What credit score do you need to get the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card?

Oct 3, 2020

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with current credit card information. 

At TPG, we devote a significant amount of time to discussing how credit scores work and how to improve your credit score. Scores in the mid-700s and above will likely be enough to get you approved for most cards. But having a lower score doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get those cards.

Today we’ll analyze data points to uncover the unpublished (and perhaps unofficial) credit score requirements for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. However, although your credit score is a good indicator of your approval odds, it’s not an absolute science. Chase may still deny you even if you meet the “requirement” and may still approve you even if you’re below it.

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In This Post

Chase Sapphire Preferred overview

(Photo by Riley Arthur for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Riley Arthur/The Points Guy)

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a long-time favorite among advanced points and miles collectors. Primary car rental coverage and trip delay protections aside, it lacks fancy travel benefits such as lounge access.

But, it does have a stellar sign-up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. And it earns valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Cardholders also get at least one year of complimentary DashPass membership, which gives you free food delivery and reduced service fees on eligible orders from DoorDash.

Related: Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card review

Credit score required for the Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is considered a great beginner card. But, you may not get approved if you don’t have much credit history or only have one credit card to your name.  I’d recommend applying for one of the best first credit cards or best credit cards for college students if you are new to credit cards.

However, it’s certainly possible to be approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred as a beginner. After all, TPG contributor Ethan Steinberg had no trouble getting approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred as his first card.

According to Credit Karma, the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s average required score is 736. And the typical low score is 646. So while the average score for approvals is “good” to “very good,” perfect credit history isn’t necessary.

Many other factors go into qualification beyond your credit score, such as your income and your credit accounts’ age. Another significant factor that’s often forgotten about is your relationship with the bank. If you’ve been a longtime Chase customer and have large balances in your bank accounts with them, reports suggest that you may have better approval odds (especially if you apply in a branch).

And, it’s usually easier to get approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred than the Chase Sapphire Reserve. So, if you’re eyeing the Chase Sapphire Reserve but your score aligns better with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you may want to apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Doing so will also allow you to earn a higher sign-up bonus of 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first three months. Then, you can request a product change to the Chase Sapphire Reserve at a later time.

Related: Should the Chase Sapphire Preferred be your next card? 

How many card accounts can I have open?

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)
How many cards should you have at once? (Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

As is the case with most Chase cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule. The 5/24 rule means that if you’ve opened five or more personal credit cards (with any issuer) in the last 24 months, Chase will automatically reject your application.

The 5/24 rule is hard-coded into Chase’s system, so agents generally can’t manually override it. As such, if you’re over 5/24, your only option for getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred is to wait until you’re under 5/24.

Related: How to calculate your 5/24 standing

How to check your credit score

Under no circumstances should you pay to check your credit score. Most credit cards you open will come along with a free FICO score calculator. And, there are many other ways to check your credit score for absolutely free.

You can also easily open accounts on a site like Credit Karma or Credit Sesame. These sites are free and can help you keep even better track of your score and its factors. You can also use these services to dispute any information on your score that isn’t accurate or appears to be fraudulent. You could also consider paying for a credit-monitoring service, such as the myFICO credit monitoring service.

I use Credit Karma and appreciate the updates when my score changes. Plus, I get an alert each time a new inquiry appears on my credit report.

Related: Your next credit card approval is in the hands of these three agencies

Factors that affect your credit score

Before you start applying for any credit cards, it’s essential to understand the factors that make up your credit score. After all, the mere act of applying for new lines of credit will change your score.

A variety of factors determine your FICO score, the most widely used credit score.
A variety of factors determine your FICO score, the most widely used credit score.

While the exact formula for calculating your credit score isn’t public, FICO is transparent about the factors they assess and the weightings they use:

  • Payment history. 35% of a FICO score represents your payment history. So, if you get behind in making loan payments, this part of your credit score will suffer. And, the more extended and more recent the delinquency, the more significant the negative impact.
  • Amounts owed (credit utilization). 30% of your FICO score consists of the relative size of your current debt. In particular, your debt-to-credit ratio is the total of your debts divided by the total amount of credit available across all your accounts. Many people claim that it’s best to have a debt-to-credit ratio below 20%, but it’s not a magic number.
  • Length of credit history. 15% of your score represents the average length of all accounts on your credit history. The average length of your accounts can be a significant factor if you have a limited credit history. It can also be a factor for people who open and close accounts quickly.
  • New credit. Your most recent accounts determine 10% of your credit score. So, this part of your credit score will suffer if you’ve recently opened too many accounts. After all, obtaining a lot of new credit is one sign of financial distress.
  • Credit mix. 10% of your score is related to how many different credit accounts you have, such as mortgages, car loans, credit loans and store credit cards. While having a mix of loan types is better than having just one type, no one recommends taking out unnecessary loans solely to boost your credit score.

In the context of the Chase Sapphire Preferred, one crucial factor to consider is your average age of accounts. While a lengthier credit history will boost your score, many issuers focus on the one-year cutoff. That means that having an average age of accounts of more than a year can go a long way toward increasing your odds of approval. But, you might have trouble getting approved with 11 months of credit history — even if your numerical credit score is excellent.

Finally, if you have any delinquencies or bankruptcies showing on your credit report, Chase might be hesitant to approve you for a new line of credit. It’s important to remember that your credit profile is more than just a number. Indeed, your credit profile is a collection of information given to the issuer to analyze your creditworthiness.

Related: 7 things to understand about credit before applying for cards

What to do if you get rejected

Photo by 10'000 Hours/Getty Images
Pick up the phone and see if you can get reconsidered. (Photo by 10’000 Hours/Getty Images)

If Chase rejects you for a credit card, don’t give up. Credit card issuers have rejected me for 10 to 15 different credit cards over the years. And, while it hurts, you need to learn to fight for yourself. If you receive a rejection letter, the first thing you should do is look at the reasons given for your rejection. By law, card issuers must send you a written or electronic communication explaining what factors prevented you from being approved.

Once you’ve figured out why Chase rejected you, you can call the reconsideration line. Tell the person on the phone that you recently applied for a Chase credit card “and you were surprised to see Chase rejected your application and you would like to speak to someone about getting that decision reconsidered.” From there, it’s up to you to build a case and convince the agent why Chase should approve you for the card.

For example, if Chase rejected you for having a short credit history, you can point to your stellar record of on-time payments. Or, if Chase rejected you for missed payments, you can explain that those were a long time ago and your record since has been perfect.

There’s no guarantee that your call will work, but I’ve had about a third of my rejections reversed on reconsideration. So, it’s worth spending 15 minutes on the phone if it might help you get the card you want.

Related: What I learned from each of my rejected credit card applications

Bottom line

Especially with the 80,000-point sign-up bonus, you should probably apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Hopefully, you won’t have trouble getting approved. But, you won’t want to apply if you:

Although the average approved credit score is relatively high, you shouldn’t let that scare you away. After all, Chase will consider many other factors. Your best bet for keeping your score on a successful track is making on-time payments, keeping your closing balances low and being smart about the accounts you open and close. And, establishing a banking relationship with Chase can also help your case. But, as the saying goes, your mileage may vary.

Apply here for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card with an 80,000-point sign-up bonus.

Additional reporting by Katie Genter.

Featured photo by The Points Guy.

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