Even Tighter Chase Bonus Restrictions Mean You Need a New Plan NOW – My Application Tips
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If you like to collect Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you need to have a solid plan so you don’t miss out on the best offers in light of new rules!
We recently let you know about harsher bonus restrictions with Chase Sapphire cards. Now, you must wait 48 months between earning sign-up offers on both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred cards.
The good news is there are other cards that earn valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points. And with a little planning, there’s no reason why you can’t keep them flowing to get more Big Travel with Small Money!
The information for the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Freedom has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Here are my tips!
Chase Clamps Down HARD on Sapphire Bonus Rules
We let you know some bad news earlier this week. Moving forward, you’ll have to wait 48 months after earning the sign-up bonus on a Chase Sapphire card before you can earn it again on another.
This new rule specifically targets the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred cards. Before, you had to wait 24 months between bonuses. So this new hurdle seems especially tough.
What’s always been unusual about Chase’s rules is the waiting period starts when you receive the bonus. It’s NOT when you’re approved, activate the card, or hit a cardmember anniversary.
So if you open a Sapphire card in say, March, but receive your bonus points in June – then that day in June is when the 48-month waiting period will begin. It did NOT start in March when you were approved for the card. So this new rule can add potentially 50+ months between card approvals – ouch!
What Does This Mean for Sapphire Cards?
Apply Here: Chase Sapphire Reserve
Apply Here: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Basically, it means to pick one.
With both cards, you’ll earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
The extra benefits with the Sapphire Reserve include:
- 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel (excluding $300 travel credit) & dining purchases
- $300 annual credit for travel purchases such as airfare and hotels
- $100 statement credit for Global Entry
- Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.5 cents each through the Chase travel portal (instead of 1.25 cents each with the Sapphire Preferred)
- Priority Pass Select membership for access to airport lounges
- Visa Infinite benefits like $25 food and beverage credit at the Luxury Hotel Collection and complimentary car rental elite status with Silvercar
Remember, you can always upgrade or downgrade either card after keeping it for a year. You will NOT earn another bonus when you do this, but if you decide you want a lower annual fee, or more perks like the Sapphire Reserve’s $300 annual travel credit, it’s still an option.
But short-term, you should pick one card to earn the sign-up bonus. Considering the number of points and minimum spending requirements are the same, it depends which card you personally like better.
We typically recommend the Sapphire Preferred as the top card for beginners. And here’s our full comparison of both cards, side-by-side.
After Earning a Sapphire Bonus, Plan Carefully!
Remember, you won’t be approved for ANY Chase Ultimate Rewards point-earning cards if you’ve opened ~5+ cards from any bank (except these business cards and Chase small business cards) in the past 24 months.
With that in mind, there are many non-Sapphire cards to choose from, including 3 small business cards (all with big sign-up bonuses!) and 2 personal cards.
You’ll Get the Most Juice With a Small Business Card Offer
Apply Here: Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
Apply Here: Ink Business Cash Credit Card
Apply Here: Ink Business Unlimited
- Chase Ink Business Preferred: Earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
- Chase Ink Business Cash: Earn $500 bonus cash back (50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
- Chase Ink Business Unlimited: Earn $500 bonus cash back (50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
The Ink Business Cash and Ink Business Unlimited have no annual fees to keep them year after year. The Ink Business Preferred has a $95 annual fee, but comes with more card perks AND a much bigger sign-up bonus!
These offers are by far the best way to keep adding to your Ultimate Rewards balance. While you do need a for-profit small business to qualify, you don’t need to make millions a year in revenue. In fact, you may already qualify and not even know it!
You want to add these cards to your wallet if you can, because their bonus offers are worth $1,000s toward Big Travel. And with the Chase 5/24 rule in full effect combined with new Sapphire bonus rules, it’s smart to get the best offers while you can! Here’s how to fill out a Chase small business card application.
Or Pair Another Personal Card, If That’s More Your Speed
Apply Here: Chase Freedom
Apply Here: Chase Freedom Unlimited
The Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited cards have the same sign-up bonus. You’ll earn $150 (15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And both have no annual fee.
Which is best for you comes down to whether you want 5X points on quarterly rotating categories with the Chase Freedom or 1.5X points on all purchases with the Chase Freedom Unlimited.
But because these sign-up offers are much smaller than the small business card bonuses above, I’d consider them a backup rather than a main plan. That said, if these work better for you long term, go for it! Nearly everyone on the Million Mile Secrets team has one (or both!) of these cards. I personally love my Chase Freedom card!
Here’s What to Know to Access Travel Partners and Better Travel Rates
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are so valuable because you can transfer them at a 1:1 ratio to transfer partners like Hyatt, Southwest, and United Airlines.
But you need to have a Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred, or Chase Ink Business Preferred card to access them. Then, you can combine all your Chase points (including those you earn from no annual fee cards!) and send them to transfer partners.
And the points you earn are worth different rates toward travel booked through the Chase travel portal, depending on which card you have.
This is all handy to know before deciding which Chase Ultimate Rewards card is best for your travel goals!
Chase tightened the rules even more with respect to earning bonuses on both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred. Now you have to wait 48 months to earn another sign-up bonus on another Sapphire card.
This new change will definitely affect your strategy moving forward. I recommend picking the Sapphire card you want, then filling in with a Chase Ink small business card because the sign-up offers are huge right now! In particular, you can earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points with the Chase Ink Business Preferred after meeting minimum spending requirements.
After that, you can consider the Chase Freedom or Chase Freedom Unlimited to complete your collection. Remember, ALL of these cards are impacted by Chase’s 5/24 rule.
And you can still product change (upgrade or downgrade) your Sapphire card after a year. You won’t earn a bonus when you do this, but it means you’re not locked into your Sapphire card forever if you want more perks or a lower annual fee. That said, the Sapphire Preferred is the top card we recommend for beginners.
Will these new rules affect which Chase cards you get next?
Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)