Chase’s 5/24 rule: What it is, and what it means for your credit card applications

Chase's most popular credit cards are subject to the 5/24 rule, so you'll want to prioritize applying for them.

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Chase’s most popular credit cards are subject to the 5/24 rule, so you’ll want to prioritize applying for them.
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David Slotnick/Business Insider

  • As points, miles, and rewards credit cards have become more popular, issuers like Chase have implemented their own rules around credit card approvals.
  • Chase’s 5/24 rule dictates that you won’t be approved for most Chase credit cards if you’ve opened five or more credit cards across all banks in the last 24 months.
  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Freedom Unlimited, United Explorer Card and several other top rewards cards from Chase are affected by this rule.
  • If you’re just getting started with rewards cards, you’ll want to apply for Chase credit cards first.

“Travel hacking” – where you use credit card points and frequent flyer miles to book flights and hotels for little to no money – has become incredibly popular. And it’s not hard to see why; enjoying more travel for less cash is a win-win, and with the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve a few years ago, some rewards credit cards are now household names.

If you’re looking to use points and miles to book travel, you’ll want to start using rewards credit cards and earning their sign-up bonuses. Not only do sign-up bonuses help you earn a lot of points or miles quickly, but after you open a rewards credit card, you’ll also earn additional rewards on all your everyday spending, and can enjoy additional perks like annual statement credits toward airline fees.

While credit card points can make travel more affordable, there are plenty of rules and idiosyncrasies to keep in mind. One of the biggest ones you’ll want to know about is Chase’s 5/24 rule.

What is Chase’s 5/24 rule?

Chase’s 5/24 rule prevents you from being approved for many Chase credit cards if you’ve opened five or more credit cards within 24 months. This means five credit cards across all card issuers – not just Chase – so if you’ve opened three Amex cards and two Bank of America cards within the past 24 months, you still wouldn’t be approved if the Chase card you’re applying for is subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule.

Having opened five or more card within 24 months essentially puts you in a “blackout” period, meaning you won’t qualify for most of Chase’s cards. When you’re no longer in this blackout period as time progresses, you’re “out from under 5/24.” You may also see people refer to this as having “5/24 slots free” again.

What credit cards are affected by Chase’s 5/24 rule?

The good news is that the 5/24 rule doesn’t apply to every single Chase card. However, most of Chase’s top rewards credit cards, including the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve, are subject to the 5/24 rule.

Here are some of the personal Chase credit cards known to be affected by the 5/24 rule:

Here are some of the co-branded Chase credit cards that are affected by 5/24:

Some of Chase’s business credit cards are also affected. Here are some you should be aware of:

Like other issuers, Chase does a credit check before approving or denying your credit card application. This gives it access to your account open dates for all lines of credit on your credit report. This is how it’s able to check your eligibility for a card based on the 5/24 rule.

Being mindful of the cards you open is crucial to staying “under” 5/24. Even some department store credit cards count toward the five-card limit in 24 months – however, student loans, mortgage loans, and car loans are not included in this rule.

How you can check your 5/24 “status”

You don’t have to wait for Chase to tell you your card application has been denied because you’ve opened too many accounts in the past 24 months – you can keep track of your 5/24 status yourself.

One way to do this is to open a free account with Credit Karma. Once you have an account, you can view all the accounts associated with your credit report, including your open dates.

What Chase’s 5/24 rule means for your credit card strategy

Apply for Chase cards first

Because the 5/24 rule only applies to Chase credit cards, it’s best to apply for the credit cards you want from Chase first. Once you have the Chase cards you want, you can expand to other issuers. Of course, you’ll have to adhere to the rules that apply to the other banks.

Consider upgrading or downgrading your Chase card

Especially if you’re over 5/24, if you feel that a different Chase card would be better for your lifestyle, you could request to upgrade or downgrade your card.

Upgrading or downgrading a Chase card won’t affect your 5/24 standing, since you’re not opening a new card. Instead, you’re trading one card for another. Just keep in mind that you probably won’t qualify for any promotional offers like a sign-up bonus.

It’s all about the open date

Contrary to what you may think, closing one of your cards won’t help you stay below 5/24. Chase looks at open dates, but does not care whether those credit cards have since closed.

So, it’s important to regularly monitor your credit report and check your 5/24 status before applying for a Chase credit card.

Bottom line

Chase 5/24 rule is strict for a reason – the issuer offers valuable rewards credit cards and lucrative sign-up bonuses, and without guidelines in place it would be easy to take advantage of these and “game” the system.

While other banks may not conform specifically to the 5/24 rule, that isn’t to say that they don’t have their own set of guidelines. So, a good rule of thumb is to only open credit cards that you really want, space out your applications so they don’t exceed five in a 24-month span, and start with your favorite Chase cards.

Click here to learn more about the best Chase cards.