Feeling Reserved

a close-up of a credit card

Judging by the amount of coverage the shiny new Chase Sapphire Reserve has received on blogs, forums, and the New York Times, everyone under the sun must have either gotten one or is agonizing over his/her application denial.  Two of my friends told me they were gonna wait to apply in Q4, then turned around to getting it two days later.  Few of my coworkers who normally cared little about points and miles randomly started reciting the card’s benefits like a TPG post.  Some people far from the 5/24 limit had their applications turned away, while others who wouldn’t otherwise qualify received unexpected pre-approval.  CSR became the new Donald Trump as the trending topic suitable for anyone in any conversation.  I figured that Hungry for Points, like all respectable travel blogs, needed a second consecutive post about this credit card.

The premise of the story?  I wanted this card.  I thought highly enough of it that I contemplated waiting for my new card count to drop below 5/24.  Well, that would take a while…  Like, my three-year-old will be five years old when that happens.  For me to formally qualify under Chase’s stringent anti-churner rule meant that my kids will go through two more birthdays without seeing their dad unwrap any new credit card.  I thought about how dull of a childhood that must be, and I wasn’t sure I could pull it off.

So I decided to go the Chase Private Client (CPC) route.  While not a clearly spelled-out benefit, this VIP status with Chase often allows people in our hobby to bypass that dreaded 5/24 rule.  The status was free for anyone willing to bank six-figures of cash with Chase… easier said than done.  Coincidentally, I just sold a bunch of investments, which when pooled with my various savings accounts meant I could dump enough into Chase to meet the minimum starting requirement.  Financially, is it wise to intentionally make ALL YOUR LIQUID ASSETS earn no interest just to get 100k UR points?  Probably not.  But as a laser-focused credit card enthusiast, it felt like a worthwhile effort-to-benefit scenario.

I didn’t want to make it obvious that my quest for CPC was exclusively for a credit card that wasn’t even publicized by Chase (then) yet.  So here’s what I did:

  • Week 1: went to a branch, found some excuse to get to know a banker, and inquired about CPC
  • Week 2: applied for CPC after moving my miscellaneous pots of gold into an account bearing 0.00000001% interest rate
  • Week 3: found some other excuse to hangout at the branch, waited for CSR to be pushed on me, and applied
  • Week 4:
    • Received my 5/24 denial letter in the mail
    • Called reconsideration line and pleaded my CPC status.  Got put on hold, then was told that they couldn’t approve me even after secondary review
    • Called reconsideration line again (another number, but led to the same department) and pleaded how I and Chase go way back and what an awesome customer I was.  Got put on hold for an insane amount of time, transferred to the verification department, and was approved!
    • Received my card in the mail, merely five business days after the initial application

I’d say that my approach was more methodical than Terence’s, but in reality there were still plenty of unknowns.  I was confronted with moments of “realization” that my special status with the bank may not be special enough.  My second recon call was purely out of desperation, as I vividly recall reports noting how HUCA never worked in 5/24 situations.  This whole process was a serious emotional roller coaster.



Needless to say, I am very happy with the result.  So much, in fact, I decided to wait a few days before writing this down, to let the reality of having CSR in my wallet sink in a little.  This is such an awesome card, both because of its massive sign-on bonus and because of its long-term value.  I expect it to have a permanent place in my wallet, replacing Citi Prestige.

And that’s where I get a little sad.

It was not even half a year ago when this whole deja vu took place in another nearby bank: I went to Citi, dumped in a bunch of cash, applied for Citigold, and got myself the awesome Citi Prestige with the reduced $350 annual fee.  That was the beautiful, pricey-but-valuable credit card with unbeatable reward rates and lounge access.  It was the card that I dreamed to have a long-term relationship with.  It was the card that I planned to charge trips after trips to.

Now that Chase came out with its ultra-premium product that looks suspiciously like a direct copy of Citi Prestige, tides changed.  I told myself that I wasn’t churning Citi Prestige for its sign-on bonus, but I am already reconsidering paying the second annual fee in the spring.  Like all of you in this hobby, I pride myself for being nimble and being able to maximize.  Still, in those few months it felt great to have a sense of loyalty, and now it feels awful to lose it.

We must also consider how the Citi Prestige recently announced axing some of its top benefits (not that I value Admiral Club access much).  Will CSR, the card praised “too good to be true” and having acquired far more customers than anticipated, end up in the same boat?  Only time will tell.

Having finally caught my unicorn, I now worry that it might vanish, or that somebody might come along riding on an even fancier magical creature.


One Comment

  1. I’m glad to hear that you went through all that trouble to get the CSR!HCUA to the rescue. My wife was starting to feel alone w/ the Chase debacle.

    She was under the 5/24 rule but was an AU on three of my cards which put her over. After countless calls and pleadings w/ recon they refused to budge. She got off the accounts as an AU, had the accounts removed from her credit report, and reapplied. Alas pending again! She called back again – they still had her old report (w/ the AU accounts) she indicated that they weren’t hers and low and behold the application was approved (rep recommended approval, manager took second look, and verification dept. – whew lot of folks).

    They didn’t repull her credit or anything (within 30 days of 1st app). I was in complete shock! HCUA is a great strategy when you are looking for an exception to the rule.

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