Update: Sapphire Preferred sign-up bonus has been reduced to 40,000 points.
If you check out my Top Deals page, you will notice I have the Chase Sapphire Preferred as my #1 deal. All around, I think this is a phenomenal card for every day spending as well as international travel. I did a full review here, but the five main reasons why I wanted this card were:
1) 40,000 point sign-up bonus, with the first year $95 fee waived. This is a limited time offer (normal bonus is 20-25,000) and there’s no published end date, so it could be pulled at any minute.
2) Instant 1:1 transfers to United, Southwest, British Airways, Korean Air, Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Priority Club and Amtrak. The sign-up bonus alone is more than enough for 2 free nights at the Park Hyatt Maldives! (Which goes for over $1,000 a night). You can also transfer into anyone’s account, so it gives great flexibility when topping up family/friends accounts for awards, if you are feeling generous.
3) 2x points on travel and dining, which is basically all I do!
4) It’s a Visa Signature card (there’s also a World Mastercard option), which means it’s accepted globally at a ton of places.
5) 7% bonus on yearly spend, including the sign-up bonus. So every year they calculate how many points you’ve earned and then give you a 7% bonus. The bonus on the 50k sign-up is already 3,500 extra points! The bonus even applies to points you’ve already redeemed.
So in the first week of August I applied for the Sapphire Preferred and Premier Rewards Gold cards. I was instantly approved for the Premier Rewards Gold (from what I’ve heard, you get automatic approval if you are already a Platinum Card holder), but I got a pending review for the Sapphire Preferred.
No sweat – I just got the British Airways Visa card in early May and Chase’s systems will generally auto-reject you if you apply for more than one card within 6 months. As I wrote about in this post, it’s generally pretty easy to call and get reconsidered and shift some credit lines around if needed.
However, when I made my first call to the reconsideration line at 1-888-245-0625 I was immediately asked why I had such huge balances on my Citi cards. D’oh! I realized I had made a big mistake when it comes to applying for credit cards. At the time of my application, I had all of my balances paid off, but it usually takes a couple weeks for each credit card company to report the zeroed out balances to the reporting agencies. I had made a ton of business expenses on my AA Citi cards in July and while I paid them off the day the statement closed – it was too late – they had already been reported as being 85% of their credit lines used. So when Chase pulled my Equifax score, I had a huge hit on my credit because it looked like I was using a lot of my available credit on my two Citi cards.
I should have known better, but I was anxious to get in on the Amex Premier Rewards bonus ID bonanza that was happening in August (which is now over, by the way) and I guess I was overly optimistic about the time it took for credit card companies to report balances being paid in full. I explained the situation to the rep and she put me on hold while she talked to a supervisor, but when she came back she informed me there was nothing she could do at this time and I would get a letter in the mail explaining.
Shocked, I hung up the phone and pouted for a minute – I really wanted the card! I then started kicking myself that I didn’t ask for the credit line from my BA Visa to be switched over to Sapphire, so I called up again. I got a really friendly agent, explained to him the situation and he said he couldn’t just switch the BA credit line, because that would be gaming the system. He said that Chase’s main concern was the huge balances and that he was going to notate my account with the information and give me a month’s time to call back and get reconsidered. He told me that 3 weeks should do it and that I could also request that they pull my credit from a different agency. This was great news to me because my Transunion score is pristine, mainly because no creditors in NY state use it to pull scores.
So I did just that. I was patient and waited 3 weeks and called again. I asked the rep to reconsider me and use my Transunion score. After some questions about my income and why I need the card (I explained the benefits and the reasons why I needed a different Chase card for my international spend), she asked what my preferred credit limit would be and I low-balled it at $5k. I just wanted the card!
She put me on hold and came back and let me know I was approved with a $15k limit! Wahoo!
I recently got the card and it’s definitely a “looker.” I’ve already gotten a bunch of comments when using it – people either think it’s the Amex Centurion (Black) card or something really exclusive. Little do they know it only has a $95 annual fee (waived for the first year) and the 50k sign-up points are enough to get me a one way JFK-Bali (with a stopover in Hong Kong) business class ticket!
Beyond all the benefits, this card is just plain sexy.
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