Who is Eligible to Get a Bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred?

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Chase recently launched the highest sign-up bonus ever offered for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (review). Since then, we've seen a massive uptick in interest and received a lot of questions about application eligibility.

The end date for this offer has already been announced, and there isn't much time left.

One of the questions people ask the most is, “can you get the Sapphire Preferred if you're already an authorized user on someone else's account?”. The short answer is: yes, it is possible. However, there are several other factors you'll need to consider before submitting your application.

Figuring out the eligibility rules for Chase Sapphire Preferred authorized users can be daunting

5/24 Status

The main thing you need to consider before applying for the Sapphire Preferred—or any Chase card, for that matter—is your 5/24 status. Chase infamously limits its customers to five new consumer accounts per rolling 24 months. That means that if you've opened five or more personal credit cards in the last two years, Chase likely won't approve you for a new card.

So, how does this apply to authorized users? Well…that's a little complicated. To determine your 5/24 status, Chase checks your personal credit report. This report includes accounts that you're an authorized user on—which can cause some issues in the application process. If your authorized user account(s) put you at or over 5/24, your application will probably be denied.

Thankfully, that's not necessarily the end of the story. If you think your authorized user accounts caused a Chase application denial, you can call Chase's reconsideration line at 1-888-270-2127. If you explain your situation to the customer service rep, they can reconsider your application using your real 5/24 status.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Bonus Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Our #1 recommended beginners rewards card featuring an 80,000 point signup bonus after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That's 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
  • 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide
  • 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases

Sapphire Specific Approval Terms

Chase's Sapphire cards have undergone several rounds of updates over the years. What's left is a strict set of conditions determining an applicant's eligibility for a new card and sign-up bonus.

Related: Updated Terms for Approvals & Signup Bonuses with Sapphire Credit Cards

One Sapphire Card Per Customer

The first significant update to the Sapphire family's T's & C's came in 2017. At that time, Chase added verbiage prohibiting customers from opening more than one Sapphire product. Before this, customers could apply and receive sign-up bonuses for both the Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Now, if you have one of these cards, you can't get the other.

If you hold a Sapphire Reserve, Chase won't approve you for a Sapphire Preferred. You'll need to downgrade your Sapphire Reserve to a non-Sapphire product first, then apply. That is, of course, provided you qualify under the next stipulation.

One New Sapphire Account Per 48 Months

The second major update came in 2018, much to the chagrin of Ultimate Rewards enthusiasts everywhere. At this point, Chase changed the terms limiting how often customers could receive signup bonuses for Sapphire products. Now, you're ineligible for a new Sapphire credit card (and, thus, the signup bonus) if you've received a signup bonus for another Sapphire card within the previous 48 months.

It's important to point out that this 48-month clock starts when you receive the signup bonus—not when you apply. So, let's say you applied for a Sapphire Reserve in September 2016 and received the signup bonus on December 12, 2016. That means that you can't apply for another Sapphire credit card until at least December 12, 2020.

When you combine these two conditions, you get Chase's all-encompassing policy on Sapphire applications:

The product is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card who received a new cardmember bonus within the last 48 months.

So, if you received a Sapphire signup bonus within the last 48 months, you can't get a Sapphire Preferred now. That's regardless if you're a current Sapphire Preferred authorized user or not.

Bottom Line

If you're an authorized user on someone else's Sapphire Preferred, it's still possible to get your own. In fact, with its current 80,000-point sign-up bonus, now could be the perfect time to do so. Just make sure you qualify for the card under the rest of Chase's terms and conditions.

Authorized user cards can provide a lot of value to both the primary cardholder and their authorized users. But these benefits don't come without drawbacks. Specifically, you need to remember to factor these accounts into your 5/24 calculation. Then, if these accounts cause application denials, prepare to explain this to a reconsideration representative.

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Comments

  • Avatar

    If I have the Preferred now and downgrade the card to say a Freedom Unlimited, could I then apply for this new Preferred and receive the sign-up bonus? The current Preferred I have had for over 5 years and have not received a sign-up bonus in over 2 years. Also, I have no other Sapphire cards via Authorized user and am not bound by 5/24. Also, if I took this approach, is there a way to protect the points I currently have in my Sapphire account before downgrading the card? Thanks

    • Avatar

      Hey Andy, unfortunately I don’t think that will work. I’ve read that downgrading doesn’t impact your status as “not having a Sapphire card” for a little while. I could be wrong, but we’ve received comments that eligibility for a Sapphire card took several months.

      In terms of protecting points, you can keep them by converting to a Freedom Unlimited. They would only have cash back value until you get a Sapphire or Ink card. Lastly, I’d also warn you that Chase probably wouldn’t look positively on downgrading a card to get the same card with another bonus soon afterward. My rule of thumb: Could I explain this activity without taking a SUB into account?

      Downgrading a CSR and months/years later deciding you want a CSP makes sense in that context. Downgrading a CSP and getting a CSP soon—not so much.

  • Avatar

    I understand the 48 months since you received a prior bonus but have a question. My wife received one about that long ago but no longer has an ultimate rewards points account. I know how to check the 5/24 calculation. And I know it has been over 48 months since she last OPENED a Sapphire card. But is there any way to determine when you received the last Sapphire bonus? OR, will they simply decline the card when you request it through the bonus offer if their computer knows you aren’t eligible?

    I’d hate to get approved for the card, do the spend, and then find out that they won’t give me the bonus because I opened the card to soon.

    • Avatar

      Oof. I’m not sure about this situation. Perhaps you can try calling Chase and see if they can retrieve that info? Also, technically the T&C say “The product is not available to … previous cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card who received a new cardmember bonus within the last 48 months.” So, Chase should decline the application if she’s not eligible. But, it’s worth trying to get Chase to confirm that she’s eligible first.

  • Avatar

    Can my husband get his own RESERVE if he’s an authorized user on my PREFERRED? Or would he have to give up the preferred first?

    • Avatar

      From our research for this post, it seems that he can get the CSR if he is an authorized user on your CSP. Chase’s restriction of only having one Sapphire card seems to only factor in primary cardholder cards, not authorized user cards.

  • Avatar

    there is an referral bonus link email of 15,000 going around, so that would make the bonus 95,000.

    • Avatar

      Yes, you can earn referral bonuses by referring a friend or family member to rack up points on top of the sign-up bonus!

  • Avatar

    Seems like a careless way of doing business on the part of Chase. From the article, I surmise Chase is merely taking a cursory look at a potential cardholder’s credit report and routinely denying a credit line without considering the full merits & faults of each possible new client.

    Seems self defeating for the bank to routinely brush aside a future customer without a proper credit inquiry. That is some business model – shoo off otherwise eligible customers assuming (you know what they say) they “may be” over 5/24. They forgo making an honest effort to fully investigate their creditworthiness (checking for instances of authorized user) and will only look deeper if/when the customer comes back a second time by calling the reconsideration desk.

    One would assume that many of the rejected applicants don’t call back and instead reach out to the competition.

    • Avatar

      I definitely understand your frustration. I was locked out of getting Chase cards due to the 5/24 rule for a few years. However, I get Chase’s desire to avoid signing on new customers that seem to be hopping from one card to the next. It seems that they are OK with losing some potentially valuable customers to focus on cardholders that are (at least) slower to open new cards.

  • Avatar

    I think the 5/24 comment is the most important. Though for myself, with Covid, I haven’t been opening as many cards as before.