The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a premium travel rewards card, and you’ll likely need a good or excellent credit score to land this choice card. If you’re not there yet, you can pick a strategy to improve your score before applying.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the most popular travel rewards credit cards, and for a good reason. It offers Ultimate Rewards points that can be transferred to airline and hotel partners or redeemed directly for travel reservations. And with a generous sign-up bonus of 60,000 points and a competitive annual fee, it’s a card that appeals to anyone who wants to earn valuable travel rewards.
Why should I apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred?
Now is a great time to apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred. It currently offers new cardholders 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after using their cards to spend $4,000 within three months of account opening. These rewards can be transferred to airline miles or hotel points with certain Chase travel partners on a 1:1 basis and are worth an extra 25% if you use them to book travel through Chase, yielding $750 in value.
In addition to the sign-up bonus, this card earns 5 points per dollar on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3 points per dollar on dining purchases, 2 points per dollar on other travel purchases and 1 point per dollar spent elsewhere. The dining bonus is also valid on eligible takeout and delivery services, and the travel category also includes expenses such as parking, tolls and public transportation. Annually, you also earn $50 in Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit.
The Sapphire Preferred offers valuable travel coverage, such as trip cancellation and interruption insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, baggage delay insurance and trip delay reimbursement. You’re also covered by purchase protection and extended warranty protection when shopping. There’s a $95 annual fee, but you won’t pay any foreign transaction fees. All in all, this card offers a ton of value both in its rewards and extra perks.
What credit score do I need for the Chase Sapphire Preferred?
The Sapphire Preferred is a premium travel rewards card, and, as such, you can’t expect to be approved if you have a credit score that’s considered fair or bad. Those who have credit scores that are good or excellent will have a much greater chance of being approved.
According to FICO, one of the leading producers of credit scores, a good score is 670 to 739, while a very good score is 740 or above. Therefore, you’re unlikely to be approved for this card if your credit score is below 670, and you have a very good chance of being approved if your score is 740 or above.
Chase, like most lenders, will typically take into account other factors beyond your credit score. For example, you may have a greater chance of being approved for the Sapphire Preferred if you already have a relationship with Chase, such as a deposit account or a home mortgage. You may also be able to increase your chances of being approved if you have low outstanding balances on your other Chase cards.
What happens if my card application is denied?
It can be surprising and perhaps confusing if your application for a credit card is denied. By law, the card issuer is required to explain why you were denied, but the language used may not be clear.
If you don’t clearly understand a denial, you can contact the card issuer and inquire about your application. Sometimes the denial can be reversed, a process known as reconsideration. To speak with a Chase representative about your personal credit card application, call 1-888-270-2127.
Once you reach a Chase representative, you will be told why your application was not approved. Often, there are simple explanations, including the issuer’s inability to verify your address or other personal details. If this is the case, once Chase receives the correct information, it may be able to approve your application over the phone, despite an earlier denial.
In other situations, you may be denied for more significant reasons, which you also may be able to resolve. For example, Chase may determine that it has already extended as much credit as it’s willing to you. However, if you want to move some of your available credit from one of your existing cards, then Chase might approve your application.
Additionally, you may not have originally included all available sources of income, which you can correct. Legally, you’re entitled to include all available sources of income, including alimony, child support, disability payments and disbursements from retirement savings accounts. You can even include income from your spouse or domestic partner, as long as you have a reasonable expectation of access to that person’s income to repay a loan.
Finally, you may have a poor credit score or credit history that prompted the denial.
Improving your credit score
If you were denied due to a low credit score, there are several things that you can do to quickly improve it before reapplying. The amount you owe on revolving accounts makes up 30% of your FICO credit score and is the factor that you can improve the quickest. Pay off as much of your outstanding balances as possible, and your credit score can quickly improve.
Just remember that while Chase will immediately see that you’ve paid down your balances with other Chase cards, you will have to wait until your credit card statement periods end before your new balances are reported to the credit bureaus and it is reflected in your credit scores.
You can also obtain copies of your credit reports to look for errors. Inaccurate information related to missed payments can hurt your credit score. If you successfully dispute these errors, then your credit scores will improve.
Consider other cards until your credit score improves
If despite your best attempts, your credit still isn’t in the range to qualify for the Sapphire Preferred, it’s probably best to apply for a different card with more lenient qualifications for approval. Opening a new account and managing it responsibly will also help you improve your credit score, but it will take time.
You can check out credit cards for those with fair credit scores, such as the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card (which has a low annual fee and earns 1.5% cash back on purchases) or Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card (which earns 1% cash back on eligible purchases and then bumps up to 1.5% cash back after 12 on-time, monthly payments).
Wait to reapply
Once you’ve exhausted the reconsideration process, the only alternative you have is to reapply in the future if you really want the card. If you were denied for the Chase Sapphire Preferred because of a low credit score, work on improving your score before you consider reapplying.
Chase will accept a new application 30 days after your original application, so you don’t have to wait long once you’re ready to try again.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a fantastic travel rewards credit card, but not everyone will easily qualify for an account. By understanding the credit score necessary for approval and how to improve your score, you can decide if this is the best card for you.