The Chase “5/24” Rule

The name of the points game is to compile points in the four different credit card currencies (see page Credit Card Currencies).  However, credit card companies are wise enough to realize they need a way to limit otherwise eligible applicants from signing-up for too many cards simply for the sign-up bonuses.

For example, American Express has the most restrictive credit card sign-up policy: you are only eligible for one sign-up bonus on each card in your lifetime.  This includes the AMEX Platinum and AMEX Premier Rewards Gold cards, but also other co-branded credit cards, including the AMEX SPG, Hilton, and Delta credit cards.  You only have one shot with these credit cards, so best to use them strategically!

Chase has a different policy, but one that is a bit more vexing.  You will not be approved for most Chase-branded credit cards if you have opened five or more credit cards in the previous 24 calendar months.  This includes the following Chase cards:

  • Chase Freedom ***Use our referral link!***
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited ***Use our referral link!***
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred ***Use our referral link!***
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve ***Use our referral link!***
  • Chase Southwest Plus
  • Chase Southwest Premier
  • Chase Marriott Premier
  • Chase United MileagePlus Explorer
  • Chase United MileagePlus Club ($450 annual fee to use United Airlines lounges while traveling on United flights.  Generally speaking, not worth it)
  • Chase Ink (business card)
  • Chase Ink Preferred (business card)
  • Chase Southwest (business card)
  • Chase United MileagePlus Explorer (business card)
  • Chase United MileagePlus Club (business card)

You might be thinking that five credit cards is a lot in two years.  And it certainly is.  But for those playing the points game and signing up for multiple cards to quickly earn points, this restriction can quickly become a factor.

I should also point out that the five credit cards opened within the 24 months applies to all credit cards, and not just cards opened with Chase.  For example, let’s just say you signed up for these five credit cards in 2017:

  • Chase United (January 2017)
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred (March 2017)
  • AMEX Starwood Preferred Guest (June 2017)
  • AMEX Premier Rewards Gold (September 2017)
  • Citi Premier (December 2017)

In this scenario, since you would have five credit cards sign ups, you would not be eligible for another Chase credit card for 24 calendar months after your Chase United credit card sign up.  And generally speaking, since Chase measures the timeline by whole months and not specific dates, you would only be eligible for another Chase credit card in February 2019 at the earliest.  If you signed up for any other credit cards after the Citi Premier card, you would need to push back this Chase eligibility accordingly.

We used our United miles and Chase Sapphire points towards business class seats on Japan’s largest airline, ANA.  This was our business class seat on the ANA flight from Tokyo to Washington, DC.

Something we learned the hard way with this rule is that being an authorized user DOES count as one of your credit card “sign ups.”  Chase came out with their new Chase Sapphire Reserve card in September 2016 with a 100,000 points sign up bonus.  I thought Taryn was still under the 5/24 rule… but after she was denied for the card, we found out that her being an authorized user on a few of my other credit cards counted against her 5/24 total.  So instead of the 100,000 Ultimate Reward points, we had to settle for a 50,000 points sign-up bonus months later.  Sadly, we missed out on a one-time-only and HUGE sign-up bonus because of our misunderstanding of the 5/24 rule.

However, there is a silver lining: the 5/24 rule does not apply to all of the Chase credit cards.  For example, Chase offers co-branded credit cards with Hyatt hotels, the IHG hotel family (Intercontinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, etc.), and British Airways, and these three credit cards do not fall victim to the 5/24 rule.  The Chase Marriott Premier business card also is exempted from the 5/24 rule.  These credit cards don’t earn the value of many of the other Chase offers (like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve), but they do give a few more options when you’re locked out from one of the many other Chase offerings.

The Chase Hyatt credit card is NOT restricted by the 5/24 rule.  So we were able to use the sign-up bonus towards a club-level room at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong (and the complimentary jaw-dropping view of Victoria Harbor).

First, I wanted to highlight the Chase 5/24 rule, especially since Taryn and I unfortunately fell victim to it.  In subsequent blog posts, I will breakdown the most valuable Chase credit cards and explain why Chase Ultimate Rewards are my favorite credit card currency.  Stay tuned!

New to points? I’d suggest starting here.

Want to see more from our trip? Check out our trip reports here!


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