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If you are one of the fortunate to have recently been approved for the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, there is a good chance you might already have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. In many ways, holding the Sapphire Reserve diminishes the value of the Sapphire Preferred, given that the Sapphire Reserve has similar or better benefits to the Sapphire Preferred in all cases. As such, if you now have the Sapphire Reserve you may be considering a cancellation of the Sapphire Preferred; if you are, don't!

Don't Close, Convert!

One thing that Chase is fantastic about is converting card products. As long as there are alternative card products within the same family, you may have the ability to convert a card with a fee to one with no-fee. While there are restrictions on when you can convert a card product, a customer service rep can explain your options if you have questions about your particular scenario.

Within the same family as the Sapphire Preferred are two excellent products with no annual fees: the Chase Freedom® and the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. Combining either one of these two products with the Sapphire Reserve provides an excellent opportunity to maximize your Chase Ultimate Rewards earning.

Additionally, when you convert a Sapphire Preferred to either of these two products, you maintain the account history on your credit report. Chase updates their records internally, and your credit report does not show a closed account and a newly opened account — this allows you to maintain the credit history built on your Sapphire Preferred card, keeping its growing account age.

Which one of these two products should you consider for conversion? A case for each:

The Freedom Card is the card on which you can possibly earn the most points annually from day-to-day spending. The reason for this is that the Freedom Card has bonus categories that rotate quarterly where you can earn 5X points per dollar spent on the first $1,500 spent on these categories each quarter. You can earn up to 30,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards a year if you maximize spending on the Freedom Card‘s bonus categories each quarter.

The Freedom Card‘s bonus categories for the third quarter of 2016 are restaurants and wholesale clubs, including Costco and Sam's Club. Previous bonus categories for this year have included gas stations, supermarkets, and local commuter transportation. Chase has yet to announce what the main bonus category or merchant will be for this year's fourth quarter, but we do know that wholesale clubs will continue to be a bonus category for the Freedom Card throughout at least the rest of the year.

Chase Freedom Bonus Calendar 2016

If you think you will be able to maximize spending on categories or merchants like these, then the Freedom Card is certainly a product of which you should consider converting your Sapphire Preferred.

If rotating 5x categories aren't your thing, or if you spend significant amounts on categories that are not considered a bonus category for any card, then the Freedom Unlimited is the product you should consider for conversion. The Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5x Ultimate Rewards on all purchases; in fact, it is the only personal Ultimate Rewards earning card offered by Chase that earns more than 1X point on all purchases.

With the Freedom Unlimited, there is no limit to the number of bonus points you can earn. If you spend $1,000,000 on it, in a year you will earn 1,500,000 Ultimate Rewards from those purchases.

Points Earned from Freedom Card and Freedom Unlimited

One critical factor to keep in mind about rewards earned from the Freedom Card and Freedom Unlimited is that in and of themselves, these points are treated as cash back. However, if you have a Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, then you can transfer your points to one of those accounts which, in turn, allows you to transfer them to the numerous Ultimate Rewards transfer partners. Having one of those three cards combined with the Freedom Card or Chase Freedom Unlimited® is what makes points earned from these two additionally valuable.

What If You Already Have the Freedom Card and Freedom Unlimited?

If you already have both the Freedom Card and Chase Freedom Unlimited® it could make sense to convert your Sapphire Preferred to the Freedom Card. By doing so, you'd be able to double the limits on which you can earn 5X points on the Freedom Card and increase the maximum amount of points you can earn on bonus categories from 30,000 points to 60,000 points. Chase allows you to have multiple Freedom cards, however, if you're not interested in this, you should consider transferring your existing line of credit to another card before closing out your account.

After Conversion, Am I Still Eligible to Earn a Signup Bonus on a Freedom Card or Freedom Unlimited?

Unfortunately, if you convert your Sapphire Preferred to a Freedom Card or Chase Freedom Unlimited®, you will not be able to earn a signup bonus for either card as long as you have the cards. That said, the signup bonus for these cards are relatively small (15,000 Ultimate Rewards or $150 cash back), they're great for every day earning and would be worth foregoing a signup bonus and additional hard inquiry on your credit report.

Bottom Line

Don't close your Sapphire Preferred account; convert it! If you already have one of these products, consider converting it to the other. If you do not have either product, determine between the two which you'd use to maximize your earnings and convert to that card.

Approved for the Sapphire Reserve? Don’t Close Your Sapphire Preferred!
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Comments

  • Great tip! Realize it’s not an UR card, but wondering if you’d recommend converting a CSP to a Disney Rewards card for frequent Disney travelers?

    • I don’t think you’ll be able to do that conversion. And honestly, even if you could, I’d convert to either the Freedom or Freedom Unlimited. Other than having Disney logos on the cards, I don’t think the benefits on the Disney cards are particularly lucrative.

  • I have Chase Freedom and Sapphire Preferred and looking to apply for Reserve. If i am approved, should I keep the Preferred open? Convert it? Close it?

  • Great information.

    I recently was approved for CSR and have an existing CSP so I have been debating what to do with the CSP.

  • I already have Chase freedom, Chase Ultimate, and Chase Sapphire. I recently got Sapphire reserved.
    Is there any other card that you recommend?

    I am about to cancel Chase Sapphire… to avoid annual fee.

  • Thanks so much for this…Quick question(s):

    I have only had the CSP for 6 months and today I was approved for the CSR. I definitely want to downgrade to Freedom unlimited (other than dining, I don’t really spend a lot on groceries and I live in the city so no gas) to get 1.5 on all non dining/travel purchases.

    1. Do I have to wait until I pay the CSP annual fee to downgrade?
    2. Whom do I call to downgrade? Regular Chase #? or CSP card number or CSR (not sure if those are the same as I don’t have the physical card yet).
    3. Do I have to set anything up to ensure I can convert Freedom cash back into UR pts? Or will I just be transferring them over to the Sapphire when I want to use?

    • You’ll want to call the number on the back of your CSP. If you’re eligible for a downgrade they’ll tell you. Based on my experience, you need to have a card for a year before you can downgrade/product change.

      As for moving the points you can do that manually through your account at Chase.com as often as you like for free.

      • Thanks, Howie! I also read of a workaround to the 1 year requirement…Someone mentioned that if they won’t let you downgrade from CSP to Freedom you may be able to downgrade to regular Sapphire…Once you have that, THEN you can quickly bypass the requirement and convert to FUnlimited…

        I’ll give it all a whirl! Thanks again

  • Thanks for the informative article! I am looking at applying for the CSR card which would be my first mileage/points card of this sort but my travel budget each year is pretty high so I believe that I will be able to maximize the benefits. However, due to the presence of a $75 additional authorized user fee, I was wondering if it would make sense to apply for the CSR myself and use it for the bulk of my monthly purchases while having my wife apply for the Freedom card to use for groceries and gas. If she and I both have a Freedom card, will I be able to convert the point to my CSR?

    • Yes, absolutely you can. According to the terms on https://ultimaterewardspoints.chase.com/combine-points/list-accounts:

      Combine points with other Chase cards with Ultimate Rewards
      You can move your points, but only to another Chase card with Ultimate Rewards belonging to you, or one member of your household. If we suspect that you’ve engaged in fraudulent activity related to your credit card account or Ultimate Rewards, or that you’ve misused Ultimate Rewards in any way (for example by buying or selling points, moving or transferring points with or to an ineligible third party or account, or repeatedly opening or otherwise maintaining credit card accounts for the sole purpose of generating rewards) we may temporarily prohibit you from earning points or using points you’ve already earned. If we believe you’ve engaged in any of these acts, we’ll close your credit card account and you’ll lose all your points.

  • I am in a differemt boat. I have the reserve and it will be up at the end of the year. I would like to continue earning chase points. Should i open a prefferred and then convert the reserve to a freedom?

    • It all depends on your goals and how you plan on earning and redeeming. For my family, we have a Sapphire Reserve, a Freedom Unlimited, Freedom and an Ink Cash. Across both personal and business expenses we’re able to maximize our earnings and while we do pay a larger annual fee on the Sapphire Reserve, we’ve found the benefits outweigh the small incremental net cost over the Sapphire Preferred.

  • Is it true that Chase only allows an applicant to have 5 credit cards within a 2 year period? I want to apply for the Chase Southwest airlines card but already have had 5 cards (4 are Chase) within the last 24 months. What do you know about this?

  • I have a Preferred and my wife is an authorized user. If I convert the Preferred to a Freedom Unlimited, does my wife automatically get converted as well?

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