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Chase Sapphire Reserve cutting 100k sign-up bonus in half

Attention all card churners: we’ve got some bad news for you. The super-popular Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card is decreasing its generous sign-up bonus.

Currently, customers can snag 100,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of owning the card. But starting Jan.12, Chase (JPM) will cut that enticing bonus in half, designating Jan. 11 as the last day to apply online for the offer.

If that deadline is too soon for you to make the leap, customers can apply for the credit card – in person – at a Chase bank location until March 12.

For many customers, the massive sign-up bonus was a huge draw, worth at least $1,500 in airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises when redeemed through Chase Ultimate rewards. Starting next week, the 50,000 sign-up bonus points will equal about $750 in rewards travel.

Some have speculated that Chase is reducing the sign-up bonus due to the high expense of paying out rewards to customers. When the card came out in August, it proved so popular with consumers that Chase ran out of the original metal Sapphire cards and had to issue plastic ones instead. In fact, The Points Guy (TPG) wrote that the enticing promotional offer impacted the bank’s bottom line by some $200 million.

When asked why the sign-up bonus was being decreased, Chase told Yahoo Finance that it was always part of the plan. “We wanted to get people’s attention with the 100,000 point bonus and we were delighted with the response,” said Ashley Dodd, spokesperson for Chase.

Pam Codispoti, president of Chase Branded Cards, gave a similar response to TPG in September. “We kept the 100,000-point introductory offer up longer than we originally anticipated, purely because of the strong demand in the product. And now, like with all promotions or introductory offers, we feel it’s time to bring that premium down to a more sustainable level.”

Still, Dodd reminds customers that the benefits they love will remain. In addition to $750 in travel, Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders will still get a $300 annual travel credit, 3X points on travel and dining around the world, $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck, access to 900+ airport lounges, and much more.

The card will also retain its $450 annual fee.

After checking out the response on social media, it appears that most Sapphire Reserve fans took the news in stride, resigned to the fact that the introductory offer was too good to last. Looking forward, some hope Chase Sapphire Reserve will adopt a referral system like other cards (Sapphire Preferred and Freedom), where current card users can earn bonus points when their friends open new cards. “ With [Chase Sapphire Reserve] having been released with a 100k bonus that dropped to 50k, surely referrals can’t be too far behind,” one Reddit user said.

When asked if this was a possibility, Dodd said there are no plans right now, but that the company is “always evaluating.”

The bottom line is that now is the time to act if you’ve been on the fence about applying for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Making the commitment can be be a hard choice, but missing the bonus deadline will sting even more.

Brittany is a writer at Yahoo Finance. 

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