Can You Still Double Dip Sapphire Reserve Travel Credit?
UPDATE: Chase recently changed it’s annual fee refund policy for product changes. The premise of this post still works, just mind the timing if you choose to downgrade/product change.
One of the most generous benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve (referral link) credit card is its $300 annual travel credit. Right now, since the credit resets each December, you could receive the full travel credit twice–that’s $600–while paying only one annual fee of $450.
Earlier today, news broke of a change in the reset timing of the annual credit. Instead of the travel credit resetting each December, it will reset based on the anniversary of the date you opened your account. This change takes effect for new applications starting on May 21, 2017.
I’ve highlighted the relevant definitions in the Benefit Terms below:
A statement credit will automatically be applied to your account when your card is used for purchases in the travel category, up to an annual maximum accumulation of $300. 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 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.)
The End of the Double-Dip?
Does this mean that you can no longer get the annual $300 credit twice in the first year you have the card? Although the new terms are designed to make it look as though you can’t double-dip, you still can. You just have less time. Read on to learn how.
If you already have the card and applied prior to May 20, 2017, nothing has changed. The double-dipping strategy I explained in this post still applies. If you applied after that date, you’ll need some discipline, but you can make it work.
The key is this: Even after your second annual fee is billed, you still have time to cancel or downgrade your Sapphire Reserve and have that fee refunded. Chase gives you 30 days from when your annual fee posts to your account to cancel or
60 days ~40 days from the statement date that shows your annual fee (new policy) to downgrade to a different card. Meet either of those two deadlines and your annual fee will be refunded in full.
Consider the following hypothetical timeline as an example:
- June 2 – Apply and are instantly approved
- July 1 – First annual fee posts (it always posts on the first day of the month following your approval)
- Up to 9 months later (optional) – contact Chase to change your Statement Closing date back to 1 day after the date you were approved, in this example the 3rd of each month. This optional step will change when your travel credit resets. This will maximize the amount of time you have from when the credit resets and when your next annual fee is billed. This step still gives you extra time if your plan is to cancel your card. Given the recent change in Chase’s annual fee refund policy, this step has become moot if your plan is to downgrade the card.
Once you’ve had the card for a year…
- June Statement Date – Your travel credit resets at the end of the day. You have until this statement date for your first $300 in travel credits to post. Don’t cut it that close. The next day, you’ll have a fresh $300 available from Chase.
- July 1 – Second annual fee posts.
- July 30 – Last day to cancel Sapphire Reserve and have the annual fee refunded.
- 40 days after your July Statement Date – Last day to downgrade Sapphire Reserve and have the annual fee fully refunded.
The magic is in the dates in red above. You have from as early as June 3 through July 30 if you cancel your card, or into August if you downgrade, to receive your second $300 travel credit while only being on the hook for your first annual fee. That’s as much as nearly 2.5 months. If you need even more time, you can downgrade later, but your annual fee refund will be a pro-rated amount. There is no pro-rated refund if you cancel later.
Just budget ahead of time. Plan ahead to pay for your travel expenses during that time and you can easily monetize the Sapphire Reserve’s second annual travel credit.
A couple other things to consider:
- Avoid applying on the 1st day of the month. If you are approved on the first day of the month, you will be billed your annual fee that night before you even receive the card. Wait one more day to apply and you’ll have an entire month before seeing that fee hit your account (on the 1st day of the following month).
- Changing your closing date in the steps above is optional. You can do it if you want the full amount of time to use your second travel credit. There’s still plenty of time if you don’t take this extra step.
Double-dipping is still very much alive. The change in terms by Chase makes it a little more difficult, but plan accordingly, and you can get the $300 travel credit twice while only paying one $450 annual fee.
Not sure if this changes anything but what if I was unlucky enough to have gotten approved on the 1st of the month. ( i got approved 1st of july).
It’s only unlucky if you were billed your annual fee on that same day, which I think shouldn’t be the case. Assuming your first annual fee was billed on August 1, you can just add 1 month to the example in my post. Change your statement date to either the 2nd or the 3rd of each month. Your travel credit should reset on July 2 or 3, 2018. Your 2nd annual fee won’t bill until August 1, 2018. So you should have almost all of July and August 2018 to use your 2nd travel credit and still cancel without being on the hook for the 2nd AF.
Thanks for the quick response. Unlucky as always, I was billed july 1st. Does this mean i have no window anymore or my window shortens to only 1 month.
You know, when I wrote this post, I wasn’t sure what would happen with approvals on the 1st of the month, so I intentionally used June 2 for the example just in case. Looks like I was right.
You still do have a window, but it’s shorter. Change your statement date to the 2nd to give you the longest opportunity. You’ll have pretty much all of July. Plan ahead and you can do it. Think about airline, hotel or cruiseline gift cards that you can purchase next July to trigger the credit, yet use sometime in the future. Research before you buy to make sure your chosen gift card will work. Good luck!
Ok thanks a bunch!!!
Does this work for the priority pass as well?
@Mario, Priority Pass is not an annually limited benefit like the travel credit is, so this doesn’t really apply.
If I applied and was approved late in the month, 23rd of August, do I still need the change the statement closing date to the 24th? Will my window still be the entire month of September to get the $300 travel credit prior to cancelling? I figure I can just buy a $300 AirBNB gift card.
@Matt, I would change it. Your 2nd AF will be billed on 9/1/18 and you’ll have until 9/30/18 to cancel for a full refund. Nothing will change that. However, here’s 2 scenarios with the statement date:
Scenario 1 – Your statement date is the 22nd of each month. Your travel credit will reset on 9/22/18 (first statement after your anniversary) giving you only a week to monetize your 2nd travel credit.
Scenario 2 – Your statement date is the 24th of each month. Your travel credit will reset on 8/24/18 (first statement after your anniversary) giving you over a month to monetize your 2nd travel credit.
Ahhh, did not get that it resets after the first statement after anniversary and that is the reason for changing the date. Thanks for the reply.
I’m still confused as to if I can squeak out another travel credit before I downgrade my card to a freedom:
I applied for the card on 24Oct16, annual fee posted 1Nov16. I’ve received a travel credit for 2016 and 2017.
Nov statement was from 10/24/16 – 11/15/16, due on 12/12/16.
Dec statement 11/16/16 – 12/15/16, due on 1/12/17.
I assume my annual fee will post on 1Nov17.
If I book some travel after Dec 15, and then downgrade my card before Jan 15. 2018, will I receive the travel credit and would the annual fee be reimbursed? or do I need to downgrade before Jan 1 (Nov1 + 60 days)?
Your next annual fee will post on Nov 1. Your travel purchases need to post after Dec 15 and you should (to be safe) downgrade by Dec 30. I’m still not 100% of how to answer your last question so I always recommend the more conservative earlier date (AF post + 60).
Note the comment prior to yours. If Chase changes the rules mid-stream, this won’t work. However, if you downgrade before Dec 30, it should cost you nothing to try.
Thank you for the rapid reply! I’ll give it a shot, as you say, it doesn’t hurt to try.
@enzo, the comment I was referring to was not prior to yours. It’s actually in a different article. This is the link to it: http://pointsyak.com/credit-cards/dont-downgrade-sapphire-reserve-yet/#comment-85
If i apply today and am approved i assume i wont have the extra month next year to double dip? Is it best i wait until Oct 2nd to apply?
@Mark, better to wait. If you are approved today, your annual fee will post on October 1. Waiting 2 more days gives you an extra month.
Do you think I can use this method (change closing date (annually)) every year to double dip?
@Jason, I don’t think so. The credit will reset only once per year. By changing the closing date, you can sort of dictate when during the month it will reset, but not the number of times it will reset.
I’m having a hard time understanding what to do to double dip, can you let me know when I have until to get the 2nd credit? And until when I have to downgrade if I want to instead of paying another annual fee?
My first statement was 1/16/17-2/15
I just received an email about my annual summary today. When does my travel credit reset? When do I have until to downgrade, if I choose to.
The information in this article doesn’t apply to you because you got the card before Chase changed the travel credit policy. Your travel credit will reset on 12/16/17 based on the dates you provided above.
You can refer to the information in this article: http://pointsyak.com/credit-cards/travel-rewards/double-dipping-the-chase-sapphire-reserve-travel-credit/
How do you find out what your approval date is?
@Stew, you can find the approval date (same as the account opening date) on your Transunion or Equifax credit report. CreditKarma provides both for free.
Will this work with a PC from non Sapphire card to Sapphire Reserve? If I PC on 8/19, I will be charged AF on 9/1 this year and next, but when will the travel credit reset? Will it be 8/20/19 or 9/20/19?
@EF It’s not clear exactly what the dates are when you product change. Chase might not charge you any annual fee for a number of months—which is good. This strategy should still work.
Hello , downgrade is still good by 1 day from date apply? or is it moot as stated above?
leslie, the step to change your billing date no longer provides any extra time. Skip that entire part.
I am looking to see if I can double dip, unfortunately I didn’t change my close date. My timeline is as follows:
5/1 AF posted
5/23 new travel credit will post
So as you can see I already “lose” 23 days. But that shouldn’t be a problem as I can spend $300 of travel on 5/23.
But do I need to wait until my statement closes for the period in which travel credit posts to retain the credit before I downgrade to a CFU? Or could I spend all $300 on travel credit on 5/23, and then downgrade right after the credit posts and still retain the credit?
After which point I will upgrade CSP to CSR.
@Mike, you can downgrade as soon as the credit posts. It won’t get clawed back.
Awesome thank you! Is the 40 day refund limit a hard data point? I ask because my time line is this and I am wondering if I should do the downgrade/upgrade before my trip (to keep it under 30 days since AF) or after which is between 30 and 40 days since AF posting.
5/1 – AF Posted
5/19 – Travel Credit Available
5/20 – Travel Spend
5/21 – Travel credit posts and downgrade
5/22 – Upgrade CSP and hope to receive and set up PP before travel on 5/28
5/28 – 6/2 Travel
6/10 – 40 day Limit
@Mike, I have high confidence in the 40 days (for product changes, it’s only 30 days if you cancel). Looking at your dates, there’s almost no chance you’d get PP set up in time for your trip. Keep your existing CSR and product change on 6/3 when you return.
I’d like to confirm my timeline for this.
I applied September 19, 2018 for CSR. AF Posted on Oct 1, 2018, and my statement ends on the 5th of every month.
This means that I would have an new travel credit on Oct 6, 2019?
Also, this means I have until Nov 14, 2019 to downgrade? (40 days after my Oct Statement)
@Tim, that all looks right. If you want to be extra conservative, use 40 days from October 1 when the fee posts instead of the statement date.
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
@Brad, your second annual fee will post 12 months after your first annual fee did. Check your first or second statement to see when that was. I think if you re-read my article, it will answer your other questions. Particularly take note of the annual fee refund window which is no longer 60 days.