Credit Cards

Could the new Chase Sapphire limitation signal more devaluations?

We may receive a commission when you use our links. Monkey Miles has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Monkey Miles and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Monkey Miles is also a Senior Advisor to Bilt Rewards Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

While the new limitation is rough, there could be deeper implications.

If you haven’t read about the new Chase Sapphire limitation it basically goes like this: you can only carry one Chase Sapphire at a time, and can’t get a Sapphire sign up bonus if you’ve gotten one in the past 24 months. In other words…Have a Reserve, you can’t get a Preferred and vice versa and if you received a bonus on either of them in the past 24 months, you can’t get another bonus until that 24 month timeframe has elapsed. The only exceptions are for those cardholders that currently hold more than one Sapphire as they can keep both cards. While this is bad for churners, my fear is that it could signal future limitations or devaluations.

Not being to have two Sapphires at one time makes it harder to light up Singapore Suites.

At face value the impetus behind this seems to be churning

I get why Chase would make the move even though I don’t like it. They lost a ton of money on the Reserve its first year, and it’s still yet to be seen how many will keep it a second year. In order to stem the hemorrhaging they first dropped the sign up bonus from 100k to 50k, and then cut the $300 travel credit from calendar year to cardmember year.  Two big drops from those who got the card last August.

Now they are limiting the ability to get bonuses from signups within the general Sapphire brand. In all honesty, having both the Reserve and the Preferred doesn’t make a whole lot of sense unless you’re doing it for sign up bonuses so this is one way for Chase to limit its exposure.

One possible scenario that doesn’t work to Chase’s benefit is one where a current Sapphire Preferred cardmember would like to upgrade to a Reserve and would have done so via a signup. If I were in this situation I wouldn’t be approved because I carried a Sapphire. So I would have to downgrade or cancel, then sign up for a Reserve, and only get the bonus if I hadn’t signed up for the Preferred that I currently carry within the last 2 years. Perhaps they will incentive Preferred cardholders with upgrade bonuses…who knows.

The less obvious reason, and bigger concern to me, revolves around the possible limitation on point transfers between Ultimate Reward accounts. This new Sapphire limitation sets the stage for its implementation quite well

There was a rumor floating around several weeks ago that Chase may limit the ability to transfer between Ultimate Reward accounts. The rumor was based off of a survey that a consumer had taken and screen capped. Via DOC

  1. “When you combine the Ultimate Rewards points on eligible Chase Cards they would retain their original redemption value – that is, when transferred the points would retain the redemption value of the product they were initially earned on. For example you would not earn a travel redemption bonus if your transfer from a no fee card to a fee card.”
  2. “You can only combine Ultimate Reward points between no-annual fee cards or between annual fee cards. You cannot combine Ultimate Rewards points between a no-annual fee card and an annual fee card.”
  3. “You can combine Ultimate Rewards points on eligible Chase cards at a 3:2 conversion ratio. For example if you would like to transfer 15,000 points from your Freedom Unlimited card to your Sapphire Reserve account, your Sapphire Reserve would be credited with 10,000 points (a 3:2 ratio). The transferred points would be granted the redemption value and options of the account to which they are transferred into.”

Say they implement any one of these policies.

I’d assume the change would affect points earned after the new policy goes into effect. Therefore there’d be a rush to move points into an account with the highest redemption value. Those with Reserve cards will push their Freedom, Ink Cash, etc points into their Reserve account.

If they cancel or downgrade that Reserve card after the new policy takes effect they would need to transfer those points into another account or lose them.

If you can’t hold a Reserve and Preferred at the same time it would create quite a dilemma for those without grandfathered Preferred cards or Ink Plus/Preferred cards. If #2 on that list took effect – you couldn’t transfer points from your Reserve to your Freedom or Freedom Unlimited as it’s annual fee to no annual fee. It’d be a use or lose situation for all those points in that account. Or it would be a HUGE incentive to keep that Reserve card open because the cost of losing the points is larger than the cost of keeping the card and paying an annual fee.

What would happen to valuation post cancellation?

Even if you could transfer from Reserve to Freedom would the points transferred retain their Reserve value even though they are now held within inferior accounts? I’d think not – why would you enjoy higher redemption value and UR transfer ability without paying the annual fee? That’s how it currently works – close a Reserve, transfer to another account, and you lose the 1.5 cent redemption value.  If #1 were to take effect Reserve points would transfer into Freedom but retain their original value: 1.5 cent redemption and transfer to partners. However, if you were to cancel that Reserve account would the points disappear or would they suddenly be worth the same as Freedom points – losing 33% value in an instant.

These are just a couple hypothetical situations, but the limitation on Sapphire creates a platform for UR point transfer limitations to be even more devastating.




Affiliate link via CardRatings


The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based. 

Welcome Offer

60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months

80k offer in branch currently – I think this should be online soon

Annual Fee


Points Earned

Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards

Super solid welcome offer.

If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners

Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.

  • 3x on dining
    •  including eligible delivery services for takeout
  • 3x on select streaming services
  • 3x on online grocery purchases
    • (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
  • $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
    • The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
  • 10% Anniversary Bonus
    • Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
  • Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
  • Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
    • Primary rental car coverage is my favorite

There is currently an 80k offer after $4k spend in 3 months available in branch, and up to 90k after $6k spend in 6 months. I suspect some version of this will be online soon if you don’t want the hassle of going into a branch.

We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.

Historically 60k is a very, very good offer. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back. .

Main Cast: 

Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.

Supporting Cast:

Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on. 


  • Ella August 30, 2017

    I can’t see any value at all to the Freedom Unlimited if they disconnect it from the UR program, since Citi has the no-fee double cash card and I know Amex has good cash back cards as well. At the moment I’m using four Chase cards, and loving them, but all these changes have me ready to jump. I’ve got fee card renewals coming in October, November and January, and I’m not at all sure what I’ll be doing. (I used to think I knew.) I do keep all my UR points transferred to the CSR, but I’m wondering if I should keep them further transferred to United. Chase seems to be following Trump’s economic plan – keep ’em confused and scared. This is good marketing?

    • Miles August 30, 2017

      Ella – I feel ya, and hopefully the rumor will prove to be unsubstantiated.

  • Tom August 30, 2017

    Thanks, Miles! BTW – I travel with a small stuffed llama, in the same way you travel with miles. She’s seen a lot of the world, and I could be imagining things, but I think her smile keeps getting bigger 😉

    • Miles August 30, 2017

      Tom – haha love it! And I’m sure it is =)

  • Tom August 30, 2017

    This policy is costing Chase revenue, at least from me. I have Preferred. I wanted Reserve when it first came out, but couldn’t get it due to 5/24. So, my go-to card for dining and travel — and other things — became Citi Thankyou Premier, and all Chase has been getting from me has been the annual fee. I would rather be using a Chase product, but they pushed me to Citi. I’m pretty sure I cleared 5/24 the day before this new policy was announced, and was planning on applying for Reserve this coming weekend. (It kinda feels like they were specifically targeting me! Lol?) I don’t want both cards, just Reserve. Is there any strategy for cancelling my Preferred, without losing the points I’ve spent years earning, and then applying for Reserve?

    • Miles August 30, 2017

      Hey Tom –

      If you have a Ink Plus or Ink Biz Preferred you could transfer your points into that account, close or downgrade your sapphire and apply. Alternatively, if you don’t have an ink business preferred you could apply for one, get 80k points, and then do the transfer. The riskier option would be to downgrade your card into a Freedom and apply for the Reserve, once it’s populated on your account you can transfer those points back in. Risky, but it’s possible, and if they don’t change transfer terms you should be fine.

  • Patrick Mc August 29, 2017

    I hope not. I currently put nearly all of my personal and business spend on Chase cards instead of my cards with other banks almost entirely because I can earn Ultimate Rewards points in various categories with bonus earn on my CSR, Freedom, Freedom Unlimited and Ink Cash that I can then pool for better redemptions. If suddenly the Freedom’s and Ink Cash were lower valued points that couldn’t be pooled I would have to shift nearly all of my spend back to AmEx and Citi. I love my chase cards because of the strength of Ultimate Rewards points and the diversity of the portfolio of cards that can earn them.

    • Miles August 30, 2017

      Patrick – I feel you and do the same thing. I think they’d lose quite a bit of business if they devalued transfers between accounts.

  • Andre August 29, 2017

    I find the CSR to be a superior travel credit card. The $300 travel credit is so lenient. Most anything applies. The $150 resultant annual fee is more than paid for with all of the travel protections, priority pass, etc. Additionally, the points earned are typically valuated very highly by travel bloggers. All of this is to say that I won’t ditch the card over these changes. Once they start cutting card benefits, that’s when I’ll move.

    • zo August 29, 2017

      so you value the card because external (compensated) bloggers artifically value the points highly? that is a recipe for disaster. A card and its merits, and the value of the points, should be based on your intrinsic valuations, based in no small-part on cost to print, opportunity cost lost, etc…

      • Andre August 30, 2017

        I only point out the valuation of the miles because I agree with the valuation. They are very valuable to me because of my ability to book through the travel portal and the large number of transfer partners. I wouldn’t have mentioned the valuation if I didn’t agree and couldn’t get at least a specified cpm out of the points.

  • Tom August 29, 2017

    Cash back cards are looking better and better. I’ve got my scissors poised with my Ink Cash. I’m always looking to get rid of cards, especially when they just become more stuff to keep track of.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.