cancellation insurance is better than AMEX, even after AMEX finally added this insurance benefit.
The Sapphire Reserve was in such demand that Chase initially ran out of the metal used to make the cards. It's not surprising that Chase both lowered the signup bonus, recently increased the annual fee to $550 (see Chase Sapphire Reserve Fee Increase to $550: Worth It?) and made it harder to earn the signup bonus again, in two ways:
- The Sapphire Reserve signup bonus is only available to applicants who don't currently have a Sapphire card, and haven't earned a Sapphire card bonus within the past 48 months = 4 years
- Applicants must not have gotten 5 or more credit cards over the past 24 months (from any bank, not just Chase). Most business credit cards don't count, although Capital One business credit cards as well as Discover cards DO count against you. This is the Chase 5/24 rule.
For those who use the card heavily and regularly, it may not be worth it to downgrade the card to a Freedom card and apply again to earn the 50,000 signup bonus. But if you're definitely under Chase 5/24 and it's been at least 48 months since you received the bonus (for example, you earned the bonus in September 2016, so you can apply now; or you earned the bonus in October 2016 and can apply in November 2020) your 4 year anniversary means it's a signup bonus you can earn it again, unlike with AMEX, where signup bonuses are once in a lifetime.
Become a TravelSort Client and Book 5-Star Hotels with Virtuoso or Four Seasons Preferred Partner Benefits