How Chase's '5/24 rule' can impede quest for rewards cards

Summer Hull
Personal Finance Writer
Summer Hull writes the weekly "Get to the Points" column for CreditCards.com

Get to the Points

One of the peskiest rules in the rewards credit card space, the Chase 5/24 rule, can put the brakes on seasoned rewards card holders looking for a new deal.

The “Chase 5/24” rule, as it is commonly called in the miles and points community, refers to the reality that even a perfect credit score isn’t enough to get you approved for many Chase rewards cards. If you have opened five or more new credit card accounts in the past 24 months, you won’t be approved for a new Chase card.

Note that this doesn’t just refer to the number of Chase accounts you opened in the past two years, but rather the total of all new credit cards you have opened across all banks.

Since Chase is the issuer of many popular and lucrative rewards cards, including the Sapphire Reserve and Sapphire Preferred, as well as co-branded credit cards from Marriott, Southwest, British Airways, Hyatt, United and more, this rule can present a hurdle if you’ve been playing the rewards card game for a while.

Sometimes if you don’t get an instant approval for a new Chase card, you can talk to a Chase rep who can shift around credit lines or close an old credit account to get you approved for a new one. But if the reason for your denial is you are in violation of its 5/24 rule, no amount of begging, pleading or swapping of credit lines is going to get you an approval.

There is no magic workaround to this rule other than simply waiting it out until you have been approved for less than five credit accounts in the past 24 months. However, there are some ways to at least mitigate the impact of the rule.

Not all Chase cards are covered by 5/24 rule

While most Chase rewards cards are covered by the 5/24 rule, there are some that are not included, according to various card reward bloggers around the web. While this unofficial list of cards can change at any time, you potentially can get approved for these Chase cards even if you are over 5/24:

The catch is that getting approved for one of these cards will then count toward your 5/24 if you apply for a subsequent card, but simply being over 5/24 won’t automatically disqualify you from getting approved.

Apply for a pre-selected “Chase Offer for You”

There are reports that when logging in to your Chase account you notice the “Offers for You” section has some Chase credit cards listed with green check marks next to them may get you around the 5/24 rule for that particular card.

Go for business cards

The Chase 5/24 rule counts credit and charge cards opened across all banks, but many small business credit cards aren’t included on your personal credit report.

Small-business credit cards from Citi, American Express, U.S. Bank and even Chase don’t typically report to your personal credit report. However, this isn’t a universal rule as Capital One’s small-business cards do report to your personal credit report and thus would count against 5/24 totals.  

Due to the way these cards report, or in some cases don’t report business card activity, to your personal credit report, if you have a small business it may be an option to go for some of the popular small-business rewards credit cards, such as the SPG Business AmEx, Gold Delta SkyMiles Business AmEx or the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard instead of the personal versions of those cards if you want to keep your 5/24 count as low as possible.

Double-check your own 5/24 count

While you can’t get around a denial from Chase for being over 5/24, you should do your own count to make sure you really have opened five or more new accounts in the past 24 months.

For example, Chase’s automatic system seems to include authorized user accounts. You can try to talk to Chase and explain that there is an authorized user account in that total that should not count toward your 5/24 numbers. If this drops you below 5/24, then you may be able to get approved for a new Chase card even if you were initially denied due to being over 5/24.

The most reliable way to count your new accounts is to access one of your annual free credit reports or your free TransUnion report from CreditCards.com and look at when your various credit card accounts were opened. Any cards that were opened in the past two years and are reflected on your personal credit report will likely count in Chase’s 5/24 totals, even if you have already closed the account.

Chase 5/24 rules and limits are real, so it pays to be very strategic when considering which new rewards cards you want to add to your wallet.

See related: Maximize credit card rewards miles redemption through partner airlines, Hot, new rewards cards to debut in 2018


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Updated: 08-19-2018