How to Switch from Chase Preferred to Chase Reserve

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How to Switch from Chase Preferred to Chase Reserve | Cobalt Chronicles | Washington, DC | Travel Blogger

Original post published May 2018, updated September 2019.

By now, you know that I’m a huge proponent of the Chase Sapphire credit cards (the Preferred and the Reserve).  Earning Chase Ultimate Rewards through Chase’s program is the easiest way to earn points to travel for free.  As I mentioned in this post, Chase has 13 transfer partners including Southwest, United, Hyatt, and Marriott.

When I first started out in the points and miles game, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card didn’t exist.  It came out in August 2016, and when it did, it had a whopping 100,000 Ultimate Rewards sign-up bonus attached to it!  Unfortunately, the current sign-up bonus isn’t as large, but it’s at 50,000 Ultimate Rewards, which is a hefty chunk of points!

However, even with the lower sign-up bonus, this card is the one to have if you’re looking to up your points and miles game!  Here’s a comparison of the two cards and their perks.

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire PreferredChase Sapphire Reserve
60,000 Bonus Points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.50,000 Bonus Points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
2x on Travel3x on Travel
 $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each year.
 Complimentary Priority Pass Membership to 1,000+ airport lounges.
 Global Entry or TSA Pre Check Fee Credit.
$95 Annual Fee.$450 Annual Fee.

You can fully compare the two cards (and apply for either) here!

You’ll notice the high annual fee on the Sapphire Reserve.  But to calm your fears about the fee, also take a look at the $300 travel credit.  So essentially the annual fee is $150, which is only $55 more than the Preferred.  The perks of the Reserve easily outweigh the fee.

If you’re in a situation like me, where you currently have the Chase Sapphire Preferred in your wallet, but you’d like to switch to the Reserve because of the additional benefits (3x on travel, $300 travel credit, Priority Pass access etc.), I’m going to walk you through the steps to switch from the Chase Preferred to the Chase Reserve.

DO NOT just call Chase and do a product change from the Preferred to the Reserve.  If you do this, you WILL NOT RECEIVE the 50,000 sign-up bonus for the Reserve.

With that said, follow the steps below, and you’ll be able to receive the 50,000 point sign-up bonus with no problem.

Switch from Chase Preferred to Chase Reserve

1. The first thing you’ll need to do is downgrade (product change) your Chase Sapphire Preferred to the Chase Freedom Unlimited.  The Freedom Unlimited is a no fee card that has lots of perks of its own like earning 1.5% cash back on every purchase.  (Compare the Freedom Unlimited with other cards here!)

2. Once you’ve received your Chase Freedom Unlimited, and your Chase Sapphire Preferred account has been closed, you’ll need to confirm that it has been more than 48 months since you received your sign-up bonus for the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

3. After you’ve confirmed it has been more than 48 months since you received your sign-up bonus, you’ll then need to wait a full billing cycle before you apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve.  PRO TIP: Call Chase, tell them exactly what you’re trying to do, and ask them when the date is that you can officially apply for the Reserve AND receive the sign-up bonus.  I’d wait even a few days after that date to apply.

4. Apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve, get approved, spend $4,000 within the first 3 months of being approved, and you’ll see the 50,000 Ultimate Rewards hit your account!

It’s a simple process, but it’s one that has to be followed in order for you to receive the hefty sign-up bonus on the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

Questions?  Comments?  Leave them below!  Also feel free to email me at [email protected] with any questions!

If you’re new to the credit card game and feel more comfortable applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred (lower annual fee, still great perks!), you can check out the card here.

In full disclosure, I do receive a small commission when you apply and are approved for the card.  Please keep in mind that I only recommend products that I haven’t used myself and love!

Disclaimer: If you click and/or sign up for a credit card through certain links on this site or any of my related social media platforms, I may make a commission from that click through.  The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are mine alone.

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How to Switch from Chase Sapphire Preferred to Chase Sapphire Reserve | Cobalt Chronicles | Washington, DC Travel Blog


  1. Jackie wrote:

    This is a great trip! I only got my Chase Preferred last year, so have to wait awhile until I can get the Reserve and the additional points. I have the Amex Platinum and love the benefits, the point:dollar ratio is great, and has saved me a ton on travel expenses!

    Posted 5.22.18
    • Ashlee wrote:

      Yeah, it’s an easy process to ensure you get the sign-up bonus but also one that could easily get messed up! Michael is on the Amex train, I haven’t jumped on just yet!

      Posted 5.22.18
  2. Brittany wrote:

    Quick question! If you have accumulated points on your preferred card would they transfer as part of this process or would you suggest using the points prior to making this move? Really interested in making the move to the Reserve but want to make sure I get to use all my accumulated points!

    Posted 9.4.19
    • Ashlee wrote:

      Hi Brittany! Great question! When you downgrade the Sapphire Preferred to the Freedom Unlimited, your points should move to that account. When you call to make the downgrade, confirm that this is the case with Chase. Please note that when the points are attached to the Freedom Unlimited, they can’t be transferred out of Chase (for example, to Southwest, United etc.). However, once you open your Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you can then move your Freedom Unlimited points to your Reserve card and they will again become transferable!

      Let me know if you have any other questions! Feel free to email me too – [email protected]

      Posted 9.4.19
  3. Alex wrote:

    SO helpful!! Sending to my hubby now so he can read, too.

    Alex |

    Posted 9.4.19
    • Ashlee wrote:

      Glad you found it helpful! Let me know if you have any other questions!

      Posted 9.5.19

Comments are closed.