The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is easily one of the best travel credit cards for beginners – or any traveler, for that matter.
With a welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in three months of holding the Sapphire Preferred Card, it's a healthy sum of points to start redeeming towards free (or nearly free) travel. Sure, it may not be the massive, 100,000-point bonus this card offered back in 2021 – odds are, we'll never see a bonus that high on this card again. But 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points are nothing to scoff at.
But all those points don't mean a thing if you can't actually earn the bonus. Chase has a handful of different restrictions on its top travel credit cards that can make some applicants ineligible to earn this welcome offer.
Curious if you'll make the cut? Read on for a full breakdown of everything you need to know about whether or not you're eligible to apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
You'll Need Good-to-Excellent Credit
The first thing you'll need to consider before applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (or any card for that matter) is your credit score.
Chase indicates that you need to fall into the “Good” to “Excellent” credit buckets to be approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. As you can see from the image below, that means you'd need at least a 680 credit score to get approved. But in practice, it's been much different.
From our own experience, accounts from readers, and historical data from creditcards.com, anyone with a credit score below 700 will generally have a harder time getting approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. But as banks continue to compete for the same customers, it may be getting easier.
Critically, the minimum credit score needed to apply is not set in stone. There are certainly exceptions – especially if you have a history with Chase. But your best bet for getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred is likely by having a credit score of 700 or higher. If your credit score isn't at least 680, it's likely you won't be approved.
The Chase 5/24 Rule
The next thing you'll need to be aware of is something called the Chase 5/24 Rule.
The Chase 5/24 rule is a hard-and-fast restriction rolled out years ago in order to limit card applicants from opening credit cards for the sole purpose of earning bonus rewards.
Here’s what it boils down to:
- If you have opened five or more credit cards in the past 24 months from any bank (not just Chase cards), you will not be approved for Chase credit cards, regardless of your credit score or history with Chase Bank
- The rule does not count credit inquiries, but rather card products you have applied for and been approved for. That also means mortgages and other lines of credit don't count.
So if you have opened five or more new credit cards in the past 24 months, you will not be approved for any Chase credit cards, including the Sapphire Preferred Card with this big bonus. Chase isn’t just looking at your history with Chase cards to make this determination but with any bank.
The rule is not officially published through any of Chase’s platforms. Case in point: If you ask about it in a Chase branch or on the phone with a Chase customer service representative, employees have likely not heard of it.
Not sure where you're at on the 5/24 count? A great way to keep track of your status is by using the Travel Freely tool!
Have You Earned the Bonus on the Preferred or Reserve Previously?
It's not just the amount of cards you've opened that could be a factor. Specific cards could rule you out from earning this bonus, too.
Chase does not allow you to hold both the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve at the same time. That means if you already have a Sapphire Preferred or Reserve card open, you will not be eligible to apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
Additionally, you will not be eligible to apply for the Sapphire Preferred if you earned a sign-up bonus on either the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve in the last 48 months – four full years.
Let's say you opened the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card in March 2019 and then met the minimum spending requirement to earn the bonus points in May 2019. Even if you have since closed the card, you still wouldn't be eligible to earn the sign-up bonus on the Sapphire Preferred. You would have to wait until May of 2023 before you could earn another sign-up bonus on one of the Sapphire cards.
The four-year restriction starts from the date you earned the bonus points – not the date that you opened or closed either card.
If you currently have either the Sapphire Preferred or Reserve card open but it's been more than four years since you've earned the welcome offer bonus points, you've got a few options to move ahead and still be eligible for this bonus.
- Cancel your Sapphire Card, and then reapply.
- Downgrade your Sapphire card to one of the no-annual-fee Chase Freedom cards, and then reapply.
Downgrading to one of the Freedom cards is a good option if you have Ultimate Rewards points in your account. If you close a Sapphire Card with a balance of Chase Ultimate Rewards points, they will be forfeited. Downgrading keeps them intact. Once you open a new Sapphire Preferred Card, you could then transfer those points back to your Preferred Card.
Just keep in mind that when you reapply for the Sapphire Preferred Card, you'll still need to be under the Chase 5/24 rule and have a credit score that will allow you to get approved.
Chase doesn't make it easy for everyone to work out whether they're eligible for a big welcome bonus. But if you've got a great credit score and none of these restrictions apply to you, you are eligible and able to apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
Learn more about the *csp*.