Have Chase Credit Cards Gotten Harder to Get? Not Always. Here’s What You Need to Know.

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card currently has its best-ever public offer of 50,000 points as a signup bonus (after $4000 spend within 3 months of account opening). For the most part we haven’t seen an offer like this for the card since March 2012. (And that was without the 5000 extra points.)

I’ve been a fan of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card as an important tool for frequent flyers since 2011 because:

  • It earns one of the most valuable points currencies, which transfer to a variety of airlines (including in all 3 major airline alliances) and hotels.
  • It earns points quickly, with double points on both travel and dining (what travelers tend to spend on most).

Singapore Airlines is a Sapphire Preferred Transfer Partner

The signup offer is even open to people who have had the card in the past provided you don’t currently have the card and it’s been 24 months since you last received the bonus.

However in many cases Chase seems only to want to approve people for this card if they haven’t applied for 5 new cards in the past two years. There are enough anecdotes from card applicants who have had this explained to them by Chase representatives to believe this is pretty solid, although there are certainly reports from odd readers that have gotten approved for the card despite having more new card accounts than this.

  • Cards where you’re an authorized user on someone else’s account seems to count towards the limit.
  • Some people seem to be approved with 5 or more new cards in the past two years

So the does not seem to be a hard and fast rule that applies to everyone, just a general guideline that anecdotally seems to apply to most.

Southwest Airlines is a Sapphire Preferred Transfer Partner

The advice then is to prioritize getting a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card before you apply for other cards.

But what about other Chase cards?

This unwillingness of Chase to approve customers for new cards if they’ve had 5 or more new cards from any bank within the past 24 months is referred to as the ‘5/24’ rule. It initially applied to Chase’s own-branded rewards cards, those that earn ‘Ultimate Rewards’ points like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

The rumor was that Chase would start applying this approach to these co-brand airline and hotel cards in April. However we’re now in May and most reports seem to be that it hasn’t gone into effect.

Chase won’t directly confirm the rule exists at all, so they aren’t saying which cards it does and does not apply to (or when they may change their approval criteria).

They aren’t going to want to encourage people who wouldn’t apply under criteria they’re planning to roll out to ‘sneak under the wire’. And at the same time they aren’t going to want people they would want to approve to be discouraged from applying based on broad sweeping statements. As I said, some people have reported approvals even for Sapphire Preferred despite having 5 or more new credit card accounts in the past two years.

Lots of things go into card approval such as credit score, income, existing credit outstanding, to name a few. (Here’s how signing up for credit cards affects your credit score and what credit scores generally get approved for rewards cards.)

Points from Chase Sapphire Preferred – or the British Airways Visa – Can Be Used to Redeem For (or Upgrade Into) British Airways First Class

Since Chase could clamp down on approvals for hotel and airline rewards cards the way they appear to have with their own Ultimate Rewards cards at any time — as they’ve been rumored too — my approach would be this.

  1. If you do not already have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, and haven’t had 5 or more new open cards within the past 24 months, I would get that first. I consider it one of the best cards out there. And roughly speaking, getting other cards first can make it tougher to get a Sapphire Preferred Card while getting Sapphire Preferred first is unlikely to make it tougher to get other cards.

  2. If you already have Chase Sapphire Preferred, and haven’t had 5 or more new cards within the past 24 months, I’d get Chase Freedom Unlimited. That’ll allow you to earn 1.5 points per dollar on all your spend and transfer those points to your Sapphire Preferred and from there onto airline miles and hotel points. Earning a minimum of 1.5 points per dollar on all your spend is huge. (The information related to Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card has been collected by View from the Wing and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.)

  3. If you have had over 5 new cards within 24 months, consider getting a Chase airline or hotel card — and getting it right away, given the rumors that approval criteria could become more restrictive soon.

(HT: Million Mile Secrets)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of advertisers Citibank, Chase, American Express, Barclays, Capital One or any other advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.


  1. Do you have an analysis post about Chase Freedom Unlimited? The $150 sign up bonus, is it in cash or 15K UR points? Wouldn’t the British Airways Visa be more valuable the Chase Freedom Unlimited?

  2. If there was an article that didn’t add any value or new info but was full of affiliate links – then this is it

  3. I think showing Chase some love also helps. Charge on the Chase cards you have. Keep at least 1 Chase card for more than the 1st year. This shows you are not just after the sign up bonus (which we know is the main reason you got the card).

    Also, Chase likes to give you the full amount of credit they are willing to extend you when you get a new card. Your denial may be due to having the max credit exposure they are willing to have and not the 5/24 rule. Just because you are over 5/24 and get denied, does not mean it is due to 5/24. Reducing your credit lines on cards reduces the possibility of a denial for max credit extended and saves a phone call.

    There are also rumors that calling in may also result in some 5/24 denials. Not sure it is true but who else but churners call in when a card app is pending. Heck, without the blogs I did not know you could call in and certainly did knot know what number to call.

  4. @Kalboz see link to the review of the card above. It’s ultimate rewards points.

    The British Airways Visa and Chase Freedom Unlimited serve very different purposes. I view Chase Freedom Unlimited as great for ongoing spending that doesn’t earn a bonus anywhere else. You get 1.5 points per dollar. If you have Sapphire PReferred you move the points over. And once they are in your sapphire preferred account, you transfer them to miles. It’s earning 1.5 transferrable ultimate rewards points per dollar MINIMUM on all your spend that way.

  5. I was denied a Chase Hyatt card because of more than 5 application within 24 months. Was also denied the Unlimited Freedom.

    I already have Saphirre, Freedom, and Business Ink, and IHG with Chase. I have great credit and pay entire balances of at the end of each month.

    There 5 app rule is pretty dumb, but it seems they are very strict about it

  6. I have fraud alert on my report. I always need to call. I had called after my ink+ got rejected. The jerk asked me why I applied for stop many cards. I have never applied for any card twice. I told him it’s because each reward program is different and so makes sense to apply for each card. Makes no sense to have Hyatt card if u am flying on united. He says: I am telling him I am just doing it for the rewards, which is not what I said. And he wouldn’t listen. He was a self righteous dick. Eff you chase.

  7. The chase 5/24 rule applies even to good customers of Chase. I have had a few cards with them that have been open for greater than 10 years (no fee cards). I make sure that something is charged to all cards I have on a monthly basis. I have a credit score in excess of 800. I have never been late on any payment and have no negative feedback on credit reports (checked regularly). Despite all the above, I was denied on my application for a Sapphire Preferred due to the 5/24 rule.

  8. @md: I have 4 chase cards and just applied for a 5th – the chase hyatt that was approved (I applied and got 7 cards in 2015, and 4 in 2016 prior to the chase hyatt). Of the 4 I have with Chase, I only use CSP and Freedom regularly. I have a credit score of over 800. The application didn’t go through online – it said I’d hear from Chase in 30 days. I got a call 3 weeks later to verify some aspects of the application and was approved.

  9. My gf applied for multi in the last 60 days . Ihg , Hyatt and sapphire preferred and all approved instantly so it’s still pretty easy . But U.S. Bank on the other hand …

  10. Isn’t it wickedly ironic that all the Chase signup bonuses these days seem to offer extra points for adding an AU, yet they count AUs against you in a 5/24 application?

  11. @Robert: Sapphire and UR cards are the ones that they have really cracked down on. You are likely to be OK with the others. I stand by my strategy.

  12. I think the rule is applying to all cards not just ultimate rewards cards. I was denied a Sapphire card but I was also denied a Southwest card for having opened too many cards in the last five years. It’s not a credit score problem and certainly not a payment problem -all my cards are on autopay. The rule seems to be hard and fast, although rather ridiculous.

  13. 5 in 24 does not apply to Chase co-brand cards, only to Chase UR points cards. I was just approved, after waiting 3 weeks, for a Southwest Plus card, and I have 21 accounts in the past 24 months, and 10 in the last 12 months. When I first did the app they asked me to call them, but I just ignored that. Calling in seems to now be the kiss of death for apps with Chase (at least for those with many recently opened accounts).

  14. So if my wife is an AU on my Chase Sapphire Preferred card is she eliminated from signing up for this card on her own and getting the bonus?

  15. @Henri Not at all. Just be sure when you add up her accounts opened in the last 24 months you include all AU accounts. If those put her over 5, you will have to call Chase, maybe more than once, to get a CSR who will process her application without counting the AU accounts.

  16. @Robert Hanson: I didn’t realize they allowed computer access in a maximum security facility. Is this what you do in your one free hour( er, I guess 23 of them are free, so it would be the one occupied hour) per day?
    If only I could find Bernie Madoff’s email. I need some market advice,

  17. I have 44 opened in the last 24 months. My wife the same. We each got the Ink+, Sapphire, SW personal and business at the end of the year. In march we was denied SW personal, IHG and Marriott all because of the 5/24, with call in confirmation. It has been in full force since March.

  18. Don’t forget Chase Hyatt . Four nights at the Hyatt London Regency , The Churchill . Not bad for two sign ups .

  19. Well my wife was declined for a Chase Southwest Premier two months ago but re-allied last week and was approved.this week although circumstances were identical. The May 21-22 WSJ repots that banks are now aggressively pushing their plastic.

  20. I have 10+ new cards in past 24 month and was denied Chase Freedom cards at least 2 times. But I decided to apply for the card again, even thou I got 2 Hilton cards just a week before. I got “we have to review” message as past few times and I thought it was another decline. I was pleasantly surprised to receive approval email message and a week later my Chase Freedom card.

  21. FYI– I received a flyer from IHG for that chase card. It stated that if you have had the bonus/card in last 24months, I would NOT qualify.

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