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Since their introduction, the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred have been extremely popular with consumers. When the Sapphire 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.

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Chase Sapphire Application

Why apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred?

The Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card 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

The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Guide to Chase Sapphire Reserve & Preferred Application Rules
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25 Comments On "Guide to Chase Sapphire Reserve & Preferred Application Rules"
  1. BillW|

    Can u close some of the 5 cards opened in past 24mo to qualify for the chase sapphire or do those closed cards still get counted?

    1. Johnny Jet Editorial|

      Closing cards won’t have an impact. It will depend on when you applied for the credit card. Hope this helps!

  2. Barry V|

    Does the on-line approval screen tell you if you are eligible for the bonus? I do not remember seeing it.

    I had a Chase Slate and Freedom a few years back and hope it doesn’t impact the bonus.

    1. Johnny Jet Editorial|

      If you’re approved for the card you’re eligible for the bonus. The Slate and Freedom won’t have an impact on your Sapphire application.

  3. Mark|

    I currently have a Chase Sapphire Preferred card that was opened back in 2016. Can I downgrade that card to a Chase Freedom Unlimited card, and then apply for a Chase Sapphire Reserve and get a sign up bonus for the Reserve? Would I lose the points I currently have? It seems like I should be able to get the sign up bonus since I haven’t gotten one since 2016.

    1. Lee Huffman|

      You won’t lose your points if you downgrade to either Freedom card, but you will lose the ability to transfer to airline and hotel partners or receive 1.25 cents in value per point when booking travel.

      The current rules state that you will not be approved for the CSR or CSP if you’ve received a Sapphire signup bonus in the last 48 months. Check your records to see when the bonus hit your account. If you applied in 2016, it seems that you are really close to being eligible again.

      Keep in mind that you won’t be approved for the CSR if you hold the CSP, so you will either need to close that account or downgrade it to one of the Freedoms.

  4. Fred|

    I have a sapphire reserve that I opened I believe over 2 years ago, and I HAD a sapphire preferred that I believe I closed over 2 years ago. Can I open a preferred card now and get the 60k points?

    1. Lee Huffman|

      No. The current rules for the CSR and CSP state that you will not be approved for those cards if you’ve received the bonus within the last 48 months. If you click on the “Offer Details” link on the application page for either product, you will find these terms in bold in one of the first paragraphs.

  5. Ashley|

    If I apply for a CSR and I am not eligible, will I be able to apply for the Preferred?

    1. Johnny Jet Editorial|

      It depends on why you weren’t eligible. Did they give you a reason? Most likely applying for the Sapphire Prefered would be the same results though.

  6. Jim|

    Pretty sure that your info is wrong. If you already have one Sapphire card open, you cannot open another one. Might want to doublecheck that.

  7. Diane|

    We have had a Chase Sapphire Preferred card for at least 9 years. We are tired of paying the $95 annual fee, which Chase will not waive (I tried talking to several reps and supervisors about waiving the fee but got nowhere). We have recently used up all of our Ultimate Rewards points on travel and are thinking about downgrading to the no fee Chase Freedom, which is currently offering 3% Ultimate rewards on up to $20,000 ($600) the first year. I have two questions: first, if we reapplied for the Chase Sapphire Preferred in a year or so, would we be eligible for the signup bonus; and second, would the Ultimate Rewards points we accumulate with the Freedom card be eligible for the extra 25% value if we switched back to the Sapphire Preferred?

    1. Johnny Jet Editorial|

      Yes, once you have a CSP, CSR, or Ink P you can then combine your Freedom points with those accounts. Yes, you would be able to get the CSP again in the future as long as you met the criteria, 5/24 rule, etc.

  8. a friend|

    Chase is telling me I need to cancel my Reserve before applying for the Preferred but with no guarantee I will be approved. (I have a very high credit score….) Is there any other way to do this, to ensure I dont end up without a Chase credit card and to not hurt my credit score by closing the account?

    1. Johnny Jet Editorial|

      As long as it’s not your oldest credit card canceling a credit card shouldn’t have a major negative impact on your credit score, as long as your credit utilization isn’t significantly changed.

  9. Ajlm|

    If I am an authorized user CSP, would the 48 month rule still apply to me if I were to apply for the CSR?

    1. Johnny Jet Editorial|

      Good question. You should remove yourself as an authorized user on the CSP before applying for the CSR.

  10. Jenny|

    Hi, I have had the CSR card since Jan. 2017. If I wait out the 4 years, could I cancel and immediately apply for the CSR card again for the sign up bonus? What is the waiting period to sign up for the bonus after closing the card?

    1. Johnny Jet Editorial|

      Yes, you should be good to go as long as you meet all the criteria.

  11. Clarissa|

    I currntly have a chase preferred for about 3 yrs and want to get the reserve. Can I close the preferred and not lose the points and apply for a reserve?

    1. Johnny Jet Editorial|

      Hi Clarissa, you would need to transfer your points out to a travel partner or combine to them another UR earning account to keep your points.

  12. Tom|

    I just downgraded my CSP to the Freedom, but when I applied for the Reserve, Chase said I still had a Sapphire card and auto-rejected(no Hard check on the credit)…How long do I need to wait before applying for the CSR???

    1. Johnny Jet Editorial|

      There have been conflicting reports, but you should at least wait a week. Hope this helps!

  13. SallyD|

    Thanks for the great article and helpful advice! Do you know if the personal and business cards are linked? Aka, does the 5/24 or 48 month rule hold true for applying for the ink card? Thanks for your help and keep it coming!

    1. Johnny Jet Editorial|

      Thanks for reading the blog! Yes, the Ink approvals are subjected to the 5/24 rule, but they won’t count towards the 5/24 because their activity will not be on your personal credit score.

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