Published on April 21st, 2015 | by Chuck47
Thoughts on Keeping the Chase Sapphire Card
There’s been some talk recently in the blogosphere over the acclaimed Sapphire Preferred card from Chase and whether it’s worth keeping or just getting it for its great signup bonus of 40,000 points + 5,000, and then relegating it to the sock drawer.
The real question here is how you use credit cards. We constantly write about credit cards and how you can maximize your benefits from them. That being said, most normal people in the world aren’t constantly opening and closing credit cards. Your average American may apply for a new card every couple of years. Maybe they’ll see an offer in a store to get 10% off that day’s purchase, perhaps a bottle of soda caught their eye, or maybe they’ll decide to change to a new card which suits their needs better. It’s not something constantly on the mind of the cardholder when to cancel one card and sign up for a new one.
I’d classify most people as Keepers of credit cards, versus the few of us who are Gamers of credit cards.
A Keeper doesn’t have to be someone who will actually keep the card for years at a time; maybe when the annual fee becomes due they shake their head and say, ‘I’m closing this one’. The point is that when they sign up for a card they’re looking at it for its long-term value. When looking at credit cards from a Keepers perspective a signup bonus is just a push to get that card.
Looking at the Sapphire card: For someone who travels a lot the no-foreign-transaction-fee is a must, and the 2x points on travel and dining could really make the card more valuable than the Arrival.
Certainly we can debate how the Sapphire matches up with the Arrival and the Citi Premier (or Prestige). It would really depend on the consumer – what their main spend is and what kind of travel they do. But as a baseline, having one of these 3 cards would be the go-to options for any frequent traveler.
Coming from a Gamers perspective, we need to evaluate the fact that the 45,000-point signup bonus can be had every 24 months or so. And that you can constantly rotate your Ultimate Reward-earning credit cards so as to never pay an annual fee.
Coming from that perspective, it probably wouldn’t have made sense to keep the Sapphire card going back a year either, despite certain redemption options which were better then. It would be hard to justify losing 45,000 points every ~2 years, when you could easily earn UR points with the INK card, or even earn with the Freedom card and wait until you have the Sapphire to redeem them.
For that matter, even if the Sapphire card didn’t have any annual fee it still wouldn’t make sense to keep the card, since as a Gamer it would be worth it to cancel so that you can apply again later. You would only keep it until the 24-month mark and no longer.
The reason we don’t hear much of canceling the Freedom in order to reapply is since the signup bonus is lackluster, plus it has nice quarterly category bonuses year round.
To be clear, I would categorize myself with the Gamers and I’ll be canceling my Sapphire unless I’m offered some nice retention offer. I’m sure many of our readers are in the same boat as me. But it’s hard to make that the end word on the value of the card.
In the final analysis, I consider the Sapphire a solid card for an ordinary credit card user. If someone (a traveler) would ask you advice on which single credit card to get, this would certainly be one of the possibilities that goes through your head.
Speaking of which…what would you advise someone if they asked you which single credit card they should get and keep (let’s assume it’s someone who travels internationally)? Let us know in the comments.