When should I apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred?

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Folks have been emailing me to ask if the 50,000 point sign-up bonus for the Chase Sapphire Preferred is going to be reduced.  I like Jared’s approach to this question which is to grab the sign-up bonus when it makes sense for you to do so.

I don’t like answering these types of questions for 3 reasons.

1.   Information is not accurate.  Recent predictions of credit card sign-up bonuses decreasing haven’t been very accurate.

Over the past few months,  reports that the 50,000 point sign-up bonus for the  Chase Ink Bold, and Chase Southwest, were going to disappear (which I didn’t pass along) weren’t true.  All these cards are still listed on the Hot Deals tab with a 50,000 point bonus!

The 50,000 point sign-up bonus with the Chase Southwest card has been available since November – which was when folks predicted that it would disappear.  I’ve written about this on multiple occasions since November, because this is the best credit card for domestic travel.

Not only do you get $833 worth of free travel on Southwest, but the 50,000 sign-up bonus is currently counting towards the 110,000 points needed for the Companion Pass which lets a companion fly with you for free.

The Chase Ink Bold introduced category bonuses, but the 50,000 point sign-up bonus didn’t change.  And there’s still a link available to the Citi Thank You Premier for 50,000 points.  Granted, the link to the Citi Thank You Premier is not a publicly promoted link, but folks are still receiving the 50,000 point sign up bonus which is another great card for domestic US travel.

2.  I’m biased.  I get a referral if you apply and are approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred via links on the blog.  Emily and I are very grateful to everyone who has applied for the card using our link!

But if I make a prediction or pass along information – which hasn’t been very accurate in the past – and that information again turns out to be incorrect, I still benefit.

I benefit because folks will apply for the card in the belief that the sign-up bonus is disappearing.  I don’t want to tell folks that the bonus will decrease (and drive an increase in card applications) when recent history suggests that such information is incorrect.

So I prefer not to pass along information on sign-up bonuses decreasing – especially if I earn a referral commission from that credit card and past history suggests that the information of the sign-up bonus decreasing is not correct.

Am I over-thinking this?  Probably.

3.  50,000 point sign-up bonuses reappear.  Off late, 50,000 mile and point sign-up bonuses appear and disappear frequently, so if a sign-up bonus decreases, it is just a matter of time before it reappears.

On the other hand, 100,000 mile sign-up bonuses tend to reappear after much longer (one year or longer) so it is best to grab a 100,000 sign-up bonus when it is active.  And I’ve also noticed that predictions of a 100,000 mile sign-up bonus disappearing are usually accurate.

So I would pass along information of a 100,000 mile offer disappearing.

So why am I writing about the Chase Sapphire Preferred?

Because the ad materials which affiliates like me get access to indicates that the sign-up bonus is for a “limited time only.”  Marketeers often use this phrase to get people’s attention and to steer them towards making a purchase which they may not otherwise have made.

But “limited time only” could describe almost anything!

I’ve also heard that the bonus offer will decrease in late February or early March, but I also heard that previous sign-up bonuses for the Southwest, Ink Bold, and Citi Thank You Premier were decreasing (which ended up not happening).

But if there was a new mega credit-card sign-up bonus in the works, it could make sense to reduce the sign-up bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred to build some buzz around the new offer.

Also, the American Express Premier Rewards Gold (the AMEX competitor to the Chase Sapphire Preferred) offers only a 25,000 point bonus, so Chase may feel that it no longer needs to offer a 50,000 point sign-up bonus.

Chase Website

However, the ad copy from the official Chase website on the Chase Sapphire Preferred does NOT mention that the 50,000 sign-up bonus is for a limited time only.

So this could mean that the sign-up bonus is going to decrease only for cards in the affiliate channel, but not directly through Chase.

But I don’t know for sure.

Bottom Line:  As always, grab the sign-up bonus on credit cards, including the Chase Sapphire Preferred, when it makes sense for you to do so.

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