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TPG reader question: Can I downgrade my Chase Sapphire Reserve to a Sapphire Preferred and still keep my points?

Sept. 20, 2021
8 min read
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Editor’s note: This article is part of a weekly 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.


Sometimes, a credit card welcome bonus is so juicy in the travel cards market that it compels you to open the card regardless of its internal flaws. A year into your card membership, your honeymoon period may well be over and you're examining whether you want to pay the annual fee year after year.

You may be sitting on a mountain of credit card rewards with an impending annual fee that you're debating on whether or not to pay. Is there anything you can do? Reader Gary asked the following:

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[pullquote source="Gary Ancer"]Can I downgrade my Chase Sapphire Reserve to a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and still keep all my points?[/pullquote]

That's an important question! You absolutely can downgrade your current annual fee-incurring card to a card with a smaller annual fee without losing your points — no matter which flexible currency you hold. Let's take a look.

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How to lower your annual fee while salvaging your points

Losing Chase Ultimate Rewards from canceling a card would be devastating. You can use them for big savings at high-end resorts like the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/The Points Guy)

Before we get started, I want to highlight the fact that if you've got a cobranded airline or hotel credit card, your rewards are not stored on your credit card. Each month, the miles and points you earn are automatically deposited into your corresponding loyalty account. For example, if you've got a Marriott credit card, you can cancel it at any time and your points will remain in your Marriott account.

However, if you're collecting bank points, those will disappear if you cancel your card (if you're not careful). To avoid this, you can "product change" your current card to another card in the same family without losing your points. Here's an issuer-by-issuer rundown.

Chase

As long as you have one of the below Chase Ultimate Rewards points-earning cards, you won't lose your points. If you want to cancel a card, simply transfer the points to another of your Ultimate Rewards cards before canceling. Or, if you want to pay a lower annual fee like Gary, you can downgrade your card.

The following personal cards can be freely product changed:

The following small business cards can be freely product changed:

Just note that you must have at least one Ultimate Rewards card that incurs an annual fee if you want to transfer your points to valuable airline and hotel partners. It's by far the best way to use Chase points, and it's why nearly everyone at TPG keeps one of these cards open at all times. We save thousands every year on travel.

American Express

The following Amex Membership Rewards points-earning personal cards can be freely product changed:

The following Amex Membership Rewards points-earning small business cards can be freely product changed:

The information for the Amex Everyday, Amex Everyday Preferred, Amex Green, and Amex Business Green has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Like Chase, as long as you've got one of the above cards, you won't lose your Amex Membership Rewards points.

Citi

The Citi ThankYou points-earning cards that can be freely product changed include:

The information for the Citi Prestige has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

A big caveat here is that you can transfer the cash back you earn with the Citi Double Cash and the Citi Custom Cash to ThankYou points-earning cards, but you cannot transfer points to your cash back cards.

Capital One

Capital One is a unique issuer in the way it treats its rewards. Product changing isn't as simple as other issuers, as Capital One may deny you the option. If your account is in good standing, you shouldn't have much of an issue, but Capital One will send out invitations to product change when they deem you worthy.

Additionally, Capital One will allow you to product change between cash back-earning cards and Capital One miles-earning cards. You can convert your cash back rewards into Capital One miles anyway, provided you have at least one of each card type.

So, while product changing isn't as "free" as the previous currencies, here are some possibilities.

Personal cards:

Small business cards:

The information for the Capital One Savor, Spark Cash Select, Spark Miles for Business, has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Bottom line

As long as you've got at least one card open that earns the rewards currency you're collecting, you can cancel and/or product change your other credit cards. You may have to transfer your points from one card to another before closing a card, but you won't lose your rewards.

Depending on how you product change your cards, your points may become less valuable. For example, if your only Chase Ultimate Rewards points earning card is the Chase Sapphire Reserve, your points are worth 2 cents each, per TPG valuations. If you downgrade that card to a Chase Freedom Flex, your points will only be worth 1 cent each. To unlock the higher value of your points, you'll have to open another Ultimate Rewards-earning card.

Let us know if you have any head-scratchers you’d like answered for our weekly reader question series. You can tweet us @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at info@thepointsguy.com.

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum, click here
For rates and fees of the Amex Gold, click here
For rates and fees of the Amex Green, click here
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum, click here
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Gold, click here
For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus, click here

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

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Annual Fee

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670-850
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Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases