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TPG reader credit card question: Is the Chase 5/24 rule based on inquiries or new accounts?

Nov. 08, 2021
4 min read
TPG reader credit card question: Is the Chase 5/24 rule based on inquiries or new accounts?
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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.


Since credit card sign-up bonuses remain the best way to rack up a large number of points and miles, it’s critical to understand the various application restrictions from major issuers.

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One of the most important among these is Chase’s 5/24 rule, which says that Chase will likely reject your application if you’ve opened five or more credit cards in the last 24 months across all issuers (excluding most business cards). It can be confusing to understand the practical implications of this restriction, and TPG reader Aaron wants to know whether new inquiries or new accounts are used to determine 5/24 status:

I just applied for the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card. Since I already had the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, Amex didn’t do a hard pull. Does this still count against my 5/24 status?TPG READER Aaron

Before we dive into the Chase side of this question, Aaron hit on a great point about American Express. If you’re an existing cardholder and you apply for a new card, Amex will not perform a hard pull on your credit if you get denied. They use the information they have on file for you to conditionally approve you, then perform a hard pull to double-check that there have been no major changes to your credit report.

In my experience, this results in a considerable lag time for Amex hard pulls showing up on my credit report. With other banks such as Citi and Capital One, my credit-monitoring service notifies me about the new inquiry before I’ve received a decision on the application, but Amex can take a bit longer.

The important thing here is that if Aaron was approved for the card, he should still expect Amex to hard pull his credit, even if it hasn’t happened just yet. But if he was denied, he won’t have to worry about a temporary drop in his score from a new hard inquiry — with no new account to show for it. This makes it relatively risk-free to apply for Amex cards if you already have at least one, as long as you keep in mind the issuer’s other restrictions.

Now, back to the question at hand. Chase’s 5/24 rule is based on the new accounts on your credit report, not recent inquiries. This means that the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card — along with virtually any new personal credit card account from any issuer — will count as a 5/24 slot. Here's what you need to know:

  • Denied applications do not count against your 5/24 status.
  • Most small business cards don’t count against 5/24.
  • Chase’s denial letters for people over 5/24 use language saying that a customer has “opened too many accounts in a recent period” of time — not that you have too many recent credit inquiries.

Note that this last item can also be a reason for rejected applications, especially with Citi and Capital One banks that are notoriously sensitive to recent inquiries. However, to determine the accounts that count toward 5/24, inquiries alone are not in play.

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It’s also worth mentioning that most readers would be better off maxing out their 5/24 slots with Chase before applying for cards with other issuers. Even if Aaron was interested in a potential limited-time elevated offer on an American Express Delta credit card, those offers come around several times a year. Once you go over 5/24, there’s a huge opportunity cost to get back under it again, so I wouldn’t recommend ignoring the 5/24 rule to pursue a bonus like this.

Bottom line

Understanding how Chase counts the 5/24 rule is important so you can figure out where you stand before applying for a Chase card. While getting rejected for a credit card is never fun, the good news is that hard inquiries do not take up your 5/24 slots — though too many of them might cause your application to be rejected, even if you’re under 5/24.

Let us know if you have any head-scratchers you’d like answered for our weekly reader question series. You can tweet us @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at info@thepointsguy.com.

Additional reporting by Joseph Hostetler.

Featured image by (Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
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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TPG featured card

Best for the well-traveled foodie
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
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/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

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
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

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • 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.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees