My 5/24 Backstory
When I first started to learn how to travel using miles and points earned with credit cards, I admit, I was careless and simply had no guidance. I let my mind dictate the cards I should get. I was blinded by big numbers. I had no strategy. I applied for WHATEVER cards that looked great or sounded appealing.
Those who are starting to learn ways to begin traveling using miles and points might have come across these numbers – 5/24. It’s also been used interchangeably as the Chase 5/24 Rule. Whenever someone would bring up a credit card they want to get, and it happens to be a non-Chase card, I’d say:
What’s your 5/24 status? If you really want to do this correctly and start earning the right way, the best way to start is to get credit cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards.
However, I get it. Not everyone understands what 5/24 means in the credit card world. Heck, I didn’t know about it when I first started. But, I’ve learned since then. Those of us who follow the proper strategies have learned over time that Chase credit cards and the value of the points you earn from these cards are one of the most, if not, the most flexible set of travel points out there today.
My goal is to not only share with you the basics about 5/24, but I’ve also laid out my personal, real-life situations in this entry. We will cover the 9 Things You Need To Know with Chase 5/24 Rule:
- 5/24 Basics – what is it about?
- Is there a relation between your credit score and income vs your 5/24 status
- Which activities count towards 5/24
- Which activities do not count toward 5/24
- Business credit cards and 5/24
- How can you check your 5/24 status
- Available Chase cards to get when you are under 5/24
- How to decide which ones to get first
- How do you decide which non-Chase branded cards to get
As a side bonus, you will see where these points have taken me and my family all over the world. Who do I have to thank? Kudos to all the lessons-learned along the way on how to strategically apply for credit cards that would work to my advantage.
1. What is the Chase 5/24 Rule
5/24 (read it as five twenty four), it’s not a date (not May 24th), nor is it a fraction (five over twenty four). Simply put, it refers to the number of personal credit cards that you’ve opened in the last two years (or 24 months). The Chase 5/24 Rule is for those who apply for new Chase credit cards accounts. When it comes time for Chase to review your application, if you’ve opened five or more new personal credit cards (with Chase and other institutions), your application will be denied by Chase. This applies to both business and personal credit card accounts.
To be honest, we’re told that this so-called 5/24 is an unwritten rule. Chase never spoke publicly about this so-called rule. However, based on many real-life situations (including mine), folks who applied for a Chase credit card and were 5/24 or over 5/24 were simply denied when they applied for a Chase credit card.
2. Does 5/24 status matter if my credit score and income are high
In 2014 and 2015, when I had no guidance and was just starting out with this award travel hobby, I fell victim to this rule. My income and credit score were also high around the time of those applications, but I was flat out denied because over the past 24 months, I had opened 5 or more credit card accounts (not only with Chase, but also with outside banking institutions). I tried to get them to reconsider, but to no avail. I never got the coveted Chase Sapphire Preferred for the 50,000 bonus points (now at 60,000). It was pegged as the perfect starter card, but by the time I paid attention to it, I had already gone over 5/24. I struggled to get the Chase Ink Preferred which would’ve given me 80,000 bonus points.
3. Which activities count toward your 5/24
- Credit cards, personal credit cards that were opened (Chase and ANY bank). Remember, the opening date is what matters. It will count if it was opened in the last 24 months, even if you’ve closed the account.
- Business cards opened with Discover, Capital One or TD Bank
- Being an Authorized User count against your 5/24 status (see below)
- Store cards are known to also count against your 5/24
My lesson-learned being an Authorized User
Even if the original credit card was not under your name, and someone added you as an authorized user, you take a hit. Add that as part of your 5/24 count. Many have stated that you can explain to Chase that you were only named as an Authorized User, and that Chase had approved applications with that explanation. In my case, I just chose to remove myself as an Authorized User on my wife’s accounts. That was my personal choice so there were no additional red flags. All it took was a phone call to the bank or credit card company and I simply asked them to be removed. I removed myself as an Authorized User on quite a few credit card accounts back in 2017 when I was trying to obtain the brand-new Chase Sapphire Reserve. I pulled all the stops and eventually got the card after 4 months of clearing up the obstacles. Here’s my journey that I documented in 2017.
4. The following activities DO NOT count toward your 5/24 status
- Credit inquiries
5. Do business credit cards count toward your 5/24 status?
First of all, if you are OVER 5/24, Chase will NOT approve you for Chase Business cards. You have to be under 5/24 to be approved by Chase on business cards. But what’s the deal with Chase business cards anyway? When I was over 5/24, all I could think of was getting the lucrative sign up bonus offers of 80,000 signup bonus with Chase Ink Preferred. But I needed to be UNDER 5/24 to apply for that. I waited to go under 5/24 and in 2018, I succeeded and got the Chase Ink Preferred (check with me for a new link).
Business credit cards are generally NOT counted against 5/24. Why is that? Most of the business credit cards are not reported on your personal credit report. According to 10xTravel, the banks that DO NOT report these to personal or consumer credit reports are: Chase, Bank of America, American Express, Citi, Barclays, US Bank, and Wells Fargo.
6. How can I check my 5/24 status
I use Credit Karma, it’s a website that gives you access to free credit report, including insight to the accounts that you have (with the dates the accounts were opened). This is a free service, and looking up your information DOES NOT result to a credit inquiry. Go to Credit Karma and create an account.
Once you’ve created an account, you could go straight to this link and look up the accounts that you’ve opened. Once you’re in the Credit Report section linked to you, look for the ACCOUNTS tab, and click ACCOUNTS. This should give you the number of your accounts (loans and credit cards).
Once you’re in the ACCOUNTS tab, look for Open Date and click it. Your goal is to find the most recent date. You can then, on your own, manually back track to your accounts that were opened in the past 24 months. If you’ve closed the account since, but it was opened in the last 24 months, it still counts as part of your 5/24 status.
Let’s use mine as an example. This blog entry was written on January 27, 2020. So the personal credit cards I should be concerned with were the ones that were opened in the past 24 months (so in my case, cards opened from January 27, 2018 thru January 27, 2020 would count as part of my 5/24 status):
These were the cards that count toward my 5/24 status:
- Amex or American Express credit card – opened November 5, 2019
- Amex or American Express credit card – opened October 9, 2019
- Barclay’s Bank credit card – opened June 6, 2019
I did not open any other personal credit cards between Jan 27, 2018 and Jan 27, 2019. This means, that as of Jan. 27, 2020, I was at 3/24 status.
Since I was at 3/24, what does that mean?
That means I could entertain and apply for two other Chase-branded credit cards, and my chances of getting approved are quite high since I was still under 5/24.
What didn’t count against my 5/24 using my personal example?
- I co-signed for my son’s Student Loan – opened Sept 19, 2019 (loans like such, personal loans, mortgage, refi’s – do not add to your 5/24)
- I purchased a new car in April 2018. Car loans DO NOT count as part of 5/24 either
- The JPMCB Card (or Chase Sapphire Reserve Card – opened on Jan 3, 2017), is now over 3 years old, therefore, it does not count against my 5/24 status.
Please note, I’ve been doing this for about 5 years now. You might notice that I have NOT applied for other Chase personal cards, that’s because I already have many of the “choice” Chase cards. What you didn’t see up in the screenshot were the Chase business cards that I was able to get, I was able to easily qualify because I was UNDER 5/24.
7. What Chase cards should I get if I am under 5/24
Remember, if you are over 5/24, Chase will most likely decline your application no matter your credit score or income. Chase has a suite of credit cards that one should consider getting BEFORE applying for other non-Chase cards.
These are the Chase cards I carry – you have to be UNDER 5/24 for a good chance in getting approved.
- Chase Freedom Unlimited (personal consumer card)
- Chase Sapphire Preferred (personal consumer card)
- Chase Sapphire Reserve (personal consumer card)
- Chase World of Hyatt (personal consumer card)
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless by Chase (personal consumer card)
- IHG or Intercontinental Hotels Group (personal consumer card)
- Chase United Mileage Explorer Card (personal consumer card)
- Chase Ink Preferred (business card)
- Chase Business Unlimited (business card)
- Chase United Explorer MileagePlus
These are the other Chase cards that are also affected by 5/24, meaning you have to be UNDER 5/24 for a good chance in getting approved.
- Chase Slate
- Chase Ink Cash
- Chase Ink Unlimited
- Chase Starbucks
- Chase Southwest Plus personal card
- Chase Southwest Premiere personal card
- Chase Southwest Premiere business card
- Chase British Airways
- Chase Iberia
- Chase Aer Lingus
- Chase Disney
- Chase Amazon
- Chase AARP
- Chase United Explore Mileage Plus Business
This list of of Chase cards is subject to change without notice. For a list of the Top Credit Cards, click here.
8. How do I know which cards to get first?
As with anything, there’s always a strategy. For me, I focused on cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards first. Depending on your goals, the perfect starter card is the Chase Sapphire Preferred. The card comes with a 60,000 bonus points, $95 annual fee with a minimum spend requirement of $4,000 within 3 months.
There are many other Chase credit cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards such as Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Freedom Unlimited, Chase Freedom, Chase Business Unlimited, Chase Ink Business Preferred, and Chase Ink Cash. They all have their own perks, and when it comes to strategy, there are ways to obtain these cards in a strategic manner.
In short, the strategy is to focus on these Chase cards first. Fill up your first 5 slots with Chase cards, and then once you go over 5/24, then begin entertaining other non-Chase cards.
9. Does this mean I should not consider other non-Chase cards?
No, you can weigh your options when faced with a decision to go for a Chase card or go for a non-Chase card. I’ll give you a perfect example. There is this credit card, the American Express Platinum that typically offers 60,000-75,000 American Express Membership Rewards. Every now and then, others would get a targeted offer from American Express with bonus offers from 100,000 up to 150,000 points. These are very lucrative points. But remember, if you are under 5/24, and you apply for a card like this, you will give up one of your 5/24 slots to a non-Chase branded card. But, targeted offers like this are hard to get. I have an example how I turned 107,000 American Express Membership Rewards and flew my family (all six of us) to Hawaii roundtrip.
I was able to book first class tickets to Japan roundtrip via ANA. The booking required 110K points but American Express offered a 30% bonus when transferring this to a travel partner, so I only used roughly 85,000 points per person to get me my dream aspirational trip to Japan. Long story short, there are non-Chase branded credit cards that are worth considering that could take up your 5/24 slot.
Again, there are always exception to the rules or the guidelines.
What’s the overall takeaway?
Gone are the days when I would simply just jump on a credit card bonus offer and apply without thinking. Gone are the days when I’d be blinded by the # of points offered as sign-up bonus. When you find yourself in a position and you’re asking, “What card should I get first? Which one should I get next?” I suggest checking your 5/24 status first. If you find yourself UNDER 5/24, then focus on filling up your slot with Chase credit cards – fill up your first 5 slots with Chase credit cards that earn you more Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Remember to do it in stride. Don’t go crazy and apply for Chase cards left and right. This is not a race, pace yourself. It’s more like a marathon.
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Editorial Disclosure: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.