Chase’s 5/24 Rule And Other Card Restrictions


One of the most confusing rules in the credit card industry is the Chase 5/24 rule. Exactly how the rule works, which cards it applies to, and how it can affect your credit card application can be very confusing. So here is our guide to understating the Chase 5/24 rule and a host of other restrictions Chase has placed on their cards recently.

Chase logo
Image: Wikipedia

The 5/24 Rule

Essentially the 5/24 rule is a restriction Chase placed on opening new credit accounts. Chase will not approve a new credit account if you have opened five credit accounts or more in the last 24 months. On face value, this rule seems simple enough but in practice, it raises several questions:

  • Does the rule apply to all cards?
  • Do all credit accounts count towards the five?
  • Do hard searches on your credit score count?

Which Cards Does The 5/24 Apply To?

Chase has not published a list of all the cards that are subject to the 5/24 rule. However, with some research, it is apparent that most of Chase’s popular cards are on the list, including:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Chase Freedom®

Chase Business Cards

Interestingly, Chase does not apply the 5/24 rule to all of their cards. Oddly, some cards that are subject to the rule are co-branded credit cards, but there are several co-branded cards that are not subject to the rule. Chase has opted not to clarify why this is the case. Chase cards that are not subject to the Chase 5/24 rule include:

  • The World Of Hyatt Credit Card
  • IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
  • British Airways Visa Signature® Card

Do all new credit accounts count towards the five?

Any personal credit account that you have opened in the last 24 months will count towards the five. Although business cards do not normally post to your personal credit file, in some cases they do. Business credit cards issued by Capital One and Discover typically post to your personal credit file and so will count towards the five.

Bear in mind that a host of other issuers do not report the opening of business credit accounts to your personal credit file, including:

  • Bank of America
  • Barclaycard
  • American Express
  • Chase
  • Citi
  • Wells Fargo
  • S. Bank

This creates an interesting situation with some of Chase’s own business cards. Most Chase business cards are subject to the 5/24 rule when applying for them. However, once you have been approved and your account opened they do not count towards the five accounts since Chase does not report business cards to your personal credit file.

Image: Public Domain Pictures

Hard searches on your credit score

Hard searches on your credit score do not count towards the 5/24 rule. Although having too many hard searches will negatively affect your credit score, and reduce your chance of approval, the search itself does not count. For the purposes of the 5/24 rule, only actual account openings count.

Chase Sapphire restrictions

Chase recently bought in some serious restrictions on new applications for its line up of Sapphire cards. The restrictions affect the following cards:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The first restriction means that you can not hold more than one Chase Sapphire card at any given time. You are obliged to choose whether to hold one or the other. If you already hold one Sapphire card and want to switch to another card you can, although in this case, you would not be eligible for any signup bonus.

Image: Goodfreephotos

The second restriction imposed by Chase on its Sapphire cards is that if you have held a Sapphire card and received a welcome bonus in the last 48 months (four years), you are ineligible for a new Sapphire Card. This is a very tight restriction, and effectively means you will have to wait four years between receiving welcome bonuses from Chase Sapphire cards.

5/24 exemptions

There are no official exemptions to the 5/24 rule, although if you research forums there are multiple rumors of possible exemptions and workarounds. One of the most specific and rare is when you are targeted by Chase with a specific email offer that includes an individual coupon or code for your application. In this case, it seems Chase has already decided to waive its 5/24 rule for you for a specific product.

Credit cards
Photo: Sean MacEntee via Flickr

Final Thoughts

No doubt the 5/24 rule and new restrictions have dented the plans of many credit card rewards aficionados. While many seem to think it is the end of the world and has put them off collecting Chase Ultimate Rewards, it is not quite true. With the new restrictions and new hoops to jump through, all you really need to do is alter your planning strategy.

It is best to have a long-term travel plan and goals you need to achieve. Two to three years is normal and even five is not unheard of. Longer strategies are counterproductive since changes to programs and devaluation will probably leave you chasing your tail. Definitely plan mid- to long-term and keep a record of all your credit card applications and approvals so you always know where you stand.