Chase makes great credit cards. The Sapphire Reserve and Preferred top just about everyone’s best travel credit card list, including mine. The Ultimate Rewards program is super-flexible, the points are uber-valuable and the cards have great earning potential. Unfortunately, Chase’s restrictive 5/24 rule can make it hard to get those great cards.
If you’re thinking about getting a Chase card, I’ve got you covered. Below is everything you need to know about the 5/24 rule. And if you’re looking for good alternatives to Chase cards, check out these suggestions.
What Is the Chase 5/24 Rule?
Simply put, Chase will not approve you for a card if you’ve opened five or more new card accounts in the last 24 months. They introduced this rule several years ago to prevent card churning.
In other words, they don’t want you to get a bunch of credit cards just for the sign-up bonuses.
The Bad News: All personal credit cards from any bank count toward your total open accounts. You can’t get around the 5/24 rule just by getting non-Chase cards.
The Good News: Some credit cards don’t count toward the 5/24 rule. There are exceptions! Don’t worry, I’ll cover those later.
It’s worth pointing out that you can still get credit cards from other banks even if you’re over five new cards in two years. Only Chase denies applications based on the 5/24 rule.
What’s the Big Deal About This Rule?
The list of Chase cards you can’t get if you’ve opened five accounts in the last two years is long. If these cards are out of your reach, you’re missing out. That’s why it’s important to understand the 5/24 rule.
These cards are subjected to the 5/24 rule:
- Ultimate Rewards Credit Cards:
- Business Ultimate Rewards Cards:
- Southwest Credit Cards:
- United Airlines Credit Cards:
- Marriott Credit Card:
If you can’t get these cards because of the 5/24 rule, here are some excellent alternatives.
Why You Want These Cards
There are a lot of reasons to want these cards. To start with, the Ultimate Rewards program is great and the points are valuable. The Sapphire cards in particular offer big sign-up bonuses worth hundreds of dollars. I couldn’t do without my Reserve card with its top-of-line perks:
- Free lounge access for me and a guest
- 50% bonus when redeeming through the Ultimate Rewards portal
- $300 travel credit annually
- Much, much more
Southwest Companion Pass
The Southwest cards are a must-have for domestic travelers for one reason: the fantastic Southwest Companion Pass. If you get two of the Southwest cards at the right time, you can get the pass with just the sign-up bonuses. That’s how I’ve done it.
With the pass, you can take a family or friend with you for free on any Southwest flight. The pass can be used unlimited times and is good for up to two years!
I’ve saved thousands on family vacations with the pass. It’s simply the best deal in award travel right now.
New Marriott Card!
The Marriott Reward Premier Plus card is brand new. As part of the release, Marriott is offering a huge 100,000-point sign-up bonus. Marriott’s reward program often flies under the radar, but it’s Hotel + Air Package deals are pretty great.
Come August when the Marriott-SPG merger is complete, you’ll be able to transfer those points to over 40 airlines. With the transfer bonus, that’s worth nearly 50,000 miles in the airline frequent flyer program of your choice!
The card also comes with a free night on every card anniversary. This card’s on my wish list.
If You’re Above 5/24
You can still get plenty of cards if you’ve opened five or more accounts in the last two years. If it’s not obvious, cards issued by banks other than Chase are not limited by this rule. Those issuers may have their own restrictions, but the 5/24 rule is just for Chase cards.
Keep in mind that those cards will count toward your 5/24 total. If you’re not worried about getting a Chase card (or already have the ones you want), then start applying for your next Amex, Citi, Capital One, Discover, Barclays or U.S. Bank card.
Otherwise, you might want to get a card that doesn’t count toward the total (more on this below).
Cards You Can Get If You’re Over the 5/24 Rule
Surprisingly, Chase issues several cards that are not subjected to the 5/24 rules. That means you can get these cards if you’ve opened five or more accounts in the last 24 months:
- Amazon Rewards Visa Signature
- Marriott Rewards Premier Business
- British Airways Visa Signature
- IHG Rewards Club Premier
- IHG Rewards Club Traveler
- Ritz-Carlton Rewards
- Hyatt Credit Card
- Iberia Visa Signature
- Aer Lingus Visa Signature
- Disney Visa
- Starbucks Rewards Visa
- Chase AARP Credit Card
While I’d pass on some of these cards, others are excellent. I have the Amazon card, for example, and you need this card if you often buy from the online retailer or Whole Foods. As a Prime member, I get 5 percent back on all of my Amazon and Whole Foods purchases.
Keep in mind that while you can still get these Chase cards if you’re over five new cards, the accounts you open still count toward your 5/24 total. So you’ll will have to wait that much longer before you can get one of the restricted Chase cards.
Exceptions to the Chase 5/24 Rule
If you’re above 5/24 and you’re waiting it out to apply for a new Chase card, you can still earn sign-up bonuses. That’s because certain cards won’t show up on your credit report. They won’t count toward your total opened accounts, making them exceptions to the rule.
Which cards can you get? Just about any small business card is safe unless it’s issued by Capital One, Discover and TD Bank. Those issuers report business cards to the credit bureaus and they will show up on your report.
Yes, I said Chase. You will have to be below 5/24 to get a Chase business card, but it won’t contribute to your total number of new accounts for future applications.
With all those issuers, there are a lot of great options to tide you over until you can get another Chase card. Bank of America issues a great Alaska Airlines business card and, as I’m sure you know, American Express has a whole lineup of excellent business cards (including the Business Gold Rewards card and the Business Platinum card).
What About Barclays Business Cards?
While most report that the cards don’t count, there are enough reports of them counting that I’d be wary of taking the chance unless I was okay with a hit to my 5/24 total. I personally haven’t applied for any of these cards for that very reason.
Almost Anyone Can Qualify for a Business Card
You might be thinking that you’d like to get one of those small business cards but you don’t run a business. You might be surprised at how easy it is to qualify for one of these cards.
If you’re like me, you probably sell some of your old stuff on eBay from time to time. If you do that a few times a year and make a few bucks, guess what? You’re a business owner. You can get a business card!
There a number of ways to qualify. Do you do a little freelancing on the side? That counts. What about a small crafts business? Or maybe a little neighborhood landscaping? It might be worth selling a few things on Etsy or Ebay just get access to these cards. Think about it.
Don’t Become an Authorized User
Becoming an authorized user on someone else’s card will look like an open account on your credit report. In other words, Chase will see it and might deny you when considering your application.
I’d avoid becoming an authorized user for this reason, but you can always call Chase and explain the situation. They may reconsider your application. I don’t think it’s worth the risk, though.
Avoid Store Cards, Too
Store cards that are part of major payment systems like Visa and MasterCard have always counted toward your total number of open accounts. But Chase is now cracking down on lesser store cards that can only be used at one merchant.
So skip that Gap card next time the sales clerk propositions you during check out.
Can I Upgrade My Card?
Upgrading or downgrading your card within the same lineup shouldn’t count as a new card account. For example, if you decide to upgrade from the Gold Delta SkyMiles card to the Platinum SkyMiles card, you should be okay.
Though unusual, some issuers will do a hard pull on your account for upgrades. If there’s a hard pull, it will appear on your credit report and Chase will likely consider it a new account. So ask the issuer if they plan to do a hard pull on your credit before you upgrade or downgrade your card.
To sum up, these cards add to your 5/24 total:
- All personal credit and charge cards
- Business cards issued by Discover, Capital One and TD Bank
- All store credit cards
What Doesn’t Count
These actions won’t impact your chances of getting a Chase card:
- Getting a business card issued by Citi, American Express, Bank of America and Chase (Barclays business cards might count)
- Upgrading or downgrading your card (but consult the issuer to be sure)
Are There Ways to Get Around the 5/24 Rule?
Chase keeps tightening the rules. There used to be a few ways to get a Chase card even if you had opened five (or more) accounts in two years. The most popular of these methods was applying after getting a pre-qualified or other special offer directly from Chase. But that doesn’t work anymore.
A few readers have reported in the past that they’ve been able to go directly into a Chase branch with one of these special offers and get approved. This won’t work now.
Asking to be pre-approved, even in a branch location, often results in the agent checking online, which will trigger the rule. They’ll know you’re over, and you won’t get a card.
If you take a chance and give this strategy a try, Chase might decide to close all of your accounts because you’ve ‘cheated’ the rules. Is it really worth it?
If you get a targeted offer online, in an email or via old-fashioned snail mail, you may still have a chance of getting a card even if you’re over the 5/24 limit. Of course, there’s no guarantee that this will work. Be sure to use your personalized invitation code, if you got one with the offer.
Call the Reconsideration Line
It’s possible that Chase made a mistake! If you’ve been denied but you don’t think you’re over the 5/24 limit, don’t be afraid to call the Chase reconsideration line.
Be sure to ask for the reasons that you’ve been denied. It’s possible that they included a card that you’re just an authorized user on by accident or have made some other error.
How to Track Your 5/24 Status
Whether you’re waiting for a card to drop off your report so you can get a new Chase card or your just not sure how many accounts you’ve opened in the last couple of years, there’s an easy way to check.
All you need to do is to take a look at your credit report. There are a variety of places that allow you to do that for free, including Credit Karma and Experian.
Once you have access to your report, just look for accounts that have been opened in the last 24 months. They should be easy to find.
While you’re looking at your report, it’s always a good idea to check it over for any errors. Make sure all of the accounts (including mortgages and car loans) are yours, and that all of your payments are current.
If you find any errors (it happens more often than you think!) report it immediately to the credit bureau that issued the credit report.
There’s No Escape!
Chase’s 5/24 rule is here to stay. You can’t escape it. Chase has even tightened the rules over time.
So it’s important to know what does and doesn’t count before you apply for a new Chase card. Check your credit report and make sure Chase won’t turn you away. There’s nothing worse than a denied application and taking a hit to your credit score for no reason.
And if you are over five new accounts in the last two years, you might want to hold off on that new card. Unless, of course, you’ve been following along and know the exceptions to the 5/24 rule. I know I’m looking forward to the day I can apply for another Chase card or two. But if you’ve given up on getting more Chase cards in the near future, there are some great alternatives from other issuers too.