Chase 5/24 Rule: Guide to a Chase Credit Card Strategy

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A Guide to the Chase 5/24 Rule
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I’m a huge proponent of travel hacking, and Chase has the best travel credit cards with the best signup bonuses. But to get the most out of those lucrative signup bonuses and 1:1 transfers to its many travel partners, you must know about the Chase 5/24 rule and the lesser-known Chase 2/30 rule.

So what is the 5/24 rule? It’s just one of the Chase credit card rules that disallows you to sign up for more than five credit cards in 24 months. That doesn’t just apply to Chase credit cards, such as the Sapphire Reserve or Sapphire Preferred, which are arguably the best travel credit cards for travel due to the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

I churn travel credit cards to get those lucrative sign-up bonuses, and you may want to as well if you want free travel and are responsible about paying your bills on time.

That brings up a key point: If you can’t pay off 100 percent of your credit card bill each month, you don’t need another credit card and shouldn’t be worrying about the Chase credit card rules!!!

Sometimes I keep the credit cards for years. Sometimes I cancel them before the second year’s annual fee is due. Whichever I choose, I tend to look at Chase credit cards first because of the amazing transfer benefits they have with airlines and hotels.

With my Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card, I can instantly transfer my Chase Ultimate Rewards points 1 to 1 (meaning I get 1 point from the partner for every 1 Chase point) to 10 different airline partners for free flights or three different hotel partners for free rooms. I also have Chase’s Southwest Airlines and Marriott cards, so I can essentially double-dip points with both partners.

Since Chase cards are so lucrative, many people seek them out and apply to as many as possible — only to be denied after they’ve hit the accepted threshold of credit cards. That accepted threshold is better known as the Chase 5/24 rule. This is the ultimate guide to navigating the Chase 5/24 rule and the lesser-known Chase 2/30 rule.

What Is the 5/24 Rule?

The Chase 5/24 rule is simple, straightforward and easy to navigate if you know what you’re doing and don’t try anything too fancy. It just means you cannot open more than five credit cards within a consecutive 24-month time span — whether they come from Chase or not.

If you’ve already applied for five credit cards within 24 months and then apply to a Chase card, you’ll get automatically denied. Even if you have perfect credit and make $900 million per year (kudos to you), you’ll be denied a Chase card.

That goes for authorized users, too.

Once you become an authorized user on someone else’s credit card (albeit your mom, dad, husband, wife, or the ill-advised boyfriend/girlfriend duo), that counts as one credit card in your name. That goes for any credit cards because it counts against your credit as a hard inquiry.

Let me give you a real-life example of the Chase 5/24 rule in action. Let’s say you have perfect credit, make a solid six figures a year and are on the hunt for credit cards. So let’s say you apply for the following cards on the aforementioned dates:

  1. Chase Sapphire Preferred on 7/1/2019 (Approved)
  2. Random Discover Credit Card on 9/1/2019 (Approved)
  3. Chase United Explorer Card on 12/1/2019 (Approved)
  4. Random American Express credit card on 5/1/2020 (Approved)
  5. Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless on 12/1/2020 (Approved)

That’s five credit cards in 17 months. Therefore, you cannot get another Chase credit card until 8/1/2021. This only counts for Chase credit cards, so you may still be able to get an AMEX, Discover or another card. But that would be six credit cards on your 24-month credit history. You’d then have to wait until two cards drop off (leaving four credit cards on your 24-month credit history) before you can successfully get another Chase credit card.

You can apply, but you get automatically denied and you’ll still receive a hard inquiry posted to your credit history, which isn’t good for your credit.

Let’s look at another real-life example if you already have five credit cards on your history and then apply for another Chase card:

  1. Chase Sapphire Preferred on 7/1/2019 (Approved)
  2. Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority on 9/1/2019 (Approved)
  3. Chase United Explorer Card on 12/1/2019 (Approved)
  4. American Express Hilton Honors on 2/1/2020 (Approved)
  5. Discover It Miles on 3/1/2020  (Approved)
  6. Chase British Airways Visa Signature on 5/1/2020 (Automatically Denied)
  7. Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless on 12/1/2020 (Automatically Denied)

No matter what, you’ll get denied for those final two credit cards. Period. End of story. So don’t even try. There are a few loopholes, though. You could apply for five Chase credit cards in a row and then apply for the Amex and Discover cards to get approved for all seven.

But that means you wouldn’t be able to get a new Chase credit card until the third credit card (Chase United Explorer) falls off your 24-month credit history. So you wouldn’t be able to get a new Chase credit card until 1/1/2022. Make sense?

Let’s take a look at a real-life example of what that potentially looks like:

  1. Chase Sapphire Preferred on 7/1/2019 (Approved)
  2. Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority on 9/1/2019 (Approved)
  3. Chase United Explorer Card on 12/1/2019 (Approved)
  4. Chase British Airways Visa Signature on 2/1/2020 (Approved)
  5. Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless on 3/1/2020  (Approved)
  6. American Express Hilton Honors on 5/1/2020 (Approved)
  7. Discover It Miles on 12/1/2020 (Approved)
  8. Chase Credit Card on 8/1/2021 (Denied)
  9. Chase Credit Card on 1/2/2022 (Approved because two cards are out of the 24-month range)

In that instance, the last five credit cards you were approved for all count against the Chase 5/24 rule. So your new 24-month time span would begin after the initial two credit cards fall off your 24-month credit history on 12/1/2019.

One of the main reasons that Chase does this is because people who get more than five credit cards within a consecutive 24-month timeframe are statistically more likely to file for bankruptcy within their lifetime.

That makes a ton of sense to me, especially since the average American household had $8,284 in credit card debt at the end of 2018. Now let’s take a look at the lesser-known 2/30 rule.

Understanding the Chase 2/30 Rule

So the Chase 2/30 rule is much lesser-known. The gist of the Chase 2/30 rule is that you can only get approved for two personal Chase credit cards or one business card within a 30 days.

So, if you apply for three personal Chase credit cards — on the 1st of the month, 17th or the month and the 30th of the month — you will get automatically denied for the third card. There are some instances of customers being denied a second personal card within the 30-day timeframe, so proceed with caution.

If you’re a business owner, you cannot get approved for more than one business credit card within a 30-day timeframe.

My advice would be to separate each application by at least 35 days from the date of approval. That way you know you’re not going to get nicked by the Chase 2/30 rule for applying for too many cards within a 30 days. So if you apply for a card on January 15th and get approved on January 21st, wait until February 26th to apply for another card.

Which Chase Cards Are 5/24?

Chase has so many credit cards that it’s impossible to figure out which do and don’t qualify for the 5/24 rule. A hard-and-fast personal rule is to assume every Chase credit card falls under the 5/24 rule and 2/30 rule. If you assume this, you’ll never get denied for a Chase credit card!

Chase 5/24 Rule Exceptions

So there are some exceptions to the Chase 5/24 rule floating around out there. Some cards, such as the Amazon Rewards and Disney Visas (to name a few), are allegedly exempt from the Chase 5/24 rule. The best way to figure out if a card qualifies for a Chase 5/24 rule exception is to call the nice people at Chase before you apply for a new card and confirm with them if you’d be able to get another Chase card at that time.

Additionally, Opening a new checking or savings account or personal lines of credit like an auto loan are Chase 5/24 rule exceptions, as they don’t count against the total number cards you’re allowed to apply for.

How Many Chase Credit Cards Can You Have?

There is no universal hard limit on the number of Chase credit cards an individual can have. People with excellent credit who always pay their bills on time may be able to open every single Chase credit card on record (you’d never want to do that). While someone who has missed a few payments in the past may be limited to three or four Chase credit cards at a single time. I have four Chase credit cards in my wallet right now.

I love Chase credit cards because the sign-up bonuses are great, the partners are even better and the points transfer 1:1 to those partners. So if I find a Southwest Airlines flight for 10,000 points, I can transfer 10,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to my Southwest account and book that flight for free using points.

The Ultimate Chase 5/24 Rule Strategy

The ultimate Chase 5/24 rule strategy begins with a plan (and a spreadsheet). I have a spreadsheet with every card I’ve applied for, the inquiry date, inquiry drop-off date, yearly fee, perks and sign-up bonus. I suggest you create something similar if you’re a travel hacker like myself.

Every single credit card I’ve ever applied for is on this sheet — and there are a handful of cards I’m going to apply for with dates I can successfully apply for them! This also helps me keep track of sign-up bonuses.

For example, I added the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card to the list about six months before I got it. It was offering a 40,000-point sign-up bonus at the time. When I signed up, I got 30,000 points and a companion pass for the remainder of the year (way better value than 40,000 points flat — if you have people to travel with — especially since I got the pass in February).

So the point is to get yourself a spreadsheet and map out which cards (perks) you want. Each year I typically get an airline credit card and a hotel credit card. That way I can be loyal to each company for an entire year and get a few completely free trips out of the signup bonuses. Be smart, pay your credit card bills on time and enjoy all the free travel coming your way!


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