Ugh. The Chase 5/24 rule.

It’s the bane of travel rewards enthusiasts everywhere. And now, with the new Chase Sapphire Reserve™ card available (along with its gigantic signup bonus), travel hackers everywhere are having a freak fest because they can’t get approved.

But, just what is the Chase 5/24 rule? Why does it matter? And, most importantly, how will it affect your travel rewards plans?

Let’s dive in!

What is the Chase 5/24 Rule?

Needless to say, we are huge fans of points and miles programs. More than that, we love us some credit card signup bonuses. Behind our children and our house, they’re probably our favorite things in the world!

See Also: Our Favorite Travel Card – The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Review

Most of our real-life friends think we’re a bit on the crazy side. We’re constantly finding ways to earn points, shift them around, and travel the world for free. Little do they know, our craziness barely registers on the travel hacking loon-o-meter. Some of y’all do some pretty wack shi…er…stuff. You’ll never catch us making mileage runs to Beijing just to earn a certain status. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Regardless, the Chase 5/24 rule has us pretty bummed – especially since Chase Ultimate Rewards® are our favorite points to earn and burn.

Basically, the Chase 5/24 rule means this: Chase will not issue you a new Chase card if you have opened 5 or more credit cards over the past 24 months. (This is where the name 5/24 comes from) But, the rule doesn’t stop there. The 5/24 rule doesn’t apply only to cards you’ve opened in your own name. It also includes any authorized user cards you have as well.

Boo.

The Chase 5/24 Rule: Separating Fact from Fiction

So, until recently, all of this 5/24 rule talk was just rumor. Travel hackers based their assumptions on stories they’ve heard from other’s experiences. Additionally, the rule seemed to apply only to certain cards – mainly the premium “native” Chase cards (like the Chase Sapphire Preferred®) and a few co-branded cards.

To see if the rumors were true, we decided to conduct our own little experiment. Since the new Chase Sapphire Reserve™ card recently opened for business, Holly went ahead and applied. Here’s how that went down:

Holly: Hello, I’d love to apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve™ card today.

Operator: Sure! I can help you with that. I’ll just need a little personal information first.

(3 minutes later)

Operator: I’m sorry, Mrs. Johnson. Your application has been denied.

Holly: Oh really!?! That’s too bad. Could you tell me why?

Operator: Well, it appears that you’ve had too many recent inquiries about new cards.

Holly: Yeah, I really love Chase cards! I thought, maybe, since this card was new you might accept me. We also do a lot of business with Chase. Does that have any effect?

Operator: I’m sorry. I can’t override the system on this. It appears you’ve had 8 new cards in the last 24 months. You need to have less than 5.

So, there it was. Our first actual confirmation that the Chase 5/24 rule really does exist!

Chase Confirms the Rumors

Ugh. The Chase 5/24 rule is a killer for travel hackers and travel rewards lovers. This piece does a great job of explaining the rule and how to deal with it.And now we have this! According to a story from Bloomberg, Chase has actually put the 5/24 rule in print. Bloomberg reports that Chase added the following verbiage to the application for the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card: “”You will not be approved for this card if you have opened 5 or more bank cards in the last 24 months.”

So, I went to the application myself but could find no such warning. However, I poked around a few other sites and was able to confirm through screenshots that this language was previously on the application form. Since then, it appears that Chase has taken it down.

See Also: The Best Travel Rewards Cards this Year

What It Means for You

So, what does all this mean for you? Well, obviously Chase is tightening access to the best credit card rewards offers. It seems that all of Chase’s native cards (ie: Chase Sapphire Preferred®, Chase Sapphire Reserve™, Chase Freedom® Unlimited, etc.) now fall under the 5/24 rule. According to others, Chase has extended this rule to many of their co-branded cards as well.

That being said, you can still earn tons of Chase Ultimate Rewards® Points by collecting their signup bonuses. You just need to be careful about how often you apply for the cards. Personally, we track all of our credit cards on a simple spreadsheet in a notebook. This helps us keep track of when we applied, how much the annual fee is (if any), and when we need to cancel. To help you out, we’ve created an electronic spreadsheet that does the same thing. Grab your FREE credit card tracking sheet here!

Unfortunately, the Chase 5/24 rule appears to be real…and – for now – it’s here to stay. That doesn’t mean it will be around on all Chase cards for forever, though. Credit card companies are notorious for tightening and relaxing their approval policies, so this rule could definitely change in the future. But for now, all we can do is deal with it.

For help navigating the Chase 5/24 rule, or for other ways to save on travel, contact us via our Free Rewards Advice page! Happy travels!

 

What is your experience with the Chase 5/24 rule? Have you had any trouble applying for new cards? Let us know in the comments below!