Why The Chase “6-Month Rule” Is a Myth!

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Two weeks ago, Emily applied for the fantastic Chase Sapphire credit card which offers 50,000 points after $3,000 in spend within 3 months [Now Expired].

These points are particularly valuable to us because we intend to transfer them to Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio and then redeem the points for 2 rooms at the Park Hyatt in Paris or the Park Hyatt in the Maldives – both of which regularly sell for $1,000 a night!

Yesterday,  Emily got a denial notice in the mail.  Below is an excerpt from that letter.

Chase Credit Card Denial Letter

Chase Credit Card Application Status:

The denial reads:

“Dear Emily:

Thank you  for your interest in our CHASE SAPPHIRE Visa Signature credit program.  Your application was given thoughtful consideration  by CHASE BANK USA, NA.

After reviewing the information provided in the application  and your credit bureau report, we regret that we are unable to approve your  request for a credit account at this time.  The reason(s) for our decision are as follows:

Too many requests for credit or opened accounts with us

The Chase “6 Month Rule” Myth:

I know a lot of people who would read the letter and consider the decision to not approve the credit card to be final, and move on.

But that’s not true!  You can – and SHOULD – always follow-up with the Bank to ask them if they would reconsider their decision.  (This assumes that there were no late payments, bankruptcies or write offs on your credit report.)

Most banks set a limit on the TOTAL credit amount which they will extend to you.  This limit is based on the bank’s internal risk-taking (or underwriting) policy, your income, length of credit history, and other variables on your credit report.

You may reach this total limit with 2, 3, or 4 or more credit cards, depending on the credit limit assigned to each credit card.

For example, $20,000 in total credit can result in:

  • 4 Credit Cards with a limit of $5,000 each
  • 3 Credit Cards with a limit of $6666.67 each or
  • 2 Credit Cards with a limit of $10,000 each

Once you reach this limit, banks will no longer extend you any new credit (since doing so will increase the bank’s risk exposure) and will send you a denial notice.  This was the type of denial notice which Emily received!

Note that this type of denial was sent to Emily only because she had reached the maximum limit of credit which Chase was willing to extend her. It was not sent because of concerns about her credit history, length of credit history or for too many inquiries (We’ll address how to overcome these concerns in later posts).

This type of denial is often – incorrectly interpreted – as evidence of the Chase “6 month rule,” where Chase will not issue a new credit card if you’ve had a credit card approved in the past 6 months.  Don’t let this myth prevent you from getting bonuses on new Chase credit cards!

In fact, just 2 months ago Emily was approved for a Chase Southwest Credit Card which offered a free flight + $500 in credit cards, 1.5 months before that she was approved for the Continental Airlines Business Credit Card which offered 25,000 miles, and 1 month before that she was approved for the Priority Club Visa Credit Card which offered 60,000 Priority Club Points.

That’s enough evidence to suggest that the 6-month rule (where Chase would not grant you a new credit card within 6 months of your last approved Chase credit card) is just a myth!

Chase Credit Card Reconsideration:

I called the Chase Credit Card Reconsideration telephone line and within 1 minute I was speaking to a credit reconsideration analyst.

I strongly recommend calling the number above instead of the general customer service number or the application status line.

That’s because you’re more likely to be given incorrect information such as “Please mail your reconsideration request in writing to PO Box XX…” or “Sorry, we can’t reconsider your request” by inexperienced representatives through the general line or the application status line.

I started off by explaining that Emily was denied because she already had credit cards with Chase, but was willing to cut the credit line on her existing accounts in order to get the new Sapphire Preferred Credit Card.

The rep asked for Emily’s reference number (found on the denial letter) and verified her personal information.

She then said that since there were no issues with Emily’s credit report, she could approve the new Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card provided Emily reduced the limit on her other cards.

I  suggested cancelling Emily’s Chase Southwest Airlines Personal Credit Card, since it was 11 months old and we didn’t want to pay the annual fee on the card.

The rep spent a few minutes processing the information in her system and Emily’s new Sapphire Preferred card was approved!

If the rep had NOT approved Emily, I would have called back again (call center agent roulette is the technical term) to see if another agent would have approved Emily.

The call took 5 minutes & 32 seconds to complete!  Yes, that’s $2000 worth of hotel rooms for just 5 minutes & 32 seconds on the phone!

Bottom line: Don’t take credit card denial letters at face value, and always pursue a reconsideration.  Sure, you might get denied again, but you NEVER know until you ask.

If you don’t get denied again, well, that’s more miles and points with which to have Big Travel with Small Money!

And don’t let the  Chase “6 month rule” prevent you from applying for a Chase Credit Card with a good bonus offering.  It’s just a myth!

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188 responses to “Why The Chase “6-Month Rule” Is a Myth!

  1. A solution for those enticed by the amazon chase card is to go to amazon and sign up for the discover it. You’ll get $75 after first purchase and you won’t lose a chase spot.

  2. Thanks for the great post. I was wondering if you have any tips for Capital One. I applied for the Capital One GM card just for the World Elite MasterCard status without the annual fee. I was denied online. I have decent credit though.

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  8. My experience today was a little infuriating. I had applied for the Chase Slate about 9 days ago and didn’t hear anything, no via email or in the mail. With four accounts at Chase and a fairly substantial balance and a FICO score of 817, I was surprised when, at the end of the application, they said they needed to review my app and would respond in (up to) 30 days. I did not stop to jot down the status number at the end because I thought it would be accessible through my Chase account. (it isn’t) I used the “backdoor” number listed here and the guy at Chase put me on hold three times but said it should not be a problem and he was just seeing what my limit would be. Then, he asked if I had ever put a fraud alert on my credit reports, which I had several years ago. He said that one of the reporting agencies did NOT have a phone number for me on the fraud alert, so because of that, they would have to deny my application. I then contacted that credit reporting agency by phone and had to fax a copy of my driver’s license, SS card and a utility bill. The irony is that the denial will show on my credit report now and make future credit harder to get, while possibly affecting my FICO score. This is just a ridiculous glitch in the system. Has anyone else encountered this? I was going to do a balance transfer and just got a new Discover card with absolutely no problems. I had verified things with the guy at Chase, on the phone, that a bad guy would likely not know. (there were several things like my mother’s madden name being just one) I have not applied for a new credit card in 20 years. Now, with good credit, a missing phone number may cause lots of problems.

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  10. I recently applied for and received the Chase Freedom and Chase Sapphire within a few weeks of each other, so yes the Chase’s 6 month rule must be a myth.

  11. Hi! I applied for the Chase Freedom Visa Platinum a few weeks ago online. Today, I received a letter that stated “we received an application reflecting your name/SS # and that the security of my info was very important to them”. It went on asking me to call an 800 # within 30 days to confirm the validity of the application and if I called within 30 days, they would continue processing my application. I like that they are protecting people by validating but I’ve never encountered this before. Would you guess I’m approved since they went through the trouble of all this??

  12. Thanks for the articles Daraius. I want to ask you for a suggestion, I recently graduated and have 60K income with credit history less than 5 months (Discover student 650$ limit). Am planning to get married this December and so looking to apply for credit cards. Am looking to apply simultaneously for Chase Sapphire, Chase Slate and Barclays Travel card. (Trying for a limit of 20K). I’ve been told its a bad idea since I don’t have enough credit history but I want ask the expert (you). Do you any suggestions? Thanks,

  13. I have relatively new ch of a year have decent score 686 w 6 cards and only 13%utilization no late payments have 6 hard inquiries applied for chase freedom and was denied for short ch and to many hard pulls so tried reconsideration and was denied again is anything else I can do????

  14. Here’s is my experience with this issue. I applied for Sapphire and got approved instantly with $18,000 credit line. Minutes later I tried for Ink Classic and got the 7-10 review notice. Today I just received a letter saying that I was not approved, because of “Too many requests for credit or opened accounts with us”
    After reading this post I decided to give them a call. I explained that I was interested in a businesses, because both my wife and I own a small business and handling separating expenses and doing taxes all on one credit card was getting too complicated and I decided to opt for Ink not only because of the sign up bonus, but also for the overall great rewards. I also suggested that if it would help them to approve my application we could take some of my $18,000 Sapphire credit towards Ink. I was put on hold and voila, 3 minutes later my Ink credit card and 50000 points were on the way.
    Thank you for the great advice to call. Well worth the 12 minutes of total call time!!!

  15. Stephen Lowenstein

    Darius you’re the absolute best! I cancelled my Chase United Explorer Card after holding it for three years in order to get it again with 55,000 bonus miles offer. My application wasn’t instantly approved which I didn’t understand as I have excellent credit, two other Chase cards, and I waited more than 24 hours to reapply. Using the reconsideration number you provided a very nice Chase credit analyst approved me on the spot telling me the system erroneously showed my old Explorer card was still open. It took all of two minutes. Thanks.

  16. I just applied for the Sapphire Preferred and was given the “decision pending” notice. I called the reconsideration line and was told it was actually a denial because I had too many cards opened in the last years. I am not sure which report they pulled but my score is around 734-739 on all of them. I do have inquiries on my reports because of a car loan application. But the last card I got was the regular Sapphire back in October. I have been added as an authorized user on one more Chase United Mileage Plus card recently (about 2 months ago). I thought I’ll try my luck again but the rep said “there is nothing we can do about this, we can’t move anything around” it’s just a final NO. This is so messed up 🙁 I don’t want a denial on my credit report!

  17. I applied for the Chase Freedom two weeks ago and was declined yesterday via mail.
    I just don’t have much credit..my score is 640
    I have one other card that i co-signed with my fiancé (April 2015) to pay off my engagement ring, and an auto loan (September 2013) that was paid off two weeks ago.
    The reasons they have listed for me being declined were

    Length of time since oldest credit card opened too short
    Balances of credit cards are high compared to credit lines
    Too many recently opened revolving accounts compared to all revolving accounts (i don’t know what a revolving account is)
    Total available credit on credit cards is too low

    Any advice? Would calling the recon line be a good idea?
    Im new to credit so I’m unsure of how to plea my case over the phone

  18. I keep getting denied for chase cards. They say it is because I have a bankruptcy on my credit report according to Equifax. I called Equifax and they said there is no BK and they sent me a copy of my credit report showing I have no BK. Chase doesn’t care. Seems like this should be illegal

  19. What’s the best recon number to call that people have had most luck with getting chase sapphire approved. I called the 0625 number and the guy didn’t even give me a chance to talk or explain. His reason too many credit accounts open in the last two years. My credit score is in the high 700s and I pay all my credit card balances in full every month.