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So you're ready to travel again? Here are the Chase cards to consider if you're below 5/24

March 26, 2021
8 min read
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In 2020, the pandemic put a damper on travel rewards and credit card loyalty.

New card applications took a nosedive from early to mid-2020, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. For many cardholders, that meant strategizing around the cards they already had, and pressing pause on new card products until there was more clarity on a travel recovery.

Issuers also put the brakes on new cardholder acquisition and instead, upped the ante on pivoting card perks and benefits to align more closely with the new realities of staying closer to home. But that is all changing as we go deeper into 2021.

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For months now, issuers from Chase to Amex to Capital One have brought back generous sign-up bonuses and welcome offers. COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed at an accelerated pace, with the U.S. expected to have enough supply for all adults by the end of May.

In fact, with a travel outlook getting brighter by the day, now might be one of the best times to apply for a new card. Even better, for many of us that didn't prioritize card applications over the past year, you may now be below Chase's infamous 5/24 rule for the first time (in a very long time).

If that sounds like you, here are three potential scenarios for how you can leverage a new Chase card sign-up bonus for travels later in 2021.

Related: Get the most out of Chase with these credit cards

A refresher on the Chase 5/24 rule

Chase's 5/24 rule applies to all Chase credit cards. (Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

As a quick refresher, the Chase 5/24 rule is an unwritten policy in which to be approved for any Chase card, you cannot have opened five or more personal credit cards across all banks in the last 24 months.

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That means you need to be under five cards within 24 months in order to be approved. While the rule only applies for new Chase card applications, your 5/24 count does, in fact, include cards from all banks.

As of this article's publication, if you have been approved for fewer than five cards between February 2019 and today (data points show that you should typically wait until the first day of the next month), congrats — you fall outside of 5/24.

Related: How to calculate your Chase 5/24 standing

Extravagant post-pandemic vacations

For many travelers, the notion of staying at (or near) home for the past year has been a painful reality. The pandemic has deprived many of us of something that we truly love, and the result for later in 2021 may be planning bigger, longer and more luxurious trips than ever before.

Related: I use my hotel credit card benefits to travel in luxury — here are 5 ways to do it

For instance, TPG reader Beverly Santiago says that she's "currently (at) 4/24 and saving that slot for the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card." Her plan is to save up enough Marriott Bonvoy points for the ultra-luxury Al Maha resort in Dubai.

The Al Maha resort in Dubai. (Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy)

Related: Current Marriott Bonvoy card offers

Currently, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless is offering 3 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first three months from your account opening. Certain hotels have resort fees.

If premium hotel stays are what you're after, the World of Hyatt Credit Card is another solid Chase-issued option, with a sign-up bonus of up to 60,000 bonus points. You'll earn 30,000 World of Hyatt points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. You'll get another 30,000 points by spending up to $15,000 in the first six months of account opening.

Hyatt is opening two more highly anticipated Alila properties in California, including the Alila Napa Valley, set to open this March.

Alila Napa Valley. (Photo courtesy of Hyatt)

Of course, a card that earns transferable Ultimate Rewards points, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred, is another fantastic option.

However, besides 5/24, Chase has a 48-month rule on receiving new cardmember bonuses within the Chase Sapphire family. So if you’ve earned a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve bonus in the past four years, you’re out of luck to earn this bonus until you’ve passed the 48-month mark.

If you do qualify, Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to both Marriott and Hyatt (as well as 11 other travel partners).

Related: How to maximize your Chase Ultimate Rewards points

Giving new airlines or hotels a try

This year may be a good time to hit the reset button on the hotels and airlines that you're used to booking. It's an ideal time to try something new, especially with reduced elite status requirements for many travel brands. And as COVID-19 vaccinations continue, travelers will have an ever-evolving travel game plan.

Related: What the COVID-19 vaccine might mean for your travel plans

For my own purposes when I dropped below 5/24 last year, I applied for the World of Hyatt card — and haven't looked back since. It's especially easy this year to earn elite status with Hyatt, as requirements were cut in half versus previous years.

And as a first-time Globalist reaping the benefits of top-tier status, I'm glad I made the switch to give Hyatt a chance.

Park Hyatt Aviara. (Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

Continuing on the hotel theme, after dropping under 5/24 this month, TPG reader Peggy Stumler is considering a new IHG card, such as the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card or IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card.

The IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card currently offers a 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. and an annual fee of $99. With a diverse array of brands such as Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and InterContinental, the IHG portfolio can make sense for a wide swath of travel from domestic road trips (think: roadside Holiday Inn) or international escapes (think: luxurious InterContinental).

A shift from international travel to domestic getaways

Even as U.S. vaccine distribution accelerates, the opening of international borders will lag behind. For many of us, that means still prioritizing domestic getaways for the immediate future.

Related: Where you can go once you are vaccinated: A country-by-country guide

And if you're taking domestic flights, odds are you might find yourself considering Southwest Airlines. That's because Southwest is now the largest airline domestic travelers fly within the U.S. Thankfully, Southwest's incredible lineup of Chase cards also caters to a diverse array of flyers — with great sign-up bonuses to boot.

Related: Battle of the airlines: Why I think Southwest Airlines is the best

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

For instance, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card and Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card are all offering the ability to earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months.

Related: Southwest Airlines adds 3 more cities to its ever-growing route map

Bottom line

Many travelers are ready to hit the road and take to the skies once again. If you're below Chase's 5/24 limit, now is the ideal time to apply for a card and use points and miles toward a 2021 (or beyond) getaway.

While this isn't an exhaustive list of Chase cards, this is meant to let your creative juices start flowing in helping plan a post-pandemic vacation that you've likely been thinking about for months on end.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023