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

Apr 14, 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 talking about how credit scores work, how you can improve yours and how you can keep it in shape. We know that 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Today we’ll analyze data points to try to uncover the unpublished (and perhaps unofficial) credit score requirements for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. Just be aware that while your credit score is a good indicator of your approval odds, at the end of the day, it’s not an absolute science. So you may still be denied if you meet the “requirement” and you may still be approved if you’re below it.

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(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/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 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 earns some of the most valuable points around. 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 reading: Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card review

In This Post

Credit score required for the Chase Sapphire Preferred

Although the Chase Sapphire Preferred is considered a great beginner card and is easier to be approved for than the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’re not likely to get approved if you’re just starting out or only have one credit card to your name. I’d recommend applying for one of these cards first if you’re just starting to build your credit (or one of these if you’re a college student). But it’s important to understand that the key word here is “likely” — TPG contributor Ethan Steinberg had no trouble getting approved for the CSP as his first card. 

According to Credit Karma, the average required score for the CSP is 736; meanwhile the typical low is 646. So while the average score is considered “good” to “very good,” you don’t need to have a perfect credit history to be approved. There are many other factors that go into qualification beyond your score, such as your income and the age of your credit accounts. Another big 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 banking accounts with them, but a below-average credit history, reports suggest that you may have better approval odds — especially if you apply in a branch.

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

If you’ve been eyeing the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but your score aligns better with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can apply for the CSP with the lower score requirement and then request a product change to the CSR. Plus, this will allow you to earn a higher welcome bonus of 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points (worth $1,600 based on TPG valuations) after spending $4,000 in the first three months, as opposed to the 50,000 points offered by the CSR (after meeting the same minimum spend requirements).

How many card accounts can I have open?

As is the case with most Chase cards, the CSP is subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule. This 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 for this card, even if you have a nearly perfect score. The 5/24 rule is hard coded into Chase’s systems and can’t be manually overridden, so if you’re over 5/24, there’s no benefit at all to chancing an application just to see what happens.

Related reading: How to calculate your 5/24 standing

(Photo by The Points Guy)
(Photo by The Points Guy)

How to check your credit score

Under no circumstances should you be shelling out cash to check your credit score. Most credit cards you open will come along with a free FICO score calculator. This makes it easy to see where your score lies on the scale from good to bad and keep up to date on how you’re doing. 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. I personally use Credit Karma and appreciate the regular, automatic updates when my score changes, as well as alerts any time a new inquiry is added to my credit report.

Factors that affect your credit score

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

Your length of credit history makes up 15% of your FICO score.

While the exact formula for calculating your credit score is kept secret, FICO is very transparent about the different factors they asses and how much weight each is given:

  • Payment history. 35% of a FICO score is made up of your payment history. If you get behind in making loan payments, the longer and more recent the delinquency, the greater the negative impact on your credit score.
  • Amounts owed (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 that you’ve been extended across all 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 is based on the average length of all accounts on your credit history. This becomes a significant factor for those who have very little credit history, such as young adults, recent immigrants and anyone who has largely avoided credit. It can also be a factor for people who open and close accounts within a very short period of time.
  • New credit. 10% of your credit score is determined by your most recent accounts. Having recently opened too many accounts will have a negative impact on your score, as the scoring models will interpret this as a sign of possible financial distress.
  • Credit mix. 10% of your score is related to how many different types of credit accounts you have, such as mortgages, car loans, credit loans and store charge cards. While having a larger mix of types of loans is better than having fewer, no one recommends taking out unnecessary loans just to boost your credit score.

In the context of the CSP, one important 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 more than a year can go a long way toward increasing your odds of approval, while you might have trouble getting approved with 11 months of credit history even if your numerical credit score is great. In addition, 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 even if your score is otherwise solid. It’s important to remember that your credit profile is more than just a number, it’s a collection of information given to the issuer to analyze your creditworthiness.

What to do if you get rejected

One of the worst mistakes people make is to simply give up when they’re rejected for a credit card. I’ve been rejected for 10-15 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 are required to send you a written or electronic communication explaining what factors prevented you from being approved.

Related reading: The ultimate guide to credit card application restrictions

While Chase won’t mention the 5/24 rule explicitly, that is why this customer’s application was rejected.

Once you’ve figured out why you’ve been rejected, call Chase’s reconsideration line at 888-270-2127. Tell the person on the phone that you recently applied for a Chase credit card “and you were surprised to see that your application was rejected 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 Chase agent on the phone why you deserve the credit card.

Related reading: How bad is it to get denied for a credit card?

If you were rejected for too short of a credit history you can point to your stellar record of on-time payments. If you were rejected for missed payments, you can explain that those were a long time ago and your record since then has been perfect. There’s no guarantee that this will work, but I’ve had about 1/3 of my rejections reversed on reconsideration. At the end of the day, it’s worth spending 15 minutes on the phone if it might help you get the card you want.

Bottom Line

Unless you already have the Sapphire Reserve, received a sign-up bonus from any Sapphire card in the last 48 months or applied for five or more cards from any issuer in the last 48 months, you should probably get the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Hopefully, you won’t have trouble getting approved.

Although the average approved credit score is relatively high, you shouldn’t let that scare you away, as there are many other factors that will be considered. 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. Establishing a banking relationship with Chase can also help your case. As the saying goes, your mileage may vary, so if you’ve recently applied for the Sapphire Preferred, share your application experiences in the comments below.

Apply here for the Chase Sapphire Preferred

Further reading:

New to the points and miles game? Check out our beginner’s guide for everything you need to know to get started!

Additional reporting by Ethan Steinberg

Featured photo by The Points Guy

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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