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The best cards to get after you hit 5/24

April 30, 2021
9 min read
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest credit card information.


Whether you opened your first-ever credit card in the pursuit of free travel, or you've already had a few accounts before you found this incredible world of points and miles, your first couple of moves are going to be highly scripted, thanks to Chase's 5/24 rule. The issuer uses this rule to automatically reject applicants who've opened five or more cards in the last 24 months.

Some business cards don't count, so be sure to check out this guide to 5/24 if you're not familiar with the rule. In general, you should open up your Chase cards first before moving on to other issuers because of this rule.

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You might go with a tested card combination like the Chase trifecta, composed of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Ink Business Preferred Credit Card and Chase Freedom Unlimited, or you might build your own strategy after deciding which Sapphire card to anchor your strategy. Although there are plenty of great Chase card choices, there are only so many ways to use up those first five slots.

If you exceed five cards in 24 months, you'll find yourself in the Wild Wild West of credit cards, where anything goes. After 5/24, there's no uniform path for you to follow. It's time to evaluate the cards in your wallet, figure out what you want from new credit cards and chart a course. Today, we'll take a look at some of your best options for building a post-5/24 strategy.

Related: The ultimate guide to Chase’s 5/24 rule

What NOT to do

If you've opened other credit cards before discovering travel rewards, you may not have all five spots to work with, meaning you can't get every Chase card that you want. One of the biggest mistakes is waiting on the sidelines to fall under 5/24 again while letting valuable bonuses go by. TPG's Loyalty and Engagement Editor Richard Kerr summed it up very well in his post about why you should stop waiting to be under 5/24.

At any given time, there will be multiple welcome bonuses from other cards worth $1,000 or more that you are eligible for (even if you're over the 5/24 rule). You can earn and redeem today instead of waiting for months or years to be eligible for a Chase card. If there's a specific card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred that you think would really up your rewards game, that's understandable, but consider applying for a business card that won't count against your 5/24 status in the meantime so you, at least, get some points while you're waiting.

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Related: How to calculate your 5/24 standing

Diversify your points

I'd argue that the 5/24 restriction is the main reason most people get Chase cards first rather than collecting American Express Membership Rewards points. TPG values the two transferable points currencies equally (at 2 cents each). However, Amex has more loyalty partners than Chase and even includes valuable programs such as Delta (and its frequent flash sales), Aeroplan, Avianca LifeMiles and Etihad Guest.

Related: The best ways to use your 5/24 slots

Chase and Amex also have a number of transfer partners in common (including British Airways, Singapore, Air France, KLM Flying Blue and Virgin Atlantic), but their differences are incredibly complementary. Star Alliance is a great example because Chase and Amex combine to let you transfer to all the major loyalty programs in the largest airline alliance. This lets you pit United, Avianca, Aeroplan and Singapore against each other and pick the absolute lowest cost for any award you want to book.

Star Alliance has partnered with Chase and Amex to let you transfer to all major loyalty programs. (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto / Getty Images)

Furthermore, Amex frequently runs transfer bonuses to British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and more, meaning that the best transfer option might vary month to month. By having access to both types of points, you can make sure you're always ready to jump when the right redemption option presents itself.

Top cards to consider:

Fixed-Value Cards

Transferable points like Chase Ultimate Rewards get much of their value from the flexibility they offer. Still, sometimes you need to travel on a specific flight on a specific date and you can't afford to hunt for award space. This is where fixed-value cards can make a great addition to your wallet. Simply book the ticket you need and use your points to erase the charge from your statement. You won't get the same outsized redemption value that you would if you transferred Chase points to book Lufthansa first class, but this is one way to make sure your credit card strategy is always working to meet your specific needs.

If you recently opened five credit cards with the sole purpose of earning transferable points, this strategy might be a bit much. Enter the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, which lets you decide on a case-by-case basis whether to transfer your miles or redeem them directly towards travel purchases. With Capital One's recent addition of four new transfer partners, you can transfer to partners including Avianca, British Airways Etihad, Qantas, Aeroplan and more, or redeem your miles at a fixed rate of 1 cent each towards eligible travel purchases on your card statement.

(Photo by Eden Batki / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eden Batki / The Points Guy)

Top cards to consider:

Cobranded cards

Chase issues several cobranded airline and hotel cards for Hyatt, United, Marriott and IHG. Still, you might have passed up these options to get more valuable Ultimate Rewards-earning cards. You also won't be able to get these Chase credit cards if you're over the 5/24 limit, but there are plenty of other options to pick from and a little less pressure when you're making your decision.

If you're loyal to Marriott, you can pick up one of the Amex Bonvoy cards like the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card. Hilton loyalists also have a number of Amex cards to choose from, and American Airlines and Delta flyers can pick up cobranded credit cards for those airlines without worrying about 5/24. This can be a great way to get a free hotel night each year, save on checked bag fees or simply earn a welcome bonus that can help jumpstart your next trip.

Top cards to consider:

The information for the Hilton Aspire Amex card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Bottom Line

The 5/24 rule is the beginning, not the end, of your credit card rewards journey. Hitting that mark is a rite of passage to serious award travelers, and once you do, it's time to look forward not backward. Figure out which of your Chase cards are keepers, either with low or no annual fee or strong bonus categories and decide what benefits matter most in your next credit cards.

Related: Business credit cards that aren't under the 5/24 rule

Whether you're looking to diversify into a new points currency, change the focus of your earning to incorporate fixed-value cards, or possibly both, you have plenty of options to consider. The important thing is that you continue to go out and take action if you want to keep earning points.

Additional reporting by Benét J. Wilson and Stella Shon

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.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best for earning alternative rewards for travel purchases
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review
Apply for Credit One Bank Wander® Card
at Credit One Bank's secure site

Rewards

1 - 10X points
10XEarn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site
5XEarn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
1XEarn 1x points on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 10,000 Bonus Points
Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

Fair/Good
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 revamped Wander Card from Credit One Bank earns cardmembers up to 10 points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases. With no foreign transaction fees, the card is also great for international travel. However, points earned from this card can only be used at a fixed value, so it may not be the best option for those striving to get maximum value from their rewards.

Pros

  • This card has no foreign transaction fees and earns up to 10 points per dollar on travel purchases through the Credit One Bank travel partner site.

Cons

  • While cardholders can earn a significant amount of points on travel purchases, there isn't any way to redeem points from the Wander Card for maximum value (beyond 1 cent per point).
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel
  • Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel site
  • Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Redeem your reward points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, flights, hotels, and more
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Free Online Credit Score and Credit Report summary, terms apply
  • If you are a Covered Borrower under the Military Lending Act, you may get a different offer
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for Credit One Bank Wander® Card
at Credit One Bank's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for earning alternative rewards for travel purchases
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site
5XEarn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
1XEarn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel

    Earn 10,000 Bonus Points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • 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.

    Fair/Good

Why We Chose It

The revamped Wander Card from Credit One Bank earns cardmembers up to 10 points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases. With no foreign transaction fees, the card is also great for international travel. However, points earned from this card can only be used at a fixed value, so it may not be the best option for those striving to get maximum value from their rewards.

Pros

  • This card has no foreign transaction fees and earns up to 10 points per dollar on travel purchases through the Credit One Bank travel partner site.

Cons

  • While cardholders can earn a significant amount of points on travel purchases, there isn't any way to redeem points from the Wander Card for maximum value (beyond 1 cent per point).
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel
  • Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel site
  • Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Redeem your reward points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, flights, hotels, and more
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Free Online Credit Score and Credit Report summary, terms apply
  • If you are a Covered Borrower under the Military Lending Act, you may get a different offer
  • See Rates & Fees