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Today we learned of a new rule enforced by Chase regarding their Sapphire products. Applicants will not be approved for another credit card in the Sapphire family if they already have one open. These are Chase’s Sapphire branded credit cards:

  • Sapphire
  • Sapphire Preferred
  • Sapphire Reserve

This rule will only affect applicants moving forward and should have no affect on the cardmember status of existing cardholders.

Where the Rumor Came From

Doctor of Credit was a sent a photo from someone who works at Chase of a memo that was sent to them by Chase. It went over four points. Here’s a summary.

  1. From August 27 and on, customers are only allowed to hold one card within the Sapphire brand at a time.
  2. Existing cardholders can keep all their Sapphire-branded credit cards if they have more than one.
  3. If an existing Sapphire-branded cardholder desires an upgrade or downgrade, they can can do so within the Sapphire brand as long as they’re eligible**, but no matter what they won’t be eligible for any bonus points typically offered when opening the card they are product changing to.
  4. In addition to the one Sapphire product per customer rule, you are also not eligible for another Sapphire-branded card within 24 months of when you earned the bonus on your last one.

**The shared wisdom is that you have to wait a year after opening a Chase card to be eligible for a product change.

So, if you currently hold a Sapphire card, you’re not eligible for a Sapphire Preferred nor a Sapphire Reserve. If you currently hold a Sapphire Preferred, you’re not eligible for a Sapphire Reserve. If you currently hold a Sapphire Reserve, you’re not eligible for a Sapphire Preferred.

Is the Rumor True?

Yep. The terms have changed for both the Sapphire Reserve and Preferred. Both now read…

“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. If you are an existing Sapphire customer and would like this product, please call the number on the back of your card to see if you are eligible for a product change. You will not receive the new cardmember bonus if you change products.”

What to Do if You Want Another Sapphire-Branded Card and Already Have One

Close all of your open Sapphire-branded cards. Wait 24 months past when you earned the bonus on all pre-existing Sapphire-branded cards, and then apply for the new one. You don’t have to wait 24 months after you close your Sapphire branded card(s), just 24 months past when the bonus(es) was(were) earned.

At least closing a Sapphire-branded card does not re-start the 24 month clock like it does with Citi cards, which fall under the jurisdiction of a similar rule.

Frequent Miler mentions a possible loophole to get an additional Sapphire-branded card even sooner than 24 months past when you earned the sign up bonus on your original Sapphire-branded card by downgrading the original one to a Freedom branded card instead of canceling it–but I agree with him that it’s doubtful that would work. We won’t know more on that front until data points start to show up. Go with the method I outlined above if you want to be sure of getting an additional Sapphire branded card and its bonus again.

Chase 5/24 Rule

This new rule is of course in addition to the already existing (but not publicly published) rule people refer to as 5/24: Chase will deny applicants for their the majority of the cards (with the exception of these cards) who have opened five new credit card accounts within the last 24 months. Most business credit cards do not count towards your total for the purpose of the 5/24 rule.

Bottom Line

Chase will no longer approve a person that applies for one of their Sapphire-branded cards if they already have a Sapphire-branded card (a Sapphire, Sapphire Preferred, or Sapphire Reserve). According to their new rule, customers can only hold one Sapphire-branded card at a time. You also have to wait at least 24 months after you earned the bonus on any Sapphire card you might have closed to become eligible again to open a new Sapphire-branded card.

This is a pretty big blow to those just starting off in the game and even those vets who were planning to open another Sapphire card that hadn’t yet.

Those of you that already have Sapphire products are going to want to look a little more closely at how you manage these accounts moving forward.

What do you guys make of this change? Will it affect your strategy?

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