Has the Chase Sapphire been quietly retired?

For years, Chase has offered 3 Ultimate Rewards-earning personal (not small business) credit cards: the Chase Freedom, Chase Sapphire, and Chase Sapphire Preferred.

The Freedom is Chase's entry into the crowded field of rotating 5% cash back category cards, while the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a premium, flexible-Ultimate-Rewards earning credit card that, while paying affiliate bloggers handsome commissions, is essentially useless for the serious travel hacker due to its low earning rate and $95 annual fee which is generally not waived, even for those who spend above-average amounts on the card.

The Sapphire has meanwhile always been the odd card out: it earns 2 non-flexible Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent at restaurants but not on travel purchases, and has no annual fee. Meanwhile, for the last three years the Chase Freedom has offered 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar at restaurants during the second quarter, making the Sapphire redundant for 25% of the calendar year.

The Sapphire has vanished from Chase's website and affiliate channels

Today I mentioned on Twitter that I had been able to request a product change from Sapphire Preferred to a second Freedom, and I was asked whether it would make more sense to change to Sapphire, instead.

A quick search revealed that the Sapphire has completely disappeared from Chase.com, while Credit Karma's review page does not have an active application link for the card. CreditCards.com is hopelessly annoying to navigate but I couldn't find an application link there, either.

Do yourself and Chase a favor: product change to Freedom

It appears that Chase is now more deliberately juxtaposing the no-annual-fee Freedom card with the premium, $95-annual-fee Sapphire Preferred. I think this actually does a huge service to their customers, who might have previously confused the Sapphire with a card worth carrying, which it is not and has never been.

If you happen to be a current Chase Sapphire cardholder, this is as good an occasion as any to call in and request a product change to the Freedom, since you'll get your new card in time to take advantage of 2015's first quarter bonus category of grocery stores (excluding Walmart and Target stores).