New Rules for Chase Credit Card Approvals & What to Do About It!

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New Rules for Chase Credit Card Approvals & What to Do About It!

Million Mile SecretsNew Rules for Chase Credit Card Approvals & What to Do About It!Million Mile Secrets Team

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There have been rumors on FlyerTalk and other blogs in the past few weeks about possible new rules for getting approved for Chase credit cards.

I’ve done some digging and spoke to a Chase representative.  It’s NOT good news for folks who apply for lots of cards!

If you’ve opened 5 or more credit card accounts (from any bank) in the past 24 months, it’s VERY UNLIKELY Chase will approve you for some of their Chase Ultimate Rewards earning cards, like the Chase Freedom or Chase Sapphire Preferred.

However, it’s uncertain whether this rule applies to cards like Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card or Chase Ink Plus.

New Rules For Chase Credit Card Approvals What To Do About It
Have You Opened 5+ New Credit Cards in the Last 24 Months? You’ll Want to Read About Chase’s New Rules!

While there’s no official word from Chase about the new policy, I’ll share what I know and what I learned from a Chase representative.

What’s Going On?

Link:   FlyerTalk Chase Policy Thread

Some folks report on FlyerTalk that Chase has denied their recent applications because they’ve opened too many new cards in the past 24 months.  And that’s from ALL banks, not just Chase cards!

Details sometimes vary, but it appears the new rule applies to some Chase branded cards, NOT airline or hotel cards.  These cards include:

New Rules For Chase Credit Card Approvals What To Do About It
If Your Sock Drawer Looks Like This, You MAY Not Get Approved for Chase Branded Cards for a While!

And commenters on Doctor of Credit, Milevalue, and Mommy Points all confirm that they’ve been denied for these cards for the same reason.

Even folks with 800+ FICO scores and a long-term banking relationship with Chase are being turned down.  Some have asked their personal bankers to intervene, but they’ve had no luck getting approved either.

That said, the new policy does NOT yet seem to impact Chase cards issued on behalf of airlines and hotels, like the Chase United Explorer, Chase British Airways, Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card, or Chase IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card.

What Does Chase Say?

I called Chase to find out if this was a new rule across the board.  The representative did some searching, then confirmed what others have reported.

If you’ve opened 5 or more new credit card accounts (any bank!) in the past 24 months (excluding authorized user accounts), you will NOT be approved for a Chase branded personal card. 

Yikes.  This could be bad news for many of us in the miles and points hobby.

New Rules For Chase Credit Card Approvals What To Do About It
Folks Who’ve Been Collecting Miles and Points for a Long Time Probably Have More Than 5 New Cards in 2 Years

However, the representative could not say if the new policy applies to Chase’s other “card products,” like airline and hotel cards.

And she could NOT confirm if business cards counted towards the 5 card rule.  There are reports on FlyerTalk that say Chase Ink cards are not affected.

What to Do

1.   Folks Who Are New to Our Hobby

If you’re new to miles and points, you likely haven’t opened more than 5 credit card accounts in the past 24 months.

I would NOT apply for any new cards until you decide if you want cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Freedom.  So if you like these cards, apply for them before any others!

These are some of the most valuable cards for Big Travel with Small Money.  That’s because they have great sign-up and spending category bonuses which make it easy to earn lots of Chase Ultimate Rewards points fast.

New Rules For Chase Credit Card Approvals What To Do About It
Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Can Get You Big Travel With Partners Like Hyatt Hotels

And if you have the Chase Ink Bold (no longer available), Chase Ink Plus, or Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you can transfer points to airline, hotel, and rail partners for even more travel!

Having 1 of those 3 cards allows you to transfer points you earn from the Chase Freedom and Chase Ink Cash.

If You Have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus, or Chase Ink Bold Card, You Can Transfer Your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Travel Partners Like United Airlines or British Airways

Again, if you’re new to miles & points, I always suggest starting with cards that earn transferable points (like these Chase cards) for the most travel flexibility.

With Chase’s new rules, I’d strongly suggest you apply for these cards FIRST.

2.   Experienced Miles & Points Enthusiasts

Folks who’ve been collecting miles & points for a while generally open more than a few new credit cards each year.  I know Emily and I do!

If you’re in this situation, you’re most likely out of luck if you want to apply for a new Chase branded card.  🙁  I wouldn’t even suggest trying, because you might waste a credit inquiry.

For the time being, this policy change does NOT seem to apply to other Chase cards, including:

New Rules For Chase Credit Card Approvals What To Do About It
Cards Like the Chase British Airways Are NOT Affected by the Policy Change So Far

That said, I do NOT know if or when Chase will extend their new rules to their airline and hotel cards.

So if there’s a card you’ve wanted to apply for, it won’t hurt to sign-up sooner rather than later.

Hopefully Chase will not change their approval policy for these cards.  But there are no guarantees.

You could consider holding off on any more card applications until you have fewer than 5 new accounts in the past 24 months.  But you’d miss out on lots of other great sign-up bonuses!

3.   Folks Who Already Have Chase-Branded Cards

If you already have cards which charge an annual fee, like the (no longer offered) Chase Ink Bold, Chase Ink Plus, or Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll have to give careful thought as to whether you want to keep them when the annual fee comes due.

I always have at least ONE of these cards open, so I’m able to transfer any of my Chase Ultimate Rewards points to travel partners like Southwest and Hyatt.

In the past, some folks would cancel these cards, then re-apply at a later date.  Chase says you can get the sign-up bonus again as long as you don’t currently hold the card, and haven’t received the sign-up bonus in the past 24 months.

New Rules For Chase Credit Card Approvals What To Do About It
More Big Travel! You Can Get the Sign-Up Bonus on Chase Cards You’ve Previously Held as Long as It’s Been More Than 24 Months Since You Received the Bonus

But with the new rules, this could be difficult or impossible for experienced miles & points collectors who apply for lots of cards!

If you don’t want to pay the annual fee, consider downgrading a Chase Ink Bold, Chase Ink Plus, or Chase Sapphire Preferred card to the Chase Freedom card, which has no annual fee.

You will NOT get a sign-up bonus, but you’ll keep your Chase Ultimate Rewards points safe!  And you’ll earn 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points in rotating categories each quarter with the Chase Freedom.

Remember, you have to have at least 1 of the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold, or Chase Ink Plus cards to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to travel partners!  So don’t downgrade or cancel all your cards!

Bottom Line

Chase has changed the rules for approving folks for Chase-branded cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom.

If you’ve opened 5 or more new credit cards in the past 24 months (from any bank), your application will likely be denied.

This policy does NOT seem to apply to Chase’s airline and hotel cards, like the Chase British Airways, Chase Hyatt, or Chase Southwest cards.  At least not yet!

This isn’t good news for folks who apply for lots of cards.  And if you’re new to miles and points, I’d suggest applying for Chase Ultimate Rewards cards FIRST.

Have you recently applied for Chase cards?  Please share your experience in the comments!

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

More Info

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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Karen Randolph

the 5 card rule does apply to United Chase Card

Yes it does, very frustrating!

For business cards they will NOT accept you for same reasons mentioned above. I tried back in 2016, and again in 2018 putting the card under my business name and business EIN. They still asked for my personal info and despite the bank manager stating that they think it’ll get approved was denied for same reasons.

I tried for a Marriott card and was turned down because I had opened 5 accounts which was bogus because some of those (2) were replacement cards.

I applied for a Chase United (business) Explorer credit card and was denied because I obtained too many credit cards over the past two years. There were 5 that I obtained in 2015 and 4 in 2016, so a total of 9. One that was in 2015 will drop off in a couple of weeks because it will be 2 years. Some of the cards I have never used and some cards have already been closed. Despite that I was denied the card. I am a private banking customer at Chase Bank. I have perfect credit, great income and never am late ever on any other credit card bill. They say this is a firm and flat denial, a policy they have, and one that cannot be reversed. This is a terrible way to treat their customers. I would like to expose this on Social Media but not sure where. Does anyone have any suggestion?

I am surprised you are still advising people to get the Chase Sapphire Preferred. The UR points are only worth 1.25 toward travel, and the the Reserve is 1.5X.

I advise all of my friends and family to apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Even without the 100K point bonus, the card is extremely valuable. The $450 fee can be nearly erased with the $300 travel credit and the Global Entry fee paid. The lounge access may not have value to some, but for us, it was a great bonus. We just used a lounge in SJC 3 weeks ago today.

With 3X travel and 3X dining, we couldn’t have a better card for our needs. Since we spend over $100K in business expenses, which counts almost entirely as travel, we get 300K points guranteed each year.

I hope they bring back the 100K signup bonus.

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