Why the Chase Sapphire Preferred's new sign-up bonus might finally convince me to ditch my Chase Sapphire Reserve

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  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is offering a limited-time 80,000 point sign-up bonus, but holders of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® aren't eligible.
  • I'm strongly considering downgrading my Reserve to the no-annual-fee Chase Freedom Flex℠ or Chase Freedom Unlimited® so I can sign up.
  • I'm not using many of the travel benefits on the $550-a-year Chase Sapphire Reserve® anyway, and many of its perks are available on other cards.
  • Plus, with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card I can earn bonus points for referring my friends to the card.
  • See Business Insider's comparison of the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Sapphire Preferred »

I've been a loyal Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholder since the moment Chase debuted the product back in 2016. Thanks to the 3 points per dollar it earns on dining and travel — two of my top spending categories — the card has maintained a prominent place in my wallet, despite being just one of several I carry and use.

But over the past year or so, I've begun to question how much sense it actually makes to keep it, given its newly raised $550 annual fee and my pandemic spending habits (which, spoiler alert, very rarely fall under the travel or dining umbrellas).

Then, just recently, Chase unveiled a game-changer: an 80,000-point sign-up bonus (after meeting a $4,000 minimum spending requirement in the first three months) for the Sapphire Reserve's much more affordable sister card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Those who have received a bonus from either Sapphire card in the last 48 months aren't eligible for the bonus, nor are current Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders. I can clear the first requirement, but if I want to capitalize on the offer, it might just be time to bid farewell to my Chase Sapphire Reserve® — at least, for now. Here are five reasons I might just go through with it.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardChase Chase Freedom Flex℠

Annual Fee
Regular APR
Credit Score
  • A five pointed star
  • A five pointed star
  • A five pointed star
  • A five pointed star
  • 4.65 out of 5 Stars
    Editor's Rating

    Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    Annual Fee

    None

    Regular APR

    14.99% – 23.74%

    Credit Score

    Good to ExcellentA five pointed star

  • A five pointed star
  • A five pointed star
  • A five pointed star
  • A five pointed star
  • 4.65 out of 5 Stars
    Editor's Rating
    Featured Reward

    $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

    Intro APR

    0% for the first 15 billing cyclesChevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Details
  • Pros & Cons
    • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
    • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
    • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
    • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
    • No annual fee.
    • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 – 23.74%.
    • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.
    Pros
    • No annual fee
    • Generous bonus cash-back categories
    • Great welcome bonus
    Cons
    • Booking through Ultimate Rewards portal can restrict outside earning potential
    • Varying percentages and rotating calendar categories require extra attention
    • 3% foreign transaction fees

    The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers referral bonuses

    The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card holds a key points-earning advantage over its pricier sister card, and that's the ability to earn referral bonuses. With the Preferred, you can earn 15,000 points for every person who takes out the card using your referral code, up to 75,000 points per year. The Reserve, on the other hand, doesn't offer referral bonuses at all.

    While this feature might not be a major draw to some people, as someone who loves teaching friends and family about points and miles, it's definitely attractive to me and factors into my calculus.

    Other cards cover most of the benefits I use

    There's an element we haven't touched on yet, and that's the fact that the Chase Sapphire Reserve® comes packed with benefits to offset its higher price — benefits I'd be sacrificing if I decided to ditch the card.

    While I don't make use of all of them, there are a few I used regularly before the pandemic hit, including airport lounge access through Priority Pass and an application fee credit for up to $100 for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck.

    The thing is, these benefits are popular features of other premium credit cards, including The Platinum Card® from American Express, which I also hold.

    All things considered, there are only really two benefits I'd lose with the Reserve that I'd really miss: the ability to use Priority Pass for a $28 credit at select airport restaurants and the ability to redeem Ultimate Rewards points at a rate of 1.5 cents per point (instead of the Preferred's 1.25 cents per point) through the Chase travel portal.

    I can (likely) change back

    Product changes go both ways: Just as it's possible to downgrade a card to a cheaper alternative, it's also possible to upgrade to a more expensive product. Translation? I can theoretically turn my new Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card into a Chase Sapphire Reserve® one day if I decide I want the premium card back.

    Of course, Chase has the final word on whether you can product change. On that front, keeping your account in good standing through timely payments can go a long way toward currying favor.

    But banks also don't like to see behavior that suggests users are "gaming the system" for points, meaning it's wise to wait at least a year after taking out a new card before attempting to swap it out.

    Considering that I haven't done any pandemic-era leisure travel or booked any speculative future travel and have no immediate plans to start, I don't feel at all phased about the idea of giving up the Sapphire Reserve benefits I mentioned for the course of a year, and the idea that I might be able to get them back in the future almost makes executing this plan a no-brainer.

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