For all those that apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve May 21 and on, the annual $300 travel credit benefit will be applied on a card membership year basis instead of a calendar year basis like the way it is now.
How it Works Now
If you apply now (May), you will collect $300 in travel statement credits through December of 2017, and then your $300 travel statement credits resets again in 2018. You could technically get $600 in travel statement credits before your second annual fee hit in May of 2018. That’s a gain of $150 over the annual fee (and is not even considering the myriad of other valuable benefits like lounge access and the 50,000 Ultimate Rewards sign up bonus).
How it Will Work for Those That Apply May 21 Onwards
If you apply May 21 (or later), you will collect $300 in travel statement credits over the course of the first year that you hold your card, as in from the date you’re approved to one year later. The travel statement credit will not reset in 2018, therefore the opportunity to collect on $600 worth of travel statement credits before the second annual fee hits will be gone.
Here is the exact wording from Chase of the new terms:
$300 Annual Travel Credit: $300 Annual Travel Credit: A statement credit will automatically be applied to your account when your card is used for purchases in the travel category, up to an annual maximum accumulation of $300. Annual means the year beginning with your account open date through the first statement date after your account open date anniversary, and the 12 monthly billing cycles after that each year. (For applications submitted before May 21, 2017, annual means the year beginning with your account open date through the first December statement date of that same year, and the 12 billing cycles starting after your December statement date through the following December statement date each year.)
If you were contemplating an application for the Sapphire Reserve, I would apply now (or before May 21, which is Sunday). When the time comes for a cost benefit analysis–right before the second annual fee hits–you can decide then if the card is worth keeping open. But in the case you don’t decide to keep it open, you will have reaped the maximum possible benefits you could have from the card.
Hat tip Travel After Work