Stop! Before reading I highly recommend that you first listen to the latest PursuingPoints Podcast. In that episode I was joined by my good friend and fellow credit card aficionado Michael “Mike the Fab” Fabiano, and towards the end of the episode I submitted by application for the Sapphire Reserve. Spoiler alert: I was over 5/24 so the application process got pretty interesting…
Once you’ve listened to the episode be sure to come back and read my breakdown of the application.
Overview of Sapphire Reserve Benefits
Before we talk about my results lets first go over the benefits offered by the Sapphire Reserve. For those of you who’ve not yet heard of this card just know that it has taken the points and miles world by storm since it was first announced ~3 weeks ago. The card earns Ultimate Rewards points which are generally regarded as one of, if not the most, valuable point currencies in existence. With that in mind its not hard to understand why everyone is so excited about this card as the signup bonus is a cool 100,000 Ultimate Reward Points! In addition to the unprecedented signup bonus the card also carries with it the following benefits:
- $300 annual travel credit – The first $300 that you spend towards travel in a calendar year on the Reserve is automatically reimbursed to you. Other cards offer a similar perk but the Reserve really shines here as the credit is for any travel expenditure and is reimbursed automatically. Effectively this means that your $450 annual fee is really only $150 which is pretty incredible considering not only the signup bonus, but the rest of the benefits as well.
- 3x points on dining and travel spend – The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 2x points on travel and dining which is good, but the Reserve offers 3x which is…better! To put it simply, anytime you spend $1 on a purchase that is categorized as either dining or travel you will receive 3 Ultimate Rewards points, automatically. At worst this amounts to 3% cash back, at best you can realize upwards of a 6% return if you’re able to redeem your UR points at 2 cents a piece which is more than doable given their array of transfer partners.
- Priority Pass Lounge Access – I’ve not yet visited any priority pass lounges, but its a nice perk if you don’t have access/membership at any other airport lounge. For more information on Priority Pass lounges go here.
- 50% Ultimate Rewards Redemption Bonus – If you choose to redeem your UR points through the UR portal you’ll effectively be redeeming them at a rate of 1.5 cents a piece if you’re a Reserve card holder. At a minimum then you can be assured that your signup bonus is valued at $1,500 when redeemed for travel.
- And more! – For a full rundown of Reserve benefits checkout the products page here (not an affiliate link)
As I do before applying for any credit card I started the day by heading over to CreditKarma.com to check out my current credit score. To be honest, I check my score at least once per week so I had a pretty good idea of where I was at already but its always helpful to check the day of application submission just to be on the safe side. CK listed my Transunion and Equifax scores as 783 each which I was pretty happy with. I’ve talked a bit in the past about how to improve a poor credit score, this is the first “gate” for any application and its important to take every step possible to ensure that your score is as high as possible. If you’ve read that article and still need some help feel free to reach out and Im happy to provide whatever additional guidance I can to help you improve your score. The second step for me was going to my current Chase account and making sure that I had zeroed out all of my balances. I only owed $27 on my Sapphire at the time and submitted a payment for that prior to applying. I had the reconsideration line phone number nearby and prepared myself for making such a call should the need arise.
- Check credit score
- Zero out balances
- Have reconsideration line phone number handy
Bump in the Road – 5/24 Limits
One of the things that worried me about this application was the fact that I was right at the 5/24 limit that Chase appears to have implemented over the last year or so. As far as we understand this limit means that if you have opened 5 or more credit card accounts in the last 24 months you will be denied for all Chase products. In the screenshot below you can see that I was at 5 new accounts within the last 2 years. I figured there was a silver lining however in the fact that 3 of those new accounts were from November 2014 so they’d be “falling off” soon.
Submitting the Application
Although I was worried about my 5/24 status I opted to apply for the card anyway. To be honest, I do not need these points but this is one of those offers that is simply too good to pass up. Worst case scenario is that I apply and am expressly denied resulting in a new hard inquiry on my credit report. Best case is that I receive an instant approval and after spending $4,000 in 3 months I’m credited with 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points. The application process was somewhat anti-climatic but after clicking submit and waiting for a couple of second I was…..
So what does this say about the application process and the Chase 5/24 rule? I think this goes to show that the entire process is a relatively inexact science from an application perspective. Certainly 5/24 is part of the decision process but it does not appear, in this case at least, to be the factor and it can be overcome if the rest of your application is pretty strong. For me, I try and focus less on churning and more on my daily spend strategy which means that I apply for fewer cards but when I do they tend to be for bigger bonuses such as this one. Theres an exception of course, and I talk about it on the podcast.
All in all I’m pretty excited about the prospect of carrying the Reserve with me for the next year at a minimum. Whether or not the card is worth it to me after that is a discussion for another blog post in approximately 364 days 🙂
Did you apply for this card? Were you approved? Let me know in the comment section below or on Twitter!