Will the New Chase Rules Change My Application Strategy?

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Million Mile Secrets reader, Jill, writes:

You’ve reported about how Chase is denying applicants with more than 5 credit cards opened in the past 24 months.  I was turned down even though I have a 822 FICO score.

How many cards do you expect to apply for in a year?  Many months ago you wrote that you and Emily apply to between 12 to 15 cards a year.  Is that still your strategy (even after the changes with Chase)?

Chase is making it more difficult for folks with 5+ new cards (from any bank) in the last 24 months to be approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus, Chase Ink Cash, Chase Freedom, and Chase Slate cards.

Will The New Chase Rules Change My Application Strategy

If You Have 5+ New Cards (With Any Bank) in the Last 24 Months It’s Unlikely You’ll Get Approved for the Chase Freedom, Ink Cash, Ink Plus, Sapphire Preferred, and Slate Cards.  So Now What?

Find out more about the new criteria Chase is using and why it will NOT change my application strategy.

Chase Has New Rules!

Link:   New Rules for Chase Credit Card Approvals

The new criteria for getting approved for Chase cards isn’t in writing, so we don’t know the exact details.  But here’s what many folks have been told by customer service agents:

Folks who are new to miles and points or who don’t have 5+ new cards should sign-up for Chase Ultimate Rewards cards before they become ineligible.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are valuable because they’re flexible and never expire.  Besides using them for cash back, you can get Big Travel by transferring them to airline, hotel, or rail partners:

 Chase Ultimate Rewards Airline Transfer Partners 
British AirwaysFlying Blue (Air France/KLM)Korean Air
Singapore AirlinesSouthwestUnited Airlines
Virgin Atlantic
 Chase Ultimate Rewards Hotel Transfer Partners 

But you can only transfer to travel partners if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold, or Chase Ink Plus cards.

The New Way To Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points To Airline And Hotel Partners For Big Travel

You’ll Have to Move the Chase Ultimate Rewards Points You Earn With a Card Like the Chase Freedom to the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold, or Ink Plus Before You Can Transfer to Travel Partners

So it’s a good idea to sign-up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Plus first.  This will ensure you can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to partners like Hyatt and United Airlines.

Then you can apply for other cards later.

There Are Some Exceptions!

Link:   Possible Exceptions to the Rules

As with most rules, it looks like there are some loopholes:

  • This new rule does NOT seem to apply to airline and hotel branded cards such as the Chase Hyatt or United MileagePlus® Explorer Card
  • If you’ve recently applied for several Chase cards and sign-up quickly for a new card, you may still be approved
  • If you applied for cards (even Chase cards) that use a different credit bureau, Chase may NOT be able to see these other cards and approve your application

Why These Changes Won’t Impact My Application Strategy

I typically apply for 3 to 4 new cards each quarter and I do NOT expect this to change.  That’s because in order to be approved for another Chase Ultimate Rewards card, I’d have to stop signing-up for new cards for a couple of years.

And there are just too many other great cards out there, to pass up!

Will The New Chase Rules Change My Application Strategy

I Still Plan on Earning Lots of Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses for Big Travel!

Check out my the list of my current favorite sign-up bonuses and the Hot Deals page to see there are plenty of great rewards cards that aren’t from Chase.

And I may still get approved for airline and hotel branded Chase cards including:

Bottom Line

Chase has changed the criteria they use to approve applications.  And folks who have 5 or more new cards within the last 24 months will LIKELY have their application denied for the following cards:

While this is disappointing news, there are exceptions and there are lots of other terrific cards out with excellent sign-up bonuses.  I plan on focusing my attention on those and I’ll continue signing-up for 3 to 4 new cards each quarter.

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19 responses to “Will the New Chase Rules Change My Application Strategy?

  1. Darius, so if you don’t expect to be able to get big Chase UR signup bonuses with new cards, what is your spending strategy for UR? After meeting minimum spend on other new cards will you focus on Chase, or other programs instead? I am in this same boat as are many other readers. Thanks!

  2. This does not apply to business cards, only the personal cards that are not co-branded. I was approved for an Ink Plus recently and have way more than 5 new accounts in the past 24 months.

  3. Just had the exact same experience w Chase- for a Marriott card. First rejection ever on a card for my wife. So I think this is becoming their new MO and it looks like it is spreading to their other cards.

  4. So rule is not more than 4 new cards within 24 months?
    How about those cards that were opened within last 24 months, but are closed now?
    How Chase counts such cards?
    Daraius, please explain/clarify this.
    Thank you.

  5. It includes open and closed accounts for the past 24 months, and it is more than 5 as in 6+ accounts. They also count new AU accounts.

    Again, it doesn’t apply to business cards.

  6. None of you should expect a response on this website anymore.

    MMS no longer offers advice or opinions or help to questions left on this board.

    Writeups are only to Hock as many credit card offers as possible.

    For example, after he tells you the new policy, he tells you to sign up for particular Chase cards ASAP so that you can get ultimate reward points. He does this knowing that 98% of MMS readers have applied for more than five credit cards in the past two years.

    MMS is no longer as valuable as it once was. Other bloggers out there have somehow clamped down on MMS so that they no longer Give away any of the travel hacking secrets that are out there.

  7. @milesmethods.com:

    Other than your own datapoint, all other sites have reported the opposite re ink. Any thoughts?

  8. My adult son has the freedom card and he is an authorized user on our preferred sapphire.

    Can he transfer his points to my account so I can book travel for him?

  9. I currently have 4 Southwest cards as well as many others. I’ve been planning to cancel the two personal ones and apply for two more when SW offers their 50,000 mile incentive in fall (as they usually do) to get a companion pass, but now I’m worried and have two questions: 1) How and when do I cancel the cards? Should it be quite a while before I apply for the new ones? Do I just call and cancel? 2) I have opened more than 5 in the last 2 years–will I have any chance of getting this?

    PS I know I couldn’t justify a new business card–I hardly squeaked by last time

  10. @D

    It applied to the Ink Plus when they first started this policy, but no longer applies.

    There are examples all over the credit forums, travel forums and other travel blogs. I don’t want to spam all the links here.

    What I’m telling you though IS the current policy, as well as the MORE THAN 5 new accounts (open and closed, including AUs) in the past 24 months, NOT 5 or more.

    Sorry, I’m not yelling. Caps added to emphasize the 2 errors in this blog post.

  11. I was recently approved for the CSP, much to my pleasant surprise! In the past 24 months, I have applied & been approved for the following cards:
    Chase- Southwest personal, Ink plus, British Air
    Amex- PRG, Delta Skymiles, business Cash
    Citi- AAdvantage business,
    Barclay- Arrival
    Wells Fargo- World Propel
    For what it’s worth, I applied in branch and was immediately approved.

  12. @Liz,
    Amex until recently was dating all applications to the first card of any type taken out by them. Assuming you took out your first card with them greater than 2 years ago, none of your Amex cards were counting. That has changed now though. As regards the Business accts, Chase is only counting their own business accts — so your citi business card would not apply in the card count. Taking out the Amex cards and the Citi business card, you are down to only 5 cards (and therefore under the new unofficial Chase rule would be approved).
    I have seen numerous entries on flyertalk and other blogs where consensus is 5 cards or more kicks in denial, as opposed to greater than 5 cards — so am unsure if there has been a change recently or not. Perhaps you could elaborate at what blogs you are looking at as the WIKI on flyertalk directly contradicts you.

  13. I was just approved on July 8.

  14. @Todd and @MilesMethods.com

    Below is our experience.

    We had:
    2 credit cards approved in Jan (he was on there as an AU)
    2 credit cards approved in Apr (he was primary cardholder)
    1 Freedom credit card approved in May (he was primary cardholder)
    1 credit card approved in June (he was on there as an AU)
    — he was denied Sapphire in July because of “too much activity, more than 5 accounts”. When we pointed out that he had only opened 3 accounts but was AU on 3 of them, it didn’t matter.

    If you’re sitting at this stage and still want the Sapphire card, I would recommend removing yourself as AU on other cards that are within the 2 year limit. That’s what we’re doing, and once the credit report is cleaned up, we’ll reapply (and probably get auto-approved).

    To me, it doesn’t make sense to churn cards like the Freedom and Sapphire cards. I’d rather keep them around anyway.

  15. I was denied last week for the Marriott personal card and after speaking to them it was because of two many applications in the past 24 months. So it looks like their new rule is spreading to the hotel/airline cards too. I offered to lower credit lines, cancel cards, etc and they wouldn’t budge. just fyi

  16. My wife was recently denied a Freedom card for more than 5 new accounts in the past 24 months, but was approved for the British Airways card less than a month later (this July).

  17. @MilesMethod.com – Was she auto-approved? Did she call in? Did she wait without calling in?

  18. @matthewD

    She was auto approved.