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.