Chase pre-approval: How to qualify for a credit card

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If you’re reading Million Mile Secrets, there is a good chance you’re here to learn more about how to earn and redeem travel rewards. This blog is an incredible resource that can help you make your travel dreams a reality. And many of our tips and tricks revolve around earning miles & points with the best credit cards for travel.

Here’s a little secret: Chase offers some of our favorite credit cards. If you’re considering signing up for a Chase card, here’s what you need to know about Chase’s pre-qualified offers.

Pre-qualified vs. pre-approved: What’s the difference?

Chase cards offer some of the most valuable travel rewards on the market, making them the issuer of choice for many travelers. You might have seen an offer letter from Chase in the mail stating that you’re pre-approved for a new credit card. You can also check Chase’s website to see which cards you are pre-qualified for. Pre-approved or pre-qualified, what’s the difference? Often, banks use these terms interchangeably, but there are differences, depending on the lender. 

You’re pre-qualified

This typically means that the creditor has performed a soft credit inquiry to determine that you’re likely to qualify for a particular card if you apply. Information that they might look at includes your annual income, how much money you owe each month for housing, your total savings, etc. 

You’re pre-approved

Being pre-approved for a credit card usually indicates that you have a reasonably solid chance of being approved for that particular card. It also means the issuer probably has more detailed information about your credit and general financial profile. For example, some people get pre-approval offers from the banks they have long histories with.

Just note, neither pre-qualification nor pre-approval guarantee that you will be approved if you apply for a new credit card, as credit and circumstance can change between the pre-approval and approval stages. That said, you’d undoubtedly be in a better position for approval than someone without a pre-qualifying or pre-approved offer.

Which Chase cards can you prequalify for?

While every prequalification depends on the applicant’s financial profile, some of the most common Chase credit cards that people prequalify for include: 

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

One of our favorite all-around travel cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® is currently offering a 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. And includes the following benefits:

  • 5x total points on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3x points on dining, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out
  • 3x points on select streaming services
  • 3x points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • 2x points on all other travel
  • 1x point on all other purchases

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

This is a great option if you’re looking for a cash-back card with no annual fee. It’s currently offering a fantastic sign-up bonus where you’ll earn a $200 cash bonus after spending $500 in the first three months from account opening.

Top benefits of this card also include:

  • 1.5% cashback on purchases
  • No annual fee (it’s worth saying that twice)

And don’t forget, if you have another Chase credit card that also earns Ultimate Rewards points, you could pool the points to get even more value.

How to get prequalified for a Chase card

Chase makes it easy to see which cards you can prequalify for. Just visit their website and fill out a short form to find your targeted offers. This shouldn’t take more than a minute or two and won’t impact your credit score.

From there, you’ll be redirected to the “my offers” page. This is where Chase will match you with the offers that they believe are a good fit based on the information you provided. 

The next step is to decide which is the best Chase card for your situation. It’s helpful to look at the breakdown of benefits offered with each card. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Do you spend more on specific categories? If so, find a card that will reward you for that spending. For example, certain cards offer bonuses on grocery spending.
  • Is free travel your goal? Look for a card that offers the best travel rewards
  • Are you looking for a long term strategy to maximize your miles and points game? Take a look at the Chase Trifecta, which allows you to pay just one annual fee on three cards.

How to increase your chances of approval

Before you apply for a Chase credit card (or any card for that matter!), there are a few things that you can do to increase your chances of approval, including:

Take note of how many cards you’ve opened in the last 24 months

Be aware of Chase’s 5/24 rule. Chase won’t approve you for a new credit card if you’ve opened five or more cards from any bank (not counting certain business credit cards) in the past 24 months

Avoid surprises on your credit report

Take a look at your credit report and score to make are there aren’t any discrepancies or incorrect information.

Pay your bills on time

This is one of the best (and easiest) ways to build your credit score.

Apply for cards that you can realistically qualify for

Be realistic about the cards that you are applying for. If a card requires an excellent credit score and your score is below 700, it’s unlikely you’ll be approved.

Use your existing credit cards to build a credit history

Creditors are checking to ensure that you are using your current credit cards responsibly.

Bottom line

So you’re in the market for a new Chase credit card? Understanding Chase’s system for prequalified offers is a great place to start. Chase makes it relatively easy to see what cards you’re prequalified for. Once you find your targeted offers, it’s up to you to determine which one makes the most sense for your particular goals and spending habits.

Featured image by fizkes/Shutterstock.

Erin Lizzo is a contributor for Million Mile Secrets where she covers points, miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels and general travel. Her work has also appeared in the Matador Network.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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