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By far the most valuable Chase cards are those that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, because with the right cards, you’ll have the flexibility to transfer points to travel partners like United Airlines and Hyatt. And Chase also issues a number of excellent branded airline credit cards and hotel credit cards, including Southwest, IHG, Marriott, British Airways, United Airlines, and Hyatt cards. It’s tempting to want them all.
But due to their strict application rules, you’ll have to plan your Chase card strategy carefully. Each individual will have a limit to how many Chase cards they can get – and it depends on a lot of factors.
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How many Chase credit cards can you get?
Chase doesn’t publish official rules about how many cards you can have at once, but evidence suggests there is no hard limit to the number of Chase cards you can get. Instead, you’re restricted by the total amount of credit Chase is willing to extend you and that depends on your credit score, income, debt, and other factors.
For example, I’ve got six Chase cards (and am looking to add a couple more this year) and many other MMS staffers have even more.
If you’re denied because you’ve reached the maximum amount of credit Chase will give you, don’t give up just yet. Many people have had success calling the reconsideration line and offering to shift credit from their existing Chase accounts to get approved.
Other (unofficial) rules to follow when you’re applying for Chase cards:
- Reports online and from our team suggest you won’t be approved for more than two personal Chase cards in 30 days, or more than one business card
- Other evidence suggests no more than one business and one personal card in 90 days
To be safe, most recommend spacing out applications by 90 days or more. Chase is also sensitive if you’ve applied for a lot of other credit cards recently (even if you’re under 5/24). So, for example, if you’ve also applied for a bunch of Amex credit cards or Citi credit cards in the past couple of months, you might have a hard time getting approved and there are other specific restrictions to consider when it comes to Chase cards.
The Chase 5/24 rule is the biggest limitation
If you’re new to miles and points, we’ve always said to apply for the Chase cards you want first. That’s because you won’t be approved for Chase cards if you’ve opened 5 or more cards from any bank (except certain business cards) in the past 24 months. This is referred to as the Chase 5/24 rule.
The 5/24 rule applies to every Chase credit card, that’s why we recommend applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred (our #1 card for beginners) first. Alternately, if you know you’ll travel frequently, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is an equally good choice because it has tons of valuable benefits, like airport lounge access. You can no longer have both the Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve cards at the same time, so you’ll have to pick the one you like more.
If you qualify for small business cards (many people do and don’t even realize it), it makes more sense to start with Chase business credit cards, because they don’t appear on your personal credit report and won’t affect your 5/24 count. Your best bet is the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card because it comes with the highest welcome bonus of any Chase Ultimate Rewards card. I’ve got this card and love it for the additional perks like automatic cell phone insurance when you use the card to pay your bill.
From there, consider your travel goals and spending habits to decide which Chase cards to apply for next. Here’s a post explaining more about the best Chase credit card strategy for beginners and here’s how to figure out your 5/24 count.
But wait, there’s more! Other considerations once you’ve opened a few Chase cards
If you’ve been into miles and points for a while you might be a little sentimental thinking about the days when the Chase 5/24 rule wasn’t a thing. So there are a lot of us who may have had some of the best Chase credit cards in the past and are considering applying for them again. Here’s what you’ll need to be aware of.
With most Chase Cards, you must wait at least 24 months after earning a bonus to be eligible again
For most Chase cards, you’re not eligible to earn a bonus if you currently have the card, or have received a new cardmember bonus for the card in the past 24 months. Note that the language says “received a new cardmember bonus,” so the clock starts from when the bonus posted to your account, not when you were approved for the card. To see the restrictions specific to the card you’re interested in, click the “Offer Details” link on the card application page.
There’s one major exception.
If you’re interested in the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve card, the terms say:
The product is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card who received a new cardmember bonus within the last 48 months. If you are an existing Sapphire customer and would like this product, please call the number on the back of your card to see if you are eligible for a product change. You will not receive the new cardmember bonus if you change products.
So not only can you not have the Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve at the same time, but also you’re restricted from earning a bonus if you’ve received one from either card in the past 48 months.
A few Chase cards have rules specific to the airline or hotel brand
I’m getting into the weeds a bit here, but there are a few more rules to know if you’re interested in the Southwest, Marriott, Hyatt, or IHG cards.
Southwest personal cards
You can no longer have more than one personal Southwest card at a time. So if you’re interested in a personal Southwest credit card, keep in mind you’re not eligible if you already have a personal Southwest credit card (even a different version) or if you’ve earned the bonus on any personal Southwest card in the past 24 months. The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card and Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card aren’t impacted by this rule.
The best part about the Southwest credit card bonuses is that the Southwest points you earn count toward earning a Southwest Companion Pass.
After Marriott and Starwood merged, Chase (issuer of the Marriott cards) and Amex (issuer of the Starwood cards) implemented some new rules around their products with respect to the Marriott cards. The news rules are complicated and applying for a Chase Marriott card can impact your ability to open an Amex Marriott card and vice versa.
If you’re interested in applying for one of these cards, check out our post comparing all of the Marriott Bonvoy cards for more details.
The World of Hyatt Credit Card
The World of Hyatt Credit Card replaced the old Chase Hyatt credit card (no longer available to new applicants) last year. I’ve got the old version and am keeping it.
If you’re looking to apply for the World of Hyatt Card, keep in mind you can’t have both the old and new versions and if you’ve earned the bonus on either Hyatt card in the past 24 months, you’re not eligible either. The terms say:
The product is not available to either (i) current Cardmembers of any Hyatt Credit Card, or (ii) previous Cardmembers of any Hyatt Credit Card who received a new Cardmember bonus within the last 24 months.
It is possible to upgrade from the old version to the new, but you won’t earn the welcome bonus. One really cool thing about The World of Hyatt Credit Card – it comes with a free night at a category one to four Hyatt each card anniversary. That’s a big reason why folks hang on to it (or the previous version) year after year.
IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card also replaced the old (no longer available) Chase IHG card (yeah, I’ve got this one too). In this case, you are eligible for the bonus on the new version even if you still have the old version. The only restriction is that you can’t get the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card if you’ve already got one open, or earned a bonus on the very same card in the past 24 months. From the terms:
This product is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of this credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of this credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this credit card within the last 24 months
The same rules apply to the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card. Essentially, all three IHG cards are considered different products.
Chase doesn’t have a hard limit on the number of cards you can have at once. Instead, there’s a maximum amount of total credit they’ll extend you. Some of us on the MMS team have six or more Chase credit cards.
That said, everyone is restricted by Chase’s stringent application rules, including:
- Chase 5/24 rule – If you’ve opened five or more cards from any bank (except certain business cards) in the past 24 months, you won’t be approved for Chase cards
- For most Chase cards, you’re not eligible to earn a bonus if you currently have the card, or have received a new cardmember bonus for the card in the past 24 months (exception – the Chase Sapphire cards require 48 months after earning a bonus on any Sapphire card)
- You can no longer get the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve at the same time – you’ll have to pick one
- You can’t have more than one personal Southwest card at once
- The Chase Marriott cards have tight restrictions if you’ve earned bonuses on those cards, or the former Amex Starwood cards
- The World of Hyatt card isn’t available to you if you have the old version of the card (but you can upgrade)
- The IHG Premier card is considered a different card product, so you can get it if you have the old version of the card or if you have the IHG Traveler card
The best strategy if you’re new to miles and points is to apply for the Chase cards you want first (the Chase Sapphire Preferred is our favorite card for beginners). And if you’ve been the hobby for a while, spacing out your card applications and choosing wisely depending on your travel goals is key to becoming eligible for more Chase credit cards.
What’s your plan for adding more Chase credit cards to your wallet?
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Featured image by Jeramey Lende/Shutterstock.