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Midway through November, we started seeing reports of Chase’s 5/24 policy being applied to co-brand cards not previously subject to the tighter application restrictions. Data points from the AwardWallet Facebook community, Doctor of Credit, FlyerTalk, and Reddit, suggest Chase has tightened its application requirements for many co-brand rewards cards which now appear to be subject to 5/24.
For those not familiar with the 5/24 policy, if you’ve opened five or more personal credit cards from any card issuer in the previous 24 months, it's a near certainty that Chase will deny your application for all Ultimate Rewards earning cards, plus the majority of its co-brand and cash-back cards.
Stricter Application Restrictions for Co-Brand Chase Cards
Chase doesn’t publish details of its application restrictions, so it’s difficult to obtain concrete information. But, prior to November 13, 2018, select co-brand cards from Hyatt, Marriott, and IHG, plus the trio of Avios earning cards had been exempt from the rule, with folks well over the 5/24 threshold regularly getting approved for the cards.
Since then, dozens of data points across multiple points-related websites and forums all but confirm Chase is implementing tighter application restrictions on cards previously unaffected by 5/24, including:
- The World Of Hyatt Credit Card
- British Airways Visa Signature® Card
- Iberia Visa Signature® Card
- IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
During the World of Hyatt Card launch back in June, Chase executives told Gary Leff of View From The Wing that it was only a matter of time before the 5/24 rule was rolled out across their entire card portfolio.
Based on recent first hand-reports from the points and miles community, it looks like that day may have come. Although this is clearly a negative change, it should still be possible to acquire a quality mix of Chase products with the right application strategy.
How Does This Change Application Strategies?
When asked about rewards card application strategies in our Facebook community, we routinely suggest folks fill out their Chase portfolio before moving on to other card issuers, because it can be hard to dip back under that 5/24 mark if you travel regularly using points and miles. That advice doesn’t change with Chase updating its application strategy.
What will change, however, is the order in which you apply for cards, and potentially the co-brand cards you choose to add to your wallet. Ultimate Rewards points still rank as the most valuable transferrable rewards currency in our books, so we recommend securing your Ultimate Rewards earning cards before moving on to co-brand cards.
As the majority of cards affected are co-brand cards, you need to work out which frequent flyer or hotel loyalty program works best for your travel goals, then decide if Chase provides the best points-earning potential and benefits, or, if there are alternatives.
Here are a few factors you might want to consider:
- Which programs allow you to pick up points or miles outside of Chase? – Potentially not applying for a Marriott co-brand card, knowing that you can pick up an SPG co-brand card that earns the same points and similar benefits after filling your 5/24 slots with other cards.
- Is there a flexible currency that allows you to transfer to that program? – Rather than applying for an Avios earning card, earn points on your Ultimate Rewards cards and transfer those points to Avios. Or, look at cards earning Citi ThankYou points when you are over 5/24, which convert to Avios at 1:1.
- Which Chase co-brand cards provide tangible benefits you can’t get outside of holding the card? – Good examples here include the World of Hyatt Card, which allows you to spend your way to top-tier elite status, and the United℠ Explorer Card, which opens up additional award space available only to cardholders.
It's hard to know for sure if the policy affecting these co-branded cards is an expansion of the existing 5/24 rule or something new. Many of the early data points we’ve seen merely state “too many new accounts in 24 months,” without providing concrete info on how many cards the person already holds, or their exact x/24 count.
For now, it's best to assume you will be denied for a Chase co-brand card if you are above 5/24, even if that card was previously unaffected by the 5/24 policy.
If you applied for one of the cards mentioned above after November 13th, 2018, we’d love to hear about your experience in the comments. Please be sure to include your 5/24 status, the co-branded card name, and the result of your application.
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