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In the middle of 2015, applicants with excellent credit who applied for Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning credit cards suddenly found themselves being declined. The reason agents gave for the denials was the applicant “opened too many new accounts in the last 24 months.” Within a short period of time, enough data points were collected to determine that the threshold for a Chase denial was having opened five or more credit card accounts across all banks in the last 24 months.
By June of 2016, this newly dubbed “5/24” rule had expanded to cover many Chase co-branded cards and remains in place today. Without published policies from Chase, dissecting the 5/24 rule is not an exact science and relies heavily on crowdsourced data. There are outlier data points routinely presented that sometimes turn out to be false, but other times are indeed exceptions to what we believe to be true.
Regardless of what you may read or personally experience, it’s imperative that you not try to “game” Chase. Instead, you want to remain a long-term, profitable customer for the bank. In 2018, there are a multitude of data points from gamers who had all of their Chase accounts closed when applying for cards that didn’t even fall under 5/24, thereby forfeiting their ability to earn extremely valuable Ultimate Rewards points. So be smart in planning out your applications, both with Chase and all credit card issuers.
What is the 5/24 Rule?
In order to be approved for any Chase card subject to 5/24, you cannot have opened five or more personal credit cards across all banks in the last 24 months (more on business cards in a moment). This means you actually need to be under 5/24 in order to be approved. The 5/24 rule only applies to getting approved for cards issued by Chase, but your 5/24 “count” includes your cards from all banks.
Are All Chase Cards Subject to 5/24?
Update: It appears in the middle of November 2018, Chase expanded the 5/24 rule to include all co-branded cards. This information is still relatively opaque, as Chase never comments on the 5/24 rule, but multiple reader and community data points suggest denials due to 5/24 for cards previously exempt.
Previously, only certain cards issued by Chase are subject to 5/24 for approval. The following cards have always been reported to be 5/24 cards:
- Chase Freedom
- Chase Freedom Unlimited
- Ink Business Cash Credit Card
- Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase Slate
- Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card
- Starbucks Rewards Visa Card
- United MileagePlus Club Card
- United MileagePlus Club Business Card
- United Explorer Card
- United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card
While we don’t yet know for certain, it’s also highly likely that the Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card is subject to 5/24.
The following cards previously not subject to 5/24 are reportedly now under the rule’s jurisdiction:
- AARP Credit Card From Chase
- Aer Lingus Visa Signature Credit Card
- Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
- British Airways Visa Signature Card
- Disney Premier Visa Card
- Disney Visa Card
- The Hyatt Credit Card
- Iberia Visa Signature Credit Card
- IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
- IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card
- Marriott Rewards Premier Business Credit Card
CAUTION: Recent reader reports indicate that applying for too many Chase cards too quickly can lead to account scrutiny and complete Chase shutdowns, regardless of your 5/24 status. While there’s no exact science as to what’s too fast, a general recommendation is if you’re below 5/24, you can apply for one new account every 3-4 months. If you’re over 5/24 and want an above card not subject to the rule, do not apply for any new cards from any bank six months prior to applying for another Chase card.
Keep in mind that 5/24 is not the only factor as to whether your Chase credit card application is approved — your credit score, income, debt levels and many other variables get considered. For business cards, Chase also sometimes requests documentation such as financial statements and/or articles of organization to show that you have a legitimate business or sole proprietorship.
How Do I Calculate My 5/24 Score?
I’ve found the easiest way to find your 5/24 score is to create a free account at experian.com and view your free credit report. You can sort the report by the date your accounts were opened, and then easily look back to see the accounts opened in the last 24 months. Chase only looks at whether an account was opened — it doesn’t matter if you’ve since closed that account.
According to most data points, you will not technically be below 5/24 until the first day of the 25th month after your fifth account was opened. For example, if your fifth-most recent account was opened on July 5, 2016, do not apply for a new card until August 1, 2018.
You can also sign up for the free credit report service at Credit Karma, log in and then use this link to see all your accounts in a list (thanks to Reddit and Frequent Miler for the link). Click on “Open Date” to sort accounts by date.
What Accounts Add to Your 5/24 Score?
The following accounts count toward your 5/24 standing:
- All personal credit cards opened with any bank (even if they’re now closed).
- All personal charge cards (like The Platinum Card® from American Express).
- Business cards opened with Capital One, Discover and TD Bank.
- Authorized user cards from another person’s personal credit or charge card will add to your 5/24 score, as they’re reported on your credit report. However, when you apply for a 5/24 card, you can call the Chase reconsideration line and ask for these accounts to not be considered.
- Specific store cards which are part of a national payment system and can be used elsewhere will count. New data points suggest that even store cards which can only be used at a single establishment also now count, but your mileage may vary (YMMV).
The following accounts will not count toward your 5/24 standing:
- Cards you apply for but are denied. Credit inquiries — commonly known as “hard pulls” — aren’t counted for 5/24, only opened accounts.
- Small business cards from the majority of card issuers, with the known exceptions listed above.
- Auto loans, student loans and mortgages.
What About Card Conversions and Upgrades?
Depending on how a bank completes a card conversion or upgrade — also known as a “product change” — it might not be reported as a new account. Before completing an upgrade or product change, ask the bank if a hard credit pull will be completed. If they say yes, that could be a sign the account will be considered as new and add to your 5/24 standing.
Most card downgrades or upgrades, like converting a Hilton Honors Ascend card from American Express into a Hilton Honors Aspire card, should not add to your 5/24 standing.
Are the Methods to Bypass 5/24 All Dead?
There used to be surefire ways to overcome 5/24 and get a card with the sign-up bonus you desire. But as of today, those avenues are no longer working. The following methods that previously used to circumvent 5/24 are now dead:
- Chase Private Client status
- Chase Prequalified Offers from the online tool
- “Selected For You” offers visible once logged into Chase.com
- Applying through Chase banner offers
If you desperately want a 5/24 card, you can always attempt a product change within the Chase Ultimate Rewards earning card family if you are over 5/24 (assuming you’ve held the card you want to convert for at least a year). However, unless you’ve been specifically targeted for a bonus to upgrade a card, you will not receive a sign-up bonus for a product change.
Can I apply for two Chase cards on the same day when I’m 4/24 and get approved for both?
Data points suggest yes — however, this is inviting trouble, as Chase is scrutinizing customers applying for credit too quickly. Our recommendation is not to push and only apply for one Chase card at a time.
I applied for a card on the exact day I went below 5/24 and was denied. What can I do?
Wait until the first day of the next month and call the Chase reconsideration line, or reapply after the first day of the next month.
I am over 5/24 — can I get a card from another bank?
Yes. Approvals for credit cards issued by banks other than Chase are not impacted by your 5/24 score. Of course, each bank does have their own approval criteria.
Do Chase business cards count toward my 5/24 score?
No. If you are approved for a Chase business card, it will not add to your 5/24 standing. However, you must be below 5/24 in order to get approved for a Chase business card (except the Marriott Business card).
5/24 is now a firmly entrenched rule with no signs of disappearing any time soon. This means you need to be extremely strategic about your application and rewards strategy so you can maximize your five allowed Chase slots.
If you’re just starting out in the realm of credit card rewards and are 0/24 or 1/24, you’ll want to prioritize getting Chase cards first. But remember not to try and quickly fill your five slots with Chase cards. Applying for that much credit so fast seems to be a surefire way to invite unwanted attention from Chase and risk your long-term relationship with the bank, so take it nice and slow and be smart about which cards you apply for and when you apply for them.
Featured photo by mixetto/Getty Images.
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