In my opinion, Chase offers many of the best credit cards and the best signup offers. They have a fantastic lineup of cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points. Through these cards one can easily amass hundreds of thousands of transferable points through signup bonuses, and then continue to earn huge rewards by picking the right cards for the right type of spend (for example, pay your phone, cable, and internet bills with your no-fee Ink Business Cash card to get 5X rewards for these purchases). You can read more here: Chase Ultimate Rewards Deep Dive.
Another key component of Chase’s credit card dominance is that they issue Southwest Airlines credit cards. This is huge because Southwest has the best deal in travel: earn 110,000 qualifying points in a calendar year and you get a companion pass good for an unlimited number of flights booked with points or cash. That companion pass is good for the rest of the year in which it is earned and all of the next year. And, with Chase, it’s often possible to get that companion pass simply by signing up for a personal Southwest card and business Southwest card and meeting the minimum spend requirements for both.
Chase also has a few terrific hotel credit cards. If you want to earn top tier Hyatt status (which is, by far in my opinion, the best top tier hotel status), you can earn that status through spend with the World of Hyatt card. Chase also provides very good IHG and Marriott cards.
The problem with Chase’s cornucopia of credit card goodness is that there comes a point in every point-hunters life when they’ll no longer get approved for new Chase credit cards. When Chase sees that you have opened 5 or more credit cards in the past 24 months, they won’t approve you for new cards (except when you are targeted for a “Just for You” offer). This obviously makes it very difficult to take advantage of all of the great Chase credit card opportunities.
|Chase's 5/24 Rule: With most Chase credit cards, Chase will not approve your application if you have opened 5 or more cards with any bank in the past 24 months.
To determine your 5/24 status, see: 3 Easy Ways to Count Your 5/24 Status. The easiest option is to track all of your cards for free with Travel Freely.
The business card solution
Chase uses your credit report to determine your 5/24 count, and it so happens that most business cards are not reported to the personal credit bureaus. Even Chase business cards are treated this way. That is, you won’t get approved for a Chase business card if you are over 5/24, but if you are under 5/24 and get approved, that new card won’t increase your 5/24 count. So, a great way to delay going over 5/24 is to sign up primarily for business cards, including Chase business cards. This is the strategy that we documented in the “informed newbie” series (see: Over 600,000 points and well under 5/24). And, it is the strategy that my son is following under my direction.
|Applying for Business Credit Cards
Yes, you have a business: In order to sign up for a business credit card, you must have a business. That said, it's common for people to have businesses without realizing it. If you sell items at a yard sale, or on eBay, for example, then you have a business. Similar examples include: consulting, writing (e.g. blog authorship, planning your first novel, etc.), handyman services, owning rental property, renting on airbnb, driving for Uber or Lyft, etc. In any of these cases, your business is considered a Sole Proprietorship unless you form a corporation of some sort.
When you apply for a business credit card as a sole proprietor, you can use your own name as your business name, use your own address and phone as the business' address and phone, and your social security number as the business' Tax ID / EIN. Alternatively, you can get a proper Tax ID / EIN from the IRS for free, in about a minute, through this website.
Is it OK to use business cards for personal expenses? Anecdotally, almost everyone I know uses business cards for personal expenses. That said, the terms in most business card applications state that you should use the card only for business use. Also, some consumer credit card protections do not apply to business cards. My advice: don't use the card for personal expenses if you're not comfortable doing so.
Best business card offers that won’t add to 5/24
This table shows business cards that do not contribute to your 5/24 count. Cards are sorted by first year estimated value. We have weeded out business cards from issuers like Capital One and TD Bank since they do report business cards to personal credit bureaus. Please note that there are some situations where the banks listed here will report to the personal credit bureaus (such as when you miss payments).
If you’re interested in seeing more than the top 10 offers, simply click “Next” at the bottom of the page, or use the drop down selector at the top to show more than 10 items.
First year values are calculated as: estimated first year value minus estimated first year costs. First year value includes signup bonus points and statement credits. First year costs include the first year annual fee and the opportunity cost of meeting minimum spend requirements.
Please note that valuable perks such as free checked bags, companion passes, airport lounge access, etc. are not included in these calculations.
Full details of how first year value is calculated can be found here: Credit card signup bonus estimation details.