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For consumers with a high credit score, collecting points and miles used to be simple: You applied for a credit card, met the minimum spend, canceled the card before the annual fee came due, and repeated the process. Those folks became known as churners, and many of them accumulated seven-figure totals with ease.

guide to chase 5/24 rule
This guide to the Chase 5/24 rule can help you plan your travel credit card goals. Photo by Tim Gouw from Pexels

Things began to change in 2015. Churners who reapplied for cards that earned Chase Ultimate Rewards points suddenly found their applications denied, despite high incomes and FICO scores. It gradually became clear that Chase was rejecting applicants who had opened too many credit cards in a specific time period.

Today that policy is known as the 5/24 Rule. While it has never been formally explained, enough anecdotal evidence exists to establish both the broad outlines and the finer nuances.

Here’s a guide to the Chase 5/24 rule that has everything you need to know.

Guide to the Chase 5/24 Rule: What Is It?

Simply put, Chase will deny your application if you’ve opened five or more bank cards in the past 24 months. While that may seem like a lot of credit cards, remember that Chase is the leading issuer of the co-branded airline, hotel, and travel reward cards most consumers want and need. 

Tip: Check out the best Chase credit cards and the best Chase business credit cards posts for more details on what Chase has to offer and why their products are often featured.

However, it gets worse. The 5/24 Rule isn’t restricted to just Chase cards—it applies to any personal bank cards you’ve opened in the past two years. If you have two cards each from American Express, Citibank and Discover and you see a Chase card you really want, you’re out of luck. Even if you qualify for a premium card such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you won’t be able to get it.

The rule now applies to all Chase personal cards. Initially, there was a batch of offerings that were exempt, but Chase closed that loophole in 2018. 

Are There Exceptions to 5/24?

Yes and no. In the beginning, there were some exceptions that are no longer valid. If you were a Chase Private Client, you could get around the rule for a while. Account-holders who filed applications at a bank branch frequently had success (some still do, but don’t count on it).

Previously it was possible to circumvent the rule by logging on to the Chase website and looking at prequalified, “Selected For You” or “Just For You” offers, but that avenue is now dead. Also, targeted offers received in the mail seldom work anymore. Student loans formerly didn’t count, but now they do.

Exceptions to the Rule

Here’s a batch of exceptions sprinkled with warnings:

  • Most business credit cards don’t report to the three credit bureaus, so they’re exempt from 5/24. However, Capital One, Discover and TD Bank do report and will count against your total.
  • If you apply for a card and are denied, it doesn’t count. However, opening a card and closing it one year later does count, if it falls within the 24-month limit.
  • If you’re an authorized user on an account, or if you have authorized users on your own account, that will count as a bank card. You can try calling the Chase reconsideration line and arguing your case, but you’ll most likely have to remove the AU from your credit report (this can take 60-90 days, so it may not be worth doing if your 5/24 timeline is opening up again). Before you give up, try calling the reconsideration line and pleading your case.
  • If store credit cards are exclusive to one particular store, they generally don’t count. However, a card will count if it’s part of a national payment network. If you’re in doubt, ask.
  • Auto loans and mortgages don’t count, but it’s wise to avoid applying for credit cards immediately before or after taking on large amounts of debt.
  • Charge cards count as well as revolving credit cards.
  • Product changes, card conversions, and upgrades/downgrades can be tricky. Before completing the transaction, you want to make sure if the bank does a soft or hard pull. Policies differ from one issuer to another. Hard pulls will probably be interpreted as new accounts.

For starters, remember that the rule is four cards or less: Once you hit five, you’re waiting for your oldest card to hit 24 months.

Further Items to Consider

According to most data points, you’re not under 5/24 until the first day of the 25th month after your fifth account was opened. In other words, if you opened your first card on January 10, 2018, you’re good to go on February 1, 2020. The easiest way to track this is to sign up for a credit monitoring service such as Credit Karma, where you can look up the status of all your accounts and see the dates they were opened.

On the day you hit 4/24, can you apply for multiple cards and get away with it? Some people do, but it’s probably not advisable. There are more and more reports of Chase closing all of someone’s cards due to questionable behavior (more on this later).

In general, it’s best to avoid multiple credit applications in a short period of time. The exceptions to this are auto loans and mortgages, where the system will pick up that you’re applying for the same amount of credit if you focus your applications within a week or two.

Guide to Chase 5/24 Rule: Application Strategies

The rule has spawned a new approach to credit card applications. Your mileage may vary, but here are some general points to remember:

Chase Cards First

This is a no-brainer since you always can get other bank cards if you’re over 5/24. However, Chase issues a disproportionate number of the best airline credit cards (Southwest, United, British Airways, Aer Lingus and Iberia) and some of the best hotel credit cards (Marriott, Hyatt, and IHG) as well as valuable rewards cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve.

The conventional wisdom is to focus on these first.

Transferable Points Before Branded Miles and Points

Here’s the exception to the conventional wisdom: transferable points are almost always more valuable than points that accrue in a specific program. Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to 10 airlines and three hotel programs, which gives you a great deal of flexibility.

Even better, if you have a card that earns UR points (such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card) and pair it with a card that allows 5X earnings in specific categories (such as the Chase Freedom), you’re well on your way to wherever you want to go.

Of course, everyone’s situation is different. If you fly every week and live near a Southwest or United hub, you’ll obviously want to get those cards first.

Consider Product Changes

It’s generally easy to upgrade or downgrade within the same family of cards; just make sure your change will trigger a soft rather than a hard pull. If you’re close to going under 5/24, think about enhancing what’s already in your wallet rather than filing a new application.

Don’t Forget About Business Cards

Chase (and most other) business cards don’t count against your 5/24 total, and you don’t have to be Warren Buffet to apply for one. If you detail cars, run a babysitting service or buy and sell stuff on the internet, you’re probably eligible.

Often, banks don’t even require that your business will be off the ground, so you can use the card to buy needed equipment or supplies. Just answer the questions honestly when you apply. Learn more about the best Chase business credit cards.

How to Avoid Shutdown: 5/24 Cautions and Chase Best Practices

There are increasing reports of Chase suddenly closing all of someone’s accounts. The 5/24 Rule was originally devised to guard against churners. But, there’s an entire range of suspicious activity that can get you in trouble. The most obvious examples are:

  • Manufactured spending
  • Buying or selling points or miles
  • Cycling payments (spending up to the limit on one or more cards, paying off the balances within a 30-day cycle, then repeating the process)
  • Making multiple payments within a billing cycle from multiple sources
  • Opening too many accounts too quickly
  • Filing too many new applications too quickly
  • A sudden burst of spending on high-ticket items
  • Too many convenience checks and/or cash advances.

Banks aren’t just trying to avoid giving you too many points or miles. They’re looking to insulate themselves from fraud and large financial losses.

In the credit card universe, the most common one is the “bust-out”, or someone who accumulates a large amount of available credit, suddenly spends it all without making any payments, then disappears. Any of the behaviors described above could make you appear to fit that pattern.

Chase doesn’t have a formal limit on how many cards they’ll give you. Instead, they tend to look at the total amount of your available credit relative to your income. If you make $60,000 per year and have access to more than $100,000 in credit, you might be a candidate for a shutdown.

Guide to Chase 5/24 Rule Conclusion

In the end, the rules for being a valued Chase customer are pretty much the same as any other bank:

  • Don’t game and abuse the system to stack up bonuses
  • Don’t engage in shady practices
  • Pay your bills on time
  • Use credit wisely
  • Don’t get greedy

By following those guidelines, you can help your chances of getting approved for the credit cards you want. You’ll also open up yourself to more options.

 

guide to chase 5/24 rule
Use this Guide to Chase 5/24 rule to help you strategize your travel. Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger from Pexels

Chase 5/24 Rule and The Credit Cards Under It

If you maximize the best travel credit cards, then you have probably heard of Chase’s 5/24 rule. Since Chase has a large suite of great travel credit card products, you will want to know which Chase credit cards fall under the 5/24 rule and which cards don’t. This way, you can plan your credit card strategy.

What is the Chase 5/24 Rule?

If you’re unfamiliar with the Chase 5/24 rule, let’s get up to speed.

On select Chase credit cards, Chase will deny your application if you have been approved for at least five or more credit cards, from any issuing bank (not just Chase), in the past 24 months (i.e. 5 cards in 24 months). Chase introduced this rule a few years ago to prevent people from signing up for a bunch of bonus offers then closing the accounts. Hence, the origins of the 5/24 rule.

The 5/24 rule also applies to cards where you are listed as an authorized user.

Chase does not provide a list of cards that fall under the 5/24 rule. However, there are enough reports from consumers that give an idea of the cards that Chase deems eligible for the 5/24 rule.

Remember, it doesn’t matter who issued your five credit cards. They can all be Chase credit cards, all non-Chase credit cards, or a combination of the two.

Some of the Chase Cards Under 5/24

As mentioned previously, Chase does not officially endorse or announce this list. However, given consumer reports and information, it is believed that Chase enforces the 5/24 rule for the following cards:

  • Chase Slate® credit card
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • United Club℠ Card
  • United℠ Explorer Card
  • United℠ Explorer Business Card
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card
  • Chase Freedom®
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  • Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
  • Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

The list is not comprehensive and is subject to change.

When the Chase 5/24 rule was first implemented, it only applied to the Chase Freedom, Ink, Sapphire, and Slate families. In 2016, it was expanded to a number of co-branded travel rewards cards including the Southwest Airlines and Marriott credit cards.

TIP: If you’re new to travel credit cards and haven’t applied for more than 5+ credit cards in the last 24 months, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred. The Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits include travel protections and the ability to transfer points to travel partners. Because of this, the Preferred is generally considered to be one of the best travel credit cards 2019.

If you want one of the Chase cards listed above, you will need to wait until you meet the 5/24 requirements on Chase credit cards if you don’t already.

Best Non 5/24 Credit Cards

If you don’t want to wait for your credit card application to drop off your credit report, you can apply for one of these credit cards and not worry about the 5/24 rule.

Editor’s Update: The credit cards listed below used to be exceptions to the Chase 5/24 rule. However, multiple consumer reports have concluded that all Chase credit cards are subject to the rule, including the cards listed below. You can read more about this towards the end of the article.

IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Yes, this is a Chase card. It’s important to mention that this card has been recently reported to be part of 5/24. But, The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is one of the best hotel rewards cards. Here are a few reasons why it’s worth your consideration:

  • One free hotel night every account anniversary year at any eligible IHG property worldwide
  • Automatic Platinum Elite membership status (room upgrades, 10% redemption bonus, etc.)
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee reimbursement
  • No foreign transaction fees

The annual free night certificate easily pays for the $89 annual fee. Rewards nights start at 5,000 points with the IHG PointBreaks program that can allow you to stay at many Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Candlewood Suites, and Crowne Plaza locations all across the globe.

New cardholders can also earn 80,000 points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. You will earn 25x points per $1 spent at IHG properties. You will also earn 2x points at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants and 1 point per $1 on everything else.

British Airways Visa

The British Airways Visa is one of the best airline rewards cards you can own. Redemption options:

  • One-way American Airlines flights start at 7,500 Avios plus $5 for economy flights within the continental U.S.
  • A round-trip economy ticket on American or Alaska Airlines only costs 25,000 Avios plus $10 to Hawaii from the U.S. west coast.
  • International short-haul flights start at 4,000 Avios in Europe and Asia.

While there are many ways you can redeem British Airways Avios, the three above options will help you avoid those hefty fuel surcharges that negate the “free” cost of an award ticket.

You will also earn 3 Avios per $1 on British Airways purchases and one Avios for all other purchases. After spending $30,000 each year on your British Airways credit card, you will also Travel Together ticket that allows your travel companion to only fly for the cost of taxes and fees for the next two years in economy or first class!

Learn more: Airline Credit Cards

The World of Hyatt Credit Card

Some of the most valuable hotel points are from the World of Hyatt. Free hotel nights start at 5,000 points for many hotels and max out at 30,000 points for a Category 7 standard room. Several hotel programs require 20,000 to 30,000 points for a mid-level hotel category.

The World of Hyatt Credit Card lets you tap into this lucrative loyalty program and immediately enjoy the following benefits:

  • One free anniversary night at any category 1-4 Hyatt property
  • Automatic Discoverist status (10% travel bonus and late checkout, etc.)
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • 9 points total for Hyatt stays (4 points per $1 spent with Hyatt, including participating restaurants and Exhale locations, plus 5 points per eligible $1 spent you can earn as a World of Hyatt member)
  • Earn 2 points on dining, airline tickets purchased directly with the airline, fitness and gym memberships, and local transit and commuting
  • You will earn 1 point per $1 for all other eligible purchases

The sign-up bonus for the Chase World of Hyatt credit card is the ability to earn 50,000 points. New cardholders can earn 25,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Then they’ll earn an additional 25,000 points after spending $6,000 total on purchases within the first 6 months of account opening.

Your 50,000 bonus points can be redeemed for ten free nights.

Learn more: Hotel Rewards Credit Cards

The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card

The Ritz-Carlton Credit Card is no longer accepting new applications. However, some Chase cardholders may be able to do a product change to this card so long as they’ve had another personal Chase card for at least a year. This is a good alternative to the Chase Sapphire Reserve (subject to the 5/24 rule) if you want a premium travel credit card and also enjoy staying at Ritz-Carlton, Marriott, and SPG properties.

As an upscale travel rewards card, you will definitely be pampered with the below travel benefits:

  • $300 Annual Travel Credit for qualifying airline purchases (call 1-855-896-2222 after using your card to get the credit)
  • Priority Pass airport lounge benefits
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee reimbursement
  • $100 airfare discount on multi-passenger airline ticket purchases that can be used multiple times
  • Earn 6x points per $1 spent at over 6,900 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels worldwide
  • Earn 2x points per $1 spent on dining, car rentals and airline purchases
  • All remaining purchases earn 2x points per $1 spent

While you won’t earn the highly-coveted Chase Ultimate Rewards points as you will with the Sapphire Reserve, you do get to enjoy many of the same travel benefits that can easily justify the annual fee. And, the $100 discount on multi-passenger fares can also offset the lack of Ultimate Rewards points.

If you regularly stay at Ritz-Carlton, Marriott, or Starwood properties, your purchase rewards can easily give you free hotel nights each time you travel.

Alternative Options

While it now appears that all Chase credit cards are subject to the Chase 5/24 rules, there are a few other options worth mentioning. For one, some business credit cards (excluding Chase business credit cards) will not count against an individual’s personal credit report. This is because some business credit card applications do not get reported to personal credit bureaus, depending on the credit card issuer.

Issuers that do not report business credit cards to personal bureaus include:

  • American Express
  • Citi
  • Bank of America
  • Wells Fargo
  • Barclay’s
  • U.S. Bank
  • Chase (While applying, you are subject to 5/24 but if approved, 5/24 does not apply since Chase isn’t reporting to a personal credit bureau.)

Debit cards also won’t count against you. Loans also shouldn’t be applicable to the Chase 5/24 rule. However, some users have said student loans do affect you.

You can also try going into a Chase branch and seeing if you can get approved for an offer there.

Summary on Best Non 5/24 Chase Credit Cards

These non 5/24 Chase credit cards will complement your existing credit card portfolio. It doesn’t matter if you own a Chase Sapphire Preferred that already earns Ultimate Rewards and you want to build your balance for a particular program or you are looking to own your first Chase credit card. All of these cards will help you quickly accumulate rewards points that will help you earn free nights and flights sooner.

Chase 5/24 Rule and Business Credit Cards

If you’re in the miles and points space one thing you need to know is the Chase “5/24” rule: for most Chase credit cards, a new application will not be approved if the applicant has opened more than 5 new credit cards (from any bank) in the 24 months prior to their application.

If you apply for a card and are denied for this reason, no amount of pleading with the bank will get your application approved.

The 5/24 rule applies to most of the most attractive Chase cards, including all of the credit cards linked to the Chase Ultimate Rewards program (Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, Ink Cash, Ink Preferred), all of their United Airlines and Southwest Airlines cards, the Marriott Bonvoy personal credit card, and the Slate card.

What options do I have?

While this is a barrier for those who have been signing up for credit card bonuses for a long time – and those who want to get started doing so – it’s still possible to open new credit cards without running afoul of this rule.

That’s because Chase calculates your 5/24 status based on your personal credit report, and there’s one useful category of credit cards that don’t (usually) appear there: business credit cards.

Small business cards from most major banks (including American Express, Bank of America, Chase, and Citi) do not appear on your personal credit report (unless you default), and will not be considered by Chase when considering your eligibility under this rule (even though Chase obviously knows what Chase accounts you have open).

This means that you could potentially have opened business credit cards in the past 24 months and still get approved for a new Chase credit card that is subject to the 5/24 rule, since those accounts will not appear on your personal credit report to be counted against you. Note that business cards from some banks – most notably Capital One – do show up on your personal credit report.

Business Cards for Consideration

Several banks have small business credit cards that are attractive to people interested in earning miles and points.

Learn more: Business Credit Cards

Business Credit Cards Aren’t Just for Business Owners

Even if you don’t consider yourself a small business owner, you might qualify for a small business credit card. Common examples of small businesses include working as an independent contractor (including “gig economy” jobs like driving for a ride-sharing service or a delivery app), selling household goods on Amazon, eBay, or Craigslist, or writing a blog.

You typically don’t have to have an Employer Identification Number (EIN) issued by the IRS (though if you do, it’s free and fast to obtain online). The IRS and banks have different definitions of what’s considered a business. Just make sure that you tell the truth to the banks about your current and/or anticipated income, and report all your income to the IRS (whether as a small business or as “hobby income”).

Here’s the bottom line: most banks’ small business credit cards don’t count against Chase’s 5/24 rule. This means if you’ve got a Chase card in mind that you can’t get because of 5/24, you can open a business card now (if you’re eligible), and they won’t count against you when you want to apply for a Chase credit card later. 

The Latest Chase 5/24 Rule Changes to Look Out For

It appears that the Chase 5/24 rule is changing yet again. Before you apply for your next credit card, you need to read these rules. As you’ll see, it’s becoming more difficult to apply for your next card.

Chase has been making positive headlines recently with contactless payments. But, this 5/24 rule change hasn’t been receiving the same amount of publicity.

What is the “New” Chase 5/24 Rule?

The core Chase 5/24 rule remains intact: Your application for select Chase credit cards is declined when you have applied or been listed as an authorized user for 5 or more credit cards in the most recent 24 months.

What’s changing is which Chase credit cards fall under the Chase 5/24 rule.

It now appears that most co-branded Chase credit cards are now subject to the Chase 5/24 rule. Since the 5/24 Rule is an “open secret” that Chase doesn’t officially publicize, this information comes from other card applicants sharing their experiences.

Since mid-November 2018, applicants report being denied for these co-brand Chase credit cards:

  • Aer Lingus Visa Signature
  • British Airways Credit Card
  • IHG Rewards Club Premier
  • World of Hyatt Credit Card

While we’re still waiting for the smoke to settle, it appears that the 5/24 rule now applies to most (if not all) of the co-brand travel rewards credit cards. But, does this rule change affect how you plan on earning future travel rewards?

Before this change, the 5/24 rule only applied to the co-brand Marriott Rewards, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines credit cards. It also applied to all of the Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card families:

Although you may have to sit on the sidelines for a few months until you become “4/24,” Chase can extend a preapproved offer. If so, this offer supersedes the 5/24 policy and your approval odds are high.

Other Chase Credit Card Application Rules

For many, Chase offers the best travel rewards cards. After all, Ultimate Rewards points are very valuable. Plus, they have some tempting co-brand partnerships too. Besides the 5/24 rule, Chase also has a few other application guidelines you must heed.

Don’t Apply for Two Chase Cards in One Day

Some people report having success with applying for two separate Chase credit cards in one day. Their approval odds are best when they receive instant approval for their first application. In general, it’s best to only apply for one credit card per calendar day.

Some Signup Bonuses Are Restricted

While Chase lets returning card owners earn a signup bonus a second time after waiting 24 months from canceling their product, some cards have a few more restrictions.

The most notable is the Chase Sapphire and Southwest Airlines card families. You can’t earn the bonus on a new card if you already own one of the other cards in the family. If you currently own the Sapphire Reserve, you won’t qualify for the 60,000-point bonus offer if you get a Sapphire Preferred.

For the Sapphire credit cards, the signup bonus restriction goes one step further. You only qualify for a repeat bonus offer if it’s been 48 months (yes, 4 years) since you last received a Sapphire card bonus.

Other Options to Avoid the Chase 5/24 Rule

If your eyes are set on getting a Chase credit card, your best option is waiting for your oldest application to drop off your report.

When you can’t wait that long, the 5/24 rule only applies to Chase credit cards. Other banks have different approval policies than Chase. American Express, Capital One, and Bank of America are more flexible with recent applications.

The Bank of America might be the next most stringent that only lets you apply for up to four B of A credit cards in the most recent 24 months. But, you can still apply for multiple non-Bank of America cards in the same 24 month period and not jeopardize your approval odds.

Instead of applying for the Sapphire Reserve, you might get the Platinum Card from American Express instead. And, the American Express Gold or Capital One Venture Rewards in lieu of the Sapphire Preferred (read our Capital One Venture Rewards vs Chase Sapphire Preferred post here). These three alternatives all earn bonus points on travel and have point transfer partners.

Depending on which airline and hotel transfer partners you like, these flexible travel credit cards might be their partner. Also, you can redeem your points through the award travel portal too. This might not be as good as owning a co-brand card or earning Ultimate Rewards points, but you’re at least able to earn and redeem travel rewards points.

To get an idea of what Chase alternatives there are, take a look at the best credit card offers July 2019.

Summary 0f the New Chase 5/24 Rule

It now appears that the Chase 5/24 rule applies to all co-branded travel rewards credit cards. You must now wait for old credit card applications to drop off your report before you apply. Or, you can consider alternate credit cards if your current card portfolio simply isn’t doing the job.

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Mark Spivak

The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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