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

Sep 20, 2021

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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:

 

Can I downgrade my Chase Sapphire Reserve to a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and still keep all my points?

Gary Ancer

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.

Also, note that you may not be able to convert some cards into the Citi Custom Cash directly, as it’s still a relatively new card.

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 photo by 10’000 Hours/Getty Images.

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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.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.