Posted by Chuck on May 16, 2017
Credit Cards

Published on May 16th, 2017 | by Chuck


Chase to Change Sapphire Reserve Travel Credit from Calendar Year to Cardmember Year on May 21

Terms on the Chase website state that beginning May 21, 2017, the $300 annual travel credit will be based on the cardmember year, not the calendar year.

As we know, Chase and most premium cards (CSR, Amex Platinum, Amex PRG, Citi Prestige) base their annual credits on the calendar year, not cardmember year. This is golden for signup bonus chasers since we get the credit twice within the first year, effectively creating two signup bonuses on these cards. (In the case of Chase, the year – for this purpose – ends with the date that the December billing statement is generated.)

One place on the Chase website now states that for applications submitted on May 21 and beyond, the travel credit will go based on the cardmember year, not the calendar year. This was only recently updated within the past couple of days, and other places on the Chase site have not yet been updated.

Obviously, this is terrible news, but I honestly never understood why they all don’t do this. It’s such a simple money-saver that doesn’t look any worse on paper. Unclear if Chase got the ‘idea’ from US Bank Altitude or it’s just a coincidence.

It’s still possible to get the airline credit twice by squeezing $300 in at the beginning of the second cardmember year and then cancelling the card within 30-days of when the fee hit. But it certainly makes it harder, and most ‘normal’ people won’t do that.

RelatedWhat Counts For The $300 Chase Sapphire Reserve Travel Credit?


Will the change affect existing cardholders?

Those who already have the card or who apply through May 20 will be able to get two travel credits in their first year.

Will the change take effect for existing cardholders?

It’s not clear at this time if Chase will change the terms over for existing cardholders as well. Not that it makes much a difference (in the first year you’ll get two airline credits and in subsequent years you’ll get one, in any case), but it is important to know the exact dates to take advantage of the credit.

I’m sure Chase will send out a mailer if/when the system of dates changes on the card. If they do change it for existing cardmembers, it could create a one-time opportunity to get another extra $300 credit out of this. More likely, this won’t happen.

Should I apply for the card now?

Hopefully, if you are eligible, you already applied when the bonus was 100k. That said, if someone is on the fence to apply now (e.g. just got out of 5/24, just started churning, whatever), I think it makes sense to apply now before May 21 with the 50k bonus, and not wait with the hopes that the bonus will increase again to 100k.

Credit goes to Travelafterwork for picking up on this change

87 Responses to Chase to Change Sapphire Reserve Travel Credit from Calendar Year to Cardmember Year on May 21

  1. David says:


  2. Blue says:

    Welp, I’m in the didn’t get the 100K bonus…but I’m getting off the fence right now.

  3. MSer says:

    That didn’t take long.

  4. Just a small point of clarification on the title. It’s travel credit (not just airline credit).

  5. P says:

    So, If I applied now (05/16/2017) and get auto-approved, it would be calendar year.
    I would get for 2017 and 2018 and then resets on my anniversary year in 2018 (around 05/16/2018) and get again?
    Then, if you cancel within 30 days of the annual fee posting, can you still get your full annual fee back?

    Hopefully, Amex does not follow.

    • Blue says:

      I’m actually hoping this might be a triple dip possibility:
      Apply now: Between now and December
      From January to May: Second
      May Cardmember Anniversary to following May: Third

    • sirtheta says:

      I don’t think that would work. The terms clearly state that cardmembers who already have the card are locked in with the calendar year metric.

      • P says:

        True, but Chase might change that in about a year. 🙂

        • sirtheta says:

          I don’t see why they would, though, since that would be very dumb on their part.

          The problem with doing things by calendar year is that people can almost always double dip. Or rather, they get 1 extra dip – so with 1 year, it’s a double dip, but with 8 years, you get 9 credits. Switching to cardmember year (a) makes more sense for consumers and (b) align things more properly so that getting an extra dip is rare.

          But if Chase were to switch everyone from calendar year to cardmember year, they’d wind up exposing themselves to *another* extra dip, free of charge! Given that the travel credit is straight up $300 out of their pocket and there are a lot of CSR cardholders out there, I can’t see them being *that* foolish.

          • kaztrator says:

            This isn’t rocket science. They’ll just say you can only get up to $300 per cardmember year. If you already used your calendar year credit, you’ve maxed out at 300 and that’s it.

          • sirtheta says:

            @kaztrator Sure, in which case you wouldn’t be able to triple dip. Either way, I don’t see any possibility of a triple dip due to them changing the way the credit works.

  6. Peter says:

    I hope they put the date to use the credit by “End of Cardmember Year Date” in the UR portal. Otherwise it’s tough to know for sure when the charge needs to post by.

  7. LC says:

    Chase is quickly turning into the “ultimate” BRAT bank

  8. Ravi says:

    Hi Chuck
    Do you know what happens to the points when refundable flight ticket booked through CSR ultimate reward portal is cancelled? Do I get back my points or do I get a some other sort of refund?

  9. Mike says:

    “It’s still possible to get the airline credit twice by squeezing $300 in at the beginning of the second cardmember year and then cancelling the card within 30-days of when the fee hit. But it certainly makes it harder, and most ‘normal’ people won’t do that.”

    So I already got my 2 calendar year credits. My renewal is coming in August. Does that mean if I spend my $300 and then cancel in August I won’t incur the membership fee and effectively got 3x $300 credits?

  10. JuicyJosh says:

    I believe existing cardholders should be ok. If Chase does decide to change terms. You do have the right to reject the terms and the card will remain active til your expiration date. I am sure most of us plan to bail before second annual fee anyways.

  11. Mordechai says:

    Ha ha – I can’t help but laugh because it was never free money, but was always advertised as so. Now it doesn’t even cover the full annual fee. #endtrolling

  12. Dave says:

    Still trying to figure out what this means for me. I got my card in Aug-Sep 2016, got the $300 right away, then again in January 2017. When Sept 2017 rolls around (new “cardmember” year), will I get another $300? If I not, then I assume I’ll have to wait til January 2018. All in all, I don’t see how this really affects existing cardholders in a meaningful negative manner.

    • Dave says:

      Actually, the only potentially harmful thing they can do is say that my January credit counts toward my upcoming 2017-2018 cardmember year, thus disqualifying me from credits until Sept 2018– but I’d be shocked if Chase does that.

    • wwllmm says:

      this. very confusing… so the 100K cohort who have already gotten 2 rounds (2016+2017) get ANOTHER after May 21st?

  13. Matt says:

    When I got my CSR card I was able to product convert my CSP to a freedom unlimited and received back a pro-rated amount of my annual fee. Couldnt this also work with the CSR card in the event you get charged your 2nd annual fee prior to “double dipping” the travel bonus? So in other words, in the event you dont time it right, you can still get the travel bonus and pay a fraction of the annual fee instead.

  14. Nick says:

    I’d rather have this then Chase nerfing the card entirely

  15. NinjaX says:

    ha. not surprised chase is change crap on the CSR. not even the first year yet. altho amex 50% was prob the worst “woops jk” event. in any case, i find it hilarious pple continuously talk about how awesome the CSR is and what a total keeper card vs the amex plat $550 AF. cmon chase, show your true intentions. just come out and do it. we all know you will slash and burn the benefits…

  16. Gary says:

    Any thoughts on if this 5/21 deadline would apply to product changing my CSP to a CSR?

  17. Phineas says:

    Is it safe to assume that if I PC my Sapphire Preferred to a Reserve before May 21st I’d still get the travel credit every calendar year?

  18. CongestionCharges says:

    Wow. Timely. I just got done telling my girlfriend about the calendar travel credit an hour ago.

  19. Lantean says:

    I was going to cancel before the AF fee hots anyway… I’ll get a regular CSP.
    the difference in earnings in not really worth the difference in annual fees.

  20. NinjaX says:

    probably yes. when you PC, you are officially accepting new CC terms and getting “approved” for the CC.

  21. JeffLA says:

    Cood catch. I will probably PC this week. I was planning on doing it later this year, but the double travel credit is all the bonus I can get since I was never targeted in branch.

  22. shag says:

    I opened this card in Dec 16 was able to get 300 in Dec 16 and 300 in Feb 17. will I be able to get another 300 before my annual fee is up ( with the extra month to downgrade)?

    • Chuck says:

      You sure the Deceber $300 counted for 2016? If it did, you might be able to pull in a third after December statement closes at the end of 2017.

  23. Jeremy says:

    I applied early January 2017, and I wanted to get the travel credit twice, but without paying the AF for the second year. So if I was approved for the card on 1/6/17, when will I have to have my travel charges post in order to be able to cancel the card before the AF hits?

  24. Miz says:

    “Obviously, this is terrible news ”
    This is actually good news. While previously we should wait till late December to double dip, now we can double dip anytime we decide to apply.
    I guess Chase learned the wrong lesson from US Bank!

    • Frank says:

      This makes no sense. The way it currently is, you can double dip as soon as you December statement ends. For example: Apply October 2016 and you get a $300 credit in 2016. Then you are eligible for another as soon as your December statement ends.

      There is no need to wait a year the way it currently is. But with the new rule you will have to wait a year. And by that time you annual fee will post.

    • Lrdx says:

      And how do you plan to double dip when the travel credit doesn’t reset until you pay the next annual fee?

    • Chuck says:

      I don’t know what you mean. The double dip basically died with this change.

      • God says:

        No it didn’t — it’s simple, you use it and then cancel/downgrade the card within 30 days of the second AF hitting.

        06/30/2017 – AF #1, dip #1
        06/30/2018 – AF #2, dip #2
        07/01/2018 – cancel to refund AF #2

  25. Yu says:

    I think they are not able to make changes easily to the existing card holder at least until when they charge you next year as there is a $450 annual fee. Does this make sense?

  26. Dave says:

    I think this is Chase’s attempt to stop losses from people double-dipping and then cancelling the card. If they’re making this step, I wouldn’t be surprised if Chase establishes some sort of ruling prevening a cardholder from getting the $300 until the $450 AF is paid and no longer refundable.

  27. Aaron says:

    I didn’t care for it when it first came out. I still don’t care for it today. They copied Amex, Citi from head to toes. Let’s start with the name “Reserve”, Citi has been using that word forever. the metal card… good old Amex. And now they copied US Bank’s cardmembership year. Oh and Chase concierge is average at best. Chase Sapphire Reserve is more like cha$e $apphire reserve. It is way below the real Visa Infinite and way way far behind World Elite MasterCard.

    I get far more points, perks and benefits with Amex Platinum and Citi Prestige.

  28. Lrdx says:

    URs with CSR have an absolute minimum value of ¢1.455: you get ¢1.5/UR at the travel portal, but you don’t get extra 3x UR on those. For simplicity, discount that ¢1.5 by 3% => ¢1.455.

    So 1x$300 statement credit is equal to ~20619 UR. So if you don’t yet have this card, and expect that the sign-up to go up to at least 75000 UR, then don’t rush; the higher bonus will worth more than the extra travel credit.

    If you value URs at ¢2.0, you want to wait for at least 65000 UR sign-up.

  29. Frelly says:

    How is everyone on this forum not way over 5/24? What the hell you guys doin?

  30. Will says:

    Anyone able to product change in the last couple of days? I’ve tried via phone and secure message to change a Freedom to a Chase Sapphire Preferred with no luck. The CL is > $10k and can’t figure out why they won’t let me.

  31. Lynn says:

    I thought they used to let you change from freedom to CSR. I’ll try and let you know.

    • Will says:

      I’d seen prior comments that this was allowed but I’ve had zero luck. Let me know if you end up being successful.

      • Lynn says:

        I just messaged them and was able to upgrade. I did read that you needed at least 10k credit to do it, which I had.

      • Mickey says:

        I product changed from Freedom to Sapphire Reserve yesterday. I had to move $1k from my Marriott credit line to get $10k total on my Freedom prior to the product change going through, but it worked.

        I’ve had my Chase Freedom open more than a year.

        Has your Freedom been open at least a year?

      • Lynn says:

        I think your freedom card also needs to be at least 1 year old.

  32. nelly says:

    SM says upgrading is cool but reset is now not at the end of the year anymore… Careful peeps

  33. Jim says:

    Got the card today, the same term for 300 annual credit. so I think it is ok to upgrade before 5.21. Also it does not affect me, I will keep it for a while.

  34. mark says:

    Applied today (5/20) for my father but the new terms already posted. But, I found a link to the old terms that clearly lay out pre-5/21 and took screen shots. Hope I don’t have an issue.

  35. Chuck says:

    I’m still seeing the old terms on most of the application pages 🤔.

  36. Frio Pendejo says:

    Any news on how pre-rulechange cardholders are treated? Wondering about that triple dip potential.

  37. Frito Pendejo says:

    I was wondering about the triple dip and so checked the terms on my pre-rulechange CSR. The current terms online are listed as:

    ” (For applications submitted before May 21, 2017, 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.) ”

    So, still calendar year.

  38. Dario says:

    So is this confirmed yet? If I PC my newly acquired CSP (Fairmont card) to a CSR, will I only get the $300 travel credit once or twice? Wife already has CSR so no point to get the Reserve for me unless confirmed that I can double dip.

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