Curing 5/24

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Recent developments have made me think more about Chase’s 5/24 Rule (where they deny applicants who have opened 5 or more cards in the past 24 months).  First, Chase released two new and very attractive cards: the Sapphire Reserve card and the Ink Business Preferred card, Then, they promised to release more new cards.  Soon thereafter, those with Chase Private Client status lost their immunity to 5/24.  Then, seemingly unrelated, one of the best options for earning a Southwest Companion pass died and we are left primarily with the Chase two-card solution.  And, finally, we learned that Chase would soon cut in half the Sapphire Reserve’s signup bonus.

All of the above has led me to rethink the question of whether it makes sense for those who are over 5/24 to go on a credit card signup diet.  Should you stop signing up for (most) cards until you’re under 5/24?

curing-5-24

Considering the Southwest Companion Pass

Southwest’s Companion Pass is one of the best travel deals available today. If you earn 110,000 qualifying Southwest Rapid Rewards points in a calendar year, you will earn a Southwest Companion Pass that is good for an unlimited number of flights for the rest of that year and all of the next. This means that it is possible to bring a companion with you, for free, on all flights for almost two years if you obtain the pass early in a calendar year.

As reported earlier this week, though, the Southwest Companion Pass has become harder to get. Points transferred from hotel and car rental programs no longer qualify.

The best alternative (but one hard to achieve due to 5/24) is to sign up for two 50,000 point Southwest credit card offers and to meet the spend requirements early in the calendar year. This will give you at least 104,000 points towards the Companion Pass. You can earn the remaining points through credit card spend, Southwest flights, or other means.  This is great, but if you’re over 5/24, you can’t do it.

Clearly, those who fly Southwest often with a companion (or would like to do so) have strong motivation to cure their 5/24 condition.

Considering the next big Chase offers

On the heels of the Sapphire Reserve card’s success, Chase’s CEO says that Chase will introduce additional new cards. They already followed the Sapphire Reserve with the new Ink Business Preferred card. Both were introduced with jaw-dropping signup bonuses (100K and 80K, respectively). It’s reasonable to assume that additional new cards will also have fantastic signup offers.

Recently we learned that Chase will soon cut the Sapphire Reserve’s bonus in half. This means that many who currently suffer from 5/24 will most likely never get the exciting 100,000 point bonus. But, it may be worth rehabilitating your 5/24 condition now in order to prepare for new product launches. Maybe you’ll be lucky and some new products won’t appear for a couple of years.

How to cure 5/24

The key is simply to stop applying for cards that contribute to your 5/24 condition. All new personal credit cards, from any bank, count towards your 5/24 condition. And, being an authorized user on a personal credit card counts (but often can be argued away with a reconsideration call). For details on assessing your 5/24 condition, see: How to count your 5/24 status.

Not all business cards count towards 5/24. Only those that are reported to the big three credit bureaus count. This means that applying for business cards from the following banks will not hurt your 5/24 condition:

  • American Express (except for Canadian Amex)
  • Bank of America
  • Barclaycard
  • Chase
  • Citi
  • US Bank
  • Wells Fargo

The banks listed above offer quite a few great signup offers. At the time of this writing, Amex has a public 100K offer for their Business Platinum card.  Bank of America has quite a few good business card offers including 30K miles for the Alaska business card and 25K for the Travel Rewards business card. Citi regularly offers 50K for their CitiBusiness AAdvantage card. And US Bank offers 20K for their FlexPerks business card and 85K for their Club Carlson for Business card.

Interestingly, even though most Chase business cards are subject to the 5/24 rule, they do not add to your 5/24 count. If you are over 5/24, you probably won’t get approved for the 80K Ink Business Preferred card, for example, but if you do manage to get approved for the card, it won’t add to your 5/24 condition.  UPDATE 1/15/2017: Recent evidence suggests that Chase business cards do count.  YMMV.

The above has been a long way of saying that you can cure your 5/24 condition without giving up on signup bonuses. Keep in mind, though, that some banks do report business cards to the credit bureaus. Business cards from Capital One, and Discover business cards do count towards your 5/24 condition.

For a list of the best business card offers, please see: Best Business Card Offers.

The cost of the cure

The “cure” means giving up many great personal credit card offers and some great business card offers (mostly from Capital One).  That may sound rough to those who earn points primarily through signup bonuses, but keep in mind that you won’t have to go completely cold turkey.  For example, you could sign up for one personal card every 6 months or so without ruining your 5/24 recovery.  And you can sign up for as many 5/24-safe business cards as you want.  What you can’t do is go on a crazy application spree like I did recently, unless you restrict those applications to 5/24-safe cards.

Which offers would be painful to resist?  From my overall Top 10+ Credit Card Offers page, here are the current (at the time of original publication) Top 10 cards which are not Chase cards, and whether or not they count towards 5/24:

Card / Offer Counts towards 5/24?
Amex Business Platinum 100K No
BOA Virgin Atlantic 75K Yes
Amex Business Gold Rewards 50K No
BOA Amtrak 30K Yes
Avianca Vuela 60K Yes
BOA Merrill+ 50K Yes
Amex Delta Platinum 35K Yes
Amex Delta Platinum Business 35K No
Citi Platinum AAdvantage 50K Yes
CitiBusiness AAdvantage 50K No

Six out of ten do count towards 5/24.  So the “cure” means giving up, or largely delaying, some terrific offers.

Decision Time

I don’t fly Southwest often, so the Companion Pass pursuit is not a heavy motivator for me.  Plus, since I recently signed up for a bunch of cards, it would take me 2 full years to get under 5/24.  And, I wouldn’t count on this 2 card Companion Pass strategy working that far in the future.

Despite not caring about the Companion Pass deal for myself, I still have motivation to cure my 5/24 condition. I’m a big fan of Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program, and if they’re going to introduce more cards to the Ultimate Rewards family, I’m going to want them.  So, I do think I’ll try to cure my 5/24 status, and my wife’s too.  If I counted correctly, she’ll be under 5/24 a bit sooner than me: April 2018.

How about you?  Will you give up on Chase or try to cure your 5/24 condition?

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Comments

  1. Greg- I received a mail offer with an invitation code for the Ink Preferred Card under the business name. Will applying with this code bypass 5/24?

    I am over 5/24 and didn’t know if this would bypass 5/24.

    Thank you!

  2. Thanks Greg. Brilliant post as usual. You just made sense out of all the thoughts that have been swirling in my head the last couple days.

  3. I won’t try to cure my status. Maybe if I had a substantial business and felt comfortable with getting lots of business cards, perhaps I would see it differently. In the meantime, I will forge ahead. The points I have received by being over 5/24 have dwarfed what I am “losing” out on with Chase. As the rules continue to tighten, and as I increasingly have more of the “better” cards, I figure eventually I will get under 5/24 even though I don’t want to be there!

  4. Basic question: can you confirm that it is 5 new opened accounts, and not 5 applications in the last 24 months?

    I figure with the Ink+, Reserve, and the Freedom, I have enough ways to earn UR pts ongoing, so it is unlikely that I’ll be Application-dieting.

  5. Thanks. I was unaware that the United Business card doesn’t count. How sure is this? I’d like to cancel my 3+ year old personal card and get this instead.

  6. I have the AMEX American Express Business Gold Charge card and it shows as a credit inquiry on my Experian report. Is this unusual?

      • OK thanks but so it *will* count towards Chase’s 5/24 rule then since Chase sees it as an inquiry. The post was saying that it won’t.

        • No, that is not what the post is saying– you’re interpretation is wrong.

          Inquiries do not count. The 5/24 is based on CARDS.

          Another way of putting this, is that if you applied for a personal card but didn’t have it approved, it would not count toward 5/24. If it did get approved, then the CARD would show up on your credit report and that’s what Chase “sees”. In the case of certain Business card issuers mentioned like Citibank, Chase will not know if it’s approved or not (since if it is, the CARD won’t show up in your personal credit reports), so Chase will not count the CARD against you.

          Now, there are also certain “rules” regarding applications that you may run afoul on, but those are separate from 5/24.

  7. I bit for the Hilton Surpass upgrade last night solely due to 5/24 and needing a path for Hilton Diamond. Have one card dropping off in May and two cards in December which will free me up for three new Chase cards. Going on an app diet and concentrating on earning M&P w/ the cards I have.

  8. My wife is currently at 5/24. One of her cards is the Chase Marriott Visa Business card. Even with it included, she’ll drop to 4/24 in the end of March. I’d want her to try for the 100K Sapphire Reserve and figured it would be worth waiting the 3 months but with the offer disappearing, does she have a shot now if the business card wouldn’t count?

      • No dice. Tried to apply – got a pending. Decided to let it wait and was about to call today but we got the denial letter in the mail today. “Too many cards opened in the last two years associated with you.”
        Since it’s 5/24 I’m not even gonna make her try for calling recon.
        Here is her list for the last 24 months. They must have counted the Chase business card.
        1 Barclays personal
        1 Citi personal
        1 AMEX personal
        1 Chase personal
        1 Chase business (Marriott Business)

        • I thought business cards didn’t count since they don’t report to your credit report?

          I suppose they counted it since it’s a Chase card and they could see it in their records?

          Elsewhere I read, they go by your credit report only.

  9. I agree with Kate – I did this analysis in five seconds when Chase came out with 5/24. Since I average something like 16/24, I would be giving up 10-12 $500-$1,000 bonuses over 2 years, let’s call it $3,000 per year just to trade Chase for Barclays, Amex and Citi. With Citi and Amex limiting bonuses, it could become an issue, but fortunately there continues to be new products and Amex has sent me a few good targeted offers that don’t have their once in a lifetime language. Until I see that there aren’t enough good offers I can apply for with the other three I will stay well above 5/24 – but I do need to start a business!

  10. Nah, not worth it to slow down, at least for now. There have been continual offers that are too good to pass up, like the AA card without recent restrictions, all the nice BofA cards, even a few Amex cards that I still haven’t gotten yet (ED, EDP, Green, Ameriprise Plat, etc). Passing up on those to hold out for some future Chase offers in 2 years is too much to give up. Not only do you not know what they will offer in two years, they might change their underwriting standards between now and then and blow your 5/24 plans out of the water. What if they go to lifetime restrictions like Amex? Or allow new cards but no bonuses? There are so many things that could happen between now and then.

    One thing I have learned in this game is to take opportunities when they come- things like the 100K Amex plat leaked links, the 2 hour CSR link for which 5/24 didn’t apply, etc. Bird in the hand, strike while the iron, yada yada.

    • I have to agree with DCJoe, you never know what will change and blow your plan out of the water. The only reason I even considered going on a 5/24 diet is to give my personal credit report a breather for AAoA.

    • One thing I’ve learned in this game is that there will always be bigger and better offers down the road. Sure, I like the big bonuses but I don’t need them. MS gets me where I want to go. I “do” need a couple Chase cards and want them sooner then later. I’m 5/24 today but this coming May I’ll be 4/24 and December I’ll be 2/24. The blogger push right now is, hurry up, get the CSR before the bonus is halved. Makes me laugh because we’ll see the 100K again, over and over. Patience is a virtue.

  11. Gregg…I thought the consensus was that CHASE business accounts counted because they could easily tell you opened one with them. Where has it been discussed that chase business doesn’t count towards 5/24? Thanks a bunch.

    • co-sign would like more discussion on this.

      I think Ink is nearly impossible to get regardless, but family member is way over 5/24 and got the Marriott Business card (even though that one seems to sometimes be noted as a 5/24 card). if that one doesn’t count, then that’s a good card to get for those of us trying to go on a 5/24 diet.

    • Yes, this is my understanding as well. The definitive answer will change my ability to apply for a Chase card by 4 months.

      • I could be wrong, but I believe it may be hazy– like, it doesn’t officially count for auto-approval, but if you have to call for recon (a likely occurrence for something like Ink) the human analyst may use it against you.

    • There is a lot of evidence that the “official” 5/24 count comes directly from your credit report. Since Chase business cards don’t show up there, they’re not included in the count. Since I wrote about this (http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/2016/08/31/chase-business-cards-524/) most reader input has agreed with the premise. Is it 100% certain? No, but would I gamble hard inquiries on it? Yep.

      Part of the murkiness is the fact that some analysts will deny applications for those who have recently signed up for lots of cards even if those applications were not denied due to 5/24. In those cases, I imagine that an analyst may see that the applicant has opened lots of Chase cards (including business cards) and uses that as a reason for denial. If this happens, reconsideration calls may work where they don’t work with 5/24.

  12. Greg, one point worth mentioning is that for those of us who 1) have gone through the “lifetime” Amex cards and 2) have recently gotten Citibank cards that are subject to a 24-month window, 5/24 might make sense.

    Long-term strategy may be:
    1) get all Amex cards
    2) get all Citibank cards, Chase cards eligible for, and other card issuer cards
    3) wait for 5/24 to reset
    4) apply for Chase 5/24 cards
    5) re-apply for Citibank 24 month cards, other non-Chase 5/24 and other card issuer cards
    6) loop #3-5

    In between #3-5 can still do the business cards you mention (that way you could stagger the 24 month cycle mid-5/24 for say Citi AA Business) and add a card or two as well.

  13. I just discovered that my wife is just under with only 4/24. Thinking of having her jump on getting the Reserve before the bonus drops. How many other chase cards can she apply for at the same time? If she applies for 2 or 3 on the same day will they still see that she is now at 5/24 or can she sneak a few in at once with Chase before going over?

    • @PointsAreLife
      Were you able to get more than 1 chase card at 4/24? I’m in the same boat and thinking about taking a chance with both southwest personal cards to get a shot at companion pass.

      Thanks.

  14. No credit card diet for my wife and me. There are too many good offers outside of Chase. Who knows how long this golden age of credit card sign-up bonuses will last? If you go on a diet, you give into Chase in two ways: they get your business in two years PLUS they don’t lose you to a competitor in the mean time. I predict that Chase will realize that the 5/24 rule is silly and punitive and will loosen it in the next year or two (much like the new Citi AA 50k offer). Chase has to be losing a ton of business from this.

  15. I’m at 24/24 or something. I hate not being able to get most new Chase cards but it’s hard to pass up on everything else.

  16. Seems like chase has a plan to slow down churners. With all you bloggers touting just the opposite with apporamas and referral bonuses for pitching the latest greatest signup (yes I know some don’t live on referrals)….still most bloggers ignore the basic premise of card signup bonuses: Pigs get fat, Hogs get slaughtered…..slow and steady will keep things going, where app-o-ramas force banks to reconsider their limits.

    • you sound like a Baptist moralizing about alcohol while standing in line in a liquor store where you just picked up some cheap bottles for yourself…

  17. If I’m at 4/24 and want to go for the Southwest Companion Pass, should I first apply for the Business card (because it won’t count towards 5/24), then apply for the personal?

    If I apply for the personal first, will my count be at 5/24 and I’ll be declined for the business?

  18. What is the consensus on how many Chase cards are too many according to Chase in the past 6 months? 1 year?
    This is assuming you are under 5/24.

  19. I don’t believe Barclays reports business cards (ie Jetblue or Hawaiian biz) to the personal credit report. I would love to be proven wrong is anyone has a concrete data point, though.

  20. Do you happen to know If it’s possible to get approved for two chase business cards with two different business names in the same day?

    • Dave D, I was just approved for three Chase Ink Plus cards four months ago over a single reconsideration call (all with different business names). So yes, it is possible to get more than one business card in one day. Good luck!

  21. I have a Barclay US Airways now American Airlines business card and it has never reported on any personal bureau. I was also told I could move credit from or to it amongst ny personal Barclay Cards whenever I feel the need.

  22. I am 2 months away from being 4/24. Was content to stay on the sidelines a while longer but not passing up the 100k csr offer. Will roll the dice this week. Based on research I think there’s enough datapoints to suggest I will be approved.

    But in general I don’t believe it is worth going on a cure and giving chase a disproportionate slice of my loyalty. The amount of points I burn annually requires steady churning. Too much good stuff out there. And I also agree chase will ultimately relent on 5/24 altogether. The Citi AA offer is no accident. They all backtrack. Play the long game.

  23. @thewhitezone
    Don’t bother. I too will be under 5/24 in 4 weeks. Was waiting for CSR then.
    Have 800+ credit score and a really nice income.
    Decided I had nothing to lose by trying today. A hard pull but then I would know I tried. A lovely rep very sweetly denied me.
    “Nothing can be done until you are under 5/24”
    “I will be there in 4 weeks. I have excellent credit. I only have 2 cards?”
    “You are welcome to reapply then”
    “There is really no wiggle room?”
    So it is Ink Preferred and Chase Sapphire as my next moves.

  24. I applied for the new Ink card. Got a notice that I needed to verify the biz address by sending in a document. I didn’t follow up.

    Is that a hard pull and how significant is a hard pull? I’m not much of a churner – so only a couple of apps a year.

  25. Decided to try for Sapphire Reserve even though my 5th(latest) 5/24 eligible card was accepted in June 2015. I was instantly accepted! Here are the last 5 (personal) cards I signed up for:

    BOA Travel Awards 12/13/2016
    BOA Merril+ 12/13/2016
    Comenity Total Rewards 3/25/2016
    Cap One Venture 01/06/2016
    Citi Advantage Platinum Select 6/29/2015

    Cool….now to sign up the wifey and figure out how best to manufacture some spend to meet the 4K requirement.

  26. Received the pending email last week, and then a denial letter from Chase yesterday for the Sapphire Reserve. I do fall under the 5/24 with 5 cards between March and June of 2015, but nothing since then. Called the reconsideration line and there appears to be no flexibility with regards to this. They would not entertain it until my three March 2015 cards fall outside of the window.

  27. Hi Greg…After waiting and waiting I finally pulled the trigger and applied for the Chase Sapphire Reserve. I think I am 3/24 and 4/24 with ink business card. I received the 7-10 day message…which surprised me. I haven’t applied for anything in forever. My credit is excellent. I never carry any balance over on my credit cards, paying them off every month. I do have quite a bit on my sapphire right now from Christmas, but will pay it off as well closer to the due date. Would that have anything to do with me not being approved? What should my next steps be…should I call the reconsideration line?

  28. If it helps anyone – since i had more than 5 accounts in last 24 months, I contacted chase via secure message center first before submitting my application for sapphire reserve 100k.

    They asked me to go ahead and submit one. A chase specialist called me in a week , discussed few things about my current income and credit line and approved my application. I did mention that I wasn’t looking for new credit which may have helped as well.

    • Mentioned to them that I have a gr8 score and existing long relationship with chase (I have multiple chase cards).
      I told them about my new accounts (ex. mortgage / authorized user / closed accounts).
      Asked them to take a detailed look at my account to see if i can be approved for chase sapphire reserve.
      Also mentioned that i was not looking for new credit but just the benefits of the card.

  29. Hi Greg,

    Do you know if a card from a Canadian bank in Canadian dollars would cause a 5/24 hit? Even if Chase doesn’t normally check Canadian credit reports, I would ask them to, in order to establish creditworthiness.

    Thanks!

  30. Greg, do you happen to know if anything has changed with regards to the 5/24 rule and the business cards mentioned above, or is it all still the same?
    Thanks in advance!

  31. Hi Greg,

    Sorry for digging up a post thats few months old.

    Do you know whether Business card authorized user count towards 5/24? I assume the answer is No, since business card itself does not count, but would like to check with you and see if you have any DP.

    Thanks

  32. I am trying for the companion pass through Southwest by having two sign up bonuses. I applied for the southwest premier card and the business card same day earlier this month. However, I got approved for the personal card and denied for the business card because my business is too new with no revenue, so my plan is to continue using the premier card for flying benefits through the end of the year and try to double up on sign up bonus by opening the personal plus and the business cards through Chase.

    The only thing is that I have opened a Sapphire preferred with an authorized user earlier this year and the Southwest premier card also has an authorized user. I didn’t realize that they counted towards 5/24 rule. Would calling and having the authorized user removed from those cards and/or closing my premier card at end of year before opening the other two cards in 2018 help?

    • Authorized user cards only count against you if YOU are the authorized user. If that’s the case, then yes you can contact Chase and ask that they remove your account from the credit bureaus. If you are the account holder, then adding a friend or family member as an AU hurts their 5/24 status, not yours.

      • Thanks for your quick response and clarification. I am in a bit of a unique situation and could use your advise. I was looking into the Southwest points deals because I’m doing independent contract work in Philadelphia for a year while planning on frequently traveling back and forth from my hometown of Louisville. The plan was to use the Southwest card to take advantage of points gained from my and my girlfriend’s flights between the two cities, but it seems that there are no direct flights, so travel time is a bit longer (5-6 hrs) as opposed to a direct flight from American (2 hrs).

        The catch is that I had originally planned on taking advantage of the Southwest card sign up bonuses to achieve companion pass status for my gf and me (for future joint travel) in addition to rapid rewards from card expenses, but could not get approved for the business card so now I just have one personal card. I had been planning on trying again with opening the other personal card and the business card at beginning of calendar year but now I’m questioning whether or not it’s worth the effort given the longer travel times with Southwest between the two cities. I have not had good experiences with American, but I’m willing to consider using them if it is still to my advantage to try their frequent flier program/cards and the shorter direct flights.

        Do you have any thoughts on this? Basically, I know for a fact that we’ll be averaging two round trips between the two cities each month for the next year (and my trips will count as business expenses), so I’m just trying to figure out the best way to take advantage of this frequent flyer situation. Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

        • Ultimately it depends on how painful the extra flying time would be for you. Yes, it would be great to go with Southwest for the value that the companion pass offers, but personally I wouldn’t do it if it meant more than doubling my flight time.

          Are you near an airport that Alaska Air flies to? If so, consider doing your work travel on AA but credit miles to Alaska. Then each of you can sign up for the Alaska credit card and you’ll annually have a $99 companion ticket from each account (that will work on Alaska flights, not AA)

  33. It looks as if Alaska does not fly anywhere near Louisville. I’m pretty much in agreement that I’d rather just deal with flying with American for a year for the convenience (since they seem to be only ones with direct flights between PHL and SDF), and my gf even more so. So, my question is how to take advantage of the frequent flyer situation with American Airlines? My thought was that, since I already have one Southwest card and I’ve made minimum spending on it, to go ahead and use it for remainder of year for any travel needs outside of PHL-SDF, maybe try to go for companion pass again at beginning of 2018 by opening business +personal card combo if sign-up bonuses are still there, and my gf currently sign up for an American frequent flyer card (not sure which one) to max points that way. I am going to use my Chase Sapphire Preferred for business expenses, including my flights, for the remainder of the year at which time I will try again for southwest business in conjunction with southwest personal card, but I’m not sure if this is an unnecessarily complicated approach or if it will be beneficial to try something else. Thoughts?

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