The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Tuesday, June 28, 2022

How the Chase 5/24 Rule Works & Which Credit Cards It Affects

Chase 5 24 Rule

credit card advice

Brittney Mayer

Written by: Brittney Mayer

Brittney Mayer

Brittney is a Credit Strategist and Finance Expert who has spent years honing her knowledge of the credit industry both personally and professionally. Brittney applies her more than a decade of research experience to crafting in-depth consumer guides designed to help CardRates readers make better, more informed financial decisions.

Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian brings more than 30 years of editing and journalism experience. She has written and edited for major news organizations, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New York Times, and she previously served as an adjunct instructor at the University of Florida. Today, she edits all CardRates content for clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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The simplest way of judging your approval chances for any particular credit card is generally to look at your FICO credit score. For example, if your credit score is above 700, you probably have a decent chance of being approved for cards that typically require good credit. If your credit score is 600, however, those chances go way down.

Of course, while your credit score is an easy way to gauge your chances, it’s important to remember that card issuers look at more than just your score when you apply. Your entire credit profile is up for examination, and each individual credit card issuer may have its own criteria that must be met that may cause you to be rejected regardless of your score. One of the most prominent examples of this phenomenon is those who have been stung by Chase’s 5/24 Rule.

In the article below, we’ll take a look at the Chase 5/24 Rule and what this means for consumers, including which cards to apply for first, exempt cards, and other workarounds.

What It Is | Cards to Get First | Rule Exceptions

Chase’s 5/24 Rule Limits You to 5 Cards in 24 Months

Infamous among credit card churners and rewards collectors, Chase’s 5/24 Rule is a somewhat informal policy that limits the number of new credit accounts you can have on your credit reports and still be approved for most Chase credit cards. Specifically, if you have five or more new bank card accounts (credit or charge cards) opened within the last 24 months, you’ll most likely be rejected for a new Chase credit card even if you otherwise qualify.

And this Rule is not limited to only new Chase accounts. Any credit or charge card accounts that show up on your personal credit reports can count toward the five-card total. For example, say Pretend Polly opened five new credit cards in the last year, one from Bank of America, two from Amex, one Discover, and one Citi card. Even without a single Chase card to her name, Polly will likely be turned down if she applies for a new Chase credit card, regardless of her credit score.

While significant cardholder data points indicate that the 5/24 Rule is a company-wide policy that is strongly enforced, the Rule has only sporadically appeared in writing. The most commonly cited case of the Rule appearing in writing was a note on the application page for the extremely popular new travel card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® for the first month or so after its 2016 launch, which read:

You will not be approved for this card if you have opened 5 or more bank cards in the past 24 months.

While this was possibly the first time the 5/24 Rule was put into writing by Chase, it was not its inception. Reports of otherwise perfectly qualified applicants being rejected for new Chase cards started to surface in mid-2015, with the Chase Freedom Flex℠, Chase Freedom Unlimited®, and new travel card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, as the subjects of the newly enforced (but still as-of-yet unofficial) Chase 5/24 Rule.

The Rule didn’t stay limited to those three cards for long. As of May of 2016, the Rule was expanded to include all of Chase’s single-brand credit cards, as well as a good number of its co-branded cards. A number of reports also indicate Chase business cards are subject to “too many new card” rejections under the 5/24 Rule.

Since there’s limited official information regarding the Rule, cardholders and credit card experts have had to cobble together their own explanations and answers based on the experiences reported by other cardholders. This essentially means that everything we know about the 5/24 Rule comes with the fine-print message of, “your experience may vary.”

For example, while the commonly upheld interpretation of the Rule — and its printed version — says that applicants with “5 or more” new accounts will be rejected, some reviews indicate being right at five new accounts may really go either direction. Additionally, it’s been cardholder trial-and-error that has put together the list of co-branded Chase cards that seem to be exempt from the 5/24 Rule (see below for the list).

Which Chase Cards You Should Apply for First

While the Chase 5/24 Rule is inconvenient for any potential cardholder who happens to have a number of cards, it’s downright obnoxious to those who like to maximize their credit card rewards, as Chase’s roster contains many of the top rewards cards and one of the best travel rewards programs available. So, given the issuer’s limitations, it makes sense to prioritize any Chase cards you intend to obtain.

But with such a wide range of cards, how do you determine where to start? There are four main cards frequently recommended as a first Chase card, but the specific card you start with will depend on two things: your rewards objective and your credit. If you have very good to excellent credit and intend to accrue travel rewards, then the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card are strong contenders.

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • New Offer: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.74% - 24.74% Variable
$550
Good/Excellent

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
16.74% - 23.74% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card cards belong to the same product family, offering the same bonus rewards categories of dining and travel. However, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® provides a higher bonus rate — 3X points vs. 2X points — as well as a variety of additional perks, including a $300 travel credit that largely offsets its higher $550 annual fee.

Other than doubling down on signup bonuses, there’s really no reason to hold onto both cards, so choose the one that best suits your particular lifestyle. If you travel enough to make the most of the Chase Sapphire Reserve®‘s extra benefits, it can be well worth the higher annual fee. Otherwise, go with the more modestly priced Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

If travel isn’t a priority at all, then you may want to start your Chase collection with one — or both — of its cash back options, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. The Chase Freedom Flex℠ card offers top-tier cash back rewards on travel purchased through Chase as well as on rotating bonus categories each quarter when activated subject to a purchase limit. Categories are typically useful, including things like restaurants, gas stations, and grocery stores.

Chase Freedom Flex℠ Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.74% - 24.49%.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
15.74% - 24.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • INTRO OFFER: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!
  • Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).
  • After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.74% - 24.49%.
  • No annual fee - You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Unlimited® card
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
15.74% - 24.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

For those who aren’t fond of rotating categories, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a good all-around option, providing unlimited cash back rewards on all card purchases. And what’s more, the Freedom cards can complement each other well when used in conjunction. That’s because you can earn a higher rate of return than solely using one card or the other by pairing the Chase Freedom Flex℠ rotating bonus with the higher unlimited rate of the Chase Freedom Unlimited®.

If you’ve gone for one of the Sapphire cards first, consider the Chase Freedom Flex℠ card as a second card to maximize travel rewards, as you can actually turn your cash back rewards into Ultimate Rewards® points so long as you have a card that already earns Ultimate Rewards®. This means you could potentially turn the bonus category rewards from your Chase Freedom Flex℠ card into 5X Ultimate Rewards® points — and you can pool them with your existing Ultimate Rewards® points.

Exempt Cards & Other Potential Workarounds

If you’re feeling like your lofty rewards dreams have just been deflated — you’re not alone. But you may not be completely out of luck if you’re looking to get your hands on a Chase credit card. A number of potential workarounds have been reported by consumers in forums and card blogs that may help you get around the 5/24 Rule.

The easiest workaround for rejections based on being over the 5/24 limit is for those who are rejected due to being an authorized user on another person’s card, and simply requires you to call into the Chase reconsideration line and request a manual evaluation. Most reports indicate a human reviewer can discount any cards on which you are only an authorized user and may approve you if this puts you under the limit.

  • Reconsideration (Personal): 888-270-2127
  • Reconsideration (Business): 800-453-9719

What used to be a simple way to get a Chase credit card without being thwarted by the 5/24 Rule was to choose a credit card that was exempt from the Rule. At one point, several of Chase’s co-branded airline, hotel, and retail credit cards were exempt from the rule and could be obtained even if you were over the limit.

However, at this point in time, it seems that Chase has extended the rule to cover all of the cards issued by the bank.

Some rumors suggest that, if you already have a Chase account (banking or credit), you may be able to get around the 5/24 Rule with “Selected For You” offers that appear in your online account. Other anecdotal evidence also suggested that certain types of mailed card offers can also bypass the 5/24 Rule, however your mileage may vary.

Keep the Rules in Mind When Choosing Your Next Card

For the majority of the credit card world, your credit score will be the biggest factor in whether you’re approved. But that’s not the case for every card — and we’re not just talking about those elite, invitation-only cards, either. Chase’s infamous 5/24 Rule has easily become the bane of rewards junkies everywhere by putting the majority of its credit cards out of reach for even those with excellent credit scores.

Whether you want a Chase credit card for its specific rewards or simply wish to churn, baby, churn, the 5/24 Rule will likely play a big role in your journey toward the Chase card of your dreams. With a little know-how and some careful planning, however, the 5/24 Rule doesn’t have to be the end of that journey.

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