Persistence Pays Off! Earning a Lucrative Sign-Up Bonus Even When the Bank Tells You No!

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I’m inspired when I hear other people share stories of their adventures with miles & points.  So here’s the next installment of our weekly series where the Million Mile Secrets team shares their successes (and failures) with you!

Jason:  I recently had an interesting experience applying for the Chase Ink Business Preferred card.  I wanted to share what happened, because I think other folks might qualify for small business credit cards and still get stopped just short of earning a lucrative sign-up bonus!

It’s a great time to consider the Chase Ink Business Preferred because you earn a sign-up bonus worth at least $1,000 in travel.  And the card has many other terrific perks, like cell phone insurance!

It Took More Effort Than Usual, but Eventually, I Was Approved!

I’ve been working to get under the Chase “5/24” limit for a while.  And I’ve had my eye on the Chase Ink Business Preferred card for a lot of reasons.

I’ll walk you through how I worked around the Chase “5/24” rule and the hiccups I ran into along the way to getting approved!

Getting Past the Chase “5/24” Rule

Chase will NOT approve you for most of their cards if you’ve opened 5 or more credit card accounts (from any bank) in the past 24 months (NOT counting Chase business cards and these other business cards).  And for a long time, I was well over the “5/24” rule.  Or as some say, I was “LOL/24.” 😉

So my strategy has been to apply for select small business cards from certain banks (including Chase) which do NOT count toward your Chase “5/24” limit.  And because opening the Chase Ink Business Preferred won’t put me back over the limit, I can still be approved for other Chase cards restricted by the rule!

Before I applied, I wanted to make sure my authorized user accounts wouldn’t get in the way.

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The problem is authorized user accounts DO count toward your “5/24” limit.  And folks have had mixed results when calling Chase to try to get them to disregard these accounts.  I didn’t want to take any chances.  So I called Chase to have myself removed from my wife’s account.

And that’s when I got lucky.  After helping me, the phone representative asked “I assume you would like have this account removed from your credit report.”  Oops!  I forgot that closing an authorized user account would NOT remove it from my credit report, which is true for all credit cards.

After chatting with the right folks at Chase, they let me know it would take up to 30 days for my credit report to update.  Normally, when I want to take care of something with the bank, I send a secure message.  But this time, talking with an actual person saved me the hassle of having to wait an extra 2 months to fall under the “5/24” limit.

Hunting for a Better Offer

I had heard rumors of a 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards point sign-up bonus for the Chase Ink Business Preferred if you apply in a branch.  For me, the potential to earn an extra 20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points was worth the effort of going to the bank.  I went to a smaller location close to my apartment and was told I would have to wait for the branch manager, who handles the business card applications.

After waiting for ~20 minutes I was able to get the process started.  The manager asked if I had a business banking account with Chase.  When I told her I didn’t, she got on the phone with another Chase department to ask them about the situation.  And then told me I couldn’t apply for a Chase business card without a Chase business bank account.

It Stings to Hear “No,” but That Isn’t Always the Final Answer

This was the strangest answer I’d ever received for a credit card application.  Especially because I knew LOTS of folks who have been approved for Chase small business credit cards without doing their business banking with Chase – including me!  I wondered if I was experiencing a new rule.

The Power of Trying Again

While I was a bit broken hearted, I wasn’t too worried because I hadn’t actually applied for the card and gotten rejected.  So I could still apply online.  But I had some other errands to run, so I decided to try my luck at another Chase branch.

This location was much larger than the previous one and I was immediately helped by a Chase Private Client banker, not the branch manager.  I told him I wanted to apply for a Chase business card and he showed me the standard offers.  I could sign-up for the Chase Ink Business Preferred to earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.  It was the same as the public offer available online.

After a very short discussion about not having a business banking account, we continued with the application.  When he asked for an EIN (Employer Identification Number), I let him know I was a sole proprietor and would apply using my social security number.  He had no issues with that.  And when it came to the legal business name, I told him I would be using my own name.  Again, this wasn’t a problem.

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He submitted the application and when it wasn’t immediately approved, he got on the phone.  Because I recently moved, I needed to provide verification of my new address.  So I emailed him a copy of my lease.  He said it would take a while to process the application and he would get in touch tomorrow.

The next day, I got a phone call from the Chase Private Client banker letting me know I was approved!

The Pros & Cons of an In-Person Application

Applying in person ended up taking me MUCH longer than filling out an application online.  And I didn’t end up getting a better deal.  Although some folks have reported being able to get better offers through Chase Private Client bankers.  I made the mistake of not asking if better offers were available.  But I didn’t want to press my luck.

The advantage of applying in-branch was I had someone advocating for me.  Verifying my address might have taken longer if I applied online and had to call the reconsideration line.  It was also nice to have someone there to answer all of my questions right away.

A big takeaway from my experience was you don’t always get correct information from the folks working in the branch.  I’m still unsure why the branch manager told me I couldn’t apply for a Chase business card.  So if there are multiple bank branches in your area, it might be worth your time to ask around instead of taking no for an answer.

Bottom Line

You do NOT need to do your business banking with Chase in order to be approved for a Chase business card.  And depending on your business structure, you CAN apply using just your social security number and name instead of an EIN and formal business name on your application!

Before you apply, you’ll want to make sure you’re under the Chase “5/24” rule.  And even though Chase business cards will NOT count toward your “5/24” limit, authorized user accounts might count.  If you want to remove yourself as an authorized user from someone else’s account, do NOT forget to also get the account taken off your credit report.

If you’re nervous about your first business card application, it can be a good idea to apply in person.  But applying in-branch can also be more nerve wracking it you don’t get the correct information from a banker.

So unless you can get a better deal in-branch, it’s typically easier and quicker to apply online.

Has anyone had a similar experience when applying in-branch?  If so, please let me know in the comments!

Million Mile Secrets features a team of points and miles experts who have traveled to over 80 countries and have used 60+ credit cards responsibly to accumulate loyalty points and travel the world on the cheap! The Million Mile Secrets team has been featured on The Points Guy, TIME, Yahoo Finance and many other leading points & miles media outlets.

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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