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Good morning everyone, I hope you all had a great weekend. A few days ago, Chase announced the Chase Freedom Q4 merchants (Walmart and department stores) and you can now activate those bonus categories for your Chase Freedom Credit Card. Unfortunately, those bonus categories do not excite me (there are no Walmart stores close to San Francisco), so I was considering a product change from my Chase Freedom Credit Card to the Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card. In fact, last December, I wrote Should I Convert my Chase Freedom to a Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card? I have applied for the Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card in the past, but I was declined based on the 5/24 rule, but I still really wanted the credit card, despite not being able to get the sign up bonus. In this post, I will explain my reasoning for the product change and show how quickly the product change is processed by Chase.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card has a $450 annual fee, but comes with a $300 annual travel credit, 3x Chase Ultimate Reward Points on travel and dining (my 2 favorite categories), along with the ability to redeem Chase Ultimate Reward Points for travel at 1.5 cents per point. I already have a Chase Ink Plus and Chase Ink Cash, so I am familiar with the Chase transfer partners, but I am really looking forward to buying airfare and paying with Chase Ultimate Reward Points.
For the last few years, I have been using my Citi Premier Credit Card as my go to travel rewards credit card because I earn 3x Citi Thank You Points on travel. Unfortunately, due to the changes to the Citi Prestige Credit Card (mainly losing the ability to redeem Citi Thank You Points for 1.6 cents per point for American Airlines flights), I product changed my Citi Prestige Credit Card to the Citi Dividend Credit Card a few months ago. Therefore, my Citi Thank You Points are only worth 1.25 cents per point toward travel. I have less than 20,000 Citi Thank You Points, so I will save those points until I need to transfer the points to a Citi Thank You Points travel partner. I will downgrade my Citi Premier Credit Card to the no annual fee Citi Preferred Credit Card and save $95 on the annual fee.
Lastly, another dagger to my travel portfolio is the upcoming devaluation of US Bank FlexPoints. Currently, you can get ~2 cents per point on paid airline tickets, but that is changing to 1.5 cents per point beginning January 1, 2018. I am also in the process of redeeming all my US Bank FlexPoints by December 31, 2017, so the ability to transfer US Bank FlexPoints between accounts will be very useful. I have ~18,000 FlexPoints, so I need to earn 2,000 more FlexPoints in order to book an airline ticket up to $400. I will downgrade my US Bank FlexPerks Gold American Express Credit Card to the no annual fee US Bank FlexPerks Select+ American Express Credit Card and save $85 on the annual fee.
With all that said, I wanted to make sure I spent $1,500 on my Chase Freedom Credit Card in the Q3 bonus category of restaurants before I product changed to the Chase Sapphire Reserve. A few weeks ago, I wrote how to check your Q3 restaurant spending: Chase Freedom Q3 Restaurant Spending (Blueprint vs. Ultimate Rewards Dashboard). I did the same thing yesterday by clicking on the Go To Blueprint link under my Chase Freedom Credit Card.
Based on the Chase Blueprint tool, I spent ~$1,500 at restaurants in Q3 on my Chase Freedom Credit Card. There are a few restaurant purchases still pending that should post soon.
I decided to pull the trigger and called Chase. I spoke to the rep and explained that I wanted to product change my Chase Freedom Credit Card to a Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card. I think I caught her off guard by the request, considering that the Chase Freedom Credit Card has no annual fee and the Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card has a $450 annual fee. She thought I wanted to product change to the Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card, but I told her I wanted the high end Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card. She then read off a lengthy script about all the changes between the two credit cards and I confirmed that I still wanted the Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card. After the call, I logged into my Chase online account and spotted the Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card where my Chase Freedom Credit Card used to be. To see if the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal showed my new credit card, I clicked the Go To Ultimate Rewards link.
Yes, the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal showed the Chase Sapphire Reserve logo and updated account Rewards Dashboard. I look forward to spending the $300 annual travel credit and redeeming Chase Ultimate Reward Points toward travel at 1.5 cents per point. Don’t worry about my Chase Ultimate Rewards point balance, most of my Chase Ultimate Reward Points were earned by and transferred to my Chase Ink Plus, but I will need to transfer Chase Ultimate Reward Points back to my new Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card to book travel.
Do you think I made the right choice to product change from the Chase Freedom Credit Card to the Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card? Would you have done anything differently? If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. Have a great day everyone!
P.S. At one point, I had 10 Chase credit cards (personal and business), but instead of downgrading and product changing to no annual fee credit cards, I closed most of the credit cards and transferred the credit lines to existing Chase credit cards. I wish I had 2 more Chase accounts open so I could also have a Chase Freedom Credit Card and a Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card. Sadly, the 5/24 rule caught me off guard.