Guide to Chase Sapphire Reserve & Preferred Application Rules

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Since their introduction, the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred have been extremely popular with consumers. When the Reserve was launched with a 100,000 Ultimate Rewards point bonus, it proved to be so popular that Chase actually ran out of the material to issue the credit cards. Now that the hysteria has died down and Chase has implemented a couple of restrictive rules, it is time for a refresher on the Chase Sapphire application rules.

Chase Sapphire Application

Why apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred?

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is a popular starter card. The Ultimate Rewards points it earns are some of the most coveted in the travel community. Cardholders receive 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on everything else. Plus, points can be redeemed in many ways.

You can book travel at 1.25 cents per point or they can be cashed out at 1 cent per point. If you prefer to use points for travel, you can transfer to one of 13 airline and hotel transfer partners. This is a solid card with a $95 annual fee.

Read: Does it Make Sense to Apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve over the Sapphire Preferred

Why apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is the big brother to the Preferred card. It earns 3x points on travel and dining, plus 1x point on everything else. Ultimate Rewards points are 20% more valuable with the Reserve because they are worth 1.5 cents per point for travel.

You can also cash out the points at 1 cent per point or transfer them to the same 13 travel partners as the Preferred.

The Reserve offers many other benefits to justify its $450 annual fee. First, there is a $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year, which reduces the net annual fee to $150. Cardholders also receive a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck reimbursement every 4 years.

If you reserve rental cars when you travel, you’ll appreciate the Primary Rental Car Insurance. Other benefits include Priority Pass Select lounge membership, trip cancellation & interruption insurance, extended warranty protection, and purchase protection.

See: 6 Reasons Why You Should Get The Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire Application Rules

Chase recently took a $300 million charge to their corporate earnings due to “credit card superusers” maximizing credit card rewards. When credit cards and our behaviors start impacting the bottom line of a bank, bank management will take notice.

Chase has taken a couple of steps to restrict applications for some of its credit cards. These application rules won’t affect most consumers.

Chase 5/24 Rule

A couple of years ago, Chase implemented the “5/24 Rule.” If you have more than five new credit cards on your credit report in the last two years, you will be declined for many of Chase’s most popular credit cards.

This rule is more restrictive than others because it includes any new credit cards you’ve opened from other banks. Unfortunately, if you are added as an authorized user on someone else’s credit cards, that also counted towards your five new cards. Most people don’t realize that Home Equity Lines of Credit also count for this total.

I was so over 5/24 that I couldn’t apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve until more than 2 years after it was released. Ok, part of the delay had to do with refinancing a couple of rental properties I own. But applying for a lot of credit cards over a short period of time also put me on the Chase 5/24 list. At long last, I finally have my own Sapphire Reserve credit card.

One bonus per Sapphire family of cards

With most Chase credit cards, you can receive the bonus even if you have had another version of the card. For example, you can receive the bonus on the new Chase Explorer Card even if you have had the previous Chase United card or the Chase Club Card.

In 2017, Chase updated their application rules on the Chase Sapphire cards to be more like Citibank. Now, if you’ve received the signup bonus from the Chase Sapphire Preferred in the last 2 years, you cannot receive the bonus from the Chase Sapphire Reserve (and vice versa).

Chase 48-month rule

Until recently, consumers were eligible to receive another bonus from the Chase Sapphire family of credit cards if they have not received that bonus in the last 2 years. The clock started ticking when the bonus was earned, not when a cardholder was approved for the credit card.

In September 2018, the Chase Sapphire application rules became even more restrictive. The waiting period was increased to at least 48 months since the Sapphire credit card bonus was received.

Other bank application and bonus rules

I won’t go into detail on these rules, but other banks also have rules that restrict the welcome bonuses on their credit cards. Here’s a quick summary:

  • American Express – “once per lifetime” rule means that you cannot receive the bonus from the same credit card twice. Some cardholders have reported receiving another bonus after waiting 7 years or more between applications. Your mileage may vary.
  • Bank of America – “2/3/4” rule restricts cardholders from applying for no more than two BofA credit cards every 2 months, a total of 3 cards within a year, and 4 within two years.
  • Citibank – “one bonus per family” rule limits you to only one bonus per family of credit cards every two years. For example, if you received the bonus from the Citi Prestige card a year ago, you are ineligible for the Citi ThankYou Premier bonus until you’ve owned the Prestige card for two years. These credit cards are linked because they both earn ThankYou points. Be careful though because the 2-year clock resets if close one of the cards.

These are all important to consider when reviewing the Chase Sapphire application rules.

What to do if you can’t get approved

If you aren’t currently eligible to apply for either of the Chase Sapphire credit cards, you have some options.

#1) Wait until you become eligible.

If you are having trouble with the Chase Sapphire application rules, see what you can possibly do to prepare for future applications.

#2) Apply for other Chase credit cards that are not subject to the 5/24 Rule.

Not all of Chase’s credit cards are restricted by the 5/24 Rule. A couple of my favorites are the British Airways Signature Visa and the World of Hyatt Credit Card.

#3) Apply for credit cards from other banks.

As great as Chase’s card lineup is, there are still plenty of other great credit cards out there from other banks. I’d suggest the American Express Platinum or the Citi ThankYou Premier.

#4) Focus on business credit cards.

Business credit cards are gaining in popularity. This is because most of them do not report to the credit bureaus as long as your account is in good standing. The inquiry will still show up on your credit report when you apply, but most business cards do not. Plus, many business credit cards have great category bonuses for your business spending. I really like the American Express Business Gold Card or the Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard.

Applying for business credit cards is a strategy to earn points while waiting to get under Chase 5/24. Of course, before applying make sure you have an eligible business. Also, be careful because some business credit cards like Capital One and Discover have been known to report to the credit bureaus. This is even when your account is in good standing.

Lee Huffman

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Guide to Chase Sapphire Reserve & Preferred Application Rules
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About the Author

Lee Huffman
Lee developed a passion for traveling as a boy, and now he explores the world with his wife & children using miles, points, & the latest travel hacks. He has been teaching others how to travel more, spend less, & live better since 2012.

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