Loyalty & Rewards

Sapphire Reserve's Super-Sized Rewards Are Getting Scaled Back

For those who specialize in “points hacking” — a completely legal exercise in trying to maximally combine card program rewards points and programs — the Sapphire Reserve Card and its 100,000 points bonus was almost too good to be true. The monetary value of those bonuses was about $1,500 — all open to anyone who managed to spend $4K on their card within the first three months of ownership (and who used the points to redeem travel).

The lux rewards — combined with a shiny metallic design that was the envy of internet unboxers everywhere — made the card something of a hit among millennials. The question is whether those millennials will still be feeling the card love now that the rewards are a bit less generous.

JP Morgan Chase — the card's issuer — has announced that it will be cutting the rewards in half starting January 12th for those that apply online. For those that go to a branch to sign up, the window is a bit longer — the full rewards bonus will be available until March 12. Branch applications are open to anyone — not just current customers.

The cards caused a big stir — but have also had a big cost. According to reports, the bank ended up handing out so many perks that it caused a $200 million to $300 million hit to its earnings.

And the consensus view so far is that — with or without the crazy sign-on bonus — the card will remains a hit. Though it comes with a big annual fee — $450 — all cardholders get $300 of that back in the form of a credit for any travel spending they put on the card. Plus, customers earn three points for every dollar they spend on all travel and dining.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.

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