Every bank has rules and restrictions to limit who can and cannot get approved for credit cards. But no rule is quite as restrictive as Chase Bank’s rule.
It’s called the 5/24 Rule, and it means you will get denied for new Chase credit cards if you have opened five or more cards – from any bank, not just Chase – in a rolling 24-month period. Learn more about the rule by watching our YouTube video below:
Even if you never plan to open five or more credit cards, this rule should shape your strategy for what cards to get first. You should always prioritize getting Chase credit cards before looking to other banks. That’s because all Chase cards are impacted by this rule.
Once you hit that 5/24 threshold, many cards will no longer be an option until you fall below it again.
So we’re laying out some of the best Chase cards to get while you still can, from Chase’s popular Sapphire travel cards to co-branded airline and hotel cards. If you are just getting started with points and miles, these should be the first cards you look at adding.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
We’ve named the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card the best card for beginners for a number of reasons. It has a relatively low annual fee at just $95 annual fee, and the Ultimate Rewards points it earns can be insanely valuable.
Not only can you use these points to book cheap cash flights, but you can also transfer them to a number of different hotel and airline partners to potentially reap even more value.
Just for opening the Sapphire Preferred card and spending $4,000 in the first three months of card membership, you will receive 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. That’s enough to redeem for at least $1,000 towards travel, or through Sept. 30, a number of everyday purchases through the Pay Yourself Back feature.
Critically, the card is impacted by Chase 5/24 so it should almost always be your first choice if you are under 5/24.
Click Here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve
Think of the Chase Sapphire Reserve is the older brother of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
It earns the same points, but you can pile them up even faster thanks to some earning bonuses – then redeem them for even more value than if you had the Chase Sapphire Preferred. It offers up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, an annual $300 travel reimbursement credit, Priority Pass lounge access, and numerous other premium benefits.These benefits push the card’s annual fee to $550 each year – though many existing cardholders will pay less this year.
But there’s an extra restriction beyond the 5/24 rule: You can only have either the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve – not both, at least within a four-year period. That means you must choose wisely when it comes time to pick your Sapphire card. And one of these two cards should definitely take one of your 5/24 slots.
Click Here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
The Chase Freedom Flex Card
The Chase Freedom Flex Card is another great option if you are under the 5/24 rule, and a fantastic card to combine with either the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit cards.
If you hold a Sapphire card, you can combine the cashback earned from the Freedom Flex card into Chase Ultimate Rewards: each cent equals 1 point. Then you can redeem them at 1.25 or 1.5 cents (depending on the Sapphire card you have) towards travel in the Chase portal.
The card earns a $200 bonus after you spend $500 in the first three months of card membership (this $200 equals 20,000 Ultimate Rewards points). But most importantly, you’ll also earn 5% cashback on up to $1,500 in spending in rotating quarterly bonus categories, along with a number of other benefits.
Click Here to learn more about the Chase Freedom Flex Card.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited Card
The Chase Freedom Unlimited card earns a straight 1.5% cashback on all spending with no annual limit.
But like the Chase Freedom Flex Card, if you hold a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the card becomes even more valuable.
That’s because you can combine the points earned from the Freedom Unlimited and redeem them at 1.25 or 1.5 cents (depending on the Sapphire card you have) towards travel in the Chase portal.
The 1.5% cash back you will earn on every dollar spent equates to 1.5 Ultimate Rewards points after you transfer them. You can read more about this here.
Click Here to learn more about the Freedom Unlimited card.
The Chase World of Hyatt Card
A lesser-known card in the Chase travel credit card portfolio is the Chase World of Hyatt Credit Card. And since it is impacted by the Chase 5/24 rule, it is a great one to grab while you are still under the 5/24 threshold.
To start with, the card earns 30,000 points after you spend $3,000 on the card in the first three months of card membership. You can then earn another 30,000 points by earning 2x points on all purchases on up to $15,000 spent in the first 6 months (60,000 points total).
Each year of card membership on your account anniversary, you will be given a free night certificate that is valid at any Hyatt category 1-4 property. And if you spend $15,000 during your cardmember anniversary year, you’ll receive an additional free night.
There are a number of great category 4 properties where the certificate can be used. See our post on the best uses of the free Hyatt Anniversary night. For a full listing of Hyatt properties by category, visit here. Many of these hotels cost north of $250 a night, making the card’s $95 annual fee well worth it.
Click Here to get more information about the World of Hyatt Credit Card.
The Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
If you are a small business owner, there are some great credit cards that are worth a spot in your wallet if you are under the Chase 5/24 rule.
With Chase business cards, you’ll need to be under the 5/24 rule to get approved – but small business cards will not add to your 5/24 total.
The Chase Ink Preferred Credit Card is worth a serious look if you are under 5/24 and have the ability to get approved for a small business credit card.
First and foremost, you’ll earn 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $15,000 in the first three months of card membership.
You’ll also earn 3x points on all travel; shipping costs; Plastiq bill payments, internet, phone, and cable service; and advertising purchases through social media or search engines on your first $150,000 of spending each year. And each point is worth 1.25 cents when booking travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal
Click Here to get more information about the Chase Ink Preferred Credit Card.
The United Explorer Card
The United Explorer Card is another card worth a look if you are under the Chase 5/24 rule. The card offers a number of benefits for United flyers that make it worth it, and it is a great card to combine with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
That’s because Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred into your United MileagePlus account.
The card also offers a credit for either Global Entry & TSA Precheck of up to $100 every five years and offers free checked luggage and priority boarding when you fly United.
But perhaps one of the best benefits of holding the United Explorer co-branded credit card is the increased access it provides to award seats on United Airlines flights.
Just for holding the card, you will see more saver level award seats available when you search for ways to redeem your miles. Often times, there is additional award availability during peak travel times and/or more popular routes. This ultimately means you have to use fewer miles when it comes time to use them.
Click Here to get more details on the United Explorer Card.
The Chase Southwest Credit Cards
When you are under the Chase 5/24 rule, one of the biggest considerations is whether or not you want to go after the Southwest Companion Pass.
The Companion Pass from Southwest Airlines lets you choose one person to fly free with you every time you purchase a flight or redeem Southwest Rapid Rewards points for a flight on Southwest. There are no blackout dates and no questions asked. If the flight is bookable, you can add your companion.
In order to earn the coveted Southwest companion pass, you need to either earn 125,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points or fly 100 one-way revenue flights in a calendar year. That means flights booked with Southwest points won’t qualify.
But either way, it’s not as bad as it sounds. While 125,000 points might sound like a lot, the points you earn from a Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card sign-up bonus count towards that total. And since you will need one of the personal Southwest cards and the business version, you’ll need to factor that in with your 5/24 plans.
Check out the full listing of all Southwest personal and business credit cards. You will need to open one of each to earn the pass. But remember, the business card doesn’t take a spot in your 5/24 count – you’ll just need to be under 5/24 to open it first.
Click Here to get more details on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card.
Click Here to get more details on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card.
Click Here to get more details on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card.
Click Here to get more information on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card.
There are a lot of credit card options to consider if you are under the Chase 5/24 rule. There is no right or wrong way to go about filling your slots.
Live in a city without much Southwest Airlines service? The companion pass probably won’t do much for you, and neither will their credit cards. Loyal to Marriott or Hilton? Maybe the Hyatt Chase card doesn’t make much sense.
At the end of the day, you should grab the cards that will provide the most value to you. But so long as you’re still under 5/24, focusing on Chase first is a sound strategy.