Avoid Duplicate Card Perks and 2 Annual Fees by Downgrading This Chase Card

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Million Mile Secrets reader, John, commented:

I recently got the Chase Sapphire Reserve card because of the sign-up bonus and 3X bonus on dining.  Plus, I’ll use the $300 annual travel credit without a problem.  Is there any reason to hold on to the Chase Sapphire Preferred?

Great question, John!  And thank you for being a continued reader of our blog!

There’s no reason to keep both cards.  Because the Sapphire Reserve has all of the same benefits as the Sapphire Preferred, and then some.

So you can downgrade your Sapphire Preferred card to a no annual fee Chase card and avoid having duplicate benefits.  And you can save money on the annual fee.

Sapphire Preferred Vs Sapphire Reserve

If You Recently Got the Sapphire Reserve, You Can Downgrade the Sapphire Preferred to Avoid Duplicate Benefits and 2 Annual Fees

I’ll compare both cards.  And explain what I recently did in this situation!

Sapphire Reserve Vs. Sapphire Preferred

Link:   Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link:   My Review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link:   Chase Sapphire Reserve

Link:   My Review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve cards both earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which are my favorite kind of points!

With the Sapphire Reserve, you get all of the same benefits as the Sapphire Preferred, plus a few extra.  For example, you only get a $300 travel credit per calendar year with the Sapphire Reserve.

Here’s a comparison of both cards:

 Chase Sapphire PreferredChase Sapphire Reserve
AvailabilityAvailable to new applicants (but falls under Chase's strict new application rulesAvailable to new applicants (but falls under Chase's strict new application rules)
Sign-Up BonusEarn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening

5,000 Extra points for adding an authorized user and make a purchase within the first 3 months of account opening
Earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Eligible to earn 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points if you apply in-branch before March 12, 2017
Rewards Earning RateEarns 2X points on travel & dining

Earns 1 point per $1 everywhere else
Earns 3X points on travel & dining

Earns 1 point per $1 everywhere else
Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Travel PartnersYes, points transfer at 1:1Yes, points transfer at 1:1
Booking Travel Through Chase Travel PortalPoints are worth 1.25 cents eachPoints are worth 1.5 cents each
Travel DetailsPrimary rental car insurance

$10,000 in trip cancellation / interruption per covered trip

$500 in trip delay reimbursement

NO foreign transaction fees
Primary rental car insurance

$10,000 in trip cancellation / interruption per person per covered trip (up to $20,000)

$500 in trip delay reimbursement

$300 annual credit for travel purchases such as airfare and hotels

$100 statement credit for Global Entry

Priority Pass Select for access to airport lounges

NO foreign transaction fees
Annual Fee$95, waived the first year$450
NotesThis is my all-around favorite credit card for Big Travel with Small Money! It’s also the top card I recommend if you’re new to miles & points.This is a fantastic travel credit card with top-quality travel perks. It is also a Visa Infinite credit card
Full ReviewMy review of the Chase Sapphire PreferredMy review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve

So the extra benefits with the Sapphire Reserve include:

To get the extra perks with the Sapphire Reserve, you’ll pay a higher annual fee.  The Sapphire Reserve annual fee is $450 per year.  While the Sapphire Preferred annual fee is $95 per year and is waived the 1st year you have the card.

But the additional perks of the Sapphire Reserve offset the annual fee.  For example, the $300 travel credit effectively makes the Sapphire Reserve annual fee $150 ($450 annual fee – $300 travel credit).

Sapphire Preferred Vs Sapphire Reserve

The Sapphire Reserve’s $300 Annual Travel Credit Works With Hotel Purchases and Helps to Offset the Card’s Annual Fee

So for $55 more dollars ($150 effective Sapphire Reserve annual fee – $95 Sapphire Preferred annual fee), you’ll enjoy better perks, like 3X bonus on travel and dining purchases.  And you’ll increase the value of all your existing Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Keep in mind, it’s now tougher to be approved for most Chase cards if you’ve opened ~5+ cards from any bank (except these business cards) in the past 24 months. 

If you’re impacted by Chase’s stricter application rules and looking for a premium card with annual credits, consider The Platinum Card® from American Express.  Here’s my full review of the card.

What If You Have Both Cards?

Link:   Pros & Cons of Changing Your Sapphire Preferred

Folks like John who have the Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve cards can consider downgrading the Sapphire Preferred to a no annual fee card.

This way, you can save $95 a year by not having to pay the Sapphire Preferred annual fee.

For example, after getting the Sapphire Reserve, I downgraded my Sapphire Preferred to the no annual fee Chase Freedom Unlimited.

Sapphire Preferred Vs Sapphire Reserve

With the Freedom Unlimited, I’ll Earn 1.5X Chase Ultimate Rewards Points on All Purchases With No Cap! So I Can Earn Bonus Points for Purchases at Places Like Costco

Remember when you downgrade, you will NOT be eligible to receive the new card sign-up bonus.  But your:

  • Account history information will transfer to the new card
  • Credit card number will be the same
  • New card will NOT show up as a new account on credit report

And downgrading your card is not automatic.  Chase will review your account for eligibility.  Usually, you’ll need to have the card open for 1 year before making a change.

To check if you’re eligible to downgrade, you can call Chase at the number on the back of your credit card.  Or send a secure message after you log-in to your online account.

Bottom Line

Folks who have both the Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve can downgrade the Sapphire Preferred to avoid duplicate benefits and save money on annual fees.

Plus, the Sapphire Reserve gets you better perks.  Like the card’s annual $300 travel credit and extra bonus points on travel and dining purchases.

If you have both cards, you can consider downgrading the Sapphire Preferred to the no annual fee Chase Freedom Unlimited like I recently did.  This card earns 1.5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on all purchases with no cap!

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Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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10 responses to “Avoid Duplicate Card Perks and 2 Annual Fees by Downgrading This Chase Card

  1. Can we still downgrade to the no fee Sapphire card? Thanks!

  2. I had made some air ticket booking using Sapphire Preferred for Mar 2017. I also have Reserve and I had been thinking of closing my Preferred Card. If I close my card and for some reason I fall sick and end up cancelling my trip then will I be covered did trip cancellation benefit of Preferred? Or do I need to hold my card till I complete my trip?

  3. I currently have the Sapphire Reserve, the Sapphire Preferred, and the Freedom card, while my husband has the Sapphire Reserve and intends to keep it permanently. If, after transferring my existing UR points to my husband, I don’t renew either Sapphire card, will I still get the full value out of my future UR points from my Freedom Card? Or would my subsequent UR points only be worth the penny-per-point cash value rather than the greater value if transferred to my husband’s account? I suspect with so many people getting on the Sapphire Reserve bandwagon, this will be a common question when renewal time comes.

    • Not 100% sure what the question is, but I would definitely start by downgrading your CSP to a Chase Freedom Unlimited. Then, make sure to downgrade your Chase Sapphire Reserve to something like maybe another Chase Freedom or the standard Chase Sapphire (not preferred). Since you live in the same household, you will be able to continue transferring your UR points to your husband via the UR portal. So you can earn your 5x points on your freedom and then transfer to your husband to get the maximum value out of them.

  4. Does the Chase Freedom Unlimited also have the quarterly categories?

  5. My husband has the Sapphire Reserve and the Freedom. He plans on keeping them both. I have the Sapphire Preferred and the Freedom. If I move my current UR points to him and then cancel my Sapphire Preferred, can I then move future UR points from my Freedom spend to him? In other words, must I keep my Sapphire Preferred in order to transfer UR points from my Freedom card to my spouse?

  6. I have a reverse question: I was a CapitalOne user who jumped at the Chase Sapphire Reserve sign on bonus…. now I am trying to determine if I should keep the Chase Sapphire Reserve or downgrade to the Chase Sapphire Preferred prior to the annual fee renewal date in November. I’ll definitely use the $300 annual travel credit, but I am not able to use the $100 statement credit for Global Entry as I usually travel with my family of four… Which brings the $515 annual fee ($450+$75 authorized user fee) down to $215. But, is there a break point in annual spending or other between the Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Preferred with the Rewards Earning Rate? What other tangible cost/benefits do I need to take into consideration?