Chase has some of the most attractive rewards credit cards in the industry. Some consumers try to maximize their rewards…
Chase has some of the most attractive rewards credit cards in the industry. Some consumers try to maximize their rewards by applying for multiple credit cards in a short period of time, which can be unprofitable for the bank. To minimize this behavior, the bank created a rule that limits how many new cards you can get within a two-year period. Here’s what you should know about the Chase 5/24 Rule and how it affects your credit card rewards strategy.
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What Is the Chase 5/24 Rule?
The Chase 5/24 Rule is an unwritten but well-established rule that prohibits you from getting a new Chase credit card if you’ve opened five or more credit cards in the last 24 months. Chase counts credit cards opened from all banks. In many cases, Chase also includes cards where you are an authorized user.
Chase confirmed the rule. “If you’ve opened more than five credit cards — regardless of issuer — in the last two years you will likely not be approved for a new account,” according to a statement from Chase.
The 5/24 Rule is one of the most restrictive credit card application rules because it factors in your cards from any bank, not just Chase. Most other bank application rules focus on how many applications you’ve made for your own cards.
Because of this rule, many credit card experts recommend applying for Chase credit cards first before those from other banks. This increases the chance of getting approved before you exceed the five-credit-card maximum.
[Read: Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards.]
Why Does the Chase 5/24 Rule Exist?
Chase created the 5/24 Rule because many cardholders were applying for multiple cards in a short period of time to get the welcome bonuses, then closing the cards shortly thereafter. Welcome bonuses offered by Chase and other banks can be lucrative for consumers but cost the banks money upfront as they try to create long-lasting relationships with cardholders.
Dave Grossman, a loyalty program consultant from MilesTalk.com, says, “Chase has never formally talked about the 5/24 Rule. But the assumption in the community is that this rule exists as a way to guard against credit card churners.”
Banks make money from annual fees, credit card interchange revenue, interest payments and other fees, like over-the-limit and late payment fees. While this revenue can be substantial, for the average cardholder it can take a few years before that revenue offsets the welcome bonus received in the first year.
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What Cards Are on the 5/24 List?
The list of Chase credit cards on the 5/24 list has gradually expanded, and now all Chase personal and business credit cards are on it. This includes some of the most popular Chase credit cards like:
— Chase Sapphire Reserve.
— Chase Sapphire Preferred.
— Chase Freedom Unlimited.
— Marriott Bonvoy Boundless.
— Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority.
— United Explorer.
— Ink Business Unlimited.
In the card-churning community, there have been recent anecdotal reports of some people qualifying for select new cards when they already have five or more open cards. “As of a few months ago, we’ve seen reports of the Marriott Bonvoy, United and Southwest credit cards bypassing the rule,” Grossman says.
While you can always apply for a new Chase card even if you’ve opened five or more cards in the past two years, know that your likelihood of approval goes down significantly.
How Do You Check Your Chase 5/24 Rule Status?
Before applying for a Chase credit card, it helps to know what your Chase 5/24 status is so that you don’t get a credit inquiry on your report while also getting declined by the bank.
Shawn Coomer, founder and credit card expert at MilesToMemories.com, says, “The best way to track 5/24 is to check your credit report. Many services provide a copy of your credit report for free, and you can track your status by looking at the account opening dates.”
Here’s how to check your 5/24 status:
— Get a free copy of your credit report. AnnualCreditReport.com offers one free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus each week through 2022 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Because not all credit cards report to all bureaus, it is wise to check all three to get an accurate count.
— Count your new credit cards from the past 24 months. On your credit report, the credit card issuer should report the open date for your card. If the date is within the last two years, count it. Some issuers report to the bureaus on different dates, so if there are two dates listed, use the most recent date to be safe.
— Tally your new cards. Count how many cards you’ve opened from all credit card issuers within the last 24 months. This also includes retail cards, gas cards and others.
If you’ve opened up more than five cards in the last two years, don’t give up. Once 25 months have passed, that new credit card no longer counts under the 5/24 Rule. It’s helpful to add a calendar reminder for when you can apply for new Chase credit cards.
Most business credit cards do not report to your personal credit report. However, Capital One and Discover are known to report small business credit cards on your personal credit report, so these will also count toward your Chase 5/24 Rule limit.
Are There Ways to Avoid the Chase 5/24 Rule?
While the Chase 5/24 Rule generally applies to all applicants for Chase credit cards, there may be ways to bypass the rule. These strategies don’t always work, and the best way to avoid the 5/24 Rule is to simply wait until you can qualify again. However, some people have been successful in getting approved even when they’re over 5/24.
— Work with a small business banker. Small business banks may have access to offers for business credit cards that bypass 5/24 eligibility rules. These offers vary throughout the year and are limited to select applicants. It helps to have a business relationship with Chase so that the business banker knows who you are in order to reach out when offers are available.
— Focus on credit cards from other issuers. While Chase has many attractive credit cards, it isn’t the only card issuer around. Other banks like Citibank, American Express and Capital One offer competitive credit cards. These cards typically offer similar welcome bonuses, earnings power and benefits. If you’re over 5/24, these are generally your best opportunities for additional welcome bonuses.
— Open business credit cards. One way to increase your credit and still get back under 5/24 is to apply for business cards. Coomer says that “many small business credit cards are not reported on personal credit reports. Since they do not show up on the report, they should not count towards 5/24.” Remember to avoid Capital One and Discover business cards, since those are reported to consumer credit bureaus.
Keep in mind that the inquiry for the small business credit card will still post to your credit report.
Strategies for Maximizing Your Rewards Under the Chase 5/24 Rule
It is possible to maximize the rewards you earn from your Chase credit cards while following the 5/24 Rule. Take these steps to get the largest rewards possible from your Chase cards.
— Focus on cards with the biggest bonuses. Chase offers numerous personal and small business credit cards. When choosing which cards to apply for, consider those with the largest welcome bonuses. Welcome bonuses generally offer the quickest path to a large number of points. However, keep in mind that the largest welcome bonuses often have higher minimum spending requirements.
— Apply for cards whose bonus categories align with how you spend. Take a quick inventory of how you spend your money each month. You may notice patterns of larger spending in groceries, dining, travel or other categories. Choosing a credit card that offers bonus points for those categories is an easy way to maximize rewards on your daily purchases.
— Use the Chase Trifecta to optimize your spending. Some cardholders combine the benefits of multiple cards to earn the most possible points on their spending. The Chase Trifecta strategy takes advantage of the bonus categories from multiple cards to earn the highest possible rewards on every purchase. You’ll pick two credit cards that match your highest spending categories. Then, pair those cards with a card like the Chase Freedom Unlimited, which offers at least 1.5 points per dollar on every purchase.
— Refer friends to earn additional points. Current Chase cardholders can refer friends and family to apply for Chase credit cards. If they are approved, you’ll earn a bonus. The bonuses vary by credit card. There may be a limit to the number of points you can earn per card each year. Just remember that Chase may send out a 1099-MISC form for the value of the points you’ve earned. Speak with your tax advisor about how this may affect your taxes.
— Be strategic with your applications. It pays to be strategic with your Chase applications if you want to maximize your rewards. Welcome bonuses vary throughout the year, and you don’t want to get caught with a lower-end bonus. Before applying for a card, search online to see the history of the card’s welcome bonuses. This may help you decide if you should apply now or wait.
The Bottom Line
The Chase 5/24 Rule is designed to limit credit card churners from getting too many welcome bonuses in a short period of time. Even with these restrictions, some offers let you bypass the rule if you’ve opened a number of cards recently. Additionally, it is possible to maximize your rewards by strategically opening cards with the biggest bonuses and bonus categories aligning with how you spend. For people over 5/24, ignore Chase and focus on cards from other banks, or consider opening business credit cards (if you qualify) until you’re under 5/24 again.
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