Credit Cards

Don’t Downgrade Your Chase Sapphire Reserve. Not Yet, Anyway.

UPDATE 2: The $300 travel credit applies to purchases at grocery stores and gas stations through June 30, 2021.

UPDATE: Chase recently changed it’s annual fee refund policy for product changes from 60 days for a full refund to about 40 days. The premise of this post still works, just mind the timing if you choose to downgrade/product change.

In late 2016, Chase introduced the Sapphire Reserve to it’s stable of credit cards. It carries a hefty $550 annual fee ($450 for renewals), but it also offers a myriad of travel benefits that offset that fee. These include an annual $300 travel credit, complimentary Priority Pass airport lounge access, and Global Entry/TSA Pre✓ credit.

If you applied for the Sapphire Reserve when it first came out, you are facing a decision as the $450 annual fee charges to your account. Many of you will keep the card citing it’s premium features. Some of you will make the mistake of canceling. Others plan to downgrade (the official term is product change) to a no-annual-fee Chase card like Freedom or Freedom Unlimited.

If you intend to cancel your Sapphire Reserve entirely, I suggest you reconsider. The strategy I lay out below won’t work if you cancel. Downgrading to a free card is a better option for a number of reasons. And you can always cancel the free card later if you insist.

If you’re thinking of downgrading now, to avoid paying the annual fee, DON’T. Not yet, anyway. I’ll explain why, but first some background.

Chase Annual Fee Refund Policy

The first requirement of this exercise is to understand that Chase has two different annual fee refund policies. One for when you cancel your card and a far more generous one for when you request a product change to a different Chase card.

Chase’s policy for cancellations: Once the annual fee hits your account, you have 30 days to cancel for a full refund. After 30 days, no refunds–period. This new, tighter policy went into effect in 2016.

Chase’s policy for product changes: Once the annual fee hits your account, you have 60 about 40 days to downgrade to a no-annual-fee card and get a full refund. However after 60 40 days,  a pro-rated portion of the fee will still be refunded to you.

For example: If you downgrade your Sapphire Reserve 6 months (half a year) after your annual fee, Chase will refund $225 (half of $450) of that fee to you as a statement credit–automatically. On the other hand, if you cancel after 6 months, you get nothing! Product Changing is better than Canceling!

Sapphire Reserve Annual Travel Credit

The second piece piece this puzzle is the annual $300 Travel Credit, which is easily the most lucrative benefit of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. With this simple-to-use benefit, a credit is automatically applied to your first $300 in travel expenditures each year. If you applied for the card before May 21, 2017, your $300 resets in December. Any travel charges that post AFTER your December statement date will count towards next year’s credit.

NOTE: If you applied for Sapphire Reserve on or after May 21, 2017, then your travel credit resets around your approval anniversary.

So, When Should You Downgrade Sapphire Reserve?

Now that you understand Chase’s annual fee refund policies and the travel credit, we can move on with an example.

Let’s say your annual fee is scheduled to hit your account on October 1, 2017. If you’re still reading, this will be true for many of you. Let’s also say that your statements post on the 10th of each month. Therefore, your 2018 travel credit becomes available on December 11, 2017.

If you downgrade as soon as the annual fee posts in October, the charge will be fully refunded and you won’t have to pay it. But what if you go ahead and pay the $450 annual fee when it’s due, and wait to downgrade until the end of December?  You’ll have a window of opportunity to use your 2018 travel credit AND still get a large pro-rated portion of the annual fee that you paid refunded to you.

Lets do the math. You pay $450 on October 1 and downgrade by the end of December. This means you use only 3 months worth of your annual fee (October, November, December). That’s 25% of the year. The unused 75% of the annual fee that you already paid will be refunded to you–that’s $337.50. You’re net dollars out of pocket for the Annual Fee is only $112.50 ($450 – $337.50).

However, recall that your travel credit resets on December 11. With a little planning, you can get your entire $300 2018 credit before you downgrade your card at the end of December, 2017. For waiting, and ultimately paying only a portion of your annual fee, you get the FULL 2018 travel credit! That $300 credit only cost you $112.50 AND you enjoyed the benefits of the card for 3 additional months!

For those of you who’s annual fees post September 1, if you downgrade by the end of December, you’ll get 2/3 of your annual fee ($300) refunded. You’ll get the full 2018 travel credit and 4 extra months of card benefits for only $150!

Bottom Line

If you can quickly monetize your entire 2018 travel credit before the end of December 2017, it makes sense to hold off on downgrading Sapphire Reserve until then. The $300 credit you receive will more than offset the pro-rated portion of the annual fee that you pay.

If you like the information in this article, please consider supporting this blog by shopping with my Amazon Referral link.


  • Traveler

    Hi Yak,
    Thanks for the article. I was approved for the card in August 2016. Got the credit for both 2016-17. My annual fee hit on Sept. 1st 2017. My December statement date is around the 12th of Dec. If I understand this correctly, will my travel credit reset then?
    If so, I may pay the AF and then downgrade after the 2018 credit hits.

    • Yak

      @Traveler, the answer is yes to both questions. Any travel charges that POST after your December statement will appear on your January 2018 statement. This means they are eligible for your 2018 travel credit. If you can monetize the entire $300 and downgrade before the end of December, you should be refunded 2/3 of the annual fee that you pay now. The only risk is that Chase changes their AF refund policy between now and then. Highly doubtful IMO.

      • Courtney

        Hi Yak,
        I applied for the CSR end of Jan. 2017, got approved, then the AF posted 1st of Feb. and the travel credit was available straight away. It is exactly one year later, today, and I don’t see any new travel credit on my account, nor has the new AF posted. What are your thoughts on this? I’m interested in the downgrade, but my timing seems off :-/

        • Yak

          @Courtney, your annual fee should post tonight. Your travel credit should have reset in December. If not, then something is amiss. Give Chase a call.

          • Courtney

            Thanks for your reply- I found it it had already reset, but on my account, it said ‘$0 received’ which I took to mean I had received none of the credit- but it actually means I haven’t spent anything to be credited for! My mistake! Anyway, so now I’ve been charged the AF, and I’ve got the credit ready to go, but I’ve yet to pay the fee. Do you think I can monetise the entire $300 credit and still get refunded for the new AF since it was just charged to the account? Thanks!

          • Yak

            @Courtney you definitely still have time! You have until the end of March to downgrade for a full annual fee refund. Monetize the credit and make sure it posts before you downgrade. In the meantime, keep paying your bill on time including the annual fee to avoid interest or late fees.

          • Courtney

            Sorry, last question- Would I still get refunded if I cancel rather than downgrade? That is all- you’ve been super helpful!

  • at

    i just called chase and they said they added a provision that said if you use any part of the travel credit, your refund of annual fee is offset by what you used plus the months you kept the card. i don’t want to chance paying the prorated portion plus the offset of the credit.

    • Yak

      @at, there’s always the risk that the rules change. I’m not sure what to make of what that csr told you–it wouldn’t be the first time they spread mis-information. Time will tell.

    • ed

      My wife also said she knew of this. I have a feeling, some will get the travel credit, then cancel hoping for the prorated amount and then will find the travel credit deducted from the prorated amount. Could be a timing issue (travel credit in the same month you cancel). Either way, banks read blogs and learn, so don’t count on anything as iron clad or you could be disappointed. I’m one of those who will be keeping this card because I see further value in it even though the fee is high.

    • Yak

      @at, As I suspected, the added “provision” that was described to you doesn’t exist. I’m getting reports of annual fees being refunded exactly as written in my article.

      • Jack


        It is now almost August of 2018. Has Chase changed their policies at all? Thanks for the post though; my first time on this site. Found it for this exact issue!

        • Yak

          @Jack, The only change is a now shorter period to downgrade for a full refund of your annual fee (from 60 days to about 40 days). I’ve just updated the post to reflect this. If you applied prior to May 21, 2017, everything in this post still applies to you.

  • JW

    Great post! Thank you.

    If I change the payment due date to the 1st of the month, will that make the December statement close date to sometime around 12/5? I would like to make the December statement close date as early in the month as possible.

    I seem to recall that Chase usually takes about 5 days to complete the downgrade. Or maybe that was Citi? If Chase does take 5 days, it would be better not to wait until the last minute.

      • JW

        If I product change CSR to Freedom, would I be able to apply for a new Freedom a few months later and still earn the sign up bonus? In other words, will holding a Freedom prevent me from getting the same card again?

        • Yak

          @JW, holding a Freedom would prevent you from being approved for a new Freedom. Product change to something else before you’re ready to apply. Or apply for the Freedom now, while you still have CSR. You CAN product change your CSR to a 2nd freedom.

  • Nathan

    More stupid questions:
    1) could you downgrade your CSR to a freedom or freedom unlimited if you already have both of those cards?
    2) if so, can you downgrade the CSR to a freedom or freedom unlimited AND upgrade your freedom or freedom unlimited to a CSR card?

    • Yak

      1) You can downgrade to a 2nd Freedom card which is beneficial if you max out the 5x categories. There’s not really a benefit to having multiple Freedom Unlimiteds.
      2) You can do this if you’ve had the card that you’re UPGRADING for > 1 year. I’m not sure what is gained from this strategy however.

  • Naghan

    I was thinking the benefit might be 2 chances at the $300 credit.
    If you use the $300 travel credit, then downgrade for a refund you’d get the refund of $337. And then upgrade a different card to the CSR you might be able to get another $300 travel credit.

  • Nun

    >”Once the annual fee hits your account, you have 30 days to cancel for a full refund.
    >After 30 days, no refunds–period. This new, tighter policy went into effect in 2016.”

    I was told 30 days from statement print date for Chase Ink Bold, not 30 days from the fee posting. I would think CSR is the same.

  • Dave

    I signed up sometime late into November 2016. Based on your post, I could use the 300 2018 travel credit in December of this year and then downgrade in January 2018. Then I would get the whole 450 fee back? Is that correct? Have there been any updates to the terms?

  • airgypsy

    HI Yak. I don’t have any of the Freedom cards yet. Does it make sense to downgrade my CSR to no-fee Sapphire, instead of the Freedom (so I can get the Freedom sign up bonus later)? I already have Ink Prfe to transfer out points. Thanks!

  • Kevin

    What happens if you downgrade (PC) the Reserve during the 60 day window after having used the $300 travel credit? Would you be up $300 from the credit AND still get the full $450 refund? or would they cancel the $300 credit during that grace window?

    • Yak

      @Kevin, the premise of this post is to use the $300 credit AND get a full or mostly full $450 annual fee refund. The only way it won’t work is if Chase changes its policy.

  • Karen

    If you downgrade to another chase card do you still keep the points you have accrued? Do they move with you to the downgraded Chase card?

  • don_alberto

    The thing that isn’t clear to me is when to do that PC.
    Should I wait for the statement to close after utilizing the credit?
    Or can I get the 300$, use it, and downgrade all within a few days?

    • Yak

      @don_alberto, I think once the 2018 credit posts to your account, you’re good to downgrade right away if you’re close to your 60 day refund window closing.

      • don_alberto

        Well, I’m already past the 60 day, meaning I’m suppose to get a prorated refund.
        My statement closed on the 4th, I’ve got the credit and used it on the 5th.
        the question is, should I downgrade now – risking they somehow take the credit back, or wait for the statement to close on Jan 4th, and then downgrade.

  • Bobby

    Has anyone had luck with receiving a 75% prorated refund of the annual fee, while getting the 2018 $300 travel credit and then downgrading the card?

  • GD

    my AF hit Sept 1. according to my bill, i was expecting the credits to reset on 12/18, but it actually reset on 12/1. i called Chase to confirm, that for everyone in my boat it reset on the first of the month.

  • Squirty

    Apologies in advance. Is it possible to PC to regular sapphire card? If so, would that affect my ability to ever get a bonus on the sapphire preferred later? Is it even possible to get another bonus or is the bonus limited once per lifetime across all sapphire cards.

    I don’t want to PC to freedom because I was hoping to get a sign up bonus early next year. If I am forced to PC to a freedom card, can I still get a bonus with new card sign up and have 2 freedom cards open?

    I’m coming up on two months so will need to make a decision soon. My annual fee hit Nov. 1st, so I’m assuming if I PC before 1/1 then I should get a full $450 refund?

    Finally, why are people asking for a PC through secure message and not by directly calling customer support? Is one better than the other?

    • Yak

      @Squirty, no need to apologize. You can PC to regular no-annual-fee Sapphire. It will preclude you from being approved for a Sapphire Preferred while you have it. But you’re not eligible for a Sapphire Preferred for another year, so lets not worry about that yet.

      I would PC the Reserve to a to Sapphire. Next year, sometime after you are approved for your Freedom and get your bonus, PC that Sapphire to a 2nd Freedom. Then after it’s been 24 months since you got the signup bonus on your Reserve, you will become eligible for another Sapphire product. At that point, you can choose to apply for CSP or Reserve again. Like I said, that’s still a year away.

      Depending on how you count, January 1 is 62 days from when your AF posted. PC sooner than that to ensure a full AF refund. You can call Chase or send a secure message. It’s personal preference.

  • Peter

    Hi Yak,

    Sorry if this sounds convoluted but it’s how I’m seeing it in my head and I’m wondering if I’m misunderstanding as I don’t see it being mentioned explicitly.

    For people who got the card oct/nov/dec of 2016, we’re essentially triple dipping, right?

    For example, I got the card in October 2016. I used the travel credit right away. So I was at net -$150.

    Then I used up my 2017 travel credit. So I was at net $150.

    Then my AF hit on October and I was at net -$300.

    My December statement has posted and my travel credit has been reset. If I were to use the credit right away and get a prorated refund, I’d be at net $337.50, correct?

    I’m pretty certain this follows what you’ve outlined above but I just haven’t seen too many people mention the above situation when I believe a lot of cardholders would be in the same situation.

    Thank you in advance!

    • Yak

      @Peter, yes you have the gist. It’s not quite a full Triple Dip since you won’t get your entire 2nd AF refunded, but it’s close enough, right?

  • Steve

    My annual fee posted on Dec 01. My travel credit reset on Dec 18. I made a travel transaction on Dec 19 and see it is posted with 300 travel credit today. So am I good to product change now. Any chance of Chase cancelling the 300 statement credit.

    Please suggest if I should wait for next statement or can I do a PC right away and save the annual fee?

    • Yak

      @Steve, Since your annual fee posted on Dec 1, you have until about January 29 to downgrade and have the fee refunded in full. There haven’t been any reports of statement credits being cancelled or refunds being reduced.

  • Liz

    This downgrade strategy is great, and thank you for sharing! What about status of the points that you have? Aren’t the points via the Reserve more valuable than those from a Freedom card -do your points remain as versatile?

    • Yak

      @Liz, UR points on the Reserve card definitely have more valuable redemption options than no-annual-fee cards. This strategy assumes that the reader has already decided to downgrade and only address timing.

  • Joe

    Hello, I received the card in march of 2017 and also received the travel credit right away. My statement runs through the 4th of every month and I just used it 11/30 for travel and somehow it posted on 12/5 and i received another $300 credit. I believe my annual fee will come up again in march of 2018. Does this mean I can downgrade the card now and essentially have received $700 in credits (including global entry) for 1 fee of 450?

    Also, if I downgrade are all my accumulated points still worth what they are worth with reserve? I believe for me the biggest benefit is transferring points 1 for 1 to an airline rewards program.

    Thank you!

  • Yak

    @Joe, you have a few different options here. If you got the card in March 2017, your annual fee should post every April 1. You can downgrade before the end of this month and get 25% ($112.50) of the original annual fee refunded to you. There are some that feel that downgrading prior to having the card at least 1 year crosses some moral line or is akin to biting the hand that feeds you and could anger Chase. That’s a judgment call.

    You go the traditional route. Wait until the annual fee posts in April and downgrade then.

    Finally, if you downgrade to a no-annual-fee card, your existing points will only be worth 1c each and you can no longer transfer to travel partners. You can downgrade to Sapphire Preferred. The annual fee will be $95 and you will not be eligible for any signup bonus, but you will retain the ability to transfer to travel partners.

    • Joe

      @Yak, thank you for the information. Is the $300 travel rebate on a calendar year after the first year or is it card anniversary? I received the travel credit in March 2017 when i signed up for the card and then again in December 2017. When am I eligible for another $300 travel credit?

      Thank you,

  • Tom

    My AF hit on Dec 1, Just got my 2018 Travel Credit yesterday credit with a transaction on Dec 30 (my 3rd Travel credit). Now I am in the process of PC the CSR to Freedom Unlimited. Just want to know whether I need to request a AF refund or it will just post automatically. Thanks

  • Trini

    Hey Yak, I applied for the CSR back in January 2017 and received my first $300 credit around that time last year. Fast forward to January 2018 and I already received my second $300 credit a few days ago, but my $450 won’t be billed to me until Feb 8th. So basically, they gave me the $300 credit before even charging me the $450.
    Does this mean that I can downgrade the CSR before they charge me the $450 and still keep my $300 credit? If I can, that will be pretty awesome.

    • Yak

      @Trini, your travel credit reset when you got your December statement. That’s how it works. If the credit has already posted to your account, you can downgrade any time between now and 60 days after your annual fee posts.

  • Yuli

    Hi Yak!

    I Opened my CSR on Jan 3, 2017.
    AF posted Feb 1 last yr.
    Travel credit posted 2/25 and 2/26
    Statement Closing 16th.

    1) If Im not mistaken the AF should be hitting my acct on Feb 1 correct?
    2) With this escenario, when will my 2018 travel credit reset? Im looking forward to use it before the AF hits again.
    3) What would you suggest to do after I use the travel credit, close cc or downgrade? I would like to be eligible for the CSR sign up bonus again in the future.

    I only have the Chase Sapphire (no fee) which I downgraded from the CSP about a yr ago.

    4) Can I still get the sign Up bonus again If I apply for the CSP in the future since I only did a PC to the CS – no fee?

    • Yak


      1) That sounds correct
      2) Your travel credit already reset in December
      3) I almost always recommend downgrading over canceling
      4) You can get a Sapphire signup bonus 24 months after your last Sapphire bonus

  • Sam

    My second annual fee hit September 1. Got my second travel credit, transferred over my points, and called today to cancel my card. I asked about a prorated refund for my annual fee and the CS agent said that they don’t do that. Only a refund for the fee if it is within 30 days. So I told her I guess I will keep my card open. Was she wrong? Would it just automatically be refunded?

    • Yak

      @Sam, read the section “Chase Annual Fee Refund Policy” in this post. You need to downgrade–not cancel–your CSR for a pro-rated refund.

  • Ab

    I just called Chase for a downgrade. Still below 60 days from the day the second yr. Fee hit me. But they told me that there is no full refund below 60 days even in a downgrade situation. They mentioned that only cancelations or downgrade before 30 days get a full refund.

    Anything I am doing wrong?

    • Yak

      @Ab, front-line Chase phone reps have the unfortunate reputation of spreading bad information. Unless Chase changed their refund policy in the last couple days, this is just another example of an uninformed customer service rep. Once you downgrade, your refund should post any time from 2 or 3 days up to a couple weeks.

    • Yak

      @Stephen, you will no longer have that feature if you downgrade. That is a factor you need to weigh when you consider whether or not to keep the card.

  • Michelle Kim


    I want to make sure whether I can use my $300 travel credit.
    I got 2018 travel credit on12.18.2017 and AF posted feb.1.2018. I still have $300 on my card and I want to use it then downgrade. Can I use the credit and avoid to pay AF if I use it before 30 days of the period?

  • DJ

    I was just told that there is no pro-rated refund of the annual fee. My annual fee hit Dec 1st. I used up the $300 travel credit for 2018 and used up all my points for an upcoming travel. I should have ideally done this before Feb 1st to be within the 60 days, but got delayed by 5 days – and I was denied any pro-rated refund.

    Was the agent wrong or has the policy changed?

      • Yak

        @DJ, you definitely got one of the many infamously misinformed Chase phone reps the first time. Nothing in the refund policy has changed.

        • DJ

          Got my annual fee refunded. I initiated the downgrade 67 days since the annual fee was charged, but it was still before the close of the 2nd billing cycle since the charge.. I expected a pro-rated refund due to the 60-day policy, but to my surprise, I received the full refund, not pro-rated, I kept the $300 travel credit as well.

          So, this still works as of Feb 2018!! And I guess the deadline is close of second billing cycle since the charge rather than exact 60-days.

          • Courtney

            Hi DJ (and Yak)
            I’m hoping I will be in a similar boat to you soon. My annual fee posted the beginning of Feb, and I have now used all of the travel credit. The payment for the AF is due at the beginning of March, so I’m thinking if I downgrade before then, I should get all of the AF refunded and still have kept the travel credit.

            Either of you have any thoughts on this? I’ll let you know what happens for your data points 🙂

  • Ricky

    Courtney, I just spoke to a Chase representative on the phone and she mentioned that I may be getting charged for the $300 travel credi. anyways I downgraded this month the same month that I got charged for the d $450 annual charge and also the same month I got the travel credit for $300. does that mean now that I downgrade to a regular Sapphire card basic with no annual fee, e do you think I still would be able to retain my $300 travel credit. Or would chase take that back?

    • Yak

      @Ricky, yours is another example of a clueless Chase phone rep. There has not been a single data point of Chase ever clawing back a travel credit.

      • Courtney

        Not one but two sales reps confirmed that after I downgraded I would be refunded the full amount of the annual fee as it was still within the 30 days, and the travel credit (which had been completely utilised) wasn’t even mentioned. My only concern is that I’m still waiting on the refund, but the card has been downgraded…so I’m still waiting on that- another rep said the refund can take up to two billing cycles.

  • Johnny


    I just canceled the card last night. Do you guys have any idea how long it usually takes for the refund to get posted?


  • james

    Thanks for all the tips! I bought $300 Southwest gift cards, got credit, paid current balance (From other transactions) last week. Just did Product Change to Freedom Unlimited. The only thing that pissed me off is the “30 days” isn’t 30 days… it’s the same day of the following month. So, even though it has been only 29 days since February 1st, I lost 1-month proration on the year of the $450 refund. I think most reps would have waived it, but for some reason the one I got today was the least helpful I’ve ever had – must be having a really bad hair day. I almost cancelled the conversation to call back and get someone else. Let me know if you guys thing I should call back later and fight for the $37.

    • Yak

      @james, It’s not clear from your comment if you actually received a $413 refund or if you were just told by the rep that you were getting a $413 refund. My guess is the latter, in which case the rep was simply wrong. There are plenty of examples of misinformed Chase reps in the comments on this post alone. Come back and update us when you actually receive the refund.

  • Yu

    I am planning to close CSR. My wife has CSR too. Is it safe for me to transfer all my 120K points to her account?


    • Yak

      @Yu, Chase absolutely permits combining points with a member of your household. There’s nothing to be concerned with.

      • Yu

        HI Yak,
        Thanks. I am just concerned about the big # of points I am going to transfer to my wife. Do you know if a lot of people have transferred more than 100K in one shot to the family member in the same household?

        • Yak

          @Yu, I really don’t think you have anything to be concerned about. I may very well have transferred 100k+ personally, I just don’t recall. Mainly because I wouldn’t really think anything of it.

          • Yu

            Thanks a lot Yak. One more question. I plan to transfer points from my CSR to my Freedom now. Later, can I transfer those points again to my wife’s CSR?

          • Yak

            @Yu, Yes, you can combine points onto your own card and from that card to a person in your household.

  • Courtney

    New data points for you Yak!

    – January 2017 Received CSR late
    – Feb 1. 2017 First annual fee applied
    – $300 travel credit activated straight away
    – January 2018 $300 travel credit re-activated for new year sometime (not sure when exactly)
    – Feb 1. 2018 $450 Annual fee charged
    – Didn’t realise travel credit for the new year was ready to go, so took advantage immediately (train tickets).
    – Mid- late Feb Utilised all of $300 travel credit.
    – Late Feb. Call to downgrade to Chase Freedom before annual fee is due. Sales rep confirmed the AF would be refunded in full as it was within 30-day window.
    – March 14th AF refunded in full

    Thanks so much for this thread- you have earned a new subscriber! 🙂 Hope this timeline helps others as well.

  • Andrew

    So I completely understand the process and everything. Just one question, do I pay the annual fee and then wait for it to be refunded once I PC to a freedom card? If so, then I’ll have 450 dollars in credit on my freedom card? Or is there any way for me to just get the 450 back into my checking account…?

    Btw, great post! I never thought about doing this… my initial plan was just to downgrade my CSR card once the annual fee hit this November, then apply for the CSP card for the signup bonus again since the last time I got a sapphire bonus was from my CSR card back on December 2016 ( I also got a CSP card bonus back in June 2016). So with this strategy, I’ll get the 300 TC bonus and another 60k UR points.. let’s just hope chase doesn’t change their policy regarding the annual fee refund!

    • Yak

      @Andrew, a couple things. First, the annual fee question. It all depends on the timing. You need to pay the fee before the due date or suffer late fees and interest. If you get the automatic refund prior to that, then you’re all set. Otherwise, pay it, and you will have a credit on your Freedom. Then you can request a check from Chase for that credit.

      When you re-apply for CSP, make sure it’s been a full 24 months since you got your CSR bonus. Also give it at least a week between downgrading CSR and applying for CSP. Sooner than that, and Chase’s systems might still think you have another Sapphire product.

  • dp

    Chase says a refund if downgraded within 60 days is no longer their policy. The account goes “under review” and they might refund, might prorate, or might do nothing. Chase could not guarantee. Guess I’ll be stuck with this card another year and not make the mistake to wait so long to cancel next time around.

  • Allen

    @yak Thank you for your insights.
    If a card has annual fees, do they post right after upgrading a card such as the Chase Freedom to CSR? Also, if you product change back to the freedom after using the CSR benefits within 30 or 60 days do you get the full annual fee refunded, or is there a period of time where you can’t do another PC?

    • Yak

      @Allen, I’ve seen a number of people upgrade to CSR, but I can’t find any pattern to when the annual fee is charged. Some go months without seeing it. You can product change back down again after the fee, but I wouldn’t make a habit of it. When Chase gets pissed, they just shut down all your credit card accounts without warning or recourse.

  • Ashley Clodfelter

    Im a newbie. can you get a CSR and CSP card bonuses near each other or are they considered the same as far as bonus earning goes… if you get a preferred bonus do you have to wait 24 months to get a reserve bonus and vice versa? Also, if you do have to wait … can you have one of them still active and still get the other or do you have to loose one by PC or other methods in order to have the other

    • Yak

      CSR and CSP are considered the same as far as eligibility. You must wait 24 months after getting a Sapphire bonus AND you must not hold any Sapphire card to be approved for another Sapphire card.

  • Marty

    Strange – I just got shut down when I tried to downgrade to the Freedom Unlimited today. I am only 11 months in, and in good standing . Did they change their rules?

    “Martin, you are a valued cardmember and we want you to be
    completely satisfied with our services. At this time, we
    cannot change your account to a different product.

    As an alternative, you may apply for a new Chase Freedom
    Unlimited credit card. Review the current offers and terms

    When choosing a new credit card, be sure it’s a card you
    don’t already have. We only allow customers to have one
    credit card per product. Applications for a card product
    you already have may not be eligible for approval.

    If you had the product change option, then if you change
    from one fee based product to another or fee based product
    to no fee product, you’ll receive the original annual fee
    adjustment that will post within 2 billing cycles
    following product change.

    We appreciate your business and thank you for being a
    Chase customer.”

    • Yak

      @Marty There’s nothing new about this. You can’t downgrade a Sapphire to a Freedom product until you’ve had the card for 1 year. One thing that HAS changed: you’ll need to call to product change. Chase won’t do it via Secure Message any longer.

  • CSR


    I got my CSR before May 2017, so my travel credit resets in December. I just got my 2nd AF earlier this month (9/1/18).

    I didn’t cancel my Reserve last year bc was in midst of planning a trip and needed to keep it open to transfer pts to partners.

    Does this post still apply if I product change after getting the $300 credit this December?
    (Sep 1 – product change end of Dec 2018) = 4 months = get prorated refund of 2/3 of the AF?

    Any new data points suggesting otherwise?


  • CSR Help


    I got my CSR before May 2017, so my travel credit resets in December. I just got my 2nd AF earlier this month (9/1/18).

    I didn’t cancel my Reserve last year bc was in midst of planning a trip and needed to keep it open to transfer pts to partners.

    Does this post still apply if I product change after getting the $300 credit this December?
    (Sep 1 – product change end of Dec 2018) = 4 months = get prorated refund of 2/3 of the AF?

    Any new data points suggesting otherwise?


  • Ray Ray

    Just found this blog. I downgraded my CSR to CF just today but didn’t know I could wait and still take advantage of the $300 travel credit. My annual fee kicked in Oct.1 and my travel credit doesn’t reset until Dec statement. My question is do I have any recourse if I already downgraded to the CF? Can I reverse tgr PC and go back to the CSR?

  • Chetan

    Great article ! thanks !

    My annual fee posted on 1st October and I paid that off.
    I have 2 Freedom cards already (but not freedom unlimited)

    What should be my strategy –
    1. Keep card open till December 15 to use up $300 travel credits
    2. Downgrade to Freedom unlimited after #1 and get 75% of $450 refunded

    Is this okay?

  • Ndeye Ndiaye

    Hi Yak,

    I have a question, and was hoping you could help. I applied and was approved for the CSR in late Nov 18. I’m thinking about downgrading to the CSP, but what wanted to get the most out of my card before doing so. What do you suggest I do? Do you know when that annual fee will post?

    Sorry if this is a redundant question.

    • Yak

      If you were approved in November, your annual fee should have posted on December 1. I’m surprised it hasn’t. Either way, I don’t suggest downgrading until you’ve had the card for a year. Enjoy the second travel credit plus all the other benefits and have more options to downgrade to at that time.

  • Reesa

    Hi Yak,

    I recently was approved for the Chase Reserve Card (late Nov 18), and am starting to think that the CSP might have been a better choice for me just because of my overall usage. I’m trying to maximize the time left I have with my CSR, and wanted to know when you think i should shoot to downgrade for the CSP while maximizing on all the benefits I can. If you could be a bit specific with timeline, I’d appreciate it SO much.

    Also – If I sign up for Global Entry with my credit card, and down grade, will they charge me for the application?

  • Sam Reddy

    Hi Yak,
    My wife and I both applied for CSR and I am planning on keeping mine after a year as she does not use it that much. I sent an email to the Customer Service and they replied back saying they cannot downgrade it yet. Is the cancellation the only option now? Does it affect her Credit in any way?


    We’re glad to see how we can help you with your product change inquiry. At this time, we cannot change your account to a different product. As an alternative, you may apply for a new Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card. Review the current offers and terms at choosing a new credit card, be sure it’s a card you don’t already have. We only allow customers to have one credit card per product. Applications for a card product you already have may not be eligible for approval.

    We appreciate your business, and thank you for being a Chase customer.

    Thank you,
    Chase Email Servicing

  • michelle

    Hi Yak! it’s mid 2019 already. Not sure if you are still around this post… i opened my sapphire in June last year and got my $300 credit on 6/17/2018. My annual fee was posted on 7/1/2018 and is supposed to be posted on 7/1/2019. My opening / closing date is around 4th or 5th of each month. I called chase and was told i had to wait 2 more months for the annual credit to reset. Is that true? My understanding is it’ll reset right after 7/1 when the AF is posted. Am I right? Thanks!! (and fingers crossed that you see this…)

  • Jesse

    Hello! First of all, great article.

    Second, I’m wondering if you can help me with a decision for my CSR and downgrading to the Preferred. I got the card and received my $300 travel credit on June 12 for booking Southwest flights this fall. I got the $450 annual fee yesterday, July 1.

    If I downgrade, I should receive $355 back for the annual fee difference with the Preferred, right?

    We don’t dine out frequently and are fairly restrictive with travel for now as we save for our wedding (flights this Fall are probably our final until after the wedding). The point of the card was to pile up points (no pun intended) to help with our honeymoon in early 2021. Do you think that the 3x points with dining/travel is worth it for the annual fee versus the 2x points with the Preferred?

    Thanks for your help and insight!

    • Yak

      @Jesse, if you downgrade within 30 days of your annual fee posting, you will get a full $450 refund. You will eventually get charged the $95 fee for the CSP–it could take up to 6 months.

      As far is this being the correct decision, it’s really just a math problem based on your personal spending patterns.

  • DC

    It’s October 2019, does this policy still apply? I got Reserve back 8/2016 and have been keeping it since. AF was charged on 9/1/2019 and was told I have 41 days to get full refund. I canceled on 10/15, got the AF refund right away. I was told I have 30 days to change reinstate my card (reverse the cancellation request). I’m thinking to reverse it, keep it until end of December to use $300 travel credit and downgrade it to Freedom Card. My Annual Travel credit resets on 12/12/2019.

    1) Does Chase really allow reverse cancellation on a request to cancellation w/i 30 days?
    2) Also, will partial refund still apply to my situation since I did request to cancel the card on 10/15/19. In late December 2019, I wonder if I’m allowed to downgrade and get partial refund back (after using the $300 travel credit)? Thank you for your help.

    • Yak

      @DC, You say your AF was charged on 9/1 and you canceled on 10/15 and got your AF refunded after 45 days. Is there a typo in there?

      You only get 30 days to cancel and get a full refund. It’s 41 days when you downgrade.

      Regardless, I would definitely re-open. The “30 days to reopen” you were told is accurate. I’m not sure how Chase will handle the AF, they may not even reinstate it. Even if they do, when you downgrade in December after using the travel credit, you’ll get 75% of it refunded. It’s totally worth doing.

      Good Luck!

      • DC

        Hiya, you made me check and everything I wrote is correct. Chase told me 41 days after statement close date. I got charged AF on 9/1/10. My Sep statement close date was 9/11/19, and so they told me I have until 10/22 according to the rep to close for full AF refund. I closed on 10/16 actually and got the AF refund next day. Now thinking of reopening it and I was told I have 30 days to reverse my decision (including cashing out my UR points from Reserve card). Thank you for your advice. I think I will re open it and reverse my UR points. I recently approved for Chase Ink Business Pr (10/16/19) so I was thinking what the point of keeping both thus I canceled the Reserve. But I should’ve at the very least downgrade as you suggest. So I’ll need to reopen it and perhaps cancel end of December.

          • Yak

            I’d be curious to know if the AF gets re-charged (if that’s even a word) when you re-open. It’s possible that they won’t get around to it.

        • Yak

          41 days from statement close for a full AF refund when you close is a new (different) data point. Thanks for that.

          Did you cash out the UR? I’d be very surprised if they let you reverse that. If they do, you can combine all your UR points onto your Ink Preferred to use towards travel at the higher rate, or cash out later if you choose.

          • DC

            Yes, I statement credited all UR points same day (over 100K points) I canceled the card. I was told repeatedly that they could reverse that too when I reopen my card. What do you mean when you said in your first reply: “I’m not sure how Chase will handle the AF, they may not even reinstate it?” Either way, I will find out later this week after I mull it over. Hahaha

  • DC

    What are the pros and cons that you can see if I call back on the 29th/30th day to reopen vs calling tomorrow. Remember I closed it on 10/16. My statement closing date is on the 11th. Any thoughts?

    (When I called requesting cancellation for the first time, frontline rep told me 30D. Then when I called again, rep said 41D from statement closing dat and (very specifically stated 10/22). I trusted him, so when I called on 10/16 I verified and that rep said yep. And indeed I got the AF refund next day. Thanks.

    • Yak

      I see no pros or cons to waiting. I also see no reason to wait.

      As far as the AF refund policy for cancellations, 30 days is pretty clearly written on the monthly statements. Look at the fine print with the “Annual Renewal Notice” heading.

      • DC

        I pulled up that statement to check, and yes, indeed it states “30 days after we provide statement”. So technically my statement closing date is 9/11 so 30 D from that makes it 10/10 … but yeah, don’t know why I canceled on 10/16 and I got AF back next day. Perhaps I got lucky b/c I told the lady that the rep specifically told me by 10/22. She confirmed and didn’t give me a hard time or anything. Perhaps the system got updated recently but T&C hasn’t been sent out to people? I don’t know, but yeah, just my datapoint

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