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With a long list of incredible travel, cash-back, and business credit cards, Chase is one of my favorite credit card issuers. I’ve collected six Chase credit cards over the years that I’ve held onto. But in the past few years, it’s gotten harder and harder to get approved for additional Chase cards.

Even with a credit score above 800, I could apply for a new Chase credit card and get denied outright — all because of an unofficial rule the bank instituted a few years ago. Among credit card enthusiasts, it’s called the 5/24 rule.

What Is Chase’s 5/24 Rule?

The Chase 5/24 rule effectively states that if you’ve opened five or more new credit card accounts in the last 24 months, your application is more likely to be denied outright, even if you’d be a good candidate otherwise. The bank created this rule to deter a select group of credit card users who apply for credit cards, qualify for the sign-up bonuses, and then cancel the accounts.

In the beginning, the 5/24 rule only applied to certain Chase credit cards. But more recently, it’s been applied across the board to all credit cards from all issuers. This can be frustrating for credit card users, especially considering that the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® are among the best travel credit cards you can get. But it also makes sense for the bank to focus on consumers who are more likely to hold onto a card for the long haul.

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

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Secure application on issuer’s website

  • Our Rating 5/5 Read the review
  • APR20.24% – 27.24% (Variable)
  • Annual Fee$95
  • 60,000 60,000Chase Ultimate Rewards Points More Info

    Earn 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $1,320 (60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points * .022 base)

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is at the top of our list of starter travel rewards cards. Between a digestible $95 annual fee, valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points that can be transferred to over a dozen hotel and airline partners, and easy ways to earn points, this is a top card for rewards beginners and experts alike.

Overview

The Chase Sapphire Preferred actually works like having over a dozen different rewards credit cards. That’s because this credit card allows you to transfer your rewards points into miles with 11 airlines and points with three hotel programs.

Although the Chase Sapphire Preferred might not be ideal for the most frequent travelers and highest spenders, it’s part of a family of Chase cards that has a built-in upgrade path. So when it comes time to take your travel rewards game to the next level, you won’t have to start from scratch with an entirely different credit card and rewards program.

The card has a $95 annual fee, but the $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit effectively reduces that fee to $45. Plus, the credit card allows you to continue earning points through bonus categories and a 10% anniversary points boost. But when it comes time to redeem your rewards for travel, this card really shines. You can take advantage of some really strong transfer partners such as United, Southwest, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Hyatt. Similarly, you can just book any reservation you want through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

Pros

  • Points are easily transferable to airlines and hotel partners
  • Accelerated earnings on dining, travel & household purchases
  • Excellent travel and purchase protections
  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • Not ideal for the highest spenders
  • $95 annual fee

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

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Secure application on issuer’s website

Rates & Fees
  • Our Rating 4.5/5 Read the review
  • APR21.24% – 28.24% (Variable)
  • Annual Fee$550
  • 60,000 60,000Chase Ultimate Rewards Points More Info

    Earn 60,000 bonus points after using your card to spend $4,000 within three months of account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $1,320 (60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points * .022 base)

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card is among the best travel credit cards available. Not only does it offer one of the best credit card sign-up bonuses, but the card also comes packed with a number of valuable travel and lifestyle benefits that warrant its premium price tag.

Overview

If you’re looking to elevate your travel experience, look no further than the Chase Sapphire Reserve. When you first get approved, you’ll earn a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months — that’s worth at least $900 in travel-related spending booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards® and potentially more if you transfer your rewards to one of Chase’s airline or hotel partners.

Pros

  • An array of premium travel perks including access to Priority Pass lounges
  • Easy-to-use $300 travel credit that helps offset card’s annual fee
  • Generous rewards rates for spending

Cons

  • High annual fee may be a deterrent for some
  • Perks are starting to get stale relative to newer competition

What Counts Toward the 5/24 Amount?

As of this writing, I’m at 8/24, based on what Chase counts as a new credit card account. That number includes new consumer credit card accounts I’ve opened in my name, but also credit card accounts on which I’ve been added as an authorized user.

What doesn’t count are most business credit cards. That’s because Chase uses your credit report to determine how many recent accounts you have, and most business credit card issuers don’t report any account activity to the consumer credit reporting agencies unless you’re seriously delinquent. In other words, I’ve opened more than eight credit cards in the last two years, but many of them are business credit cards that don’t show on my credit reports.

The only major business card issuers that report to the consumer credit bureaus are Capital One and Discover.

If you’re a business owner, this not only means that cards from those banks count toward your 5/24 status, but also your business’ use of the card will affect your personal credit.

How To Work With the Chase 5/24 Rule?

There aren’t many ways to get around the Chase 5/24 rule, so it’s best to try to stay under it if you’re thinking of applying for a Chase card soon. Still, there are a few things you can do:

1. Remove Authorized User Status

If your partner or parent added you as an authorized user to their credit card, asking the card issuer to remove you from the account will result in the tradeline being taken off your credit reports.

If you have a hard time doing this through the bank, you can also submit a request directly to the credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Remember, it only counts against you if the account was opened in the last 24 months. So if you’re an authorized user on an account older than that, there’s no need to worry.

2. Apply for Business Credit Cards

If you’re over the 5/24 limit and you have a business, consider applying for business credit cards only until you’re under Chase’s threshold again. Just remember that Capital One and Discover both report business account activity to the consumer credit bureaus, so you’d likely want to avoid cards from either issuer.

If you’re applying for a business card from a regional or community bank, ask before you apply to find out what their reporting standards are.

3. Apply for Targeted Offers

There is a way to bypass the Chase 5/24 rule, even if you’ve opened too many credit cards in the past couple of years. If you have an existing account with Chase, log in to your online account and click on “Just for you” in the main menu. Chase may provide some targeted offers on this page that you can apply and get approved for, even if you’re not under the 5/24 threshold.

You may also be able to get around the rule if you’re pre-approved for a card through your local Chase bank branch. Of course, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get any targeted offers through either avenue, but reports show that it’s possible.

Bottom Line

While the Chase 5/24 rule screens out certain credit card users who are just in it for the sign-up bonus, it also prevents people who actually want to use Chase credit cards regularly from getting them. If you’re like me and you’ve opened five or more credit cards in the past 24 months, consider just avoiding Chase for the time being. If you apply, you may end up with a hard inquiry on your credit report for nothing. But if you simply can’t get your mind off a specific Chase credit card, be sure to take the steps required to get yourself under that 5/24 threshold before you apply.

BL

Ben Luthi

Ben Luthi is a personal finance and travel writer and credit card expert. He has a degree in finance from Brigham Young University and worked in financial planning, banking and auto finance before writing full-time for NerdWallet and Student Loan Hero. Ben is now a full-time freelance writer and enjoys traveling and spending time with his two kids. His work has appeared in several publications, including U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, Money, Success and Slickdeals.