Becoming Eligible For Sapphire Preferred’s Mega Bonus Of The Year: Freedom, Freedom Flex, Or Freedom Unlimited?

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Many people opened a Chase Sapphire Reserve card between August 2016-March 2017 when it launched with a 100,000 point signup bonus.

The Sapphire cards have a unique family rule in that you can only get a signup bonus once on any of them every 48 months. But that means many people are now eligible, or are about to be eligible, for another Sapphire bonus.

Chase currently has the deal of the year, offering 100,000 points if you open a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and spend $4,000 in 3 months. Read more about that offer here.

But waiting 48 months from your last bonus isn’t enough, Chase also won’t approve you for a Sapphire card if you currently have a Sapphire card.

That means you either have to close your current Sapphire card or downgrade it to a non-Sapphire card in order to apply for the 100K offer.

By downgrading you will get a pro-rated refund of any annual fee paid on your Sapphire card.

The 3 downgrade options are:

None of those cards have an annual fee. So which should you get?

The Freedom Visa is no longer available for new applicants, but you can convert other cards to it. It earns 5 points per dollar on up to $1,500 of spending in quarterly rotating categories such as gas stations, restaurants, home improvement stores, wholesale clubs, internet, streaming, Amazon, Walmart, Paypal, grocery stores, and more.

The Freedom Flex Mastercard is very similar to the Freedom Visa, but you’ll also get cell phone insurance and you’ll earn 3 points per dollar on drugstore and dining purchases and 5 points per dollar on all travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. The only downside is that Costco and Costco gas stations don’t accept Mastercard. However there is a workaround, you can buy Costco gift cards online with a Mastercard to take advantage of quarterly bonuses like wholesale clubs and gas stations at Costco.

The Freedom Unlimited card earns 1.5 points per dollar everywhere with no limit, making it an excellent card for everyday use. It also earns 3 points per dollar on drugstore and dining purchases and 5 points per dollar on all travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

Freedom, Freedom Flex, and Freedom Unlimited alone can’t transfer points into much more lucrative airline or hotel miles, but if you or your spouse has an Ink Preferred, Sapphire Reserveor Sapphire Preferred, then you can transfer points from Freedom to one of those cards and from there to your favorite travel currency. Those cards also allow you to redeem your points for paid travel or other select consumer categories and business categories at a value of 1.25 or 1.5 cents per point. The Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, or Ink Unlimited card can also keep your points alive for free if you do close one of those premium cards.

The value of the points will be based on where you use them, but if you use those points for a trip worth where they are worth 2 cents each then you’ll have effectively earned 10% back on 5 point categories or 3% on 1.5 point spending. The sky is the limit of the value of airline miles as they aren’t tied to the cost of a ticket. That’s good for people in the know and bad for those who are not. 1 mile can be worth 0.25 cents or it can be worth 25 cents, it all just depends on how you use them!

So which card option is best? It’s certainly valuable to have a Freedom Unlimited card for everyday purchases. On the other hand if you max out $6K/year in quarterly spending you’ll earn 30K points on Freedom or Freedom Flex, while you would have to spend $20K/year on Freedom Unlimited to earn that many points.

In short, if you just want to focus on quarterly bonus categories, you’ll want Freedom Flex. If you want bonus earning everywhere you’ll want Freedom Unlimited.

Personally, between my wife and me, we have 1 Freedom Unlimited, and 6 Freedom/Freedom Flex cards. There’s no benefit to having multiple Freedom Unlimited cards, but with multiple Freedom/Freedom Flex cards you can earn the $1,500 quarterly bonus on each card.

Which Freedom card is your favorite?

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141 Comments On "Becoming Eligible For Sapphire Preferred’s Mega Bonus Of The Year: Freedom, Freedom Flex, Or Freedom Unlimited?"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.

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Alex

If I am an authorized user on my spouse’s reserve, can I get the preferred bonus?

tziporah v thall

i have the same question

Yoely

What happens to the points in the sapphire account when changing it to a cash back card?

rkg27

Will they claw back any benefits like the travel credit or door dash if you downgrade?

Ryan

Hey Dan!

After downgrading do I need to wait 30 days before applying for a new CSR?

J

If you downgrade the reserve card to apply for this bonus, can you later upgrade the card back to reserve so you can take advantage of the 1.5 cents per point on travel?

Anonymous

Is there rlno downside to downgrading my Sapphire? Does Chase target offers based on how long I’ve had my card?

Moshe

I downgraded my CSR to freedom, chase says it can take 2 billing cycles to get the prorated refund. But now after being approved for the CSP I want to immediately upgrade back to the CSR in order to get 1.5 per point etc. do I have to wait for the prorated refund to hit my account!?

Yosef

Hi Dan,

I canceled my CSP about a week ago due to general lack of use (I opened it in 2015). Just so I understand your post correctly, am I now eligible for the 100K bonus if I reapply?

Thanks!

jack

if i downgrade my Reserve and get the Preferred and in 2 months want to upgrade back to reserve will i get another $300 for travel?

CtownBin

Probably not, if you’re upgrading back the same card you downgraded from. But if you have a second Freedom anyways, try upgrading THAT one to CSR instead, and you’ll probably get a new travel credit right away, which means you’ll be able to get 2 travel credits (the second one a year from now) for the same annual fee.

MoG

How much time after it’s downgraded will I be able to apply for the sapphire?

HG

Can you first apply for this card and then downgrade the Reserve? What if I downgrade the Reserve and I am not approved for for the preferred?

mr g

so i have the reserve when it first came out and what i did is lowereD my sapphire PREFFERRED to regular sapphire with zero fees am i eligible now for sapphire preferred? or do i need to take the regular sapphire and downgrade to one of those?

MeirS

I don’t think you’ll be approved for a new sapphire if you still have a sapphire, even the free one.

Gaby

Does downgrading to a Freedom card make me loose any future signup bonus for the Freedom card if I currently don’t have a Freedom card

Ag

@dan, I just came below 5/24. I have 10 open cards with chase. Do I need to close any existing accounts to increase chances of approval for sapphire preferred?

Yo

How do I get 5% back at Costco gas with Mastercard? If I buy online gift card won’t it code as Costco wholesale?

Jen

Hoping you can help:
I have the Reserve and unlimited. (I think regular sapphire too but I don’t use it)
I’m thinking to just have my husband apply for the preferred.
Thoughts?

Jen

Or maybe ‘downgrade’ or change the sapphire to a freedom /flex?
Thank you

Joseph

How do i find out when i had my saphire reserve card ? How do i know if its 48 months yet?

Mootkim

Any advantage of downgrading to Freedom Unlimited if I have the Ink Unlimited already?

BWG

If I downgrade the preferred to freedom what happens to all my UR POINTS? if I get approved for a new sapphire or upgrade back to the sapphire will my existing UR POINTS become transferable again?

zack

@dan If I downgrade to a freedom and don’t get approved for the reserve again, would I be able to reinstate my old card back to a reserve??

shmo

I already have all three…

Ben

If I downgrade to a freedom would I have to switch it back to a sapphire to apply for a new freedom or will I be approved for another one?

Barry

Can you downgrade online or do you need to call?

GoFish

I assume if I downgrade then upgrade my Reserve I will no longer be grandfathered in to getting my travel credit by the calendar year. Any downsides to that?

JJ1

wCan you downgrade your new preferred card after the bonuses point hit? Will you get a prorated refund on the 95? IS there a clawback

Zf

I didn’t realize I needed to switch my regular sapphire too, I only downgraded my reserve. Is that true?
Is there any benefits of a plain sapphire over the freedom cards?

Issac

I didn’t see the part about waiting 2 days and got declined can I apply again or I am done and won’t get approved?

RA

Thank you so much for all the info.

I just downgraded my CSR to Freedom Flex.

Does the Sapphire Preferred allow me to book travel directly like the Reserve? I have used that several times.

AJ

Is it worth it to get the card to switch the 100,000 to my Hyatt account or is it more valuable in other ways?

Kivi

Currently abroad when downgrading and upgrading do u get new digits and or new card?
If paid for travel with reserve then downgrade will beninfits and protection regarding the travel be affected? And if yes when reupgraded back does the coverage on the previously paid travel come back into affect? Thanks

DD Reader

In the most recent billing cycle, will all my 3x purchases on restaurants and travel be converted to 1x point purchases if I downgrade before billing cycle closes?

Abraham

So you are able to have 2 sapphires at once (by downgrading reserve to a freedom and then upgrading back to reserve once approved for preferred) but you can’t apply for a a Sapphire of you currently have one?

ChasingDanLevelTravel

How soon after opening the CSP can we upgrade to. The reserve?

Moshe

I had downgraded my CSP yesterday and I tried applying today because they told me the product change was completed and I was declined. I did call them and they said it’s because I had a sapphire card recently. Whet could I do now?

Stephen

Does chase have a limit on how many cards you can have with them?
Currently 1 business and 6 consumer

Mike

Hey, I want to apply for this card and the United quest. If I do 2 tabs will it be one pull?

S

Unfortunately I’m in the wrong part of this 4 year cycle. Got a CSP in 2018.

Menachem

So the freedom unlimited is in a way better than for example the Citi double because those 1.5 points could be worth more than the 2 cents?

Mo

I had A sapphire Preferred and downgraded to a regular sapphire was that a dumb move? (we both recently opened preferred) Between me and my wife we have preferred/Unlimited and freedom in addition to airline and hotel cards

jking

Any of these 3 cards have no Foreign Transaction Fees?

Thanks

Jack the Quack

I tried to apply and was declined right away – how do I find out why i was declined and can i reapply a different way to get approved?

Mike

I did a product change yesterday. Online it’s already showing as freedom. Can I apply now (were you saying 2 days to be safe?)

1991

Question:
I downgraded my SR to a freedom.
I’m assuming that the new card will have a new expiration and CVV, correct?
For how long the old car remains active?
Will it stay active as long as I don’t Activate/ use the new card?
Thank you

Kranzman

I’ve seen others say best not to purchase gc’s at SM for initial spend requirements. Dan, is that true? What about other gc’s like OD when they run their specials?

simon

i plan on downgrading my reserve card to a freedom card and applying for a sapphire preferred.

how long after I’m approved can i switch my freedom card back to a reserve card?

Gevaldik

I went for the freedom card, already have a freedom unlimited. Was going to do FLEX, BUT ITS A MASTERCARD SO YOUR CARD NUMBER WILL CHANGE.

yyz_fan

Once I get approved for the sapphire preferred. (after down grading my current reserve to a freedom unlimited )

Is there any reason or advantage to upgrade the same account that I initially downgraded back to sapphire reserve or should I keep the freedom unlimited and apply for a new sapphire card ?

Ari Bleeman

This is a bit off topic but I just transferred 265,000 ultimate rewards points to Southwest instead of 26,500. Both Southwest and Chase say there is nothing that can be done. Has anyone ever been in this situation and got them back?

yosef768

I see the transfer of points on my sapphire reserve statement dated April 20, 2017 showing that my wife’s bonus points transferred that month to my acct. That’s the date that matters right (when she earned her bonus, which would have been prior to April 20, 2017)? So she should be eligible now to apply for the preferred and get the new bonus? Just wanted confirmation before she applies. Thanks!

Moshe

Hey Dan, I downgraded my reserve to freedom, and got approved for the preferred.
Since I have multiple Freedom cards do I NEED to upgrade from that specific freedom back to CSR or can I just upgrade from any of my Freedom cards to a reserve?

ES

Firstly, love the amount of times you replied ‘2 days’.
Secondly, do you know how much longer this offer will be around for? (Currently in a new mortgage process)

dave

Thank you for the idea. I have had the Reserve card since day one and I will keep it as long as I can. That said, if I request to downgrade it, wait the two days or so, apply for this deal and then get the reserve back, do you think that I would be able to transfer the 100k bonus points over to the reserve to make them effectively 150k points?

Thanks again and best of luck.

E&N

Hi Dan, thanks for all your guidance. If I downgrade my Sapphire reserve to get a Preferred and then reinstate the Reserve, will I have to pay the $550 again?

KG

My CSR 48 months was up in Sept so in Dec I applied at 60k fort he CSP. Man I feel shorted. I tried to get the 80k on a recon call but they didnt do it. Man this hurts!!

JC

I waited 48 hours after downgrading my CSR to to Freedom Visa but was denied. How long do I need to wait before the system lets me reapply?

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