How to Downgrade Chase Credit Cards (Upgrade & Downgrade Options)

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Upgrade Chase Credit Card

There are many reasons to downgrade or product change Chase Credit Cards with annual fees like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Ink Preferred. And now with the new Pay Yourself Back tool on the Sapphire Cards, it might make a whole lot of sense to upgrade Chase Sapphire preferred Credit card to reserve as well. This post focuses on Chase Ultimate Rewards earning credit cards. There are several very good reasons (covered below) to downgrade, upgrade or product change Chase Credit Cards rather than cancel them. (In this post I explain how I'm navigating the process in 2 player mode and how I'm going to maximize everything.)

  • First the Chase 5/24 Rule restricts you from getting approved for a new Chase Credit Card account if you've opened more than 5 new credit card accounts in the last 24 months. (Full Guide to Chase 5/24 here). So anyone who is over 5/24 should probably not cancel Chase credit card s.
  • Chase allows cardholders to have one Chase Sapphire branded account per person, so if you already hold a Chase Sapphire Card like the Sapphire Reserve, you cannot be approved for a Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit card as well. (But you could do a product change)
    • In this scenario it makes sense to product change your Sapphire Card to a Freedom or Slate card so that you can receive a different Sapphire card and a new Sapphire Cardmember Bonus on approval.
  • Chase Sign Up Bonus Restrictions for new accounts (2 Requirements)
    • Not a current cardholder for the specific credit card you wish to apply
    • Haven't received a new cardmember bonus on the card in the last 24 months or for Sapphire cards you haven't received a new cardmember bonus for any Sapphire card in the last 48 months.
  • No affect on credit score: Downgrading your card allows you to maintain the original account and thereby your credit line and average age of credit remain unchanged.
    • Also no credit inquiries
    • Will increase average age of accounts as opposed to cancelling the card.
Related: Guide: Downgrade Options and Rules for Amex, Citi and Chase Reward Credit Cards

Credit Cards that Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

The below list includes each card that earns Ultimate Rewards or could be included in your downgrade, upgrade or product change strategy.

Personal Credit Cards

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

Chase Sapphire (No longer available to new applicants)

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Chase Freedom

Business Credit Cards

Chase Ink Business Preferred

Chase Ink Business Cash

Chase Ink Business Unlimited

Additional Downgrade Options

Chase Slate (No Annual fee but no real benefit either)

Upgrade Chase Credit Card Process (Chase Downgrade or Product Change)

1. Call for Retention Offer or to see if they'll waive the annual fee
  • If you want to keep the card or aren't trying to product change to get a new bonus it makes sense to see if they'll waive the fee or give you a retention offer (can be points or statement credit etc).
2. Downgrade Eligibility and Rules
  • Must wait one year from account opening (this is also the rule for upgrading because of the Card Act.)
  • Same product family (Ultimate Rewards earning cards or same co branded card family i.e. United)
  • Business cannot be downgraded to personal and vise-versa (even if it’s the same product family)
3. Choose your Downgrade, Upgrade or Product Change Path Wisely
  • Upgrades, Downgrades and Product Changes don't offer signup bonuses like new cardmember accounts so you want to make sure you are not excluding yourself from earning a signup bonus.

When you've decided on your optimal strategy, you simply call the number on the back of your credit card. If you're product changing, let the rep know which card you'd like to switch to. The rep will read you some disclosures and confirm the action and that's that. Even though the account number stays the same, I always ask if they can overnight the new card but they say they can't and then do it anyway (so it doesn't hurt to ask.)


Related: Complete Guide: Chase 5/24 Rule (2020)


Downgrade Chase Credit Cards

Ultimate Rewards Options

The following section is organized by annual fee amounts from highest to lowest with each subsequent section being the downgrade options available for the card above it.

Downgrade Chase Sapphire Reserve ($550) (DOWNGRADE OPTIONS ↓)
Downgrade Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card ($95) (DOWNGRADE OPTIONS ↓)
  • Sapphire (No longer available for new applicants but generally available as a no fee downgrade option.)
  • No Fee Options
    • Freedom
    • Freedom Unlimited
    • Slate

Related: Maximize Covid Extensions & Why Airline Status Beats Hotel Status!

Chase Ink Preferred (or Chase Ink Plus) $95 (DOWNGRADE OPTIONS ↓)
  • Chase No-Fee Business Card Options
    • Chase Ink Business Unlimited
    • Chase Ink Business Cash

Lesser Known Downgrade Options (Personal Cards)

  • Chase Sapphire (no fee)
  • Chase Slate

cancel chase credit card

How to Maximize Chase Credit Card Rewards

There are a few things specific to Chase to remember to ensure that you don't cost yourself. For most Chase cards, you can earn a signup bonus once every 2 years (as long as you’re not currently a cardholder and you haven’t earned the specific card’s sign up bonus in the last 24 months or 48 Months for Sapphire Branded cards.)

Chase Ultimate Rewards: Lose ability to transfer your points to FF programs if you don’t hold one of the premium cards.

  • CSR
  • CSP
  • Chase Ink Preferred
  • Chase Ink Plus

Ways to Downgrade but Preserve the Value of Points

A few other things to keep in mind now that you know why it makes more sense to downgrade than to cancel Chase credit card.

  • Must have CSP, CSR, Ink Biz Preferred or Plus:
    • to transfer to partners
    • To use points for travel at an increased rate (1.5 for CSR and 1.25 for the others)
  • Combine Points:
    • Keep one premium card and transfer all your own points to that premium account
    • Transfer to one other member of your household who is primary cardholder on their own account or owner of the company 

 

Bougie Miles has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. BougieMiles.com and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.
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