At some point you might consider downgrading, product-changing, or cancelling your Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
There are a number of factors that you want to consider before deciding which route to take, however.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to downgrade the Chase Sapphire Preferred. (For the full review of the Sapphire Preferred click here.)
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How do you downgrade the Chase Sapphire Preferred?
You can downgrade or product change your Sapphire Preferred card by calling the number on the back of your credit card or by sending in a secured message.
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Downgrade and product change options
With the Sapphire Preferred, you have a number of options to downgrade or product change your card to. But there are also some cards that you cannot switch to.
No co-branded cards
Chase only allows you to product change your Sapphire Preferred to other Chase “house” cards.
This means that you can’t product change a Sapphire Preferred to a co-branded credit card like the Chase Southwest card or the chase Hyatt card, for example.
Downgrade to a no-annual fee Sapphire
You can downgrade the Chase Sapphire Preferred to the no-annual fee version of the Sapphire. This is the one Sapphire card you can’t apply for online or even in-branch and can only get via a downgrade/product change.
This card will still earn 2X on dining and travel but you won’t get the full set of benefits and you’ll be subject to foreign transaction fees.
Also, one of the biggest perks that you lose is the ability to transfer your Ultimate Rewards to travel partners, so keep that in mind.
There should be no minimum time period you have to wait to downgrade your Sapphire Preferred to this card.
However, occasionally reps might tell you that you must wait 12 months to downgrade. If that happens, you may want to call back again and speak with another rep.
Product change to a Freedom card
You can product change (essentially downgrade) your Sapphire Preferred card to the Chase Freedom Flex or the Chase Freedom Unlimited.
The Chase Freedom Flex earns 5X the points on rotating quarterly categories, such as groceries, gas, and dining, while the Chase Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5X on all purchases.
These cards also earn 3X on dining and drug stores in addition to earning 5X on the Chase Travel Portal.
Both of the Freedom cards come with no annual fee but you will once again lose your ability to transfer your points to travel partners.
Also, note that you will be required to wait one year to product change the Sapphire Preferred to a Freedom Card.
(You can sometimes get around this by first downgrading your Sapphire Preferred to the no annual fee version and then product changing to a Freedom card.
(As an aside, these 12-month restrictions are a result of The Credit CARD Act of 2009 and not specific to Chase.)
Multiple Freedom cards?
It’s worth noting that Chase will allow you to hold multiple Freedom cards (even the same type of Freedom).
So if you already have a Chase Freedom, you could still product change your Sapphire Preferred to the Freedom so that you end up with two Freedom cards in your wallet.
Product change to a Slate
You could also product change to the Chase Slate, though if you’re trying to earn rewards, that’s probably not a great option since it doesn’t earn Ultimate Rewards.
The main perks of the Slate are its 0% interest and no fee balance transfer perks. If you product change to it, you’ll still receive balance transfer offers but they won’t be as lucrative as the sign-up offer with no balance transfer fee.
All of the Chase house cards are subject to the 5/24 Rule, so if you have opened up 5 or more accounts in the past 24 months, you won’t be able to get them (subject to some exceptions).
This is why product changing is so important because it’s often the only way to get some of these very valuable credit cards (for those who already hold Chase credit cards).
Upgrade Sapphire Preferred to the Sapphire Reserve
You can also upgrade your Sapphire Preferred to the Sapphire Reserve. Since the Sapphire Reserve is a Visa Infinite card, Chase might require you to have at least a $10,000 balance to convert.
Also, you’ll usually be required to wait one year before you can upgrade from the Sapphire Preferred to the Sapphire Reserve.
When you should cancel your Sapphire card
Because there are so many options for product changes and downgrades, you rarely need to cancel a Sapphire credit card. However, there is at least one situation when it would make sense.
Chase recently implemented a new rule which does not allow you to receive two Sapphire products at once. In addition, you must wait 24 months from the time of receiving a bonus on a Sapphire card in order to earn an additional bonus from another Sapphire card.
This means that you will need to cancel your Sapphire card or product change it to a Freedom if you were going to try earn an additional sign-up bonus with another Sapphire card.
Tip: Check out the free app WalletFlo so that you can optimize your credit card spend by seeing the best card to use! You can also track credits, annual fees, and get notifications when you’re eligible for the best cards!
Downgrading Sapphire Preferred FAQ
No, Chase will not allow you to earn the sign-up bonus when you decide to product change a card.
No, Chase should not pull your credit whenever you product change or downgrade a new credit card, so your credit score should not feel the effect of any hard pull.
No, when you product change, you’ll keep the same card number, account opening date, and your credit limits should remain unchanged.
Thus, changing from a card like the Sapphire Preferred to a Freedom should have no affect on your credit score.
No, Chase will not allow you to product change from a personal credit card to a business credit card (such as the Chase Ink Business Cash).
If you product change your card within 60 days of paying the annual fee, you’ll be refunded 100%. If you product change after 60 days, you’ll receive a prorated refund.
Note that this is different from cancelling a Chase card. If you cancel a Chase card within 30 days of the annual fee hitting you’ll be refunded but if you wait longer than 30 days, you won’t get a prorated refund.
Downgrading or product changing the Chase Sapphire Preferred can be a smart move depending on your goals. Always think about how these moves will affect your ability to transfer points to travel partners since that’s one of the main perks you can lose.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.