Sapphire Reserve Bonus Cut & I Beat 5/24!

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Last August, Chase introduced the Chase Sapphire Reserve, a new premium credit card going a step above and beyond its then-top product, the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

I’ve had the Sapphire Preferred for years, and it has been my go-to credit card for almost all everyday purchases since. I value the Sapphire Preferred for many reasons:

  1. Chase Ultimate Rewards points are some of the most valuable and versatile points out there. They can be transferred near-instantaneously to a broad range of partners including United, Southwest, Korean Air and Hyatt. I used UR points to get us to Phuket and back on our honeymoon in first class on Asiana (booked via United) and Korean Air; I have used UR points in conjunction with our Companion Pass to book tickets on Southwest for ridiculous value; I used UR points to finance many nights of our Hyatt stays last year.
  2. The card earns double points on all travel and dining. Danielle and I travel a lot and eat out a lot, so double points are good.
  3. The card comes with many incidental perks, including primary insurance coverage on car rentals. Unfortunately, I had to put this perk to use recently; I wish I hadn’t had to, but I’m super grateful that I had this and can save money declining coverage from rental car agencies.
  4. The card is made of metal. Metal! Not plastic. It’s freaking cool in your wallet, and merchants make comments about the card to me all the time. Swank factor matters!

Given my love for the Sapphire Preferred, I was uber excited about the introduction of the Sapphire Reserve, which builds upon the Preferred’s perks with a $300 travel credit every year, 3X points on travel and dining and a WHOPPING 100,000 UR point sign-up bonus. Unfortunately, because of the 5/24 rule, I was precluded from applying for the card (actually, I was allowed to apply, which I did, and was promptly denied).

News broke this week that Chase plans to lower the sign up bonus to 50,000 points on the Sapphire Reserve next week, on January 11. That date is not entirely firm, as applications in-branch will still be available until mid-March. I will not be under the 5/24 rule until May 28, so I was disappointed to learn about this inevitable change, and quickly hit the internet to look for ways around it. Nothing. 5/24 is a hard and firm rule (except, maybe, for Chase Private Client customers, which I am not). I was not destined to earn that sign up bonus.

Determined not to be undone and miss out on this deal, I paid a visit to my local Chase branch yesterday after work, and had a chat with my banker, Noel. I told her about how interested I was in the Sapphire Reserve, and that I was concerned about applying for the card if I was likely to be denied, as I did not want a needless inquiry to show on my credit report. She understood, and offered to check to see if I was prequalified for the card. I thanked her, and gave her my details so she could check, knowing full-well that I was not prequalified. I had checked online myself only a few minutes prior.

Low and behold, the system used in-branch is different from Chase’s pre-qualification website, and Noel informed me that I was prequalified for the card. Now, she warned, pre-qualification is no guarantee. Have you heard of the 5/24 rule? She asked.

D’oh!

She warned me that if I applied for the card and was denied because I had five or more new credit cards opened in the last two years, she would have no sway in helping to get me approved. She told me the stories of previous clients who were similarly prequalified, only to be denied the card upon application. And there was nothing she could do to convince the credit department to approve their applications.

But, she also told me that she had had at least one client who was approved, even though he believed that he was over the 5/24 line. Believed? Believed.

What do you want to do? She asked.

My palms were sweating. I felt like I was in Vegas, being egged on to split nines against a dealer showing eight, with a bet too large to ever feel proud about. What should I do? I was confident I would be denied. 5/24 is a hard, serious rule. It has been written about over and over and over again. And I was over the line. But i was prequalified! And Noel was so nice! And it felt like my lucky day.

Do it. I said. It’s a new year, let’s try my luck.

Noel was in on the drama. She wanted me to win. She dealt my new cards face-down, typed in a few keys and left her desk to retrieve some documents for me to sign. I putzed around on my phone, waiting.

You were approved! I heard from behind me. The words didn’t sink in. I didn’t realize she’d even submitted the application yet. You got the card, David, with a huge credit line. 

What!?

In fact, I did it. I was approved. And approved with a whopping line of credit – the largest I’ve ever been offered in a single card – for no apparent reason.

I beat 5/24!

I win! I win! Dealer showed a nine and I got two tens. WIN – WIN – WIN! Noel and I high-fived each other, she gave me some paperwork, and I was sent on my merry way. I signed in to my Chase account online, and there it was. Proof!

Proof I was approved for the Chase Sapphire Reserve!

So that’s it. There is a way to beat 5/24.

If you haven’t applied for more then four cards in the last two years and have a good credit score, apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve online ASAP and take advantage of the incredible offer. If you are past 5/24, I strongly encourage you to go into a branch and speak with a banker like Noel, see if you are prequalified, and take a gamble at getting this card while the 100,000 point sign-up bonus remains.

Good luck!