CSP Cardholders: Are You Eligible For The Bonus? Plus How You Can Earn Even More

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For most people, I recommend keeping a Chase Sapphire Preferred® (or a Chase Sapphire Reserve®) in your wallet year after year. There are some cards that it may make sense to get rid of if (you’re not getting enough benefits to offset an annual fee, etc). For most people, CSP or CSR is not one of those cards.

Original title of this post: Don’t Cancel Your Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve Card: Do This Instead

There are a couple scenarios in which it makes sense to get rid of Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve, though. One reason is if you’re eligible to receive a welcome bonus on a new Chase Sapphire Preferred. If so, you can earn 60k points, plus you can start earning 50% more Ultimate Rewards points on your everyday spending and I’ll explain how. So I changed the title to more accurately reflect the contents of this post.

An important takeaway stands though: no matter what your reason is for cancelling a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve, don’t cancel.  Downgrade to a no annual fee product instead. There are several benefits in doing this, which I’ll discuss.

The welcome bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred is now 60k Ultimate Rewards points, so this is a good time to evaluate what’s in your wallet. If you already have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve right now, Chase will not approve you for this offer.

But if you have CSP or CSR AND it has has been more than 48 months since you last received a welcome bonus, I’ll explain what you can do to increase your earn rate on everyday spending AND get this 60k offer!

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred 2022

Current offer: Earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. 

80k points are worth at least $750 in travel!! But the points can also be used for redemptions that are worth twice that if you learn how to utilize transfer partners. Click here for several ways to redeem the bonus.

The annual fee is $95, but the welcome offer alone is worth a lot more than that. 

Earn 5 points per dollar on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 2 points per dollar on all other travel, 3 points per dollar on dining (including eligible delivery services and takeout), 3 points per dollar on select streaming services, 3 points per dollar on online grocery purchases (this excludes Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs), and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

Already have a Chase Sapphire Preferred® or Chase Sapphire Reserve®? Keep reading

You cannot have 2 Chase Sapphire Preferred cards at one time.  So opening a new CSP to get this exciting welcome bonus if you already have a CSP is not possible, but stay with me.

Also, Chase will not approve you for a Chase Sapphire Preferred if you already have a Chase Sapphire Reserve. 

BUT if you currently have a CSP or CSR and it has been 48 months since you last received a bonus, this is what you can do: 

You can call Chase and ask them to downgrade to a no annual fee Chase Freedom Unlimited or Chase Freedom Flex. Then if you wait about 2 weeks, you can apply for a Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Again, in order to do this, it has to have been 48 months since you last a received a bonus for a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve. If you’re unsure of when you received the last bonus or if you think you’re close to 48 months, you can check online. Chase keeps statements for 7 years on your account online, so you can find your exact month of last welcome bonus there. Just look at your first 3-4 months of statements.

Also, you need to be under 5/24.

What is 5/24?

Chase has an unpublished rule known as the 5/24 policy

This is one of the reasons I suggest opening Chase cards before moving on to cards from other banks such as Capital One and Amex.

What this means is that if you have opened 5 or more cards in the past 24 months, Chase will not approve you for one of their cards.  In order to get approved for a new Chase card, you would need to wait until it has been more than 24 months since you’ve opened your 5th newest card.

This includes cards you’ve opened in the past 5 months from any bank, not just Chase.  For example, here are your 5 cards and opening dates:

(Doesn’t matter if they’re now closed.  They still count as one of your 5/24)

  • Most recent: November 1, 2021 Barclay American Airlines
  • 2nd most recent: April 12th, 2021 Amex Delta co-brand
  • 3rd most recent: December 8, 2020 Capital One Venture
  • 4th most recent: August 10, 2020 Citi American Airlines co-brand
  • 5th most recent: May 14, 2020 Amex Platinum

None of these cards are actually issued by Chase, but they all count against your 5/24 limit. 

On May 14, 2022, you’ll be 24 months from opening that 5th most recent. At that time, you would be 4/24. I’d wait until June 1 to be safe, but then you could open a Chase card assuming you’re otherwise qualified. 

You can find more about 5/24 here.

Here are a few things to know about downgrading to a Freedom product:

-Both the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Chase Freedom Flex have zero annual fee.  Downgrading to one of these allows you to maintain your account year after year without paying an annual fee.  This helps the age of accounts aspect of your credit score.  

-When you downgrade, there is no credit inquiry. There is going to be a credit inquiry when/if you open the new CSP, though.

-Downgrading to a Freedom product also allows you to keep any remaining Ultimate Rewards points you earned on your CSR or CSP.  Note that without a CSR or CSP (or CIBP but that’s a whole other conversation), you cannot transfer these points to Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel partners.  But this does keep your points safe until you open your new CSP (remember, wait about 2 weeks after downgrading). If you cancel a CSP or CSR (as opposed to downgrading) you have 30 days to redeem the points before they’re forfeited.

-Downgrading a Sapphire to a Freedom product means you will not receive any welcome bonus that you would receive on the Freedom Flex or Freedom Unlimited that you would receive if you were to just outright apply for a FF or FU.

Which one should you choose when you downgrade?

You can compare Freedom Flex and Freedom Unlimited here, but Freedom Unlimited increases your earn rate on non category bonus spending by 50%.

The exciting part about this is the earning potential from having a Freedom Unlimited and a Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Note: If you already have Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Freedom Flex, you can still downgrade a Sapphire to one of those products.  In other words, you can have multiple if you’re downgrading. 

Freedom Unlimited earns more on non category bonus spending than Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on all purchases that do not code in a bonus category. To compare, the earn rate on Chase Sapphire Preferred (and Reserve) is 1 point per dollar on all non-category bonus spending.

Chase Freedom Unlimited, best credit card offers of 2022

On its own, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is just a cash-back card. We all know how I feel about cash-back cards. BUT… there’s a huge exception. If you also have one of the three Chase cards that earn transferable Ultimate Rewards points, then any points earned from the Chase Freedom Unlimited can be redeemed the exact same way you would redeem your transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Chase Freedom Unlimited is most valuable when you also have a Chase card that earns transferable Ultimate Rewards points

The three transferable UR earning cards are:  Chase Sapphire PreferredChase Sapphire Reserve (personal) and Chase Ink Business Preferred (business card).

Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve earn bonus points in certain categories such as at restaurants and on travel purchases. The Chase Ink Business Preferred card also has bonus categories. Outside of bonus categories, the earn rate is 1 point per dollar.

My suggestion is to use a Chase Freedom Unlimited card for non-category bonus purchases. Why? Because the earn rate is higher.

Chase Freedom Unlimited has a few bonus categories of its own:

  • 5% on Travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3% at restaurants
  • 3% on Drugstore purchases
  • 1.5 % unlimited cash back on all other purchases

The CSP and CSR earn rates are the same or better for travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards and for dining. CSP and CSR do not earn extra points at drugstores, so this would be a better card to use for those purchases. But the most compelling reason to carry a CFU is that it earns 1.5 on non-category bonus purchases, while CSP and CSR earn 1. That’s 50% more!

If you have a Chase Sapphire PreferredChase Sapphire Reserve, or a Chase Ink Business Preferred card, you can add points earned from the Chase Freedom Unlimited card to your pool of Ultimate Rewards points for whichever Sapphire card you have.  Those points are then redeemable the same way as your points for whichever Sapphire card you hold.

This provides an avenue for you to transfer points you earn from the Chase Freedom Unlimited to Chase’s airline and hotel transfer partners at a 1:1 ratio.

You can read this post for more analysis and math with the Freedom Unlimited and Chase Sapphire Preferred duo.

Earn the points needed for a Maldives trip by using the right cards on your everyday purchases

New to award travel?

Chase Sapphire Preferred is the first card I recommend for almost anyone who is new to award travel. Since you cannot have both, it means that anyone new to award travel needs to decide between Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve. For some people, the premium benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve are worth the annual fee. But for most, the higher welcome bonus and the lower annual fee on the Chase Sapphire Preferred makes more sense.

If you still think you want CSR, here is my take: since its launch, Chase Sapphire Reserve was my top premium card. If I could only choose one credit card, I may still choose Chase Sapphire Reserve. But the good news is I don’t have to choose. In the past year, improvements to Capital One Venture Rewards and the launch of Capital One Venture X has finally made me waiver. Also, the Chase Sapphire Preferred saw improvements on earn rates. If I could only choose two credit cards, I’d now choose Chase Sapphire Preferred and Capital One Venture X. (See our current offers page for more info about these cards). But the 5/24 rule is something to consider if you’re new to award travel, so it may make sense to go for Reserve over Venture X if you’re wanting a premium card.

If you want to take advantage of the 80k Chase Sapphire Preferred offer, you can start with CSP and then upgrade to Reserve after a year if you decide you want the premium benefits. You will not receive a welcome bonus for upgrading though, as upgrades and downgrades are considered product changes and therefore no welcome bonus is offered. Downgrading the CSP to Freedom Unlimited/Freedom Flex as described above and then applying for CSR also wouldn’t work because that 48 month bonus rule applies to anyone who has receive a bonus from either CSP and CSR.

It’s tough to give specific recommendations in a blog post because I cannot cover every single variable to determine the best card, but I’m happy to give card recs if you email me.

Final Thoughts

Don’t cancel, downgrade!

Adding (or downgrading to) a Chase Freedom Unlimited card to your wallet means you can earn 50% more Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Note about Chase Sapphire Reserve: Downgrading an existing CSR/CSP to a Freedom product and opening a new CSR would also work if you’re eligible (48 months since last CSP/CSR bonus, under 5/24, etc). It’s just that the current Reserve bonus isn’t as good as the CSP bonus. And like I stated in the previous section, I just like CSP better now.

Earn 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points

The current welcome bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred is worth at least $750 in travel!! But the points can also be used for redemptions that are worth twice that if you learn how to utilize transfer partners. Click here for several ways to redeem the bonus.

Chase Sapphire Preferred 2022

Current offer: Earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. 

The annual fee is $95, but the welcome offer alone is worth a lot more than that. 

Earn 5 points per dollar on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 2 points per dollar on all other travel, 3 points per dollar on dining (including eligible delivery services and takeout), 3 points per dollar on select streaming services, 3 points per dollar on online grocery purchases (this excludes Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs), and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

Advertiser disclosure: The Miles Genie has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products.  The Miles Genie and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

Comments below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. The comments have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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