TPG reader credit card question: If I’m an authorized user on a Chase Sapphire card, can I still open the Chase Sapphire Preferred?

Jul 26, 2021

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Editor’s note: This article is part of a column to answer your toughest credit card questions. If you would like to ask us a question, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at info@thepointsguy.com


Attention anyone who’s blissfully unaware of major card news: The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card now comes with an all-time-high 100,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. That’s worth $2,000 in travel, per TPG valuations. If you’re eligible for this sign-up bonus, you need to get it. We’ve never seen a credit card offer this sweet for such little effort.

The question of eligibility for this bonus is a pervasive topic among TPG readers. Many have friends or family that hold the Chase Sapphire Preferred (it’s the best starter travel rewards card, after all) — and for one reason or another are already an authorized user on that card. Does that disqualify you from opening the Chase Sapphire Preferred yourself? Absolutely not — but it’s possible you may get denied. Here’s a quick way to navigate the situation to ensure you earn those 100,000 bonus points.

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Can I open a Chase Sapphire card if I’m an authorized user on someone else’s Chase Sapphire card?

Chase has a short list of nuanced application rules that, if you don’t follow them, may cause you to miss out on thousands of dollars in free travel. There are two rules that affect Chase Sapphire products:

Chase 5/24 rule

If you’ve opened five or more credit cards from any bank (excluding some business cards) in the past 24 months, you’ll be automatically denied for the Chase Sapphire Preferred. When you apply, Chase’s automated system will include authorized user cards in its calculation of opened cards; it’s unable to perceive the difference between primary cardmember and authorized user when it rifles through your personal credit report. However, Chase representatives will not count authorized user cards against your 5/24 tally. If you’re denied, give Chase a call and explain the situation.

Chase Sapphire rule

If you hold a Chase Sapphire card (either the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve), you are ineligible to open another Sapphire card. This is where some confusion occurs. The Chase Sapphire Preferred application page says:

This product is available to you if you do not have any Sapphire card and have not received a new cardmember bonus for any Sapphire card in the past 48 months.

Related: Everything you need to know about authorized users

So the real question is, does a Chase Sapphire Preferred authorized user card count as a Sapphire card? The answer is no. Data points prove that Chase only considers that members “have a Sapphire card” when they are the primary cardholder. You could theoretically be an authorized user on a number of different accounts without actually “having” a Sapphire card, as Chase defines it. Again, if for some reason you find yourself calling the Chase reconsideration line, it should take about 15 seconds to explain the situation to the customer service rep.

Bottom line

You’re thinking in the right direction: Is there anything that would prevent you from earning the highest-ever 100,000-point Chase Sapphire Preferred sign-up bonus? There definitely is, but being a current authorized user on a friend’s or family member’s card isn’t one of them.

Read our post on who’s eligible for the elevated Chase Sapphire Preferred bonus to make sure you qualify. If you do, earning that bonus should be No. 1 on your miles and points to-do list. Seriously, we’ve never seen a deal this good — and we don’t know how long it’ll be around.

Apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred with a 100,000-point sign-up bonus.

Featured photo courtesy of Hyatt.

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