Chase is the issuer of some of the best travel credit cards. It is important to familiarize yourself with the Chase 5/24 rule, especially if you’re a beginner.
What is the Chase 5/24 policy?
The short version: Chase limits the amount of credit cards one can open in a 24 month period.
While this policy is not publicly documented by Chase, we’ve got some pretty solid data points to guide us. Back in 2015, reports began emerging that applications for certain Chase cards were frequently getting denied. It was eventually determined that Chase was denying applications from anyone who has opened more than 5 credit card accounts in the past 24 months. This includes any personal credit card account that shows on your credit report, not just Chase accounts. Business cards are a little different, but more on that in a moment.
Once you reach 5/24, Chase will deny an application for any of their cards. My suggestion is to wait on cards from other banks until you’ve opened the Chase cards you want. Trust me, you do not want to miss out on a Chase Sapphire Preferred card!
Which Chase cards are affected by the 5/24 limit?
Chase does not publish an official list, but there have been enough data points on the world wide web to come to a general consensus. At first, this only applied to Chase’s bank cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred. It eventually expanded to many airline and hotel co-branded cards as well.
As of 2020, all Chase travel cards seem to be 5/24 cards.
Which cards count against the 5/24 limit?
Charge cards and credit cards that are issued by ANY bank. This includes store credit cards (Lowe’s, Macy’s, etc.), airline cards from other banks, cash back cards from other banks, and any other credit cards you can think of. Just say no to that free paint bucket offer from Lowe’s! Or 10% off at Macy’s.
How to figure out your 5/24 status
You can check your 5/24 status for free on CreditKarma.com
- At the top of the page after you log in, Click “My Overview”
- Click “Score Details”
- Scroll until you see a box that says “Credit Age” and click
- Under “Open Accounts” your credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, and any other lines of credit are listed.
- Under the “Credit Cards” section, they are listed from the oldest to most recent. To the right is the age of the account.
- Count any accounts (from ANY bank) that are less than 24 months old.
- This is your 5/24 status
Anything older than 24 months does not count. For example, if you have 5 credit cards open, but 4 were opened in 2015 and 1 was opened last month, your status would be 1/24.
Exactly how does Chase count 24 months for the 5/24 rule?
There is a bit of a discrepancy on this, but the general consensus is that it goes by calendar months. The discrepancy is whether or not you have to wait until the 1st of the next month to apply.
Here is an example:
- 9/1/17- opened an Amex Hilton co-branded credit card
- 1/15/18- opened Amex Platinum charge card
- 4/15/18-opened Barclay AA co-branded credit card
- 9/10/18-opened Citi AAdvantage credit card
- 9/12/19-opened Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card
It is now September 18, 2019. It has been over 24 months since the 9/1/17 card was opened, but according to some reports, you would not be cleared of the limit until October 1, 2019. Other reports suggest that you would have been eligible for a new card on September 1, 2019. Some suggest that the discrepancy exists due to the way credit bureaus report. In other words, depending on which credit bureau Chase pulls, you may or may not be cleared of the 24 months if you tried to apply for another card now.
I would suggest playing it safe and waiting until October 1.
A beginner with zero credit cards is starting at 0/24. You have 5 open ‘slots’ to fill before you reach 5/24.
Ideally, you want to fill all of your open slots with Chase 5/24 cards before moving on to cards from other banks. Other banks aren’t as strict as Chase, so you should be able to open cards from other banks after reaching 5/24 (provided you are otherwise qualified).
Fill your 5 slots wisely
If you open 1 American Express card, 1 Capital One card, 1 AAdvantage co-branded card from Citi, 1 AAdvantage co-branded card from Barclay, and 1 American Express card, you would be at 5/24 even though none of them are Chase cards. You would not be able to get approved for any Chase 5/24 cards until your fifth-newest account is 24-25 months old.
Opening one card every 3 months means you could open these 5 cards mentioned above in just over a year:
- August 17, 2018 American Express
- November 21, 2018 Capital One
- February 26, 2018 Citi
- June 2, 2019 Barclay
- September 8, 2019 American Express
It is now September 2019 and you finally decide you want to open a Chase Sapphire Preferred card. You also want to open the World of Hyatt credit card. Sapphire and Hyatt cards are issued by Chase, therefore, they are 5/24 cards. You will not be approved for either of these until your fifth newest account (August 17, 2018) is 24-25 months old.
So you would have to wait almost a whole year (until September 2020) before applying for 1 of these Chase cards. That’s a whole year of not being able to apply for ANY card from ANY bank. For a whole year, you’re going to miss out on new cards with valuable bonuses and benefits. Then to get the other, you have to wait until the November 21, 2018 account is 24-25 months old, which is December 2020.
If you fill most (preferably all) slots with Chase cards, you won’t have to take any time off. You can move on to cards from other banks even after you’re at 5/24.
How strict is the 5/24 rule?
Pretty strict. Those with credit scores above 800 and a long-standing relationship with Chase get denied. Even Chase Private Client customers cannot seem to get around this rule. But there is one exception for existing Chase customers…
Pre-approved offers now bypass 5/24. If you’re an existing Chase customer, log in to your Chase account and check your “Just for You” offers to find out if you’re preapproved for any credit cards. A green label that says “You’re already approved” is an indicator that you’re eligible and already approved for the card, even if you’re over 5/24!
Chase 5/24 Frequently Asked Questions
If I close one of my accounts am I still over the 5/24 limit?
Yes. Chase looks at any accounts that were opened in the last 24 months. Closing an account will not lower your number.
What if an application was denied in the past 24 months?
If an application was denied, this does not count against the limit. Chase only looks at accounts that were opened.
Does being an authorized user count against my 5/24 number?
Unfortunately, yes. But people have actually had success getting around this factor by calling the reconsideration line. There are many reports of people getting approved if being an authorized user is what put them over the limit.
Do business cards count against my 5/24 number?
No. If you have an Amex business card, Chase will not see that card. It will not count against your 5/24 limit.
BUT, if you are over 5/24, you will not be approved for any Chase business credit cards.
Other Chase FAQs
Can I apply for 2 Chase cards on the same day?
A year or two ago, I would have said yes. Currently, I don’t recommend it.
Recently, I’ve seen some reports of Chase approving two cards in the same day. But just because you can doesn’t mean you should. I suggest playing it safe with Chase. There have been recent reports of Chase flagging and even shutting down accounts if they think someone is opening up too many lines of credit too quickly.
Since Chase issues so many great travel credit cards, they are not a bank I want to get blackballed from.
How long should I wait between Chase credit card applications?
Chase will approve 2 cards in a 30 day period, but I would probably wait about 2-3 months between Chase applications. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
Which Chase credit card should a beginner (under 5/24) open first?
The best card for most beginners is a Chase Sapphire card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve.
These cards earn transferable Ultimate Rewards points. Chase UR points can be transferred to 11 different airlines and 3 hotel programs.
Current offer: Earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.
The annual fee is $95, but the welcome offer alone is worth a lot more than that. The welcome bonus is worth at least $1000 if you redeem the points in the redemption portal. You can also transfer the points to Chase’s partners, which may end up giving you a much higher redemption value. Earn 5 points per dollar on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 2 points per dollar on all other travel. 3 points per dollar on dining (including eligible delivery services and takeout), 3 points per dollar on select streaming services, 3 points per dollar on online grocery purchases (this excludes Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs), and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
There is also a business card to consider if you qualify for business cards. This would be the Chase Ink Business Preferred card.
Current offer: Earn 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $15,000 in 3 months.
The annual fee is reasonable at $95. 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points are worth $1,250 of travel if you book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards redemption portal. To potentially redeem for even more value, you can also transfer the 100,000 points to Chase’s airline and hotel transfer partners.
You can have a Chase Ink Business Preferred card and a Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred open, but you cannot have the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve open at the same time.
Once you have a Sapphire card that earns Ultimate Rewards, the next cards you should consider are any hotel or airline cards issued by Chase. Click here for my favorite Chase cards for beginners.
If you’re wanting to earn the Southwest Companion Pass, you also need to plan around that
All Southwest cards (including the business cards) are issued by Chase, therefore, they are subject to the 5/24 policy. So if the Companion Pass is your priority, you may want to hold off on a Sapphire card until you have opened a Southwest business card and a Southwest personal card. Click here to learn more about earning the Southwest Companion Pass.
Remember, points earned from the Southwest credit cards DO qualify for the Companion Pass. If you transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest, they DO NOT qualify for the Companion Pass.
What if you are already over 5/24?
If you want a Chase card, you’re most likely going to have to wait it out. This means that you cannot apply for any card from any bank while you’re waiting for that 5th date to fall off. Once you get to 4/24, you should be able to apply for a Chase card.
You can apply for business cards from other banks while you’re waiting for that 5th newest account to fall off.
The good news is that if you’re new to this, you likely have not opened many cards in the past 24 months.
My advice regarding the 5/24 rule:
- Decide which cards you want for the foreseeable future
- If you want one or more Chase cards, apply for those cards first.
- Once you have successfully applied for the Chase cards you want, then you can start applying for cards from other issuers such as American Express.
Chase is the issuer of many of our favorite travel credit cards. For that reason, it is very important to plan your applications in such a way that you do not miss out on some of the best travel credit cards!
Earn at least $1000 worth of travel!
No matter what your travel goals are, Chase Sapphire Preferred should be one of your very first credit cards. The welcome bonus is worth at least $1000 in travel, the annual fee is reasonable, and the rewards (Chase Ultimate Rewards) are easy to earn and redeem. Click here for 36 ways to redeem some of the bonus points.
Current offer: Earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.
Click here for a full list of our favorite credit cards.
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