Should I Convert my Chase Freedom to a Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card?

Good morning everyone, I hope your week is going well.  I am struggling to make a decision regarding the Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card.  I really want the credit card and sign up bonus, but due to the Chase 5/24 rule, I am not getting any new Chase credit cards anytime soon.  I also have a few Chase business cards that I don’t use much.  Should I convert my Chase Freedom Credit Card to a Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card?  Here are the facts in my situation:

  • I am way over the Chase 5/24 rule, so I am not getting a new Chase credit card anytime soon
  • I am not a Chase Private Client and have not been pre-approved for the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Ink Preferred
  • I currently have a Chase Freedom, Chase Ink Cash, and Chase Ink Plus
  • I do not have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Freedom Unlimited
  • I do not max out my Chase Ink Cash or Chase Ink Plus 5x categories
  • I do not max out my Chase Freedom 5% rotating cash back categories
  • My Chase Ink Plus annual fee is due in March 2017
  • You can only convert a Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Unlimited, Chase Sapphire, or Chase Sapphire Preferred to a Chase Sapphire Reserve.
  • You need to have a credit line of at least $10,000 to be approved for the conversion (my Chase Freedom has a $25,000 credit line).

Here is what I am planning on doing:

  • Keep my Chase Ink Cash open (since there is no annual fee)
  • Downgrade my Chase Ink Plus to another Chase Ink Cash in March 2017 (to avoid paying the $95 annual fee)
  • Without the Chase Ink Plus, I will not have any premium Chase credit cards that allow me to transfer Chase Ultimate Reward points to travel partners
  • If I convert my Chase Freedom to a Chase Sapphire Reserve in December 2016, I should be able to take advantage of the $300 travel credit in December 2016 and again in 2017
  • The $600 in travel credit will offset the $450 annual fee on my Chase Sapphire Reserve and save me from paying the $95 annual fee on my Chase Ink Plus

Here are some of the negative aspects of converting my Chase Freedom to a Chase Sapphire Reserve:

  • I am forgoing the possibility of getting a sign up bonus on the Chase Sapphire Reserve (very unlikely unless Chase loosens up on their 5/24 rule)
  • I am forgoing all future 5% rotating cash back categories on my Chase Freedom.  Doctor of Credit reports the first 2 quarters of 2017 as follows:
  1. Q4 2016: Department stores, wholesale clubs, and drugstores – as my wardrobe will attest to, I do not shop at department stores or wholesale clubs.  I buy Walgreens gift cards online for 10-12% discount.
  2. Q1 2017: Gas stations & commuter passes – I do not have a car in SF and have no rental car needs in Q1.  For commuting, I use a pretax transportation card (EBC Flex).
  3. Q2 2017: Grocery stores & drugstores – I don’t spend very much buying groceries at Trader Joe’s.  For drugstores, I buy Walgreens gift cards for a 10-12% discount.

Those are all the facts and negatives of following through with the product conversion.  Am I missing anything important?  Did I overlook anything important?  If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.  Have a great day everyone!

P.S. The power went out in my apartment building halfway through writing this post on Monday night.  I grabbed my laptop, turned on my iPhone’s flashlight, and connected to my iPhone’s WiFi hotspot to finish this post #dedication

32 thoughts on “Should I Convert my Chase Freedom to a Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card?

  1. mark o

    I would wait until next year if it was me since you need to spend the $300 before your December statement closes – unless your Freedom statement closes at the end of the month already. Just seems like a bigger risk.

    1. Grant Post author

      My Chase Freedom statement closed on December 4, so my next statement would close January 4. It a eems like I missed the cut off to change the statement close date. Do you think it is possible to change my statement close date to be at the end of December? I’m not sure Chase will make the change so quickly.

      1. Chris from SD

        I would guess that it’s too late, but why not call Chase and ask if they can change your statement close date to Dec 31?

          1. Rachel

            I changed ours in November in anticipation of an upgrade to the CSR. I had one close November 4 and the next November 28. Chase confirmed it for me via secure message.

    1. Grant Post author

      I don’t spend that much on my Chase Ink cards so I don’t think I would get a fee waiver. I called about getting annual fees waived on my Chase Hyatt and Chase IHG cards and was told no.

  2. airgypsy

    Hi Grant. Check today’s post on Deal We Like about calling Chase to change statement closing date to Dec.
    Although I think since your Dec closed already, it would be a looong shot.
    Also even if you were able to do the above, would you get the card in time to spend your $300 travel credit? (how does it work though – wouldn’t you need the physical card to do the required spend?)

  3. bmau09

    I agree with Brenton. It might be a better option to ask for your Ink Plus annual fee to be waived. Then, you’ll still have access to the Freedom 5% categories, in case any lucrative category comes up in the future. You will also have a chance to get the Sapphire Reserve, in the unlikely event that Chase lightens up on 5/24. If they don’t waive the annual fee for you, then the plan you outlined in your post looks good, so you can continue to have transferable Ultimate Rewards points without paying an annual fee.

    Another thought: the Freedom Q2 2017 categories are lucrative. If you can get the annual fee on your Ink waived, you should take advantage of that so you can get 5X from manufactured spending at grocery stores or drug stores that quarter.

    I didn’t know that Chase requires a minimum $10,000 credit limit to convert a Freedom to a Sapphire Reserve. Is that a requirement to convert any Chase card? I signed up for an Ink a few weeks ago (and was approved instantly), and plan to apply for a Sapphire Reserve this month. At the end of 2017, I hope to downgrade one of them to avoid paying 2 annual fees, since I only need 1 of them to continue to have point transfer privileges. Will I need a minimum $10,000 credit limit in order to downgrade one of them?

    1. Grant Post author

      I believe the $10,000 credit line is only for converting to the CSR since that is a Visa Infinite CC. Good advice in your comment. I have a lot to think about.

  4. Carl Black

    I did this a couple of weeks ago and am quite happy. Granted, my statement closes in the middle of the month, so I had no concerns about using the 2016 travel credit. That said, my initial concern was whether the 5% from a purchase in the current cycle would still post correctly after the account switched. The rep said that it would, and it appears so if I look at the transaction. Granted, the cycle still hasn’t closed.

    At any rate, since I had NO UR cards other than CF (and little chance of getting there with 5/24), losing the future 5% categories seemed much less significant than the benefits gained. My USAA card earns 5% on fuel every day, and my FlexPerks cards earn close to 4% at grocery, so I’m not missing much for the next couple of quarters.

    Since I needed a rental last weekend in L.A. anyway, it was nice being able to use Silvercar (thanks to the Black Friday rates + 30% off from Visa Infinite) and pay much less than getting a compact from one of the larger companies. And since I was staying in an independent hotel in Ojai (where there are no chains), it was a no-brainer to pay with CSR and use the whole $300 in one weekend on things I was going to use anyway.

    You can change your cycle date online, so I would think you’ve still got time this month. Maybe?

  5. Nick

    First I must question on how you know for sure that you are not pre-approved for CSR. Did you stop into a branch?

    I’m way over, at 50/24 (exaggeration) and what I did was to go to a branch. I had of those Chase coupons that you get $100 or $250 (or whatever). As the banker was opening my free checking account so I could get free money, towards the end of the deal I asked him to check if I was preapproved for CSR. Through conversational small talk, I came to realize that he could “see” all of my Chase credit cards as he was opening the checking account. So I know for sure that he was into my private data.

    Sure enough, I was preapproved. 5/24 is a rule that is not chiseled in stone.

    I humbly suggest to try what I outlined above and if still no preapproval, them possibly you may want to do what you post about. But I would wait. Q1 Gas stations is a relatively easy score. Plus Q2 Supermarkets – even easier.

      1. Nick

        The point I’m trying to get across is — the only way you know for sure is to open up a free checking or savings where you definitely know they are inside your profile. Chase pays us to open accounts anyway, so it isn’t a wasted trip.

        A lazy banker could appear to “input” your SS# and just tell you “no” to get rid of you. This is especially true if they have people waiting in line to open accounts or apply for a loan. I have seen Chase banks get this busy…

        1. Carl Black

          I am a Chase checking customer. The locations here aren’t that busy, and I haven’t seen any “lazy” managers. They’re always eager to get someone into a new product, as it likely improves their performance score (and there also may be quotas).

        2. Beth

          You don’t have to open an account for them to check for preapprovals, they get on their computer screen right in front of you and check for them. And yes, as of a month ago they did have an incentive to open a new credit card which would keep them from being ” lazy”. I flat out asked our banker if there was any advantage to her if my husband opened up a credit card through her rather than a sign-up link–she indicated it would help her if she opened it up.

        1. Carl Black

          I checked when CSR first came out and then checked again two weeks ago. I’d heard that the preapproved offers refresh every 90 days but that it’s not necessarily based on the calendar quarters, so I figured it was worth a try. The first manager said she could see that I would likely be eligible for some offers down the road but without a specific timeframe.

    1. Grant Post author

      I asked my local Chase banker a few months ago if I was approved for the CSR, but I haven’t checked with her recently. I guess it couldn’t hurt to ask again.

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