If you’ve been reading this site you’ve seen that I’ve mentioned Chase’s 5/24 rule repeatedly. I’ve explained it to some extent in other posts. Some readers have still had questions though so I’ll lay out what we know about the rule and which cards are impacted by it, and other details, in this post.
Chase Has (Sort of) Confirmed Their 5/24 Rule
For a few months now, it’s been clear that Chase had created a rule to deny applications if the applicant had opened a certain number of new accounts recently. However, Chase wasn’t actually publishing any details on the rule. It wasn’t even in the fine print on the application pages for cards impacted by it.
That said (written), people who had applications denied because of the rule had received letters, or comments from phone reps, with wording which got the main point across. The wording is something like “Too many credit cards opened in the past two years.” The denial wording doesn’t actually indicate how many new accounts in the past two years is too many. With so many data points floating around the internet these days though it wasn’t hard to determine that number. That number is 5. And that’s why the rule is colloquially known as the 5/24 rule.
Recently, the rule was temporarily alluded to on the application page for the Sapphire Reserve but that was quickly removed. It read: “You will not be approved for this card if you have opened 5 or more bank cards in the past 24 months.” So that text confirmed what had already been deduced – the critical quantity is 5.
The 5/24 Rule Doesn’t Affect All Chase Cards
It’s important to note that this unpublished rule affects some Chase cards but not all.
Cards known to fall under the 5/24 rule as of writing:
- Sapphire Reserve
- Sapphire Preferred
- Freedom Unlimited
- Marriott Rewards Premier (personal)
- Southwest Plus
- Southwest Premier (personal & business)
- United MileagePlus Explorer (personal & business)
- United MileagePlus Club
- Ink Plus
- Ink Cash
Cards which do not fall under the 5/24 rule as of writing:
- IHG Rewards
- British Airways
- Marriott Rewards Premier (business)
The Lowdown on How Your X/24 Number is Calculated
The rule is based on the number of credit/charge card accounts opened in the last 24 months. Some folks get confused and focus on inquiries. Inquiries are an important parameter in general but not directly relevant to the 5/24 rule.
Also notice the phrase I bolded/italicized doesn’t mention car loans, mortgages or student loans. Some people gloss over the credit/charge card and consider all loans, which is incorrect.
The reality is that anyone who can view your credit report, such as banks with which you are applying for a credit card, can see how many accounts you’ve opened over time. The viewer of your credit report can simply count up the number of relevant accounts opened in any period of time. Presumably Chase has an algorithm to do this as opposed to a human doing so.
The two types of credit card accounts which may not show up on your credit report are…
- Business cards – these usually won’t show up on your personal credit report
- Store cards – some of these may not show up on your credit report, particularly if they are not usable outside of the specific store for which they’re branded
For the purposes of the Chase 5/24 rule, it doesn’t matter which bank issued the account. Chase counts accounts opened whether they were opened with Chase, American Express, CitiBank, or some other bank. And though most business card accounts won’t show up on your credit report, Chase of course has a record of any Chase business card accounts you have opened and they do count those for the 5/24 determination.
It’s important to note that it’s the number of accounts opened (not open) that’s counted/relevant. Whether you close, or have closed, an account is irrelevant for the 5/24 rule. It also therefore follows that if you apply for a card but are denied it will not count.
Remember that the major credit bureaus are required by law to provide you with a free copy of your credit report annually. You can read my thoughts on credit scores, reports, and more here. If you want to skip right to getting a copy of your credit report, head over to annualcreditreport.com (or you can call 1-877-322-8228).
A Note on Authorized User Accounts
When someone else adds you as an authorized user to their credit card account your credit report will often reflect that as a new account. So if Jane has a credit card opened and she adds Bob as an authorized user, Bob’s credit report will have another account listed in addition to any accounts that he opened directly himself.
This is relevant in the context of the 5/24 rule. Chase seems to count these authorized user accounts. However, many customers have succeeded in getting them excluded from the count. It has often required escalating the case to a supervisor to get a positive resolution.
Let’s look at an example – Henry has seven credit card accounts showing up on his credit report as being opened within the past two years. However, three of those seven are authorized user accounts. If those three are excluded from the count Henry would be at 4/24 and therefore eligible for cards that are impacted by the 5/24 rule. If Henry is really interested one of those cards, say the Chase Freedom, applying would be perfectly reasonable. He might be initially denied but reports indicate that a follow-up call to the Chase reconsideration line could very well turn the denial into an approval. Again, he may have to escalate the request to exclude the authorized user accounts from the count, to a supervisor.
The Good News: You Can Sometimes “Get Around” the 5/24 Rule
If you’re over the 5/24 threshold, applying online through a standard, public link for one of the impacted cards will almost certainly result in a denial.
However there are a few application methods/situations which seem to get applicants around the 5/24 rule.
Applying In a Branch
One application method which has worked for many is to apply in-branch. The approach – stop by a branch and ask if you’re preapproved for the card of interest, and if so, apply. I did just that for the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Since I am well over 5/24 I didn’t bother applying online for the Sapphire Reserve (it was already clear that the card was impacted by the 5/24 rule).
Note that online preapprovals don’t seem to matter when it comes to 5/24. Many people who have received an online preapproval have still been denied for 5/24 when they’ve applied online.
Targeted letters received in the US Mail with a unique invitation code seem to usually get the applicant past the 5/24 rule.
Chase Private Client
Reports indicate that Chase Private Clients are often approved for cards despite being over the 5/24 rule. However, to become a Chase Private Client involves depositing a large amount of money with Chase so this is by no means the answer for most people.
A Strategy To Consider
If you find yourself yearning for a Chase card that is impacted by the 5/24 rule you may want to go for that card before trying to get others. If you’re at 4/24 now and get, say, an AMEX SPG card, then you may run into the 5/24 rule if you then try to get a Chase Ink Plus card. If you apply for the Chase Ink Plus card first you won’t be denied for the 5/24 rule. And American Express doesn’t use the same rule so the fact that the Ink Plus card takes you from 4/24 to 5/24 won’t necessarily be a major issue in getting the AMEX card.
The details of Chase’s 5/24 rule are relatively clear at this point. The rule can be a pain in the butt for folks that get a lot of credit cards. There are some ways to sometimes get around the rule though, with one of the best being the in-branch application approach (after confirming in the branch that you’re preapproved). And there are some solid Chase cards that aren’t impacted by this rule as of writing.
If this rule seems like a huge hassle to you, you can of course opt to eschew Chase cards altogether. However, Chase has some of the best travel card offers so that isn’t a great choice for many people. For the best offers from Chase and other banks, check out my rankings of the best travel cards.
Have a question on the 5/24 rule that I didn’t address here? Share it, or your comments, below!
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