How I Was Able to Get Approved for the Chase Sapphire Reserve
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
For me, the past month has caused major FOMOP (Fear of Missing Out on Points). While I've been happy that TPG readers have been pulling in millions — if not billions — of Ultimate Rewards points, I've felt like I've been missing out on something. I applied for the Chase Sapphire Reserve the first day it came out and was finally approved last Friday. That period of 18 days that I had to wait from application to approval was a very dark time for me. During that period, I was followed by TPG readers taunting me on Snapchat and Twitter with their flashy new cards and crisp approval letters.
Then the news broke that the card was so popular that Chase ran out of metal and had to start making the cards out of plastic. Knowing so many people had gotten approved for the card that I'd had my eyes set on left me feeling isolated and alone, and my points-earning future seemed bleak. However, after those dark 18 days, I'm happy to report that I'm now officially a Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholder! But I did have to hustle for it like no other card...
I applied for the card the first day it was publicly available after reading mixed reports online of whether or not Chase's stern 5/24 rule would apply. Sometimes in the points and miles world, you just have to try because you never know. After my first online application attempt not being accepted, I contacted my Chase Private Client banker in New York who told me to come into the office to fill out another application. Once I filled it out, I was told that it would be a few days before a decision — the waiting continued. I then followed up with my Private Client banker in Miami who said that I then had two applications pending (the first decline from the online application must have been a slow decline), and that he would contact Chase to see if he could push it through.
My Private Client banker then told me that he could contact the underwriting department to see what they can do. He told me on several follow ups that I had opened many more than five credit cards in the past two years and that I had too much outstanding credit with Chase. After a few days, he said Chase was requesting copies of my personal and business financials. After feeling like it wasn't going anywhere, I offered to move credit around instead of receiving more from Chase. Still with no firm answer, my banker told me he would tell underwriting. I then got a call from underwriting who told me that I would need to send in two years of tax returns, so I did in hopes that it would increase my chances.
A total of 18 days after the process began, I logged in to my Chase account and saw the glorious words listed on my account — Chase Sapphire Reserve. I'd finally gotten approved! I'd no longer be a laughing stock of the miles and points community. Not 15 seconds after logging on to find that information, my Private Client banker called to personally tell me that I was approved.
What to Do With My Chase Sapphire Preferred?
For those points and miles hobbyists (like myself) who had gotten the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and hung onto it for many years, I wondered what to do with it after being approved for the Chase Sapphire Reserve. I thought about it and realized rather quickly that there's no reason to have both cards — the Sapphire Reserve does everything the Sapphire Preferred does, but better.
I also didn't want to cancel my Sapphire Preferred Card and its credit line altogether, so I downgraded it to the Chase Freedom Unlimited. Because I'm already a cardholder of the Chase Freedom (No longer open to new applicants), this was the clear option for me to earn 1.5% unlimited cash back (or 1.5x points) on everything. However, if you don't have either of the Freedom cards, choose whichever is best for your spending habits. If you can maximize the Freedom's 5% bonus categories every quarter, that's your better option. But if you just want to earn 1.5% back on everything, the Freedom Unlimited is the way to go.
I'm excited to add the Freedom Unlimited to my arsenal of credit cards and to use it when I won't get a bonus on another card — for example, non-travel and non-dining purchases. I'll be getting 50% more points on those purchases than if I were to use the Chase Sapphire Reserve. I didn't want to cancel the Chase Sapphire Preferred outright because I would lose a credit line and it was better to downgrade to a no-annual-fee card.
If you're still pretty new to the points and miles hobby and figuring out which card is best when, download the TPG To Go app. It's free on the App Store and Google Play and can help you best determine what card is best for each of your purchases.
All getting approved took was persistence, persistence and more persistence. I got the card today and unfortunately, I got a plastic version of the card and it came in a boring white envelope — I'll be sure to upgrade to the metal version when they become available again. But right now, I'm not holding back my excitement about the card. Now I just have to plan what I'm going to do with my 100,000 points and there are lots of options, so stay tuned.