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Over the last few weeks, there’s been a steady drip of announcements of changes to the benefits on some Chase cards. Again this week, multiple TPG staff and readers received a message from Chase about changes to the Chase Freedom card. So, we reached out to Chase to get the lowdown on exactly what changes are being made, to which cards and when.
The issuer has now shared with us a complete list of all the upcoming changes, as well as the reasons behind the changes and one subset of cards which are actually receiving a new benefit.
Why Are Changes Being Made?
We’re all curious about why changes are being made to Chase cards in the first place. First, a Chase spokesperson referenced the changing industry landscape and introduction of customer tools, undoubtedly a reference to the explosive growth of auto-generated price protection claims, which is likely costing card issuers much more than expected when this benefit was originally offered.
Another reason for changes has been standardization. Some cardholders have had different benefits than others holding the same card product. For example, Chase Freedom Visa Platinum cardholders haven’t had trip interruption and cancellation coverage, while Chase Freedom Visa Signature cardholders have had that perk. So some of the upcoming changes standardize benefits among all Chase Freedom cardholders.
Finally, the Chase spokesperson mentioned the low usage of the benefits being removed, noting that only a small percentage of cardholders would be affected by these changes. Instead, the card issuer wants to focus on services and experiences that cardholders appreciate:
We are always evaluating our products to offer a great mix of rewards, benefits, and experiences that provide the most value to our customers — and those they tell us they value most. In order to do so we may need to occasionally retire lesser used benefits.
Which Benefits Are Being Removed?
There are two main benefits being removed from Chase cards: price protection and return protection. Price protection is being removed from all Chase credit cards, while return protection is being cut from the following cards:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
- Chase Freedom
- Chase Freedom Unlimited
- Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
- Ink Plus Business Card (not open to new applicants)
- Chase Sapphire (not open to new applicants)
Larger Benefit Changes to Chase Freedom Cards
As part of the previously mentioned benefit standardization efforts, some versions of the Chase Freedom are seeing benefit cutbacks, while other versions of the Chase Freedom are seeing a mix of eliminated benefits and an added benefit.
Chase Freedom cardholders are losing the following benefits:
- Elimination of price protection
- Elimination of return protection
- Elimination of lost luggage reimbursement*
- Elimination of travel accident insurance*
*Only Visa Signature cardholders currently have this benefit.
In addition, Chase Freedom Visa Signature cardholders are seeing a reduction in their Trip Cancellation/Interruption insurance, while Chase Freedom Visa Platinum cardholders are gaining this benefit for the first time at the reduced level. Currently, Signature cardholders are covered up to $5,000 in “pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses, including passenger fares, tours, and hotels” per covered trip. This benefit is being reduced to only reimburse $1,500 in “non-refundable passenger fares charged by an airline, cruise line, railroad, or any other Common Carrier” for each covered person per trip, for a maximum of $6,000 in prepaid expenses per trip, which will match the new coverage on Visa Platinum cards.
Are Any Cards Being Spared?
Chase is eliminating price protection from all Chase-branded cards and return protection benefits from many Chase-branded cards that currently have it. However, one Chase-branded card will retain the return protection benefit: Chase Sapphire Reserve.
This benefit covers “reimburses customers for eligible items that the store won’t take back within 90 days of purchase, up to $500 per item, $1,000 per year” when you use your Chase Sapphire Reserve or Ultimate Rewards points earned through the CSR.
When Do These Changes Go Into Effect?
All of the above changes will go into effect on August 26. Cardholders who make a purchase by August 25 will still be able to file a claim beyond August 26 through the current allowable claim period. We’ve also confirmed that these changes take effect for all cardholders at the same time — old and new cardholders won’t be treated differently.
Keep in mind that one set of changes already went into effect. The United MileagePlus Explorer Card lost some benefits a bit earlier due to a revamp of the card on June 1. While adding 2x miles on dining and hotels, a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit and discounts on in-flight purchases, the card also reduced trip cancellation coverage while eliminating price protection, return protection and the 10,000-mile bonus after spending $25,000 in a calendar year.
Most Chase cards are seeing a reduction in benefits while just one card is getting an added trip cancellation/interruption benefit. This is disappointing to those of us that use price protection to save money on purchases of large items. To counter the effect of auto-generated insurance claims, we would rather see a reduction in the benefit — either by limiting the number of claims that can be filed per year, instituting a minimum claim amount (i.e. $10 minimum claim) and/or a reduction in the maximum claimed per year.
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