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When the Chase Sapphire Reserve launched in 2016, it offered an outstanding 100,000 point sign-up bonus. Pretty soon this intro sign-up bonus was cut in half down to the present 50,000 offer. But a lot of folks still wonder if the Chase Sapphire Reserve 100K bonus offer will return. Here’s my take.
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The Chase Sapphire Reserve 100K bonus: Gone for good?
It’s not uncommon for banks to offer exceptional bonuses when products launch in order to attract more customers. In this instance, the Chase Sapphire Reserve was intended to attract people (especially millennials) to Chase and the 100K bonus was a perfect way to accomplish that.
Still, even though the 100K offer attracted a lot of attention, I don’t see Chase bringing back the Sapphire Reserve 100K bonus anytime soon for a number of reasons.
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The Reserve was almost too popular
The Sapphire Reserve was a much bigger hit than Chase ever anticipated and it took a toll on profits.
In fact, Chase was so worried about the profitability of the card that they started making budget cuts in the hundreds of millions. Part of this resulted from smarter consumers who didn’t run up big balances, but I think the 100,000 sign-up bonus also played a large role in cutting into the profits.
I think Chase knew what it was doing for the long-term, but it might have realized that it almost bit off more than it could chew by offering 100K bonuses to the masses. For now, though, Chase has a lot of new customers and Chase is probably going to be content with focusing on cultivating those relationships rather than setting off Round 2 of the Reserve frenzy.
Chase has “taken notice”
Chase has taken notice that people love to hit the sign-up bonuses on their Sapphire cards.
This is why Chase no longer allows folks to earn more than one Sapphire bonus within two years. That could cut the other way and mean a higher bonus for one Sapphire card since it means people wouldn’t be able to double-dip on two Sapphire cards.
However, I think it’s more of a general indicator that Chase is tightening things up. Remember, Chase also cut down on double-dipping on the travel credit by switching it to anniversary year. It just seems Chase is more into cutting back right now than showering more folks with points.
People are keeping their Reserve cards
With more people keeping their Sapphire Reserves than expected, I think the incentive to drive the bonus back up to 100K just isn’t there any more. Chase knows people love the Reserve even without 100,000 points dangled in front of them.
Little movement on the Chase Sapphire Preferred
We’ve seen the Chase Sapphire Preferred jump between 40,000 and 50,000 but beyond some targeted offers, nothing else. Unlike the co-branded cards that constantly are in flux, it seems Chase is comfortable keeping bonuses for their house cards within a very limited range.
There’s really no competition
I don’t think the competition provides an incentive for a higher offer, either.
The Citi Prestige doesn’t even have a sign-up bonus half of the time. The standard offer for the Platinum Card is 60,000 and while higher targeted/Incognito offers go out, I still think the Reserve is mostly targeted toward a different segment of society from the Platinum Card (although the markets are likely converging).
And finally no other premium card out there whether it be the Aspire, Ritz-Carlton Card, Altitude Reserve, etc. seem to pose enough of a threat to force the Reserve to up its bonus.
November 2018 update: We’ve seen new cards with great earning on dining enter the market recently and now the Citi Prestige is set to be re-vamped in 2019. This might mean the Sapphire Reserve comes with stronger benefits at some point in the future.
So what will we see?
I think if anything we’ll probably see targeted offers come out from time to time with higher bonuses.
These targeted offers could be for 60,000, 70,000 or who knows… maybe even 100,000. But these offers will probably be limited to a select few via in-branch pre-approvals or through mailers but I don’t think we’ll see a public 100K offer for the Reserve anytime soon.
Is the 50,000 bonus worth it?
Despite the fact that the current bonus is 1/2 the offer originally offered, it’s still a great sign-up bonus.
Even without a sign-up bonus, the Sapphire Reserve is one of the easiest credit cards to justify holding onto for the long-term. This is due to its 3X on dining and travel, $300 travel credit, primary rental car coverage, lounge access, exceptional protections, and redemptions at 1.5 cents per point through the Chase Travel Portal. It’s just a beast of a credit card.
The current 50,000 bonus is just the cherry on top as far I’m concerned. And 50,000 points is still a bonus worth at least $750 and likely over $1,000 if you transfer to the right partners.
Should I wait for the Chase Sapphire Reserve 100K bonus to return?
I honestly think waiting around for a bonus with a low chance of returning would not be smart.
The Sapphire Reserve is subject to the Chase 5/24 Rule, so waiting for the 100K offer to return would mean not applying for many credit cards for a long time (although you could stick to some business credit cards).
But you could spend the next two to three years waiting for something that’s never going to happen. Considering how lucrative the Reserve is with a 50K offer, I think that if you’re interested in the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you should just apply for it now.
Plus, you can always use Chase refer a friend to net an additional 50,000 Ultimate Rewards after you get approved!
Are there other Chase 100,000 point sign-up bonuses?
Chase has been known to offer a 100K bonus for the Chase Ink Preferred but it’s been on a limited basis and usually you need to have a business with substantial revenue to get the offer (but not always).
Read more about the Chase Ink Preferred 100K offer here.
Final word on the Chase Sapphire Reserve 100K bonus
I would love to be wrong about all of this but every indication is that the Chase Sapphire Reserve 100K bonus is not going to come back anytime soon. And if it does, it will likely be in the form of a targeted offer or be a different offer decreased to something much lower. For those reasons, I don’t think you should try to wait it out because it’s just not likely to happen anytime soon.
H-Town based Attorney turned credit card rewards expert. Founder of UponArriving.com.