August 17, 2022
In the interest of full disclosure, OMAAT earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers (terms apply) that we have found for each product or service. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, hotel chain, or product manufacturer/service provider, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Please check out our advertiser policy for further details about our partners, and thanks for your support!

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (review) and Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card (review) are two of the most popular travel rewards credit cards. They both have excellent welcome offers, great points earning structures, and valuable benefits. Which of the cards makes the most sense depends on the type of consumer you are.

For those considering applying for either of these cards, one major consideration is the 48-month rule, which you have to follow in order to earn the welcome bonus on either card. In this post I wanted to take a closer look at how that works. This is in addition to standard Chase application restrictions, including the 5/24 rule.

How the Chase Sapphire 48-month rule works

When you apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll see the following terms associated with earning the welcome bonus:

The product is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card who received a new cardmember bonus within the last 48 months.

There’s sometimes confusion about what exactly this means, so let me try to clarify. You’re not eligible for the welcome bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve if:

  • You currently have any Chase Sapphire credit card (this includes the Preferred and the Reserve)
  • You are a previous cardmember who has received a bonus on a Chase Sapphire credit card in the past 48 months (this includes the Preferred and Reserve); the 48 months wouldn’t be from when you opened the card, but rather from when you earned the bonus

In other words, you are potentially eligible for either the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve if you’ve had one of the Chase Sapphire cards in the past, you just can’t currently have one of the cards, and can’t have received a new cardmember bonus on one of the cards in the past 48 months.

Note that being an authorized user on someone else’s Chase Sapphire card (either currently or in the past) wouldn’t make you ineligible for earning the bonus on the card yourself.

Redeem Chase points for a stay at Alila Hinu Bay Oman

When are you considered a previous Chase Sapphire cardmember?

As you can see based on the terms, eligibility for the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve is based on not currently having either of these cards, and based on not being a previous cardmember who received a bonus on either card within the past 48 months.

Many wonder at what point you’re considered a previous cardmember based on having had the card in the past. Most data points suggest that you’re considered a previous cardmember within a few days of canceling an account. Personally I’d recommend waiting until the next calendar month, just to be on the safe side.

In other words, say you had the Chase Sapphire Preferred (and earned the bonus over 48 months ago), and then closed the account on August 15. You might then potentially be eligible for the Chase Sapphire Reserve within a few days, though personally I’d wait until September 1 to apply, just to be on the safe side.

Redeem Chase points for a flight in Qatar Airways Qsuites

Bottom line

The Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve are two of the most popular travel rewards credit cards. If you’re considering applying for a Chase Sapphire card but have had one in the past, the biggest restriction to be aware of is the 48-month rule, which impacts bonus eligibility.

This means you can’t earn the bonus on either card if you currently have a Chase Sapphire card, or are a previous cardmember who has had a Chase Sapphire card in the past 48 months. Hopefully the above clarifies any questions you may have about this rule (and if it doesn’t, please let me know).

See also  Which US Avios Credit Card Should You Apply For?