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Is Chase de-emphasizing Sapphire for Freedom this cycle?

Is Chase de-emphasizing Sapphire for Freedom this cycle?

Old Sep 1, 20, 10:58 am
  #1  
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Is Chase de-emphasizing Sapphire for Freedom this cycle?

Mahoney said he doesn’t expect the no-fee Freedom Flex card to compete with the bank’s more expensive Sapphire Reserve, which also has perks emphasizing travel and dining. The new card will be geared more toward “value seeking, cash-back enthusiasts,” he said.“

Chase launched the Sapphire Reserve after the last recession. It seems like these new Freedom cards are their big play this time. It seems like the Sapphire Reserve will continue to be there for points focused consumers, but I don’t really see them going to 4x or 5x back on dining and travel. I think Chase will be pushing the Freedom cards, plus the cobrand cards more this time around. Thoughts?
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Old Sep 1, 20, 11:15 am
  #2  
 
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It is quite the bizarre move. I would hope that they change their sapphire series to at least get 5 points on the chase travel portal. Otherwise it seems bizarre to emphasize travel on the freedom over the actual travel cards. Getting an essentially guaranteed 7.5% back on plane tickets bought through freedom on the travel portal and giving up the extra insurance protections vs. the 4.5% on sapphire reserve is an odd choice I never thought I'd have to make.
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Old Sep 1, 20, 11:24 am
  #3  
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It's premature to know what Chase's marketing emphasis is. MasterCard will be paying Chase a handsome bounty for each Freedom Flex card opened. Chase will not want to dilute the Flex rollout by distracting consumers with an improved Sapphire product that might cause us to hesitate to switch to, or apply for Flex. It will be interesting to see if either of the Sapphire products are also switched to MasterCard.
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Old Sep 1, 20, 11:25 am
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Originally Posted by darkrider View Post
It is quite the bizarre move. I would hope that they change their sapphire series to at least get 5 points on the chase travel portal. Otherwise it seems bizarre to emphasize travel on the freedom over the actual travel cards. Getting an essentially guaranteed 7.5% back on plane tickets bought through freedom on the travel portal and giving up the extra insurance protections vs. the 4.5% on sapphire reserve is an odd choice I never thought I'd have to make.
Chase doesn’t actively promote that you can transfer UR points from Freedom to Sapphire and then transfer to travel partners. It seems like they view these markets as largely separate. They also haven’t seemed very keen in growing the Sapphire cardmember base that aggressively in recent years.
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Old Sep 1, 20, 12:02 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by Adelphos View Post
They also haven’t seemed very keen in growing the Sapphire cardmember base that aggressively in recent years.
The CSP has been out of date since the day the CSR came out, IMO. Marginally more expensive ($55/yr net of the travel credit) but way better earning and portal redemption rates.

I see this as Chase trying to re-pivot to annual fee averse and the lower end of the market, at least for now. They probably see the writing on the wall that as long as international travel remains low on people’s priority list, they’ll want to stem cancellations from the higher AF cards and give a more interesting downgrade path. We already saw them delay the higher AF for the CSR.

3% Cashback/UR on dining on no annual fee cards is pretty good. MSers will appreciate 3x on drugstores. I could care less about 5% on bookings through the Chase travel portal, and they aren’t removing the FTF as far as I can tell, so it isn’t really a suitable CSR replacement for anybody who travels abroad.
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Old Sep 1, 20, 12:22 pm
  #6  
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4-5% back for dining/travel wouldn't be that unreasonable of a move for CSR (with quarterly/annual limits, of course). They could also add additional permanent travel-related categories at the 3% level--such as gas--that are likely being more commonly used at the moment than, say, air travel. I think it's too early to tell for sure what's going to happen regardless.
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Old Sep 1, 20, 9:44 pm
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Mastercard is a tough sell for many (myself for one) with Costco not taking it. I suppose as a family man (yes, I'm the guy hauling 20# tubs of mayo out of Costco regularly) I may be in the minority but I just don't have ANY use for a Mastercard.

I love the 1.5X kicker when using the Chase travel portal (basically Expedia) and roll over points from my Chase Freedom Business card (5X on telecommunication, 2X on gas). My usage works for these rewards and I think that's the thing with all these cards. You just have to read all the offers and find out what works best for you.
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Old Sep 1, 20, 10:53 pm
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You'd think a 4x-5x dining multiplier for the CSR/CSP is in the offering along with some travel enhancements, but who knows. Right now, the CSP is basically a useless card aside from it allowing you to transfer UR points to travel partners.
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Old Sep 2, 20, 6:38 am
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It’s only a guaranteed 7.5% back if you have the CSR. There’s plenty of precedence for “feature/perk cards” to have poorer returns on spend than “points cards.”

At the end of the day, a bean counter needs to say that card XYZ is profitable. If the Sapphire Reserve gives even more bonus categories then an already borderline unprofitable card becomes an unprofitable card.

it doesn’t surprise me that Chase is emphasizing the no annual fee Freedom cards. I think based
on the economy a $550 AF card is a tough sell.

I predict nothing will be done to the Sapphire Preferred and it will get AMEX Green treatment for the foreseeable future. Perhaps one day they will revamp it like AMEX finally did.
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Old Sep 2, 20, 7:17 am
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Originally Posted by jags86 View Post
I predict nothing will be done to the Sapphire Preferred
Not even the three points per dollar on up to $1,500 of groceries to go past September 30?
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Old Sep 2, 20, 8:01 am
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Originally Posted by zorbachs View Post
...the CSP is basically a useless card aside from it allowing you to transfer UR points to travel partners.
To be fair, the ability to transfer to travel partners is an incredibly valuable benefit in normal times.
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Old Sep 2, 20, 8:30 am
  #12  
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Originally Posted by pallhedge View Post
To be fair, the ability to transfer to travel partners is an incredibly valuable benefit in normal times.
Yeah, it seems like cards with transferable points and no foreign transaction fee are worth $95 fee at a minimum for those features. Chase Sapphire Preferred was behind cards like Citi Premier and Amex Green in terms of earnings - but ironically these Freedom cards solve the issue by adding a no fee card with enhanced earnings (provided you can still combine points). The new Freedom cards plus Chase Sapphire Preferred at a $95 fee is competitive with Amex Green ($150 fee before credits) and Citi Premier + Double Cash (total $95 fee) for most categories of earning.

Chase Freedom Flex + Chase Sapphire Preferred earnings:
5x on rotating categories
5x on Chase Portal travel
5x on Lyft
3x on dining
3x on drugstores
2x on general travel
No FTF (Chase Sapphire Preferred)
Transfer to travel partners, redeem for travel at 1.25 cents, pay yourself back at 1.25 cents
Not a bad offering for $95
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Old Sep 2, 20, 8:49 am
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Originally Posted by vanillabean View Post
Not even the three points per dollar on up to $1,500 of groceries to go past September 30?
I mean, if you consider a token limited time promo an improvement, sure, maybe they'll run another promo starting October 1. I don't think we're going to see wholesale changes to either the CSP or the CSR in the immediate future.
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Old Sep 2, 20, 8:59 am
  #14  
 
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
MasterCard will be paying Chase a handsome bounty for each Freedom Flex card opened.
I was intrigued how they revamped both the Freedom and Freedom Unlimited, both with similar evolutions. But the former changes brand names after they spent millions searing "Chase Freedom" into everyone's head with commercials and flips Visa to Mastercard, but the latter doesn't follow along in lockstep:
  • Maybe they did get a deal with MasterCard to be the new Chase Freedom. They can't grandfather the old Freedom cardholders since it'd be confusing to have both a Flex and a Freedom, hence the new Flex and the grandfathered Freedom. Still surprised they threw away the Freedom brand given how much they've invested in it; maybe it was part of the deal with Visa.
  • But I guess Chase didn't want to play the straight-cashback game anymore so they're not creating a Flex equivalent for Freedom Unlimited. Given they improved the benefits and didn't shut it off to new cardholders, they don't intend to just let it rot like the Freedom, but given it's on the old brand, they probably aren't going to push it as aggressively. So it'll probably just die a slow death.
    • Or maybe that's all wrong and it's the complete opposite: They see Flex as their new rotating categories brand. Freedom Unlimited isn't dead but instead gains more prominence as a the straight-cashback brand, with less confusion with Freedom.
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Old Sep 2, 20, 3:35 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by zorbachs View Post
Right now, the CSP is basically a useless card aside from it allowing you to transfer UR points to travel partners.
The 50k UR SUB is always attractive at a mere $95 AF.
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