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How Many Credit Cards Should I Have at Once?

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TPG reader John messaged me to ask a credit card question:

“How many credit cards is too many? Given what you’ve said about the relatively low impact on your credit score, it would seem that 5-10 would be okay. Do you agree? How many cards do you have open at once? What kind of strategy do you recommend?”

I absolutely agree that having 5-10 cards is fine. I have 20-25 cards open and still get approved for cards. However, credit card companies are getting more savvy about users who open a card, earn the bonus and then close the account, so I always suggest taking a slow and steady approach.

Getting five to ten cards at a steady rate isn’t a bad idea. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

This change wasn’t announced formally, but Chase now seems to be denying applicants who have opened a certain number of accounts recently (with any card issuer), specifically for Ultimate Rewards cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, the Ink Plus Business Card or the Chase Freedom. It’s not clear what the criteria are, but if you’re new to the game, I recommend getting the Sapphire Preferred card first, since it may be more difficult to get approved after you’ve opened other accounts. It’s a good first option anyway, since this is the card I used the most in 2014 and is consistently on my list of top card offers.

The rules change all the time, but my personal recommendation is to apply for 2-3 cards once every 3-5 months. This slow and steady approach seems to work most of the time. If you aren’t approved instantly, you can always call and make your case. Once you prove that you pay your bills on time and in full, it’s much easier to get approved. I suggest starting with a few of the very best offers, waiting a few months, and then continuing on with more when you’re ready. Getting 5-10 cards shouldn’t be an issue, and I’m willing to bet that many TPG readers have at least that many. Please share your own application strategies in the comments below.

For more info, check out these related posts:

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook or send me an email at

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR Regular APR Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Rating
N/A 16.24%-23.24% Variable Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95 0% Excellent Credit