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Sunday Reader Question: When Does the Clock Start Ticking on Credit Card Spend Bonuses?

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Update: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card sign-up bonus offer is now reduced to 40,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.

TPG reader Buck writes:

“I just received my Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card today. When does the 3 month clock start to get the 50,000 bonus points promo after $3,000 in spend? The day that I call the phone number to activate the card or did it start the day that I applied for the card?”

Per my official contact at Chase “The clock on the 3 months starts at account open date (approval date).” This may vary by issuer, but to be safe you should assume the day the account was created is the day the clock starts.

So if you get denied originally and then call the reconsideration line (like I had to do), then the clock starts the day you get approved. If you think you’ll have a hard time hitting the spend or if you are about to leave on a trip, you can always ask for them to expedite delivery of the card because sometimes it can take up to two weeks.

Another thing to consider: when I applied for the Ink Bold card, it was sent to the address I have on my Chase business checking account, which wasn’t where I wanted it sent. I spent almost a month tracking the card down (in between several international trips) and by the time I got it in my hands over 33% of my spend clock was gone. Always confirm with Chase that they have the correct address where you want the card sent.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named a 'Best Credit Card' for Travel Rewards by MONEY Magazine
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR Regular APR Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Rating
N/A 16.24%-23.24% Variable Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95 0% Excellent Credit