Ultimate Guide to Chase’s 5/24 Rule

Before you apply for any credit card, you should be well aware of Chase’s 5/24 Rule. Under the 5/24 rule, you will not be approved for a Chase credit card if you have opened 5 or more credit cards from any bank in the past 24 months. This rule is very important to understand so that you can maximize your sign up bonuses. 

This rule now applies to all Chase credit cards. Previously, the rule only applied to only certain Chase cards. 


What Counts Towards the 5/24 Rule

Business cards- Do not count towards 5/24, unless they are from Discover, Capital One, or TD Bank. 

Closed Cards- Count towards 5/24 if you opened them in the past 24 months. 

Authorized User- If you are an authorized user on someone else’s card, that will technically count, but if you call Chase’s reconsideration line (if denied and under 5/24), they may be to help your application get approved. Alternatively, you can request with a credit bureau (TransUnion, Equifax, or Experian) remove the account from your report. Some credit card issuers will also remove authorized users from your credit report if you ask nicely.

Store Cards– Typically do not count (e.g., Ann Taylor credit card) if you can only use that card in that particular store.

Product changes or conversions- Generally don’t count against the 5/24 rule (e.g. your Citi Hilton card was changed to an American Express Hilton when American Express bought the exclusive rights to the Hilton cards, would not count against the 5/24 rule; or downgrading from Sapphire Reserve to Sapphire Preferred)

Timing- You will not 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 January 2, 2017, do not apply for a new card until February 1, 2019.


Calculating Your 5/24 Number

You first want to calculate how many credit cards you have opened in the last 24 months. There are three different ways to accomplish this:

Credit Karma

Credit Karma is a free service that I recommend you set up an account for. You can bring up Credit Karma’s old interface to easily see the number of cards you opened. (You may have to sign in and then re-click the link if you get an error). Once you are on the main screen click “Accounts” and then you can click “Open Date” to sort the opening dates for each card.  If that old interface doesn’t work, visit the regular Credit Karma website and click “Accounts” and you can hit the “+” button for each account to see the details of each account including the opening date. Be sure to also click “Show Closed” to see your closed accounts and calculate the dates those accounts were opened.

Experian Mobile App

Experian, which is one of the three credit bureaus, has a free mobile app to monitor your credit. After you have downloaded and registered, click on the three bars in the top left and go to “Credit Reports.” Then click “View Your Accounts.” On Android, the app has a purple eye in the bottom right and you can then click to sort by Date opened. From here you can count how many cards you have opened in the past 24 months. 

Free Annual Credit Report

There is a law in place that allows you to get a free copy of your credit report from each credit bureau once per year. You can annual credit report online, but it is more difficult to calculate your 5/24 rule from this source.

Note: If you opened 4 or fewer cards in the past 24 months, follow our card opening order below. If you opened 5-7 cards in the past 24 months, I would advise you calculate the time it will take you to get to 4/24 or less. If it is within a reasonable waiting time, then wait that period of time and open a business card or two in the meantime (not Capital One or Chase, with the exception of Marriott Business Premier). 


Bypassing the 5/24 Rule

It is very hard to bypass the 5/24 rule, but you may have success with these methods:

In Branch Business Relationship Managers- Business Relationship Managers are able to get certain people approved for the Ink Business cards when submitting a paper application. The method is not guaranteed and you do need a somewhat legitimate business to have a shot at using this method. 

Mail Invitations– If you get a Chase mailer with a unique invitation code, that code will help you bypass the 5/24 rule.

“Just for You” Offers– When you log in to Chase.com, (1) click the hamburger menu in the top left (three horizontal lines), (2) click “Just for You” under “Explore Products”, (3) click “Get Started” on the banner (example below), and (4) fill out the information.  Seeing if you are pre-qualified will not affect your credit score. I’ve never been targeted for an offer, but many people have and that pre-approval will bypass the 5/24 Rule. 

Pre-Qualified Chase Cards that Bypass 5/24

 


General Strategy for the 5/24 Rule

Ink Preferred– You need a “business” for this card, but the definition of a business can be very broad. The Ink Preferred has the highest sign up bonus of all Ultimate Reward cards, has cell phone insurance, primary rental car insurance, and earns 3x points on travel, cable, internet, phone purchases.

  • You may be able to get multiple Ink Preferred cards if you use your social security number for one and an EIN for another application.

Sapphire Card– If you fly at least four times per year, I would recommend the Sapphire Reserve over the Sapphire Preferred. The Reserve card does have a $450 annual fee vs. $95 for Sapphire Preferred, but the super to easy to use $300 travel credit for Reserve effectively reduces the annual fee to $150. Therefore, you are better off getting the Reserve card if you can get at least $55 in value from the Priority Pass (airport lounge/restaurant access), primary rental car insurance, 6-hour trip delay insurance (covers up to $500 per person in the event of a delay), and the extra points for travel and dining categories (3x vs. 2x).

United- I recommend you have and hold a version of the United credit card since it helps you avoid basic economy and gives you access to more award space. Chase has two versions of the United Card. The United Explorer (personal or business) is a great card for most people due to a free checked bag, priority boarding (allows you to book basic economy and bring a carry on), 2 United Club Passes, and primary rental car insurance. The other version is the United Club card, which has a $450 annual fee. I only recommend this card for frequent travelers since it does get you a United Club membership and Hertz President Circle status. 

Cards for Southwest Companion Pass- Southwest cards on their own are nothing special, but when you open a personal and business card (and hit minimum spend requirements) you can get the Southwest Companion Pass. The Companion Pass allows a designated person to fly with you for free for the year that you earn the required number of points plus the following year. Therefore, it is best to open both cards in late December or January to maximize this perk. Of the three Southwest personal cards, I prefer the Priority card. Despite its $149 annual fee, you get 7,500 points each year at renewal (worth about $120), plus a $75 travel certificate on Southwest and 4 upgraded boarding passes each year.

Avoid a Chase Shutdown- If you open several Chase cards in quick succession, your entire Chase account might be shutdown if Chase believes you may too high of a risk. There is no exact way to prevent a shutdown, but my advice is to (1) spread out your applications, (2) avoid manufactured spending, (3) lower your credit limits ($5,000 on each card unless you have a $130,000+ income), (4) don’t cycle your monthly credit limits (e.g., spend over $6,000 in a month if you have a $5,000 limit, even if you pay off the balance during month), and (5) pay your balance in full.


Card Opening Order

First, decide whether you would like the Southwest Companion Pass. The Companion Pass allows one person to fly with you for free on Southwest for the remainder of the year you earn the Companion pass plus the following year. (You do have to pay the TSA taxes, which equal $11.20 round-trip for domestic travel). You need to earn 110,000 points in a single year for the Southwest Companion pass and in order to maximize the length of the pass, you should strive to obtain the 110,000 points in January to March to get the pass for almost two years.

After 5/24: I would suggest opening a (1) Barclays Arrival+, (2) Barclays American Airlines and (3) the US Bank Altitude Reserve since those banks are credit inquiry sensitive. I would then open a few Bank of America cards (Alaska or Premium Rewards) and the Barclays Wyndham. I would then turn my focus to Citi and the Chase Hyatt card. Lastly, target American Express, who is the least credit inquiry sensitive bank. Once some time has past from opening up several Chase cards, I would then try to get the IHG and British Airways (or Aer Lingus) card. 

I personally open about one card per month, but for most people, I would recommend one card every 2-3 months. 


You Want the Southwest Companion Pass

You can now only get the Southwest Companion Pass if you are able to open business credit cards (if you can’t, skip to the next section). You can generally qualify for a business credit card if you make at least $4,000 a year from rental income, selling things, operating some kind of business, or being an independent contractor. For a second business card, I would recommend at least $10,000 in business income and for a third business card, I would recommend at least $20,000 in yearly income.  For each Southwest card, you need to target a bonus of 50,000-60,000 points. To get the Companion Pass, you need to earn at least 110,000 points in a calendar year (e.g., opening Southwest Business and Southwest Premier with 60,000 points each in January would net you 120,000 points plus the Companion pass for the remainder of that year and the following year).

The Ink Preferred card is better than the Southwest business card. However, it’s much easier to get approved for the first business card than the second with Chase. To be conservative, I recommend that your first Chase business card be the Southwest card to ensure that you get the Companion Pass. But if you do have a lot of business income, you could open the Ink Preferred first. Additionally, we state below in our list “United Business (optional),” for people that qualify for a third business card. If you don’t have enough business income, skip that card.

Common Mistake– If you apply for one of the Southwest cards in November or December, make sure you don’t spend anywhere close to the minimum spend requirement until January 1st of the following year. People mess this timing up all the time and they ruin their chances at the Companion Pass. Also, make sure you read all of our Chase Rules and Tips page.

Four credit cards in past 24 months

  • If starting in December to March:
    1. Southwest Business (target: 50-60k points)
    2. Ink Preferred
    3. Southwest Priority (or Plus or Premier) (target: 50-60 points)
    4. Recalculate your 5/24 status, if you are fairly close to going back under 5/24 in a few months, then apply for an AMEX/Citi/Bank of America business card, then apply for a Sapphire card when back under 5/24. 
      1. Recalculate your 5/24 status again and consider the United Explorer or Club. 
  • If starting in April to November:

    1. AMEX/Citi/Bank of America business cards
    2. In December or January, apply for Southwest Business
    3. Southwest Priority (or Plus or Premier)
    4. Ink Preferred
    5. Recalculate your 5/24 status, if you are fairly close to going back under 5/24 in a few months, then apply for an AMEX/Citi/Bank of America business card, then apply for a Sapphire card when back under 5/24. 
      1. Recalculate your 5/24 status again and consider the United Explorer or Club. 

Three credit cards in the past 24 months

  • If starting in December to March:
    1. Southwest Business
    2. Southwest Priority (or Plus or Premier)
    3. Ink Preferred
    4. United Business (optional)
    5. Sapphire Preferred or Reserve
    6. Recalculate your 5/24 status, if you are fairly close to going back under 5/24 in a few months, then apply for an AMEX/Citi/Bank of America business card, then apply for a United Explorer or Club when back under 5/24.
      1. Recalculate your 5/24 status again and consider the Marriott Premier Plus card.
  • If starting in April to November:
    1. AMEX/Citi/Bank of America business cards
    2. In December or January, apply for Southwest Business (target: 50-60k points, do not hit min. spend until the new year!)
    3. Southwest Priority (or Plus or Premier) (target: 50-60k points)
    4. Ink Preferred
    5. United Business (optional)
    6. Sapphire Preferred or Reserve
    7. Recalculate your 5/24 status, if you are fairly close to going back under 5/24 in a few months, then apply for an AMEX/Citi/Bank of America business card, then apply for the United Explorer or Club when back under 5/24.
      1. Recalculate your 5/24 status again and consider the Marriott Premier Plus.

Two Credit Cards in the past 24 months

  • If starting in December to March:
    1. Southwest Business (target: 50-60k points, won’t count towards 5/24, do not hit the minimum spend until the new year!).
    2. Southwest Priority (or Plus or Premier) (target: 50-60 points)
    3. Ink Preferred (won’t count towards 5/24)
    4. Sapphire Preferred or Reserve
    5. United Business (optional)
    6. United Explorer or United Club
    7. Recalculate your 5/24 status, if you are fairly close to going back under 5/24 in a few months, then apply for an AMEX/Citi/Bank of America business card, then apply for the other Marriott Premier Plus when back under 5/24.
  • If starting in April to November.
    1. Sapphire Preferred or Reserve
    2. In December or January, apply for Southwest Business (target: 50-60k points, do not hit min. spend until the new year!)
    3. Southwest Priority (or Plus or Premier) (target: 50-60k points)
    4. Ink Preferred
    5. United Business (optional)
    6. United Explorer or United Club
    7. Recalculate your 5/24 status, if you are fairly close to going back under 5/24 in a few months, then apply for an AMEX/Citi/Bank of America business card, then apply for Marriott Premier Plus card when back under 5/24.

One Credit Card in the past 24 months

  • If starting in December to March
    1. Southwest Priority (or Plus or Premier)
    2. Southwest Business
    3. Ink Preferred
    4. Sapphire Preferred or Reserve
    5. United Expl0rer or United Club
    6. United Business (optional)
    7. Marriott Premier Plus or Hyatt
    8. Recalculate your 5/24 status, if you are fairly close to going back under 5/24 in a few months, then apply for an AMEX/Citi/Bank of America business card, then apply for a Freedom or the other United card when back under 5/24.
  • If starting in April to November:
    1.  Sapphire Preferred or Reserve
    2. In December or January, apply for the Southwest Priority (or Plus or Premier)
    3. Southwest Business
    4. United Explorer or Club
    5. Ink Preferred
    6. United Business (optional)
    7. Marriott Premier Plus or Hyatt
    8. Recalculate your 5/24 status, if you are fairly close to going back under 5/24 in a few months, then apply for an AMEX/Citi/Bank of America business card, then apply for either the Freedom or other United personal card. 

Zero Credit Cards in past 24 months:

  • If starting in December to March
    1. Southwest Priority (or Plus or Premier)
    2. Southwest Business
    3. Ink Preferred
    4. Sapphire Preferred or Reserve
    5. United Expl0rer or United Club
    6. United Business (optional)
    7. Marriott Premier Plus or Hyatt
    8. Marriott Premier Plus or Hyatt (whichever one you didn’t do above)
    9. Recalculate your 5/24 status, if you are fairly close to going back under 5/24 in a few months, then apply for an AMEX/Citi/Bank of America business card, then apply for one of other cards in step 8 when back under 5/24.
  • If starting in April to November:
    1.  Sapphire Preferred or Reserve
    2. In December or January, apply for the Southwest Priority (or Plus or Premier)
    3. Southwest Business
    4. United Explorer or Club
    5. Ink Preferred (won’t count towards 5/24)
    6. United Business (optional)
    7. Marriott Premier Plus or Hyatt
    8. Marriott Premier Plus or Hyatt (whichever one you didn’t do above)
    9. Recalculate your 5/24 status, if you are fairly close to going back under 5/24 in a few months, then apply for an AMEX/Citi/Bank of America business card, then apply for one of other cards in step 8 when back under 5/24.

Only Personal Cards 

Four credit cards in past 24 months

  1. Sapphire Reserve or Preferred.
  2. Recalculate your 5/24 status, if you are fairly close to going back under 5/24 in a few months, consider the United Explorer or Club, or the Southwest Priority (or Plus or Premier)

Three credit cards in the past 24 months

  1. Sapphire Reserve or Preferred.
  2. United Explorer or United Club; or the Southwest Priority (or Plus or Premier) (depending on which airline you prefer to fly. If you fly United at all, I recommend their card)
  3. Recalculate your 5/24 status, if you are fairly close to going back under 5/24 in a few months, consider the Marriott Premier Plus, or the other card from step 2 that you didn’t apply for.

Two credit cards in the past 24 months

  1. Sapphire Reserve or Preferred. 
  2. United Explorer or United Club
  3. Marriott Premier Plus, Hyatt,  or Southwest Priority (or Plus or Premier)
  4. Recalculate your 5/24 status, if you are fairly close to going back under 5/24 in a few months, apply for the card in step 3 that you didn’t apply for. 

One credit cards in the past 24 months: 

  1. Sapphire Reserve or Preferred
  2. United Explorer or United Club
  3. Southwest Priority (or Plus or Premier)
  4. Marriott Premier Plus or Hyatt
  5. Recalculate your 5/24 status, if you are fairly close to going back under 5/24 in a few months, apply for the other card in step four.

Zero Credit Cards in Past 24 months

  1. Sapphire Reserve or Preferred
  2. United Explorer or United Club
  3. Southwest Priority (or Plus or Premier)
  4. Marriott Premier Plus
  5. Hyatt
  6. Recalculate your 5/24 status, if you are fairly close to going back under 5/24 in a few months, apply for the Freedom, Starbucks card, or the other United card. 

You Don’t Want the Southwest Companion Pass, but Can Open Business Cards

Four credit cards in past 24 months

  1. Ink Preferred
  2. United Business
  3. Southwest Business (optional)
  4. Sapphire Preferred or Reserve.
  5. Recalculate your 5/24 status, if you are fairly close to going back under 5/24 in a few months, then apply for an AMEX/Citi/Bank of America business card, then apply for a United personal credit card when back under 5/24.

Three credit cards in the past 24 months

  1. Ink Preferred
  2. United Explorer or Club
  3. United Business
  4. Southwest Business (optional)
  5. Sapphire Preferred or Reserve.
  6. Recalculate your 5/24 status, if you are fairly close to going back under 5/24 in a few months, then apply for an AMEX/Citi/Bank of America business card, then apply for a Southwest, Marriott Premier Plus, or Hyatt when back under 5/24.

Two credit cards in the past 24 months

  1. Ink Preferred
  2. Sapphire Preferred or Reserve
  3. United Explorer or Club
  4. United Business
  5. Southwest Business (optional)
  6. Marriott Premier Plus or Freedom Unlimited or Hyatt.
  7. Recalculate your 5/24 status, if you are fairly close to going back under 5/24 in a few months, then apply for an AMEX/Citi/Bank of America business card, then apply for one of other cards from step 6 when back under 5/24.

One or zero credit cards in the past 24 months: You should really go for the Southwest Companion Pass if you are at this level.