Many people opened a Chase Sapphire Reserve® card in 2016-2017 when it launched with a 100,000 point signup bonus. The Reserve card has never again offered a bonus of that caliber.
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 for another Sapphire bonus.
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 80K offer.
By downgrading you will get a pro-rated refund of any annual fee paid on your Sapphire card.
After downgrading you should wait about 2-3 days before applying for a new Sapphire card, so you’ll want to do this ASAP if you want to be eligible for the 80K offer before it expires on 6/1!
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. One 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. Another downside is that if you switch to a Mastercard, you’ll have to get a new card number.
The Freedom Unlimited Visa 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 Reserve, or 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 on Pay Yourself Back rotating 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.
Personally, between my wife and me, we have 1 Freedom Unlimited, and 8 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.
After you are approved for a Sapphire Preferred, you can always upgrade the Freedom cards back to a Sapphire Reserve.
Which Freedom card is your favorite?