I got the Chase Sapphire Reserve back in 2016 when it was first released. While I’ve enjoyed the benefits of this card over the past four years, I made the tough decision to downgrade when my annual fee hit this year. Here’s why I downgraded my Chase Sapphire Reserve and what product I changed to.
Subpar Earning Structure
The main reason I decided to downgrade my Chase Sapphire Reserve is due to the subpar earning structure. Chase Sapphire Reserve earns 3x points on travel and restaurants, 10x points on Lyft, and 1x points on everything else. The 10x points on Lyft is nice, but I haven’t taken one since February. With the release of the revamped Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited next week, I can earn 3x points on restaurants with either of these cards for no annual fee. Even with a card like Citi Premier you can earn 3x on restaurants and 3x on hotels and airfare for an annual fee of $95. This card has other bonus categories like gas stations and supermarkets as well. There are too many low or no annual fee cards with better earning structures that I can no longer justify the cost of the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Unusable Travel Benefits
The main benefits that I used from Chase Sapphire Reserve were the $300 travel credit and the Priority Pass membership. The travel credit helped offset the annual fee so it wasn’t that great of a benefit in the first place. As for Priority Pass, this is available from plenty of other cards. I also don’t plan to fly anywhere for the foreseeable future so I won’t make use of it anyway.
Grabbing a Second Chase Freedom
After the Chase Freedom Flex is released next week, the regular Chase Freedom will no longer be available to new customers. I downgraded my Chase Sapphire Reserve to a second Chase Freedom so I can max out the 5x categories twice each quarter. It seems that it won’t be possible to have two Freedom Flex cards so I’ll product change one of my Freedoms to Freedom Flex and leave the other as a regular Freedom.
Chance to Get Chase Sapphire Sign-up Bonus
Lastly, since it’s been four years since I got the Chase Sapphire Reserve sign-up bonus, I’m eligible to get the sign-up bonus on a Chase Sapphire product again. To do so, I needed to close or downgrade my card anyway. I’ll probably apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred sometime early next year since the sign-up bonus is higher. In the future, I can convert it to Chase Sapphire Reserve if desired.
In this period of limited travel, having a premium travel credit card isn’t as lucrative as it used to be. By downgrading my Chase Sapphire Reserve to a Chase Freedom, I can still get 3x points on restaurants for no annual fee. However, I won’t be able to earn 3x Chase points on travel or transfer points to Chase travel partners until I open a Chase Sapphire card. In the meantime, I’ll rely on my low and no annual fee cards to earn points with Chase and other programs.