Big Chase Sapphire Changes Coming?

8/10/21 Update:

Chase just confirmed that the rumored changes discussed below will go into effect August 16.

As a reminder here are the changes:

Sapphire Preferred changes

  • $50 hotel credit
  • 10% anniversary point bonus
  • 3x on dining/streaming services/online grocery (excludes: excluding Target, Walmart and
  • 5x on travel booked through the Chase Travel portal

Sapphire Reserve changes

  • 10X on Chase Dining Hub
  • 10X on hotels through Chase Travel portal
  • 10X on car rentals through Chase Travel portal
  • 5X on airline travel booked through the Chase Travel portal

The new changes give the Sapphire Preferred a considerable upgrade. While I am not crazy about the 3X on groceries being limited to online groceries, the 3X on dining is solid. With the additional 10% anniversary point bonus and the $50 hotel credit, it’s going to be even easier to offset the already reasonable annual fee (assuming that it does not soon increase).

The changes to the Reserve are more mediocre. The only change that I am potentially excited about is earning 10X on rental cars, since I am not a huge fan of booking hotels or even airfare through a travel portal and the options in the Chase Dining Hub are minimal.

Tip: Be sure to download the app WalletFlo to help you keep up with the new credit and bonus categories!

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7/7/21 Original article:

News just broke on Reddit about Chase adding new features to two of its most popular credit cards: the Sapphire Preferred and the Sapphire Reserve. The information is based on leaked documents so we don’t know if these changes are going to occur or not but if they do, it’s possible they could be implemented in the middle of August. Here’s a look at some of the new changes.

Sapphire Preferred changes

  • $50 hotel credit
  • 10% anniversary point bonus
  • 3x on dining/streaming services/online grocery (excludes: excluding Target, Walmart and
  • 5x on travel booked through the Chase Travel portal

$50 hotel credit

It looks like the $50 hotel credit is going to be issued on a cardmember year basis and limited to hotel bookings in the Chase Travel Portal. If so, that greatly reduces its value since hotel bookings through OTA’s usually decrease the benefits you get from loyalty programs. Still, you could use it to cover all or part of a cheap hotel stay for a one night stay at an airport hotel or somewhere similar.

The addition of this credit would make me think that the annual fee will be increased. It seems very rare for cards to introduce credits and not hike the annual fee but we will see. Some people think that this credit may have to be earned (presumably with spend) which may not mean a fee increase.

10% anniversary point bonus

Based on some of the language I’m seeing it looks like this 10% anniversary point bonus would be based on the base earning rate for all purchases of 1X.

So let’s say that you spent $10,000 on travel. You would earn 20,000 points with 2X on travel but your 10% rebate would only apply to your earnings at a rate of 1 point per dollar spent. So instead of getting 2,000 Ultimate Rewards back you would only get 1,000 Ultimate Rewards.

That is still a decent little rebate but not nearly as lucrative as it would be if it was based purely on all earned points.

New bonus categories

  • 3X on dining, streaming services, and online groceries (excluding Target, Walmart)
  • 5X on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal.

The 3X on dining and streaming is a nice upgrade. 3X on dining, while a great change, seems to detract from the value of the Reserve. It’s always a weird look when a card with a much higher annual fee offers the same bonus multiplier.

3X on groceries would be great but the limitation to online groceries really is not that attractive to me.

I have used Instacart and curbside delivery with various grocery stores but I have not been too impressed. People really don’t know how (or care) to pick out good produce and a lot of people really lack attention to detail when it comes to specific types of groceries requested.

5X on the Chase Travel Portal merely puts the CSP on par with no annual fee Freedom cards, so it’s not terribly exciting.

Sapphire Reserve changes

  • 10X on Chase Dining Hub
  • 10X on hotels through Chase Travel portal
  • 10X on car rentals through Chase Travel portal
  • 5X on airline travel booked through the Chase Travel portal

So with the Reserve, it looks like it is all about the new bonus categories.

10X on dining is phenomenal but it is limited to the Chase Dining Hub. Many people will not have any locations near them and even in bigger cities like Phoenix you may only have a handful of options. So there is very limited value.

10X on hotels and car rentals is actually pretty impressive. Of course, you have to deal with the OTA problem of losing out on elite benefits and possibly perks so that is still a major limitation. The 10X on rental cars might not be a bad deal though.

Once again, 5X on airline travel through the Chase Travel Portal is nothing special considering you can get that with a Freedom card.

Notably missing from here is the multiplier on streaming and groceries and also the 10% rebate. It’s extra odd that Chase would add unique perks to the CSP considering they have a rule that does not allow you to get both the CSR and CSP.

Final word

Right now, it looks like the Sapphire Preferred would be the big winner here but based on some of the perks like the hotel credit it seems like that annual fee might be creeping up. The changes to the Reserve could be lucrative for a subset of people who utilize the Chase Travel Portal and occasional outings through Chase Dining but overall the enhancements seem pretty limited.

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