Sapphire Reserve: How to get a 2nd $300 travel credit before cancelling

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Separately I published “Keep or cancel Sapphire Reserve?”  My plan is to keep the card, but many others (including my wife) may not.  If you decide not to keep your card, I recommend downgrading to a no fee card rather than cancelling (see the previously mentioned post for details).  I also recommend making sure to get $300 in travel credits a second time.  Details for doing so follow.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers annual travel reimbursements up to $300.  The great thing about this is that the credits are automatic.  Simply charge any travel expenses to the card and Chase will automatically apply statement credits until you’ve earned $300.

Chase’s definition of “annual”, though, has changed since the card’s introduction.  When the Sapphire Reserve card first hit the market, “annual” was defined as all statements that closed within a calendar year.  For example, even though your January statement would include charges from late December, those charges counted towards the new calendar year.  Here’s how Chase describes the rule:

Annual means the year beginning with your account open date through the first December statement date of that same year, and the 12 billing cycles starting after your December statement date through the following December statement date each year.

For many, this rule made it very easy to get two $300 travel credits in the first 12 months of card membership: one in the first calendar year of membership (up to your December statement date), and the second in the next calendar year.

New rules

For those who signed up for the card on or after May 21 2017, Chase has a new definition of “annual”.  The travel credits are now tied to your membership year rather than the calendar year:

Annual means the year beginning with your account open date through the first statement date after your account open date anniversary, and the 12 monthly billing cycles after that each year.

For those who signed up under these new rules, it might still be possible to get the travel credit twice with just one annual fee. You could first get the $300 travel credit during the first 12 months. Then, in month #13, you could immediately use your next $300 travel credit and then cancel or product change your card. If you cancel or product change within 30 days of being charged the annual fee, you should be able to get that fee waived.

Who should do what?

As I wrote yesterday, I’m going to keep my card so this discussion isn’t relevant to my account.  For my wife, though, we do want to downgrade her to a no-fee card.  If you’re in that boat, the best play depends upon when you signed up for the card initially…

If you signed up before mid November 2016:

Hopefully you’ve already received your 2016 and 2017 travel credits.  If you haven’t received your 2017 travel credits yet, make sure to do so before you cancel or downgrade.

Also consider going for a 3rd travel credit: It may be possible to pay the second annual fee when it comes due in 2017, obtain the 2018 $300 travel credits very early in 2018, and get reimbursed a prorated amount of the annual fee if you then downgrade to a no-fee card (this won’t work if cancelling the card).  I can’t find hard data proving that you will get a prorated refund, but at least one reader has reported that Chase gave him a prorated refund when he switched to the no-fee Freedom card.  So, let’s say you pay the $450 (increased to $550 as of January 2020) annual fee, get the 2018 $300 in travel credits and then also get a 2/3rd prorated refund of the annual fee ($300).  That will give you $600 in value for $550, not to mention the card’s standard benefits.  I’m pretty sure that this is what we’ll do with my wife’s account unless we learn that the prorated refunds are limited to residents of Massachusetts (see this comment for an explanation).

If you signed up between mid November and late December 2016:

In this case, you probably didn’t get a 2016 travel credit, but hopefully you have received your 2017 travel credit by now. The key is to make sure to spend $300 in travel immediately after your December statement closes.  This way you’ll get your 2018 travel credit in time to cancel or downgrade your card to avoid the next annual fee.  Once Chase posts your annual fee, you have 30 days to cancel or product change for a full refund.

If you signed up between January 2017 and May 20th 2017:

For this group, obtaining the second $300 travel credit should be easy.  Make sure to spend at least $300 on travel this year, before the December statement closes, in order to get the 2017 travel credit.  Then spend $300 on travel after your December statement closes in order to get your 2018 travel credit.  You can wait until you receive the 2018 annual fee to product change or cancel (you have 30 days from that date to do so).

If you signed up May 21 2017 or later (new rules):

It should be possible to get the travel credit twice with just one annual fee. Make sure to get the $300 travel credit during your first 12 months of card membership. Then, in month #13, immediately use your next $300 travel credit and then cancel or product change your card. If you cancel or product change within 30 days of being charged the annual fee, you should be able to get the entire fee waived (or returned, if you already paid it).

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39 Comments
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Brad Miller

@Greg The Frequent Miler

I got my first Chase Sapphire card last year in May, the Sapphire Reserve.
I did the $300 travel credit for 2019.
How do I know when the renewal is coming up? I have read multiple times on r/creditcards that Chase gives you 60 days to have the annual fee refunded. Is the 60 days from the anniversary of the card or 60 days from when the second annual fee hits?
And on that note, I read on here about people double dipping on the travel credit.. so can you still get the second $300 travel credit after the second annual fee hits? What if the second annual fee appears 1 or 2 months after the 1 year anniversary that you’ve had the card?
I’m just hoping someone with experience can explain how the timeline should work.
For example, say I applied for the Chase Sapphire Reserve on May 1, 2019.
Should I expect the second annual fee on May 1, 2020?
Would I have 60 days to cancel and have the annual fee refunded from May 1, 2020? What if the annual fee posts on June 15, 2020 (for example), how do I calculate the 60 days?
Can the double-dipping of the $300 travel credit be done after the card anniversary on May 1, 2020 or in this hypothetical example, would I need to wait until June 15, 2020 (assuming that is the later date the second annual fee appears).
thanks for any help understanding the Sapphire cards

Jeffrey Ostrow

My annual membership fee posted June 1 of this month. The awards section says “You received your $300 Annual Travel Credit this year. Your next year’s $300 Annual Travel Credit will begin after your statement closing date in 06/18.*”. If I book $300 worth of travel and close the card by lets say the 29th of June, I can still get the annual fee waived right?

Rayray

It worked! Got the travel credit three times and downgraded to the CSP.

dpk

Can you please list down sites from which we can buy airline or hotel GC along with the links for getting $300 travel credit for the second time?
I plan to degrade the card after getting $300.
Pls provide airline names, hotels etc with link.

Thanks in advance

katie

If I downgrading CSR to a NO fee card, will all my purchases from CSR still retain CSR’s benefits such as Purchase Protection, Price Protection, Return Protection, Extended Warranty Protection OR it will receive coverage from the new NO fee card? Thank you!

ucipass

As a data point. Amex purchase protection even works if you cancel the card. I got my laptop covered after I cancelled amex spg card and called and filed the claim. The insurance agent only verified if I was a card holder at the time of purchase. Common sense says it should be the same with Chase.

[…] How you might be able to get a 2nd Sapphire Reserve travel credit. […]

MM

Thank you for the article. You spend much time providing details that help me to understand the options.

What’s really “sleazy” is Brandon’s reply. When people use foul language, why allow the comment to post? How about decent behavior when discussing articles.

brandon

Sleazy. This is EXACTLY the kind of dick maneuver that causes banks like Chase to clamp down hard on benefits. Don’t like things such as 5/24, clawbacks, lifetime bans, RAT teams, etc.? Look in the mirror.

Why do you encourage this kind of dirt-bag behavior? Oh, wait…

ucipass

Well said. They make the rules, so I don’t understand why I should feel bad that I maximize the benefits for me rather than to the bank.

Mimi c

Hi Greg
Need your input on this.

I product changed my Sapphire to CSR last Nov 2016. Got the $300 travel credits for 2016 and 2017.

AF got charged on 5/2017 so I PC to freedom and got AF refunded. However, I PC on 7/2017 again to CSR when I realized I wanted the card. Af got charged this month.

1- Am I under the new rules now for the $300 travel credit?

2- if I wait 3 months until Nov 2017 to get the travel credit, will I still get a prorated refund?

Thanks!!!!

Mike

So to clarify some facts first, was your sapphire a preferred with AF charged in 5/2016? And when you PCed to CSR in 11/2016, Chase didn’t charge you an AF until 5/2017 (keeping with a May AF cycle)?
But when you PCed from Freedom to CSR in 7/2017, you got hit with AF in 8/2017? And was the AF the full $450 or prorated?

mimi c

My sapphire was the no annual fee card. Yes, I was not charged until 5/2017. Yes, when I PCed to CSR again, I got hit with the full $450 af on 8/2017.

Mike

Yes, I thought that was interesting also, thus my questions. And I agree that mimi should ask Chase. I’d suggest she ask specifically what period she has to use her $300 travel credit. Because there is an open question as to whether the PC resets the clock on another $300. If she still has the calendar year travel credit, does she get another $300 for 2017, even though she got one on her first CSR? If she now has the membership year travel credit (which I tend to think she does because her AF this month was not prorated), what are the start and end dates (I think it would start when she PCed last month, in which case she does not need to wait until November to get the $300, she could use it ASAP, and then downgrade again to get the AF refunded if she was inclined).
I’ve been trying to figure out why she didn’t get charged any AF on her first PC. Yesterday, my theory was that Chase doesn’t bother with an upgrade fee in the middle of an AF cycle, when you go from one AF card to another AF card. But mimi’s sapphire was a no AF card as was her Freedom, so its not that. Perhaps Chase doesn’t bother with mid-cycle upgrade fees when you upgrade within the same family (Sapphire)? I’m curious as to whether May was mimi’s anniversary month on her original no fee sapphire.

Mimi

I used the $300 travel credit for 2016 and 2017 before PC-ing back to a freedom.

When I PC-ed back to a CSR, It states on my UR page that the $300 has been used up.

What’s also weird is that even though I decreased my limit to $1500, it did not refund the af. It should as I am in CA.

So it looks like, in their system, I am on my 2nd yr of membership for CSR.

tinytavosa

I also product changed on Nov 29th 2016 from Sapphire Preferred to Reserve and was not charged the annual fee until 06/01/2017 (I was NOT mad, lol!)… I then had till 08/02/2017 to get a full refund by product changing (which I did to the Freedom Unlimited on July 28th without issue).

Just as a heads up, the 30 days to product change starts on the STATEMENT close date, not the day the annual fee posts.

For instance, annual fees post on the 1st of the month for all my cards (I think this is the same for everyone?) but my statements close on various days, so my latest experience was the Ink Preferred, fee posted on July 1st, statement closed July 14th, product changed to Ink Cash on Aug 13th without issue.

Additionally I was told conflicting reports that we have 30 days and by other reps 60 days to product change for a full refund, others said partial refund, others said no refund, I pushed for clarity and was told it is 60 days full refund (this was on the CSR I was inquiring, not the Ink, so maybe personal/business varies) but a note was put on my account just to be sure on this instance (which could make it more YMMV, but I don’t think so) …. which was for a Chase Sapphire Reserve, fee posted June 1, statement closed June 2, product changed on July 28th without issue.

Any other DP’s? Having 30 days if you change your statement close date to late in the month (e.g. December 25th) or 60 days from the statement close date seems way easier than 30 days from the annual fee posting.

Mike

Was June your anniversary month on the Sapphire Preferred?

tinytavosa

My original approval for the Sapphire Preferred was late September 2014, so no, I do not believe it was in July nor see any logical reason they waited. I suppose they may have given me a 6 month grace period for some unknown reason, but it’s interesting to see others (at least one other) having the same thing happen

Sorry for the very late reply.

tinytavosa

Sorry, “I do not believe it was in July” should have been “I do not believe it was in JUNE”

Lantean

In the past I was always told by Chase I would receive a prorated refund if requested within 6 months of the fee posting. That’s how it worked when I did it too.

I just wonder if it’s wort it for your wife (and myself) to wait till Jan 2018 to quickly rack up $300 travel charges and then close… I may not have any travel charges in January at all… I guess I could load my United travel bank.

Lantean

I forgot to mention I am in NY… so def not just MA residents.

Jeff

Wouldn’t gift cards be an option here? Either bought through a hotel front desk, or from an airline? Or pre-booking flights for future travel? Just some thoughts…

Lantean

yes they would… but in that case i find it easier to pre-load United travel bank…

DanR NYC

Thanks for detailed info

Jon

Greg, the info is great. However, as a long time player in the game, I can’t help but feel that this type of blatant messing with Chase is exactly why benefits get nerfed. I know that collective action is almost impossible to achieve, but if hypothetically everyone could take advantage of the benefits, while not gaming the system to this extreme, in the long run it would work out better for all of us. Much like global warming, sure it sucks to lower productivity now, but in the long run it will be beneficial.

Love your blog, just my $.02

ucipass

If I downgrade my CSP within 30 days of the annual fee posted, would I get a full refund or only a partial (335/365)refund?

Lantean

I believe you’ll get the full refund within 30 days.

ucipass

Thank you very much for the replies! Follow up question:

– If I change my mind after 6 months of the downgrade and upgrade my card again, would I also be eligible for the $300 credit? In other word, does the clock reset by a downgrade/upgrade within a 12 months time frame?

Michael

Thanks for the info.