Chase adds new warning for sign-up bonuses on select cards — why this shouldn’t affect you
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We spend a lot of time talking about things like how to avoid red flags with banks and why you should never close a credit card within one year of opening it.
Recently, Chase added new warnings into the terms and conditions of select sign-up bonuses, underscoring why these strategies are so important. However, if you follow our advice, these new terms shouldn’t affect you at all.
Here’s the newest (public) application restriction from a major card issuer.
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New Chase terms on select sign-up bonuses
Chase has added new verbiage into the sign-up bonus restrictions on select cobranded credit cards. Here’s what we are seeing:
- All Hyatt credit cards, including personal and small business: “If your account is not open for at least three months, Hyatt and Chase reserve the right to deduct the Bonus Points from your World of Hyatt account.”
- Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card (but not on the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card): “If your account is not open for at least six months, Marriott and Chase reserve the right to deduct the bonus points from your Marriott Bonvoy account.”
- All United credit cards, including personal and small business: “If your account is not open for at least six months, United and Chase reserve the right to deduct the bonus miles from your MileagePlus Program account.”
- All IHG credit cards, including personal and small business: “Chase may close your credit card account or suspend your right to use your credit card account, at any time for any reason, including account inactivity.”
These terms are listed in the sign-up bonus restrictions paragraph on Chase’s website, and they provide a specific timeline and avenue for Chase to take back any bonus rewards you receive if you don’t keep your credit card open for the specified amount of time.
While the terms on the Hyatt, Marriott and United credit cards specify an amount of time, the terms on the IHG credit cards are different. With these terms, Chase has added language saying that the bank has the right to close your credit card account “at any time for any reason.”
Additionally, the “pricing and terms” sections on all Chase card applications now include this verbiage:
“Chase cardmembers who currently have or have had a Chase credit card in any Rewards Program associated with this offer, may not be eligible for a second Chase credit card in the same Rewards Program. Chase cardmembers currently receiving promotional pricing, or Chase cardmembers with a history of only using their current or prior Chase card for promotional pricing offers, are not eligible for a second Chase credit card with promotional pricing.”
It’s important to note that “may not” is listed in these terms. Therefore, it’s not a clear prohibition against opening a second credit card that earns the same points (Ultimate Rewards, United miles, etc.) as a card that you already have. It’s simply a possibility.
We reached out to Chase to clarify when these terms were added and whether we can expect them to be added to other cards in the future. Should Chase reply, we will provide updates here.
Why these terms shouldn’t affect you
The terms on the Hyatt, Marriott and United credit cards require keeping your cards for several months. Since we always advise keeping your credit card open for a minimum of a year, doing so will more than meet Chase’s new requirements.
However, the updated terms on the IHG cards are more vague, and the language that could prevent you from getting a second card with the same rewards currency is concerning. After all, if you recently opened a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you may want to add one like the Chase Freedom Unlimited to further maximize your spending.
Nevertheless, these policies shouldn’t have a practical impact on most travelers, as long as you follow best practices like paying your bills on time, avoiding red flags, spending periodically on all your credit cards and minding the banks’ rules.
Chase has added new terms to select credit cards, specifically in the sign-up bonus restrictions. Some of these terms allow Chase to confiscate your welcome bonus if you don’t keep your new card open for a set amount of time, while others provide a pathway for Chase to close your account. These terms are (in many ways) following in the footsteps of American Express, including terms on welcome bonus eligibility and language that appears to give the issuer broad discretion when it comes to approving an account (or keeping an account open).
While these terms can seem startling, they don’t change our overall advice reiterated throughout the site and in our beginner’s guide. If you follow the bank’s application rules, use your credit cards regularly and always keep your cards for at least a year, it’s unlikely that anything will change for you — even with these new terms in place.
For more information on this topic, be sure to check out our guide on why you should never close your credit cards before the one-year mark.
Featured photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.
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