Chase 5/24 Rule
Beginning in May of 2015 many people in the community noticed a tightening in Chase approvals. Specifically some were denied for having too many new card accounts across all banks within the last two years. Out of those original data points came an almost legendary new rule. We call it 5/24.
Since its inception in May, 2015 5/24 has sort of become an accepted truth. Pretty much all of the miles & points blogs (including this one) have covered it multiple times. The rule even made it into a Yahoo Finance article about credit card churning. When I first covered the 5/24 rule in June, 2015 I didn’t 100% buy that it existed, but I did believe Chase was tightening given their position in the market & recent tweaks to products. Since then I probably bought into the rule more, but now it’s time to look at the evidence.
Where Did the Chase 5/24 Rule Come From
To find out if 5/24 is indeed a reality, let’s try to see where it came from. I believe the first major blog to write about the 5/24 rule was Doctor of Credit. This is what they say about the rule in a June, 2015 post:
Many mention the magic number of five. Having five or more new accounts will trigger denial. This number is mentioned in the Flyertalk wiki as well, and is now known as “the 5/24 rule.”
So it seems that the 5/24 rule came from Flyertalk. Doctor of Credit mentions a wiki, but unfortunately wikis do change. Here is what that wiki now says about the 5/24 rule:
Starting in May 2015, Chase began denying applications for its own branded cards (e.g., Sapphire Preferred, Freedom; but not United, Hyatt, IHG, etc*) if the applicant’s credit report shows that she or he opened 5 or more credit cards in the past 24 months. The count includes cards opened at other banks and even cards on which the applicant is only an authorized user, not the primary cardholder. Chase has been extremely inflexible with this policy, with agents stating that there is nothing they can do to circumvent this restriction.
It also says:
(NOTE: The actual cut-off number of recently opened cards may not be 5; it may be lower or perhaps higher, and it may differ for different applicants.)
I read that to mean that Chase has an internal policy where they judge you based on a number of factors. The number of new accounts may be one of them, but the actual number of accounts that causes a denial will vary.
The Chase 5/24 Rule Spreading to Business & Co-branded Cards
Back in January, Doctor of Credit reported a rumor that the 5/24 rule would be spreading to business cards such as the Chase Ink Plus. Specifically, this is what was said:
Based on a trusted source who is an expert in the credit card industry, Chase will soon be applying 5/24 to business cards as well, meaning that INK cards will be very hard for most of us to get. It looks like this new rule will start at some point during the month of March.
Then a few weeks later, that same source told Doctor of Credit that the 5/24 rule would spread to co-branded cards in April:
This trusted source now tells us that in a separate move, Chase will apply the 5/24 rule to co-branded cards as well, including cards like Southwest, United, Hyatt, and the rest of Chase’s co-branded card line-up. This will apply both to personal co-branded cards and to business co-brands.
As of now, I do not believe the 5/24 rule is implemented on either co-branded credit cards or business credit cards. I picked up a Chase Ink Plus recently as have a number of people I know who have more than five new accounts in the past 24 months. Similarly co-branded cards have not been affected as far as I know. Frequent Miler recently reported being approved for both the personal and business Marriott cards in the same day.
To be fair, I do not blame Doctor of Credit for reporting this. It was made clear that this information came form an anonymous source and was not confirmed. I think it is safe to say that this source’s information didn’t pan out. At the very least their time frame was off.
The 5/24 Rule on Chase Branded Personal Cards
So now that we have dealt with business and co-branded cards, let’s look at the original 5/24 rule products. This rule was originally implemented on the Freedom, Sapphire Preferred and Slate cards. Among the data points in 2015, people reported:
- Being denied for having too many new accounts.
- In many cases authorized user accounts were factored into this calculation by Chase.
- Reconsideration wasn’t able to overturn this decision.
As I mentioned earlier, most of what I read in researching this (simply search 5/24 on Google) didn’t mention five new accounts as being the magic number. It is referenced in later posts with people specifically mentioning the rule, but in the beginning many people simply were denied for having too many new accounts.
Still, whether the number was 5/24 or not, what is happening now? Well, it appears many people are having success getting approved. Don’t get me wrong, there are still A LOT of denials, but there are approvals as well. Here is an entire Reddit discussion with people listing data points of approval. Many are right at 5/24 and some are higher. Frequent Miler who seems to be much higher than 5/24, also reported an approval for Sapphire Preferred earlier this year. So what gives?
Ways Around the Chase 5/24 Rule
Throughout this post I have tried to show my work, because I am not trying to present a case for or against the Chase 5/24 rule. I simply see people ask about it all of the time and thus thought it would be a good subject. (And the subject came up on the Travel Hacking 101 Facebook Group as well.) With that said, I am convinced based on what I have read that the 5/24 rule does not exist in an absolute manner.
There seem to be some ways around the 5/24 rule. First, people who have received preapproved offers have reported approvals with more than 5/24. Second, people with substantial banking relationships with Chase (like Private Client) have reported being approved for cards like the Sapphire Preferred.
Is the Chase 5/24 Rule Real?
So let’s get to the question posed in the title of this post. Is the Chase 5/24 rule real? I think yes & no. To be clear, this is my personal opinion based on reading and researching and I have no inside knowledge of Chase operations nor do I have any sources within Chase. I do think the tightening of approvals is very real at Chase, especially on cards like the Sapphire Preferred.
This means that yes some people have been denied for having 5 new accounts in the past two years. Others have been denied for having more or less new cards. I believe Chase evaluates a number of things including your credit profile and business relationship with them. They probably also take into account your income and other data they have about you. This is most likely why people who are preapproved don’t get denied. Chase wants them.
Strategy Moving Forward
There is no doubt in my mind that it is more difficult to get approved for Chase branded cards now than it was prior to May, 2015. There are simply too many people who have been denied for having too many new accounts. With that said, here are my personal thoughts on a Chase card application strategy:
- If you are new to miles/points and have no new accounts or only a few, I would probably target the Chase branded cards that make sense for you and get those sooner rather than later.
- No matter how many new accounts you have, it probably makes sense to look for preapproved offers from Chase. This seems to increase the likelihood of approval.
- If you have a ton of new cards, you might want to consider expanding your business relationship with Chase. Good Chase customers seem to be approved more often.
- I personally try to be a good customer and use my Chase cards for normal purchases. This is a personal philosophy, but I think using them for spend can help.
- If you are denied, make sure to call reconsideration and even consider writing a letter or sending a secure message to plead your case to someone higher up. There are reports of overturning a “too many new accounts” denial via reconsideration.
So now you have my opinion on the Chase 5/24 rule and whether or not it exists. Hopefully I presented enough information here for you to be able to research and determine your own opinion. Feel free to share your thoughts, data points and experiences about the Chase 5/24 rule in the comments.