The Latest on Chase’s 5/24 Rules for Getting Rewards Credit Cards

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May 4th is Star Wars Day (“May the Fourth Be With You”). Later this month, May 24th, is Chase Day because of the importance of 5/24 in whether you’ll be approved for a rewards credit card. In most cases you can only get approved if you’ve had fewer than 5 new credit card accounts in the last 24 months.

I’ve talked about this guideline in the past. If you’re already an expert on this, stop here, but 5/24 is important enough in signing up for credit cards and there are enough new readers that it is worth going over.

Chase counts all of your recent card applications that they can see — not just applications for Chase cards. Cards you aren’t approved for don’t count — it’s new accounts, not applications, that they’re looking at. Authorized user cards that report on your credit do count as well, although some readers have told me they’ve been able to appeal this with a representative if they’ve been denied for a card.

Since many issuers do not report small business cards to your personal credit those will not add to your 5/24 total. (Capital One is a major exception to this, their small business cards do report and therefore count in your total.)

Why Chase Excludes Customers With 5 or More New Recent Card Signups From Some Cards

Chase is spending a lot to acquire customers. They only make money on customers who use their products over time. In some cases they’re said to need to hold onto a customer more than 6 years before they turn profitable. So they want to avoid people who switch cards, and one way to distinguish profitable from unprofitable customers is to exclude people signing up for several cards in a short period of time. They believe they’re losing only a small percentage of potential customers, while avoiding the bulk of costly customers who never become profitable for the bank.

Other issuers take different approaches, Citi won’t give bonuses to people who have opened or closed the same card within 24 months and now apply the ‘same card’ rule to mean ‘same family of cards’ (if you get the American AAdvantage standard personal card they aren’t going to give you a bonus on a premium $450 ‘Executive’ card, but they will give you the business card’s initial bonus.

American Express will only give you the signup bonus on any given card one time — although if they no longer ‘remember’ you’ve had a product they’ll repeat a bonus. Some people seem to find that a card drops off after around seven years, in either case you can ask American Express what cards they show you as having previously signed up for.

5/24 is Bad for Chase’s Travel Partners

The idea here is Chase does not want to invest a costly signup bonus on someone who is moving from card to card. They only make their money back acquiring a customer if that customer keeps the card and uses it over time.

However this is a fairly blunt instrument.

  • It means there are Marriott ‘Ambassador’ members who spend over 100 nights and $20,000 with the chain, with perfectly good credit, who want to carry the brand in their wallet. They apply for the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card and get rejected.

  • It means there are United Global Services members spending over $50,000 a year with the airline who want the United co-brand — which is a pre-requisite for getting upgraded on domestic award tickets — and who get declined.

Meanwhile I think that The World Of Hyatt Credit Card is a fantastic card. But the market for the Hyatt card is relatively narrow. Hyatt has a limited footprint. They have the best elite program if their hotel locations works for you. Most people with a Hyatt card aren’t going to just have a Hyatt card. As a result 5/24 seems disproportionately likely to keep the bank from building its Hyatt portfolio.

American Express has a better approach. They only allow one initial bonus per card in a lifetime (lifetime being as long as their records reflect you’ve had the card before). More recently they’ve added additional unpublished hurdles where they decide you may or may not be eligible for a bonus. But they tell you in advance during the application process whether or not they’ll give you that bonus. They let you apply, and will approve you for the card, either way.

In contrast Chase won’t give you the card at all if you’re at 5/24. Chase ought to follow the American Express lead here and at least be willing to approve customers for their cards, albeit without a bonus. That has largely upside — a customer getting a card without bonus is likely to keep the card and likely to use it, and it’s less expensive to acquire that customer.

Of course that would take a focus and investment at Chase in creating the separate approval path, and they haven’t shown any inclination to do that. Co-brand partners like United and Marriott should be pushing them to do so.

What Cards Does 5/24 Apply To?

Chase’s 5/24 started out with their own Ultimate Rewards cards and expanded to some of their travel partner cards – personal cards from their largest portfolios saw the restrictions first. I broke the news last summer that Chase planned to expand 5/24 to encompass effectively all of their rewards cards.

Since last fall all Chase cards you can currently apply for have become subject to 5/24.

Are There Exceptions to 5/24?

When you log into your account and see ‘your offers’ on the left hand menu bar, if you are shown “Selected For You” offers with a green check mark then Chase is specifically targeting you for a card and reports are that 5/24 will not apply.

If you apply in-branch for a business card with a business relationship manager using a paper application, reports are that 5/24 will not apply.

And sometimes — rarely, admittedly, but sometimes — there are reports of customers who are at or above 5/24 being approved for cards anyway.

The Order to Apply for Cards In Because of 5/24

Now that 5/24 appears to have expanded to more cards the strategy over ‘which cards to get first’ is, I think, as follows:

  • If you’re under 5/24, start with Chase business cards. While they are subject to 5/24 (you need to have fewer than 5 new card approvals in the last 24 months to be approved) they do not seem to increase your total (if you’re at 3/24 and get a new Chase business card you stay at 3/24).

    The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card has the best new cardmember bonus in the market in my opinion offering 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

  • Get other business cards first. The CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® with its B>70,000 mile initial bonus after spending $4,000 within the first 4 months of account opening and $0 annual fee the first year (then $99) won’t increase your 5/24 total. Neither will the Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express which earns 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar on your first $50,000 in purchases per year and is the best most rewarding card for otherwise-unbonused spend. (Capital One business cards report to your personal credit so increase your 5/24 total.)


American Airlines Boeing 787-9 Business Class

If you’re under 5/24 and want a Chase personal card my recommendation is the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

  1. It has a great initial bonus at 60,000 points after $4000 spend within 3 months.

  2. It’s easier to get approved for than Sapphire Reserve.

  3. Points transfer to United, British Airways, Southwest, JetBlue, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Air France KLM, Hyatt, Marriott and IHG.

  4. You can request to product change after that year to a Sapphire Reserve (in my experience the easiest path to getting one) or to a no annual fee Freedom or Freedom Unlimited card. Having a card that can be product changed is useful given Chase’s restrictions on getting approved for new card accounts.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

Comments

  1. Also beware that card APPROVALS count as 5/24 at Chase even if the card was not issued. I applied for a Alaska airlines card and a week later was told to just reapply for the Alaska card with the better bonus. Since both cards were approved, both counted against the Chase 5/24 rule even though only the second card was issued. I was unsuccessful challenging Chase that I was only at 4/25 when I applied for a new Chase card.
    Do not add another authorized card user to your account or that user also is recognized under the 5/24 rule.
    If you are denied initially and you are sure you are under 5/24 ask for a supervisor as only they can inquire to find out if all cards reported are under your SS# are primary vs an authorized user.
    The Experian report does not indicate any difference between the two so the credit analyst assumes the worst.

  2. >>It means there are United Global Services members spending over $50,000 a year with the airline who want the United co-brand — which is a pre-requisite for getting upgraded on domestic award tickets — and who get declined.<<

    GS members can use instruments (RPUs and GPUs) on award travel. and often will get CPUs on award travel, as well. so the card is not a "prerequisite" for getting upgraded on domestic award tickets… for GS members. but the underlying point – denying cards to the cobranded card's best customers – is valid.

  3. Actually, when I was 1K and spending $35k/year on UA, I was really annoyed that I couldn’t get the United MileagePlus card — mainly for the CPUs on award tickets.

    But now that I’m GS, I get CPUs on award tickets — something I hadn’t realized was a benefit of GS — so I’ve stopped wanting the card since I put all my airfare spend on the Amex Plat.

  4. I spend 6 figures a year with Amex across personal & biz cards. Zero with Chase since I can’t get approved for any if their cards. The only Chase transfer partner worth anything is Hyatt & I would love Amex to swoop in & steal them away the next time the contract’s up. Wishful thinking probably.

  5. @ Gary — What Parts Unknown said….Chase gets very little business from us. AMEX gets 6 figures. Maybe Chase should rethink their stupid policy.

  6. Gary,

    Chase is getting around this by increasing the amount of offers it is pushing to its own customers. I’ve seen an uptick in these offers and was recently approved for two Chase cards as a result after being well over 5/24. I am now shifting a lot more spending towards Chase this year (Freedom Unlimited 3x Bonus)…

  7. Chase Private Bankers have no problem bypassing 5/24 for customers with IRA or other accounts with substantial balances.

    If you don’t want to be viewed as a churner simply apply for 2-3 personal cards annually on the same date. This will maximize your apps without hitting 5/24.

  8. Readers also need to know that per the “application not approved” letter my DW recently received from Chase, even if you are within the 5/24 rule, Chase will not – at least with the Sapphire Card – approve you for the card if you have received a bonus from a Sapphire card within the past 48 months of applying. I was not aware of this when I had my DW apply -gulp!

  9. Typo: “If you apply in-brand for a business card with a business relationship manager”

    I think you meant “if you apply in-BRANCH…”

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