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Why You Should (or Should NOT) Upgrade Your Chase Freedom Card!

Why You Should (or Should NOT) Upgrade Your Chase Freedom Card!

Million Mile SecretsWhy You Should (or Should NOT) Upgrade Your Chase Freedom Card!Million Mile Secrets Team

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Million Mile Secrets reader, Confused, commented:

I’ve gotten 21 cards in the last 2 years and currently only have the Chase Freedom card.  Can I product change it to the Chase Sapphire Preferred?  (I know I wouldn’t get a bonus but at least I’ll be able to transfer my Chase Ultimate Rewards points.)

I spoke with a Chase representative and was offered an upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Preferred.  But NOT to the Chase Ink Plus, as another reader, Allen, asked.

Why You Should Or Should NOT Upgrade Your Chase Freedom Card
You CAN Upgrade Your Chase Freedom Card to the Chase Sapphire Preferred…but Should You?

I’ll explain why you may want to upgrade your Chase Freedom card.  And what you gain AND lose by making the switch.

Chase Is Limiting Card Approvals

Link:   Chase Freedom

Link:   Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link:   Chase Ink Plus

I wrote about how Chase is limiting credit card approvals.  If you have 5 or more new accounts on your credit report within the previous 24 months, you likely will NOT be approved for a new Chase credit card.

This is bad news because Chase Ultimate Rewards points are very valuable.

Moving forward, you should be decisive about when and how you apply for Chase credit cards.

What Does Chase Say?

I spoke with a Chase representative to find out if I could upgrade my Chase Freedom.

He checked, and then said that it was possible.

But he also confirmed that I would NOT receive a sign-up bonus.  And that I’d be charged the Chase Sapphire Preferred‘s $95 annual fee on the 1st billing statement.

Why You Should Or Should NOT Upgrade Your Chase Freedom Card
Chase Says That You Can Upgrade to Another Personal Credit Card. But You Will NOT Receive a Sign-Up Bonus!

He also said if I upgrade:

  • I could keep the same credit card number
  • The information attached to the card would be transferred
  • It would NOT show up as a new account on my credit history

I asked if I could upgrade instead to the Chase Ink Plus.  He said NO.  Because it is NOT possible to change from a personal credit card to a business credit card.

Should You Upgrade?

There might be some advantages to upgrading even though you will NOT receive a sign-up bonus.

The Chase Ultimate Rewards points you earn from the Chase Sapphire Preferred can be transferred to several travel partners, including Hyatt, Southwest, and United Airlines.

Chase Adds New Transfer Partner More Options To Europe
Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Can Be More Valuable When You Transfer to Travel Partners

You’ll also be able to redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points at the Chase Travel Portal for 1.25 cents each.

You can NOT transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points from the Chase Freedom to travel partners unless you also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus, or (no longer offered) Chase Ink Bold. 

And while you’ll have access to the Chase Travel Portal with the Chase Freedom, the points are worth 1 cent each unless you have 1 of those 3 cards.

If you upgrade, you’ll also gain extra travel insurance, earn 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on travel and dining, and have NO foreign transaction fees.

I’ve used Chase Ultimate Rewards points for lots of Big Travel, like my stay at the Hyatt Regency Maui.

Why You Should Or Should NOT Upgrade Your Chase Freedom Card
Emily and I Stayed at the Hyatt Regency in Maui

Some folks might value the ability to transfer points more than what’s offered with the Chase Freedom.

Are There Drawbacks?

The Chase Freedom has generous rotating quarterly bonus categories.  You can earn 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent.  If you upgrade, you will lose this perk.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred has an annual fee of $95.  The Chase Freedom has NO annual fee.

So you should decide whether it’s worth it (or NOT!) to give up the rotating quarterly bonus categories.  And to start paying an annual fee.

It depends on your spending habits.  And if you’ll transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to travel partners.

Why You Should Or Should NOT Upgrade Your Chase Freedom Card
You Will NOT Get a Sign-Up Bonus If You Upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Preferred.  But It May Still Be Worth It!

You also will NOT receive a sign-up bonus if you upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Preferred.  Check our Hot Deals for the latest offer.

So give careful thought to your options.  And remember, you must have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold, or Chase Ink Plus card to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to travel partners!

Bottom Line

Chase is limiting credit card approvals if you have 5+ new accounts on your credit report within the previous 24 months.

So you might NOT be able to open a new Chase Sapphire Preferred account.  But you can upgrade a Chase Freedom to the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

But you will NOT get the sign-up bonus.  And you’ll miss out on the Chase Freedom’s rotating quarterly bonus categories.

You’ll gain 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on travel and dining, and the ability to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to travel partners.

Think carefully about your spending habits and which card is best for you.  Check out my tips on how to approach Chase credit cards in the future.

Will you upgrade your Chase Freedom card?

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

More Info

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what would be the impact of possibly upgrading to a CSP from Freedom to take advantage of the transfer then shortly thereafter downgrade (and recover a prorated rate of the AF) and go back to the Freedom? I only ask as I have about 100,000 UR points, but no transfer cards (Ink, CSP)

I was wanting to take out a Freedom card due to the rotating bonuses. With the changes to Chase I doubt I’d get approved. I have a Sapphire and an Ink card. I was thinking of closing my Sapphire (my husband also has one we can use) and then I could transfer my Freedom points to my Ink. Would Chase change my Sapphire to a Freedom card? I realize I would not get the 20,000 sign up points.

I was planning to doing the opposite – switch out my Sapphire Card for a Freedom. My husband has the the Ink Plus, can’t I transfer my Freedom points to him and he can use them to transfer points to UR partners? I thought only one of us needed a card that can transfer.

I’m not finding much use for the Sapphire card. I have a card that gives me 3X on restaurants, and other cards give us more points on hotels and airlines too. Besides, if Chase isn’t going to allow me to get a Freedom in addition to the Sapphire ( 6 new cards in the last 2 years) the Sapphire has to go.

In May we opened up a Checking, 2 Savings accounts, and a safety deposit box w/Chase, and were planning to slowly transfer over our banking from US Bank, who we’ve been with for over 20 years. But now I see no reason to have a banking relationship w/Chase if we can no longer get any of their credit cards. We are low level churners, and don’t do any MS, but we spend plenty on our credit cards since my husband owns a business.

I have the chase ink cash, chase freedom and a sapphire card that is 11 months old and I need to decide whether to keep the sapphire. It’s a $95 fee. With the quarterly bonuses from chase freedom I can net 20 to 30k a year in points. The ink cash I get 30k for the promotion plus 5% on office supply, where I buy about 5k a year in gift cards which nets 25k points. So that’s 75k+ in potential UR points I could use at the travel portal at 1 cent per point (instead of the 1.25 cent per point with sapphire if I transferred) but potential biggest loss is not being able to transfer to United, Southwest or Hyatt or Marriott. The quick math seems to suggest paying the annual fee is worth more on the return with the 1.25 cents per UR point. And the transfer to partners is super valuable for flexibility. Plus if my wife got an Ink Cash in the future (iffy considering Chase’s new rules) she could transfer to my sapphire account. Bit of a tough call. Any advice?

@Denis — my experience transferring points from Freedom to an Ink card: usually the ultimaterewards.com Web site gives me difficulties in making the request (system just kind of freezes, and the buttons no longer work). So I just secure message Chase CS and make my request (“Please transfer xxx pts from Freedom # xxxx, To Ink Plus # xxx”), and they do it manually right away.

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