Chase launches mortgage-credit card cross promotion

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A new cross-promotion effort by JPMorgan Chase will give 100,000 rewards points to Sapphire credit card holders who close a home purchase mortgage with the bank.

The incentive is available to Chase Sapphire, Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve customers who apply for a mortgage to buy a home by Aug. 6. Borrowers must close the loan to get the reward, and refinance mortgages are not eligible.

The promotion comes as mortgage lenders and real estate professionals enter the traditional spring-summer homebuying season. This year, purchase mortgage lending is especially important, as rising mortgage rates have put a damper on refinance volume.

Mortgages are an important cross-selling product for banks because they drive deeper customer relationships and often lead consumers to use other bank products, including credit cards, for home furnishings, cars and other goods.

Chase, which is rolling out a new digital mortgage platform that allows borrowers to self-service much of the loan application process, aims to reach "a new wave of homebuyers" with the card promotion, Amy Bonitatibus, chief marketing officer of Chase Mortgage, said in a press release.

"Half of Chase Sapphire customers are millennials, many of whom are looking to buy their first home now or in the near future," Pam Codispoti, president of Chase Branded Cards, said in the press release.

The 100,000 bonus points are sufficient to earn a reward such as more than $1,000 worth of air travel. Aggressive point rewards are a key draw for Sapphire Preferred customers, and Sapphire Reserve's point rewards are even more aggressive. Customers pay a $95 annual fee for Sapphire Preferred after the first year and $450 annually for Sapphire Reserved.

A surprisingly strong response to a previous 100,000-point incentive offered in conjunction with new applications for the Sapphire Reserve card spurred Chase's decision to test a similar incentive for mortgages.

Chase also offers several other mortgage incentives, including a cash-back offer for closed purchase loans on which the borrower makes automated payments through a Chase checking account and receives paperless statements. Customers in Chase's private client group get closing cost credit and rate discounts.

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