Editor’s note: Information is accurate as of the publish date. Some offers may no longer be available. On August 10, Chase confirmed those updates to the Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Preferred. For the most current information, see our article.
Two of the top travel rewards credit cards may be about to offer even more perks. Most notably, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card — our pick for the best credit card with an annual fee under $100 — could offer a hotel credit and up to 5 rewards points per dollar spent on travel.
Its sister card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® — which has a steep $550 annual fee and offers top perks geared for frequent travelers — may also be getting a revamp. The annual fees would stay the same for both cards.
Credit card website Doctor of Credit reported that the changes may be coming in August to the Chase Sapphire duo of credit cards, citing Chase documents. We reached out to Chase to confirm whether that is true, but had not heard back by the time of publication. Our sister site The Points Guy, which is also owned by Red Ventures, confirmed with a Chase spokesperson that cardholders can “expect updates to the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve cards.”
And while Chase hasn’t said exactly what those changes may be, we want to take a closer look at what may be in store — and what it might mean for your wallet.
Potential Changes to the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
According to the report, Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders could be in for some exciting updates. They’ll get up to a $50 annual hotel credit per cardmember year when booking through the Chase travel portal.
Additionally, the card will begin earning 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar when booking through the portal. Like in the previous case, the elevated earning rate would not apply to bookings made directly with the travel provider.
The card would also earn 3 points per dollar on dining, streaming services, and groceries (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs). This is a big change from the current 2 points per dollar the card earns on dining. It will continue to earn 2 points on travel not booked on the Chase portal, and 1 point on everything else.
Cardholders will also get a 10% anniversary points bonus. That means when you renew your card and pay your annual fee each year, you’ll earn a bonus equal to 10% of what you have spent on the card in the previous year. For example, if you have spent $10,000 on the card, you would earn 1,000 points.
As of time of publication, we have not heard of any changes to the card’s $95 annual fee. The changes would go into effect on August 15, 2021.
What would be unchanged is the card’s current 100,000-point bonus after you spend $4,000 in the first three months, which is why now is a great time to apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve, especially as travel rebounds.
If you’re looking to earn a big chunk of Chase points you can later redeem for free travel, paying only taxes and fees, now’s the time to do it. The changes that might come to the card in August would sweeten the deal, but the bonus itself would more than offset the annual fee even without those possible changes.
Potential Changes to the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
For the Chase Sapphire Reserve — a card that makes sense only for frequent travelers because of its very high annual fee — changes include, according to the Doctor of Credit report, 10 points per dollar on dining purchased through the Chase Dining program, plus on hotels and car rentals booked through Chase Travel. Airfare booked through Chase Travel would earn 5 points per dollar, and all other dining and travel purchases would still earn the current 3 points. The Sapphire Reserve would continue to earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
The card currently earns 3 points per dollar on all dining and travel, which is a large part of its appeal for people who eat out and travel often, so these new earning rates would make the Sapphire Reserve even more attractive for those people, provided they use Chase Dining. That is a portal where you can, using cash or your Ultimate Rewards points, book restaurant reservations, takeout or delivery, and more.
There has been no indication of changes to the card’s current $550 annual fee, which makes it slightly less expensive than its top competitor, the American Express Platinum. Like with the Preferred card, changes are rumored to go into effect on August 15, 2021.
If Chase does make some changes, it won’t be the first major player to do so this year. In fact, American Express just upped the annual fee on The Platinum Card® from American Express from $550 to $695 after rumors had been circulating for a few weeks. Credit card issuers are adjusting their offerings to align with cardholders’ post-pandemic lifestyles and travel habits.
As with any credit card, it’s important to look at the perks, benefits and bonus structure to make sure it aligns with your budget and lifestyle habits.
While it’s still just a rumor right now, it’s worth keeping these potential changes on your radar if you’re a current or prospective cardholder. Whether or not these changes come to fruition, it’s important to consider the perks, earning rates, sign-up bonus and more to determine if either of these cards — or any credit card on the market — is a good fit for you and your financial goals. And, like with any rewards card, the key is to pay off your balance in full every month, or the interest charged would negate the value of the card’s rewards.