Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, you may have heard a thing or two about the new Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card that will officially be released tomorrow. There are a number of good comparisons already out there, and the consensus is that this beefed up Sapphire Preferred card is essentially positioned as the equivalent to the American Express Platinum card.
In other words, each card is considered a premium product that comes with a hefty annual fee ($450), but they still play second fiddle to the ultra-luxury top tier JPMorgan Palladium and Amex Centurion cards, respectively. Except that even though it has been marketed as a top tier card, the Palladium card is really only as good as the Amex Platinum card, and has a disappointing points earning structure and suite of benefits that, in my opinion, doesn’t justify the $600 annual fee.
I had this card for about three years, but ultimately decided to cancel it last year. At the time, I mentioned that the main reason that I hadn’t cancelled earlier was FOMO, or fear or missing out. With rumors swirling that there would be great enhancements made to the card, I didn’t want to risk canceling it and not being able to get it back, if something amazing was indeed added.
Well, according to this Flyertalk thread it appears that those fears may be coming true, and the Palladium card could finally be getting the makeover that everyone had been waiting for.
What we think we know so far
The name of the card will be the JPMorgan Reserve card, and it will likely be released in conjunction with the new Sapphire Reserve card. It remains to be seen if that means on the same exact day or the same week, but the timing is expected to be close.
According to these program agreements for the Sapphire Reserve and JPMorgan Reserve cards, the benefits look to be identical. That includes everything down to the earning structure and benefits, and the fact that the JPMorgan Reserve card will be a Visa Infinite card.
The card will be available to JPMorgan Private Banking (PB) clients – to be a PB client, you’ll need to have at least $5 – $10 million in assets under management (AUM).
What we don’t know yet
Assuming that the above as true, there are still quite a few questions that remain about the new card:
- Who will it be offered to: the backdoor loophole that allowed anyone to apply for the Palladium card is now closed, so currently you need to either be a Chase Private Client (CPC) or Private Banking (PB) customer to get the card. It’s unclear how the conversion process will work (e.g. will all existing Palladium cardholders be eligible?), and also if CPC clients will qualify to be new applicants.
- Sign-up Bonus: the Palladium and Centurion cards have historically not included a sign-up bonus, and I would not expect that the JPMorgan Reserve card would either, even though the Sapphire Reserve will debut with a 100k bonus.
- Annual fee: are you sitting down for this? The rumor here is that the annual fee will go up from $600 to the Centurion-esque range of ~$2,500. It’s unlikely that there will be a one-time initiation fee like the $7,500 that American Express charges, since JPMorgan already has another, and more important, revenue stream through its AUM fees. It’s also unclear if the fee will ultimately get charged – many people have reported that they were able to get the $600 Palladium card annual fee waived in the past.
- What will it look like: the Palladium card had a very distinctive look and is one of, if not the heaviest cards out there today. Will they continue with the metal theme? Or will the card move toward a Sapphire-esque blue? Even though the card is being positioned as a Centurion competitor, it’s unlikely that they would steal that card’s iconic black color.
- Additional benefits: this is what I’m most interested in hearing about. For a fee that is 5x (even higher if you take into account the travel credit) than the Sapphire Reserve card with the same earning structure, it better have some amazing perks such as airline or hotel status, travel perks, or concierge services along with it. Without those features, this card will likely fall into the same trap as the Palladium did and simply won’t be worth it.
Looks like the clock has officially crossed midnight on the East Coast and August 21st is here – should be an interesting week!